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The early heavy rain didn’t last, and by the time I’d moved down from Grimsbury Wharf into the centre of Banbury it had become a sultry Summer’s morning with towpath steaming.

It took a while to shake off Banbury, with its bustle of gongozzlers and drunks who’d gathered, moths to the flame, around Town Lock.

I moored under Bluebird Bridge after locking through, and walked back to Tooley’s Yard to pick up the ‘Desmo‘ legs that’d been ordered to complete the new dinette in the fore end of the boat. Linda, behind the counter, generously allowed me to take away a pair of 30″ and a pair of 28″ legs to try for size.

With three five litre bottles of water filed at the water point and the Thetford loo emptied it was very much time to be away… Down through industrial remnants, along the Tramway straight and across the flat meadows of the River Cherwell into a marginal zone of wheat and grazing that stretches from the outskirts of Banbury to the M40 motorway. It’s a zone defined by dog walkers and the occasional classic wooden Oxford Canal lift bridge.

This photo was taken towards the end of the first morning out, at the 9’6″ Grant’s Lock.

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