After Slat Mill the snow storm passed and the weather reverted from Winter to Spring. On the section before Cropredy Mill the farmer has leased the off-side portion of his fields to boaters. As a result, along the canal’s edge a community of boats has grown up. Each plot has roughly 70ft. of frontage and maybe 20ft. of shore. Interestingly each plot seems to have taken on the character of the boater and become as distinctive as their boats; there are clutter-merchants piling useful junk sky high, and back-to-the-land small holders cultivating veg. and people who place a bench on the bank and contentedly gongozzle.

A tidy plot, a dramatic sky.
Passing under Bridge 154 at Cropredy Mill, on the long straight into the village are long-term moorings, many boats have been here since I moored here just under 20 years ago.
The evocative smell of wood smoke. Time for a cuppa, a warm, and a bit of cake!
At Cropredy Wharf I held the boat against the towpath side just after the mooring for the C&RT workboat; nb. Alnwick was on the off-side using the services. Another boat passed under Cropredy Bridge. It was the busiest boating moment of the morning.
Eileen pushed across into the winding hole so that nb. Alnwick and our Eileen could share the service point.
Water tank refreshed, loo cassette sorted out, drinking water bottles replenished, I reversed under Cropredy Bridge and moored Eileen in the sheltered village cutting before Cropredy Lock. Just as the next snow-laden clouds rolled into view…
Within an hour that snow shower had passed; Spring returned, the stern gland was re-packed, the boat tidied and the Morso stove loaded with fuel… time to walk back to Banbury and pick up the car.
A good secure mooring, it would be our weekend base as we ignored the bitter cold weather and enjoyed my 50th birthday weekend…

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