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Towards sunset we light the stove in the Long Cabin and delight in the drama of the damp logs catching. Wood smoke and old boats – a small part of my kind of paradise!

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The last embers of the day reflected in a scalloped sky as the temperature plummets. We chug to and through Nell Bridge Lock and descend below the Aynho Road.

 

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Almost on the final stretch for the day. Eileen approaches the Aynho Weir Lock and the point where the River Cherwell crosses the canal and falls over a weir beneath the last couple of arches of the bridge. The evening shadows merge towards darkness and the sound of the wayside animals are amplified.

 

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We moored on the excellent moorings that follow Belcher’s Lift Bridge. We enjoyed a tasty evening meal in The Great Western Arms – I’ve yet to be disappointed with anything we’ve tried there – and then had a surprisingly calm and peaceful evening, with the kids for the first time all using their new bunks. A success!
…And this was the magnificent dawn that welcomed us to a new day. The canal a millpond and the sun breaking through with sudden breathtaking brilliance.

 

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The view from the galley hatch looking up towards Belcher’s Lift Bridge as the Boys kept an eye-out for the Chiltern trains passing on the embankment across the meadow on the off-side.

 

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And, as so often happens on the Cut, the moment of stillness, quiet and calm was suddenly animated by a flurry of unexpected activity. C&RT workers arrived and used the push-tug to propel the dumb barge towards Aynho Wharf and beyond; and for a moment the kids stand and stare, fishing nets in hand and say a shy hello to the workers.

 

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With breakfast over, and toast toasted on the top of the stove, it’s time to wash the pots and that calls for, YES!, the Kelly Kettle (see HERE or HERE too…) Here the boys gingerly and respectfully top up the fuel tray with twigs collected in London and dried out at home.

 

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Blast Off! The fire catches, the twigs crackle, the air roars up the central chimney and smoke plumes out the top. The kids watch fascinated…

 

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Two or three times we fill the kettle and take hot water to the galley. We could have simply used the Paloma, but where’s the fun in that??? And then it’s all packed up and our Eileen readied for a little more Inlanding in Autumn.
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