Fresh fields

Fresh fields


Moving now into places I’ve not really been before, certainly not without being passenger on the boat.

Somerton Meadows

This place is called. The towpath is indeed one large meadow spanning from the outskirts of Somerton to the River Cherwell.

It’s got a nice iron bridge across the main span of the river. There’s also a mill stream that runs down to North Aston Mill at the other side of the valley.

The field is home to some livestock cattle and the canal is lined with Poplars, Elms, Sycamore and Hawthorne. It’s a nice spot with views right down to the river.

Mooring at Somerton Meadow
Mooring at Somerton Meadow

No motorway

It’s the first place since Cropredy where you don’t have the sound of the motorway in the background.

Some places it’s worse. Like pig place or Twyford. Others it’s less present but still there, like Aynho or the last place I was at, Souldern.

Here’s there’s just natural sights and sounds. It’s so refreshing.

The weather

Is a total let-down.

Always windy, it’s been like that for a few years now, in the summer. An almost continuous wind. It was like that, not so much at the height of last summer. But over the summer months, it seems more than usual.

These days it’s almost continuously blustery. To add insult to injury, now it’s raining. Almost on a daily basis.

Cycle for water

I have to cycle to get water. The best place is from this natural spring.

North Aston drinking fountain
North Aston drinking fountain

At the top of two steep hills, it’s a good way to get a bit of cardio. I get 5 litres of water and put it in my bag.

It’s better to have fresh water for drinking and cooking.

The stuff out of the water-tank is drinkable. It doesn’t taste as good.

The more water you use. The more you have to move the boat to re-fill the tank, which is an additional side effect.

A lot of people buy bottled water. I don’t really like the plastic waste. Plus it’s a waste of money.

This is spring water which is a nice touch. There’s an inscription on the fountain.

It was built in around 1803 and restored in the millennium.


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Bogus CRT overstay

Bogus CRT overstay

Last week, I got falsely accused of overstaying by the Canal and River Trust enforcement officers.

Moving every 14 days

As we know, I’ve been making a point of doing this since I got moved onto 6 monthly.

The CRT sent me this email on the 12th, saying I hadn’t moved.

Your Ref: ********

Dear Michael Tyler,

RE: BONNIE LADY (*******)

Let’s keep our waterways flowing

Using our previous working days’ sightings, it looks like your boat may have been moored in the same general area for more than 14 days. If you have moved since the sighting was taken (e.g. moved over the weekend if you received a reminder on Monday), then thank you and you do not need to take any further action. 

Please remember that when you’re cruising you should be on the move every 14 days.

If you have been unable to move due to recent weather conditions then please move when conditions allow.

If there are reasons you’ve had to remain moored in the same area for slightly longer than planned, please contact me on the number below  and we can discuss your circumstances. 

It’s really important that we keep our network moving and maintain mooring availability.

We’re here to help

Most people do remember to phone us if they are unable to move their boat before they get a reminder.  If you’re not able to move your boat right now for whatever reason, I’m just a phone call away. You can reach me by calling the number below. Just make sure you have your boat index number and your current location to hand. For a refresher on the terms and conditions of your boat licence where your licence please view the PDF at

If you need information about the local area, please find our waterways map at

Boaters make our waterways what they are. Together we can keep our canals and rivers flowing and open to all and help each other during these difficult times.

Thank you – and happy boating.

Yours sincerely

Nnenna Ikwuegbu
Licence Support Advisor
[email protected]

Please note, calls may be recorded

Canal & River Trust, National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 4FW T 0303 040 4040 or Use our contact form Here
Mon to Fri, 8am to 6pm

Canal and River Trust

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Up the Aynho

Up the Aynho

Used to be the last stop on my journey down southwards.

Now, it’s not. CRT have told me I need to go further in a year.

It’s probably no more than 1/2 way of the distance I need to cover.


By the pub. Aynho has all the amenities. Shop/chandlers (expensive), coffee shop, pub. Boatyard.

Banbury locks have been broken for 10 days+ meaning that there weren’t any hire, or travelling boats as passage was blocked for 2 weeks plus.

I had a look around the locks last Monday, whilst I was in town. No-one was there and there was nothing going on. No plant. No nothing. Just a cordon around the lock.

Fairly pathetic considering a lot of people’s wellbeing and businesses depend on the traffic coming through Banbury.

Better for us boaters, marginally. Live-aboards anyhow.

After two weeks plus, the lock eventually got fixed and as I write this, the traffic is now flowing.

Boat painting

I’ve been touching up the side of the narrowboat. Something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Particularly on this side of the boat. It’s been neglected for a long time. More as a victim of circumstance. More often when I’ve moored up, it’s the other side which is against the bank.

Here in Aynho, I’m in a space where the bank is low enough, and the recent trimming of the wildlife has left me in a position where I can access the sides and paint them up.

5 coats

Is a standard level of coverage. 1 Primer if needed, 2 undercoat, sand down, apply topcoat x2.

I’m currently up to the final topcoat and the weather has changed.

The last 2 days it’s been raining.

Rain and paint don’t mix. Today I’m having to leave it.

Here’s a picture of Bonnie with the undercoat applied.

Boat painting. Painting my narrowboat.
Boat painting. Painting my narrowboat.
5 coats. This is the undercoat on the patches that have been damaged.
5 coats. This is the undercoat on the patches that have been damaged.

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Pigging out

Pigging out


On salad.

Switching to salad
Nom nom

Besides that, I’m trying to move during the prescribed time-frames for continuous cruisers.

That’s meant two weeks only, then on to the next one.

This year, I have to travel further, right the way down 22 miles from where I started in March.

Pig turn

It’s usually around this area that I think about turning around and heading back up. Not so this time, I’m thinking more about what lies beyond my terminal stop, Aynho Wharf, the next stop down.

Summer is escalating nicely and the weather here at the Pig Place is something that you can enjoy on the wide towpath outside your own boat, (if you so desire).

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Daan Sawff – Mooring at Twyford Wharf

Daan Sawff – Mooring at Twyford Wharf

Heading in that direction. Stopped over in Spiceball Park for 1 night.

Noisey Park

One of the silo’s in Fine Lady’s bakery operations has started making a strange whistling noise.

This has had the effect of creating an overpowering and continous noise nuisance.

I noticed this immediately, having staying in the park a number of times and being aware that the factory can be a bit noisey.

Other boaters came and went. I noticed on my nightly walk around the park. Usually they may stick around for a week, or 2 weeks. Now, they don’t stay for 2.

The sound is persistent, high pitched invasive whistling noise. If you lived in a house close near to it, you would complain to the council. Boaters don’t have that option, but it made the park a short but worthy stay over. I visited the pub and took back a pint glass I’d stolen from the Waterside at Christmas and not brought back.

Being on the 24 hour moorings, it wasn’t possible to hang around too long, not that I wanted to. It was nice to be able to walk into town and enjoy a few drinks, then be on my way in the morning.


So here I am in the next viable stop on the way down south. Twyford.

There is a possible stop in between called, Tramway. Lot’s of the ‘true boaters’ like it there. I don’t bother with it due to the overhanging trees and non-existant mobile signal.

This is what some people are after and bully for them.

Tywford has a wide towpath and is a walk from Kings Sutton amongst other

Slack Signal

Slack Signal

The three network… It’s a law onto itself at the moment. Since Christmas, it’s been having it’s problems.

2G Speeds at 4G prices

Having been moored above the lock close to Cropredy called Varneys’ for over a week and had plenty of time to experiment with the phone, boat location and settings of the SIMs on my phone. I can conclude that for the mast that provides for Three for this area, Three is selling a 4G connection, but providing 2G/3G speeds.

GenerationCellular technologyAverage data speed (download)
2GHSCSD15-20 kbps
2GGPRS30-50 kbps
2GEGPRS/EDGE130-200 kbps
3GUMTS384 kbps
3GHSPA3-5 Mbps
3GHSPA+5-8 Mbps
4GLTE15-20 Mbps
4GLTE-Advanced50-80 Mbps
4GLTE-Advanced Pro60-100 Mbps
5GNR150-200 Mbps

— Average download data speed for GSM/UMTS mobile network evolution —

Here’s a picture taken from the Speedtest app on Googleplay.

Three download and upload speeds 3G not 4G.

A lot of the time, it was providing about 2-4Mbs, which is 2G. All the time it was doing this, it was showing the 4G symbol. As we can see from the table, 4G connection is upwards of 15, nothing like what I was getting.

Pretty dodgy.

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Easter in Cropredy

Easter in Cropredy

With salmonella. Picked the car up. Looks like someone has run into it. Greg, the owner of forge farm, where I moored th boat whilst I was away left a note on my car before I left. Aparently one of his workers has some information about it. I’ll be following that u when I don’t feel so ill.

It has a small dent on the offside rear wheel arch.

The boat

Is fine. A little more condensation on the windows, otherwise exactly the same as when I left it.

I spent a couple of nights at forge farm before moving down off onto the network.

Easter blues

Or so it seems on the canal network. It’s Saturday of the long weekend and they’re having to restrict the locks by the afternoon. This is due to lack of water. I had to move the boat down for the same reason, it was sideways and the water wouldn’t empty out of the bath and draws were falling open.

I’m not much of a fussy boater, but this is one of the things that really fucks me off. Probably one of the reasons I didn’t stick around on the Kennet and Avon. Having your whole world view rotated by 30°, used to piss me off. Now it’s something I can really do without.

Anyways, come 8am Saturday morning, the boat was sideways, even though I’d pushed it off a ledge further out into the channel the night before.

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