Day 8 – Toby To The Rescue

Today’s plan was a short hop to Cropredy, with an ETA of lunchtime. As always, it’s not easy getting Toby to get his lovely little bottom out of bed! We were just getting ready to cast off and a single handed green boat went past us – very much on the go slow – I did remind Toby of the early bird catching the worm!

We slowly made our way to Banbury following the green boat, we made it to the first lock and luckily for us, he wanted to go through the lock, wind and come back down – perfect! I had two willing little helpers, and dad to help push the gates.

We were soon through Banbury and out in the countryside again. Toby’s back is playing up, similar in location to his slipped disc, we we were back to our usual roles of Toby helming and me locking.

We came across this huge field planted densely with young trees. A local gentleman sat on the bench at the lock said it was HS2 who are planting new forests to replace those lost with the works.

Every passing boat advised of a very low water pound between Slat Mill Lock and Cropredy lock, and to keep to the middle channel. We could see how low the water level was with the exposed banks.

Some way back from the lock, we could see a queue of boats. Toby dropped me off at the bow and I went off to investigate , it was an old working boat with a deep draught that had got stuck, it had taken them 2 hours to travel between locks, something that should have taken only 15 mins. Three of us were pushing the boat using poles, and boat in front called Toby (sorry, no picture), was in full throttle and pulling the boat forward. We all made it round the next bend to chaos with another boat stuck and going from left to right, but unable to go forward. Once past the Cropredy lock, the water level was fine and we moored up.

We moored and had lunch on board – Toby’s freshly baked bread from this morning, some hummus and cheese. We wandered up to the local shop and topped up essential supplies (milk, bananas and 2 x choc orange fingers!). We couldn’t resist an ice cream on our way back to Oliver.

It was then time for some chores and getting Oliver ready for sale. I washed down the cratch cover and cleaned the kitchen cupboards, while Toby spruced up the bathroom radiator using crushed aluminium foil (an internet find) and brasso.