Sunday 5 September 2021


Last night I'd been debating reversing to the Fenny Compton winding hole, past all the boats moored behind us. As against asking Fenny Marina, a bit further on, if I could wind (turn) in the marina (perhaps I could buy some fuel, to soften the touch of Bad Form). In the event, all the boats moored behind us had gone in the morning, so I reversed back to the hole. Which is where the fun started.

With the rudder, you can't move the bows of the boat across, of course, only the stern, and that's tricky, when the stern is under the bridge. Then I remembered what I'd seen an old boater doing at Hawkesbury Junction, and got the long pole off the roof. Standing at the front, it was relatively straightforward to push the bows across to the left. A combination of right-hand tiller and my best beloved pulling the stern line from the towpath brought the boat through the critical right-angle point. Fortunately only one boat was waiting to come through while this was going on – we'd picked our moment well.

Rushing somewhat to get Erin Mae ready for this manoeuvre, I had put the side panels of the stern cover on the roof, but not in their bag. As we got under way, the breeze got up, and got under the panels. It was precisely this scenario in September three or four years ago that we lost the last set of panels, blown off the roof as we came through Colwich. Happily, the wind today was nowhere near as strong, and my best beloved took over the steering while I nipped down the gunwale to fold the panels into their bag, and safety.

Reversing our route to Marston Doles, we passed again huge piles of spoil.

Fortunately it didn't seem to be dusty in the wind. We tried to think where it all might have come from – there was a clue on some of the machinery.

Now I can't believe that dredging even the Oxford Canal would produce this amount of silt. Could it be that this is the national centre for all silt-removers to send their product?

Towards the end of today's journey, we saw a strange sight across the field.

As we got closer, it was clear that this was indeed a narrow-boat.

Very strange – our canal guide doesn't mention a side-arm here.

Perhaps there was once a ditch filled with water, and the owner tried to wind, but got stuck. And over time the ditch got filled in. And the owner decided that a static pied-à-terre was better than no boat.

Or whatever!


Post a Comment