You Light Up My Life

As predicted, it rained overnight, Bryn and I emerged to go shopping at the open supermarket and found it heavier than expected. Luckily it wasn’t far and some of the walk is under cover. On the way back a car slowed and asked for directions. I am not usually that confident on directions, even more so for a route by car and in an unfamiliar town. Bryn has never been here before, ” Do you know how I’d find the Light?” I made apologies that I was a stranger passing through, not local, but as he started away winding his window I had a sudden realisation. “Oh I do know!” He heard me and I pointed to the building ,”it’s just round there by the canal, you just need to park your car.” There was a basement carpark right there and he drove in. We were moored right beside it.

We are moored right beside The Light

We made a start out of town, when the rain stopped. The journey immediately starts with a lift bridge and a lock, so Bryn leapt off with two windlasses, operated the lift bridge and I joined him at the lock. There was no flight today but a few spread locks scattered along the way and for the rest of the day, we were the lock team. He is quick to notice the most efficient way to work and it was good there were two of us as many gates were hard to open.

Working together to open the paddles

The wind sprang up and the folded pram cover flapped up obscuring the driver’s view, lifting the metal poles with it. Some rearrangement was required and a bungee, Bryn found the side hook attachments and suggested attaching the bungee to it. At first I wasn’t sure if would work. We thought only the windward side would need pinning to stop it lifting, but the other side started to flap too, and I needed to find a way to hold it down, using its own elastics.

We have been this way before ourselves and with my sister Anne and her husband Richard but we noticed new gates at one of the locks.

New lockgate and new crew

It became very gusty and we had difficulty steering. Shane agreed to be main driver. If we didn’t have Bryn Shane might have been needed for the lock gates leaving me battling the wind. A few more bumps were happening than usual.

We were keen to show Bryn The Pig Place and he was up for trying one of their flavoured ciders but as we pulled in a lady unzipped her canopy, poked her head out and apologized that they were not open until next week. Shane was surprised they had missed the bank holiday weekend opportunity. That had been their intention but the ground was too waterlogged to open.

We pressed on to a lock that had warnings about headroom and the safety of passage. I went to look for the guage for safe navigation but it was not visible. We felt it was not too high so went to the river lock and found a level indicator there. We also found a lot of lambs around the lock. They were calm about us being there. When I have been here before it has always needed two people to open the gates, either another boater or a passing walker. Neither appeared today so extra happy that Bryn was with us. It was easier than I remembered before, thought there have been recent repairs to this lock too.

Given that this lock and river section has recently been closed, and the indicator suggested we proceed with caution and navigation conditions were likely to change, we thought the cautious thing to do was get back towards Banbury. We didn’t end up on the wrong side of the river, tomorrow, if it became dangerous to proceed. Bryn has a train to catch the morning after.

After turning we passed back through the last two locks and found a mooring just beyond The Pig Place with rings. Not long after we had moored the rain started. We had managed all our driving in the dry and were able to see a rainbow from inside as I cooked tea, my first experience cooking with jackfruit, chilli sensa carne, and I was happy enough with it. Bryn had tried it a few times so was my excuse to try a new culinary experience.

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