Glorious!

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We were blessed by a couple of those ‘held breath’ Autumnal days, when things pause before the decline into Winter. A chance to sit and stare a while, enjoy the water,  and take the boat out for the shortest of cruises.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Pictures are more articulate than I could hope to be, so this is a picture post.

Autumn half term holidays. The London Escape. The return to the boat. Just 48 hours away. But what quality time!

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Autumn by boat

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It’s been a while. The floating thin object. Gorgeously purposeful purposelessness.

A slow chug. From town to village. Cross-country. Brass and rust. A held-breath, mindful morning. Ochre. Burnt Umber. Drab Olive. Hectic flirts of bright yellowredorange. Gloss highlights in a matt world.

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Away 13. ‘Sticky…’

Though perhaps there are times when the photos or posts present it that way, it’d be a mistake to think that life with The Boys, who’re rising seven next month, is easy.

They are a handful.

They’re hugely competitive and quick to find fault with each other. It’s often hard to engage them both at the same time in productive and positive play.

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Canal Cavalcade 2012

This coming weekend will be one of the waterway season’s first Jubilee Events, in the form of the London Canal Cavalcade.

For London boaters, as well as those from further afield, it’s usually a must-see event. A watery village fete beneath the Westway elevated road. Let’s hope it isn’t a wash-out like this weekend!

(Please note: the following images, which attempt to convey the spirit of the event, weren’t taken by me but were the result of typing London Canal Cavalcade into Google. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post some new images after next weekend. If any of them are your images I’d be happy to add a full attribution, or delete. Thanks.)

Around Cropredy village…

The 'big house' on the Old Wharf' in Cropredy. Now a canoe base, but another of those 'if only we could win the Lottery' houses... A magical place for all the family. Ah, well we can dream eh?
Looking towards Cropredy Lock. Coming back to Cropredy, now with my family and a new boat, has encouraged lots of memories of other times spent here to resurface - I'm pleased to report that they're invariably HAPPY memories 🙂
A classic view of narrow lock and lock cottage. Poetry!

The kids were fascinated by these mysterious carvings, now half dissolved and lichen covered, that appear on so many of the headstones. It was an adventure to clamber around spotting more and more of them…

   

Trip to New Home Mooring – reflection

When we moored up at Forge Farm the Thursday before last, it was one of those fraught moments when ‘events’ (in this case one thunderstorm, one poorly child, two other v. fractious & tired children) combined to make the moment of arrival perhaps less than auspicious.

Ah, such are the joys of English weather and family boating!

Today was the the first time we’d been able to go back and get properly sorted out.

We had thought of taking our ‘Eileen’ down the four locks to the winding hole at Cropredy Wharf, but with ominous skies (What is it with us, boats, and impending thunderstorms???) the thought of upwards of three hours of the kids, already fractious, trapped inside the boat without the distraction of books and toys, wasn’t an attractive one, so we chose the less stressful option of winding at Clattercote Wharf instead.

It basically involved us reversing a couple of hundred yards up to Gregg’s winding hole, turning the boat and reversing her back down the canal to the same mooring but with the boat now facing the other direction… The reason for this being that the raw water feed to cool the engine was previously nearest the bank and prone to sucking in silt and mud every time we attempted to start the engine. At least in our new position, in theory the intake is in ‘deeper’ water (though, to be honest, the concept of deep water on the Oxford Canal  is a pretty abstract one!) and should therefore block up less.

Anyone familiar with the South Oxford will probably recognise this bunch of characters ‘resting’ against a woodpile before heading out into pumpkin fields to scare the crows…
It might seem a little over-the-top to kit the kids out in life jackets just to move a couple of hundred yards to turn the boat, but believe me, they’re essential. Life savers in fact!
Joe surveys the new mooring, and it is utterly lovely – with the canal to the fore and pumpkin fields behind – bring on those sultry summer evenings.
Turned. Moored. Sorted. Smiling.