Monday, 17 August 2015

Last goodbyes - or is it ?

Saturday 15th August to Sunday 16th August 2015

The rain from the last 36 hours had disappeared by the time Saturday morning had arrived and as lovely as it is to have that rain and the sound upon the roof, it is equally nice to have some sunshine when we are planning to cruise - today it was as it should be.

After a leisurely start - read as Diane has her coffee in bed, reads the blogs and catches up with the boating world in general - we readied, untied the ropes and set off.
With just a short section to do today - Napton was the focus - there was no rush.

The air was still a little chilly from the effects of the rain, but the sun was out and a cruise to the top of the flight was a great way to commence.
We didn't expect that we would be seeing the bottom of the flight today and that being the case, we needed to fill the water tank at the top. After a reasonably short wait for a hire boat to finish we put the hose in and waited ...and waited...and waited - it was a very slow tap - finally an hour later (in total) we could leave.
During our time stopped we waved to Linda and Richard as they past us by and disappeared through the top lock.
this chap and pooch paddled past whilst we were watering up

In fact there had been a lot of traffic both ways whilst we were stationary; and this continued during our journey down just the five locks that we finally determined to be enough - waiting at each lock for at least 1 boat ahead of us, but always able to leave the gates open for a boat coming up.
We moored up between locks 11 and 12 , for two reasons - firstly, it was a lengthy pound and allowed for the fluctuations due to the boat movements and secondly the internet and phone signals were still available (Linda had reported nothing much at the bottom).
As it was they weren't great but manageable.

It was still lovely weather when we decided to walk down the flight to deposit some rubbish in the bins at the bottom - who do we then find - Sue and Andy - you just cannot get away from some people.
A walk into Napton itself to see what was there (and for Diane's Saturday paper) was followed by a walk back again and a visit to The Folly Inn.
one thing about the pubs at this time of the year is the floral displays

We caught up with Linda, Richard and Muffin outside - dinner had been arranged for that night for all and we returned back to the boat.
This would definitely be our last night together and we enjoyed a fine meal - a big pity about the service at the bar which left a lot to be desired - seemed very unorganised and as a result slow to almost non-existant.
a chance for the boys to play a bit of dress-up (photo courtesy of Linda)

The desserts looked and tasted superb

By the time we had finished it was well and truly dark outside - such a dramatic change to just a few short weeks ago when we all were first together back in Henley.
Torches were definitely needed to find our way home.
Next morning, Sunday, Diane and I had decided that we would be walking again, but venturing up Napton Hill to see the windmill and after that it would be time for a break at the shop in the village, which we had seen the day before.
Walking up steepish slopes is not Diane's forte but she seemed to manage quite well - must be getting some fitness in those legs again.
no explanation will be given on this

The downside of the walk up to the top is that the windmill is now on private land so we couldn't get too close for photos; and the trees around the top block some of the views, but you can get a good idea of just how far you would have been able to see in the past.

The windmill from down on the canal...

...and at the top of  Napton Hill

views over the surrounding countryside...

...northward towards Rugby 
surprisingly at the top, there were still the ridges and furrows of a by-gone era


With any up hill climb, it is easier coming down and with the prospect of a coffee and maybe some cake, at the end of it, it then was a lot better downhill.
The shop has undergone a complete transformation in last couple of years, as told to us by others, and it is easy to see how - this is now a modern cafe at the front; functional store as well and a service-orientated staff running it - the coffee and cake were also excellent.

Back to the boat and we brought up our 10000 steps for the day before noon - there was just time to put a few things away and ready ourselves for lunch at The Folly Inn - typically after the walk from the boat down to the pub, Diane remembered a few things that we had left behind on the boat that she wanted - so I added a few more steps to my total whilst she made sure that the cider was still OK to drink.
Sue and Andy who had left this morning and taken the boat into Wigram's Turn Marina, had trekked over land to join us for a last Sunday lunch together.
As it was as the night before, the food was far better than the bar service - so nothing changed there.
Diane "hassled" a young girl on a nearby table to take our photo and then had to call her back to take some more, but she did do it in a comical manner.


A right pair of divas here

After a last drink we waved our goodbyes to Sue and Andy.

We have had a wonderful 6 weeks of travelling with Sue and Andy and Linda and Richard as well as Muffin (who we get to spoil a bit) and we shall miss them all, but at the same time we will need some time by ourselves before Diane has to leave me to go home - maybe I will be going also, we do not know and cannot give any dates as yet - I still haven't heard about my application to stay in the UK - they may be telling me to leave.
 
You wonder where they get the names for some of the beers
that are going around !
6 Miles, 5 Locks
YTD: 715 Miles (1151 km) , 403 Locks, 12 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 13 Swing Bridges

Totals: 3609 Miles (5808 km) , 2524 Locks, 110 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 164 Swing Bridges

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