Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Fenny Compton (a lock free cruise and flat on my back)



I had planned to get to Claydon on Monday, we would then only be 2 ½ miles and 9 locks from Cropredy where we will be staying for a while.  As it turned out I only got to Fenny Compton which, although it was only seven miles, took forever as this part of the Oxford canal is so narrow and twisty, it means cruising even slower than usual.  The canal also seems to have more than its fair share of bridges on blind bends.  One of the rules of boating is that if you haven’t met a boat for a while, you will at the next blind bend with a bridge.  This adds time to the journey as you manoeuvre to get past each other – invariably one of the boats has to reverse.

Moored up at Fenny Compton


Map of this part of the canal showing how twisty it is as it follows a contour line rather than going straight with locks, cuttings and embankments

I cruised half way and stopped for lunch and also to rest my back as  I had started feeling the pain in my legs creeping to my lower back.  Karen had been right and the leg pain I have been having for the last week or so was compensatory and would eventually lead to back spasm.  I first felt it a week ago last Friday, when sitting in a restaurant in Warwick, and that was the last time I have sat down.  I have laid down or stood up since then.

I set out again and soon passed the narrowboat that everyone takes pictures of.  It is positioned in a field with no access back to the water.  The supposition being that the owner is not liable for mooring or licence fees.

Probably the most photographed narrowboat on the system

I arrived at Fenny and moored on the long-term moorings; these are always vacant and are just before you reach the visitors’ moorings.  As it looked busy I didn’t want to find there were no free spots and hence have to carry on further.  There would be no other places with easy access for Karen and my back was really painful so I didn’t want to aggravate it any further.  I know I shouldn’t moor on the long-term moorings as I don’t have a permit so I will ring the licence people today and explain why I am here.


Bridge behind us where Karen will park – note the exposed stanking planks 😊

I was going to cook a chilli chicken stir fry with noodles for dinner.  When Karen rang to say she was on her way I put the water on for the noodles.  After a few minutes, I realised the water wasn’t getting hot – we had run out of gas thus proving another rule of boating, “You will run out of gas the day after filling up with fuel etc.”.  Another rule akin to this is that the gas will run out when it’s raining or snowing; the gas bottles are kept in a locker at the front and you are exposed to the elements when changing to a new bottle. It wasn’t raining but, with my back in spasm, there was no way I would be able to change the bottles over so poor Karen had a nice welcome home job to do!

When my back is bad, I alternate between laying down and having short strolls to help ease the muscles.  It means Buddy gets very little exercise but he seems to understand there is a problem and doesn’t make a fuss.  Reading this blog entry back through makes me realise it’s all been about me – sorry folks!





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