We were not the only ones not cruising on Sunday: I think the whole world must have battened down the hatches to sit out the rain. Monday morning there were boats everywhere. We had a slow start: first we needed diesel, then two toilet cassettes to empty and finally the water tank to fill.
Leaving Braunston we turned left under the lovely cast iron arches onto the S Oxford Canal.
The first mile or two was scattered with moored boats so our pace was leisurely and even more so when we encountered this sunken working boat. It has been here for 20 months according to locals and BW are still in the planning stages for its removal.
As we approach the flight of seven locks at Napton we have to climb we are overlooked by the old windmill on the hill.
Passage up the flight was easy as there was an oncoming boat at each lock. This was rather a surprise as, since the initial rush of boats when we started the day, we have hardly met another boat.
On Tuesday we set off at 7.30 am as the weather was so glorious. After refilling the water tank at Fenny Compton Wharf we entered Fenny Compton Tunnel which was made topless in 1868 and is now a long narrow cutting.
In parts it is quite narrow but the only other boat we saw was going our way.
We are making a conscious effort to moor overnight in places we have not done before so when we arrived at Cropredy we descended the locks and found a quiet spot south of the village.
Whilst we were sitting on the bank enjoying the afternoon sun this gentleman appeared in a dingy to which he had added an electric outboard motor. Before his wife died he had a narrowboat but now takes this to a stretch of canal somewhere in the country and potters about for a while. He reckons to manage eight miles on one overnight charge. And his passage is completely silent.
On Wednesday, in contrast, a hire boat followed us down the locks to Banbury and the mother and daughter who were operating the locks we dubbed The Puddings. At each lock they strolled up and stood gawping as Margaret worked Gecko through. It seemed beyond their grasp that if one of them operated the other gate Margaret would not have to keep crossing the lock and they could get their boat in sooner. It was if they believed each boat passage was a discrete operation and that no cross-contamination was permitted. We could not even engage them in conversation as they kept well away from us and often turned their backs to the lock whilst we were there.