Today I’m returning to our Summer Trip Inland. After a perfect evening of starlight and white wine, un-typically for this fine Summer, next morning dawned dull, with dark grey cloud massing ominously on the western skyline. I was eager to be off and raced the morning chores to cast off before 8.00. It’s like that when I’m boating alone, I’m no stop-a-bed and can’t abide hanging around. I find it stressful I’d much rather be busy, and be fully engaged in ‘getting ahead’ as the old boaters might have said. It was a short, breezy cruise from Aynho, across the wide river valley of the Cherwell to the ominously named ‘Somerton Deep’. Oddly, despite having visited the lock on numerous occasions before, I hardly recognised the place, yet can’t quite put my finger on why it seemed so unfamiliar. At Somerton Bridge was this old BWB sign advertising the presence of the Oxford Canal. It’s ghostly image captured my imagination, the Oxford never fails to capture my imagination in one way or another… (Photo by Nick Holt, August 2013)

On the back deck of a boat the weather is your ever-present companion, particularly when the old engine noisily interrupts conversation, and often its you and the clouds in companionable, contented silence for hours on end. Clouds fascinate me, I should learn more about them… (Photo by Nick Holt, August 2013)
At Heyford Common Lock a boat who’d doggedly followed 10 metres behind me for a couple of miles – I’ve never understood why people do that, when a few moments patience would place a reasonable distance between boats – was surprised by the sudden appearance of Heyford Common Lock and in response to his rapid switch to reverse gear, an explosion of revs, and a sudden unkind slap of wind the sheep grazing in the nearby field fled in panic and his boat pirouetting in ungainly fashion broadsided the canal. ‘Poetic justice!’ I murmured somewhat uncharitably to myself… Once I’d locked through and left ‘Speedy’ to refill the lock, I returned my attention to the gathering clouds, the forecast looked ominously accurate – rain later. (Photo by Nick Holt, August 2013)

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