Sunday, 7 May 2017

A quick dash to Fenny

When we were last on the boat we had arrived at Banbury Tramway which is a fairly common and convenient spot to leave her.
I have just had a cataract operation which means I cannot drive for a while. I was first told 10-14 days so did not worry about Tramway, in fact I spoke to C&RT and they were happy too. Then I was told that I would not be able to drive for at least 4-6 weeks. That's a completely different kettle of fish.
This weekend was the only time free (Judy is gong abroad on holiday with some of her friends) then we have things on at home, then we were going to Germany for a few days driving holiday, then a wedding. All this takes us up to the end of June.
So I booked Constance into Fenny Compton Marina for two months.
Judy & I caught the train to Banbury and off we went. Up through Banbury, stopping for the night in Cropredy. We went for a meal at the Red Lion (first time in there).
Then headed off northwards in the  morning. On the way we saw:
A lovely bracket fungus

Swans tending to their nest

Eggs in the nest!

Canada geese with goslings
We arrived at Fenny Compton Marina in time to obtain keys and fill in the necessary forms and settled Constance into her temporary berth.
In the evening we went for a meal at the Wharf Inn.
Sunday morning saw us catch a taxi to Banbury station and the train home.

Monday, 24 April 2017

A lovely weekend!

We have just enjoyed a lovely weekend on the boat. We were moored at Roundham Lock, just up the back of Kidlington after our family visit. We did shopping in Sainsbury's Kidlington before moving north through Thrupp, Shipton and Enslow. The Cherwell was very quiet, Enslow was pretty tight as usual and we stopped just below Pigeons Lock. It being a lovely day we walked into Tackley and discovered their lovely village shop. It is a village collective, like our local Woodgreen Village Shop and was well stocked with a very wide variety of goods for sale. We will make the effort to walk across to Tackley next time we are in the area. We walked through many fields of yellow...
On Saturday we moved up to Lower Heyford as we were expecting visitors. We spent the afternoon sitting in the glorious sunshine catching up and enjoyed seeing 34052 powering through on the main line. (not my film).
Enjoying the sunshine at Lower Heyford
 On Sunday we all travelled north through Somerton, Aynho and Twyford.
Aynho Weir Lock

Judy, Lynda & Charlie at Aynho Weir Lock
We arrived at Banbury, had a quick walk into the town and settled down to a lovely meal. A perfect weekend!

A couple of nuts

Found these guys lying around the other day. couldn't resist taking a photo!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Family day in Oxford

Adrian and Sasha had come over from Australia on a flying visit, taking in as many friends and relatives as possible in the time available.
They had always wanted a trip on the canal boat, so this was organised in advance - we would all come to Constance for the day. Constance was moored just below Lock 43 (Kidlington Green Lock) so we all went to Yarnton Lane to park.
We were joined by Adrian & Sasha and David & Emma so we were a party of seven.
We set off down through Duke's Lock and all the way down to Hythe Bridge Street. Emma, who knows Oxford well, took the party on a whistle stop tour of 'Historic Oxford' whilst I turned Constance around ready for the return journey.
We ended up back near Kidlington, not too far from our respective cars and had a meal on board. It was a bit of a squeeze getting seven around the dinner table but we managed, it was 'cosy'. I was lovely to have the whole family together for the day.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Mothering Sunday

I think my last post was made before I left Fenny Compton Marina.
My next move was out of the Marina and heading south. I needed to be about a mile south of Twyford Wharf for the weekend 11th/12th March for my radio contest. The place carefully chosen as a 'radio quiet' location. There are no houses, railways or power lines nearby so the 'noise floor' is low. I successfully did my contest and moved on further south eventually stopping at Upper Heyford.
Judy, Alison (who had made a lovely cake) and myself came to Upper Heyford to continue our journey south. We stayed the night just below Pigeons Lock as there was a slight delay in the opening of Shipton Weir Lock. When we came to move on there was a little bit of a backlog of boats waiting for the locks.
By now it was Mothering Sunday.
We met up with David (bearing a bunch of flowers) just at the lift bridge above Shipton on Cherwell.
We all enjoyed our lunch (and cake) on board before David & I set off to do a car shuffle.
Later we moved down to Kidlington. In the evening we had a curry take-away. It is so nice to have all the family together for the day...

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Out with the 'wall carpet'

When Constance was fitted out in 2000 after her 'stretch' the walls (bulkheads/hull/vertical surfaces) were covered in a ribbed carpeting material in a dark maroon colour. After 17 years this has become a bit tatty in places, faded nearly everywhere and it moults continually. There is always a layer of dust below any of the carpeted surfaces. It hasn't done badly and I'm not complaining but I feel it is time to do something about it.
Enter the veneered hardboard of the previous post courtesy of Timbmet. I arrived at Fenny Compton marina (in my car) a few days ago and started to work.
 This is how the port side panel looked with its carpeting. One of the seams had become detached and the backing and glue had powdered. Pulling the carpet off was not a problem.
It fell away and the old glue was easily removed with a scraper to reveal the plywood liner.
 Panels suitably cleaned. Then it was cut and shape the 4'x4' pieces of hardboard. Nothing in a boat is: level, square, straight, 90 degrees etc.
 With the port-side panels shaped and in place it was move on to the starboard side.
 Starboard side (on the left of the picture above) and the return bulkhead all fitted out.
 Then into the next room, the dining area. You can see the carpeted areas in the picture above.
 Now in veneered pine board.
Then just the little area above the cupboard where the mugs hang.
The general fitting of the veneered hardboard was finished, now it is time to fill all the panel pin holes and varnish all the surfaces. Tidying up seemed to take forever. Thankfully I have mains electric power here in the marina and can use the vacuum cleaner...
Tomorrow it is more of the same. Fill the mail holes and varnishing.
Still, I am lovely and warm. The wood-burner sees to that!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


I have bought some sheets of pine veneered MDF to re-fit (re-decorate) the inside of Constance. Currently the walls are covered in a layer of carpet which is now 17 years old, faded and giving off a lot of dust as it moults. My next move is to strip off the carpet and replace it with the veneered MDF. The outlet from which I purchased the sheets were happy to cut the 4 8'x4's in half so I have 8 off 4'x4' sheets which are much more manageable.

The 4'x4' sheets were scattered around the garden, stood on anything that would raise them off the ground and varnished during the only dry day this week. The varnish is a quick drying type and I was able to get one coat on each side. They will go up to the boat next week and be fitted. Then extra coats of varnish will be applied to the side that shows, as required.
But, I could not help but notice that the volume of bird song has gone up a lot this last couple of days. Yes, it really is time to mark territory and find a mate. Spring is coming, hurrah!