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In and around Cropredy

In and around Cropredy

It’s taken a while to get to this point….

Sailing from Napton to Claydon

After being stuck in Flecknoe for so long with the bad weather, things eventually improved and I managed to move the boat down from the Grand Union canal onto the Oxford canal via Napton Junction.

Once I’d issued my crew with badges, they set about their businesses…

Sailing took from 11am to 7pm, so about 8 hours in total including a little stop-off for lunch.

The weather was mostly fine. Some rain, some sun, sometimes both at the same time, which was better than the forecast, which had pictures of rain clouds?

Managed to take some pictures on the way down.

Here’s a picture of my crew…

From left to right: Kerri, Craig, Aurelia and Finn

For those who haven’t been introduced; Aurelia is Craig’s daughter and Finn is Kerri’s son. Kerri and Craig got married about 5 years ago, and fairly obviously, but in case you missed it, Kerri is my sister!

Lunch

We stopped for lunch in Fenny Compton and had a game of cards called Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza which basically involved everyone thumping each others hands on the table, or pretending to be gorilla, (thump chest), or narwhal’s, (make triangle above head), thumping the table or whatever, (groundhog)…. then thumping each others hands.

I wasn’t very good at pretending to be the animals, otherwise, I did pretty well considering it was the first time I had played! Kids loved it though, although Aurelia seemed to think she was a Narwhal whatever animal came up.

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Bye bye Bosworth

Bye bye Bosworth

Hello rainy Flecknoe.

Yes my time ran out in Leicestershire. I’ve decided to re-locate down here to Flecknoe. On balance of things, I think that’s the best thing to do.

As with the other jobs that have happened to me in the past, this one went pretty much the same way. Still, not to worry. We have to learn from the experience and move on.

I left Sodexo on good terms, (with most people).

Leicestershire

I did enjoy my time here, and I think in many ways the job working at the test center did me a lot of good.

Before that, I didn’t really realise how depressed and low I had become. My time there made me aware of this, and a couple of other things which it would’ve been impossible to see on my own.

Still, things started to go strange on a social level with certain people and the job itself changed and became a lot more boring.

Bosworth was perhaps my favorite place. The people there were the friendliest I’ve met anywhere on the canal network. Or even anywhere in the UK. Full stop.

All good things must come to an end.

Here’s some pictures from my final days up that way.

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Welcome to the Nasty Nexus

Welcome to the Nasty Nexus

Or Braunston as some people call it. A place where;

  • Boating neighbors ignore you when you greet them.
  • Villagers call you ‘spaz’ on the towpath as you pass.
  • Random boaters assault you.
  • Your car is vandalised when you leave it overnight.
  • Fishermen give you death stares as you approach them.

Boaters paradise… Good value eh?

Apart from writing a blog post about the place and spending my winter mooring here in 2017, I don’t think I’ve done anything TO the place.

The people vandalise, assault, steal and are generally as unpleasant as they can be without resorting to violence. Which is not always true….

Assault
Assault

Remember this guy? He decided he didn’t like me when I was eating dinner al-fresco, and he was retrieving a tyre from the other side of the canal.

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Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

Covid on the Cut – May the 4th be with you

Now into my forth edition. 8 Weeks of solid lock down.

I’ve grown tired of the whisky….

The thoughts of it’s aftertaste are no longer a comfort.

Fresh brood of signets. Grand Union - Stowehill.
Fresh brood of signets. Grand Union – Stowehill.
View across Nene Valley toward Flore from the Grand Union Canal
Freshly ploughed field. Nene Valley toward Flore from the Grand Union Canal.

Increase in wildlife on the canal during lockdown

Other areas of the UK urban and city are increasing in terms of returning wildlife, the following area’s of the cut are seeing a re-surgence.

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Covid on the Cut – Grade 3

Covid on the Cut – Grade 3

Now into the third fortnight, sixth week of official lockdown figures.

Whisky

I have taken up drinking whisky. Under the circumstances, it seems like the only sensible thing to do…

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve bought the following single malt whiskies.

Cardhu Gold Reserve – £25 (Tesco)

Cardhu Single - Gold Reserve
Cardhu Single – Gold Reserve

After checking online reviews, I bought this one whilst in Tesco.
It’s a single malt, Speyside, 12 years matured.
The reviews seemed mostly positive at a quick scan whilst in the aisles…
Getting it home, I felt the packaging a bit bulky maybe even a bit tacky. Overstated may be a better word…
After a few sips, I found it a bit sweet, less smokey, complex flavors, a bit more up-front. Made it a bit more-ish, but I don’t think I’d buy it again.
Bit of a novelty perhaps. Not sure why it got all the good reviews. Glad I got it on offer. Not something I’d pay full price for.

Marks and Spencer Speyside Single Malt – £30

Marks and Spencer Speyside Single Malt

Got this one from the Independent’s top 10 Single Malt Whiskys Guide.

Initially, I was quite impressed with the strong flavor. It’s quite strong and heady and it does have that lingering smokiness and smoothness which seems to be the hallmark of most of the Speyside whiskies out there.

I’ve not finished this one yet. It is quite strong, flavor and alcohol wise, it’s not something you’d drink in a rush. So it’s still around.

Aldi – Glen Marnoch Highland – £17.98

Aldi - Glen Marnoch Highland

This one is one of three single malts sourced exclusively by Aldi.

Like many Aldi items, the quality is surprisingly good, better even than higher priced similar products.

In fact, having tasted all three single malts that Aldi currently sell in store, I would say that they are a better, more satisfying whisky.

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Gayton Marina

Gayton Marina

Due to adverse weather conditions, expected, I’m moving away from the Continuous Cruising this winter, onto the Marina.

It’s the first time for years… The last place I moored at was Barton-under-Needwood over three years ago, when I was fairly new to boating.

Barton Turns Marina

Barton turns marina
Barton turns marina

Was where I used to live.

I always got the impression that Burton was full of criminals.

The marina was alright. I went out a couple of times to the bar and had a few meals in the restaurants. I lived there for about three months from May until August maybe.

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Old Braunston Town

Old Braunston Town

Where East meets West…. Midlands.

I can walk to Warwickshire and back again in about 8 minutes. The county-line is a stream that runs down the hill behind Braunston playing fields into the canal.

Braunston

Has a history as a boating town. It was once served by two railway lines. One station close to the marina in Wolfhamcote, and the other about a mile up the road in Willoughby.

Braunston Pump House
Braunston Pump House

It’s somewhere I’ve moored a few times over the years.

Facilities include:-

  • 4 pubs. The Nelson, The Wheatsheef, The Plough, The Boat
  • 3 Chandlers of sorts. Midlands Chandlers, Braunston Marina Chandlers, Tradline (rope and fender).
  • Butcher.
  • Post Office & Convenience store.
  • Hairdresser.
  • Fish and chip shop.
  • Knick & knack and icecream shop.
  • Broadband that works. At different speeds depending on where you moor up.
  • and other numerous other small business concerns around the local environs.

Due to this, and it’s location on the convergence of the Oxford and the Grand Union main line make it a favorite stopover for boaters, even if it is just for one or two nights.

The Stop House Braunston
The Stop House Braunston

The stop house is the toll house for the canal in the area. It now houses a small canal museum.

Also, it’s home to the CRT East Midlands enforcement crew.

Last year I dropped in here and picked up a Cruising Record, a log of all the locations that the CRT had logged for my vessel.

Oxford Branch

Like on the underground Oxford Circus.

Not really though…

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