Saturday morning, despite the gloomy forecast, was surprisingly sunny. The rainclouds held off, and urged us into the day. We’d planned a simple trip, the ‘Oxford Canal in Microcosm’, just four locks, Elkington’s, Varney’s, Broadmoor and Cropredy. A morning chug. And a  chance for Claire to get to grips with narrow locks and turn her hand to steering.

It was a relaxed time, great for us to share precious quality time without the constant responsibility of parenthood. Us time, time to chat, a chance to catch up… a necessary time…

The Morso stove in the ‘Long Cabin’ remained in all night – well it did until, in my enthusiasm, I snuffed it out by overloading coal… it took no time at all to get the flame again though… and importantly we lit the stove in the back cabin too. Ever hopeful we popped a couple of foil-wrapped baking potatoes into the side oven just to see what’d happen – mmm, nothing!
An early breakfast – outside – and in sunshine. The scrambled eggs made from the organic free-range eggs Gregg had supplied last night, and croissants toasted on the Long Cabin stove – utterly delicious! Why does food always taste so much better, and more intense, when eaten outside?
We turned at (Clattercote) wharf, and headed towards Elkington Lock that lies just beyond Forge Farm.
Helping a boat through Elkington’s…
Contentment is a boat.
For me, a combination of a weathered, arched bridge; the ‘hopeful’ skies after days of rain, and the lock beams, combined with woody stove smoke, make for a magical moment…
A chance to relax, and take in the classic Oxfordshire countryside.
Heading out of Varney’s and into the short pound above Broadmoor Lock… Claire’s getting the hang of the locks…
Cropredy Lock.
Entering Cropredy Lock…
This is as far as we could go today. Cropredy Wharf. Services used. And the boat turned. The usual dramas of the wind picking up at the wrong moment and forcing us to rope the boat around on the wharf, me and C. we work really well as a team… Time for another mug of tea?

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