So, what do you think of those DIY blood pressure machines? We had bought one at Lidl yesterday, saw them for sale and with that eye scare of mine, decided to fork out. Ian tried it first, his pressure was a tad high, strange because he went to a well man clinic at the doctors before we left and the pressure reading then was normal! Mine though was through the roof!!! In fact, the reading was 140/91. Tried both arms and, funnily enough, had two different readings. The left was higher than the right. This has made me think about seeing a doctor on our return. Some lifestyle changes may also have to be thought about. No doubt, the doctor will tell me to lose weight and cut down on the booze. I'll leave it until then, me thinks.
Just untying the ropes this morning when a lady popped her head out of the cratch cover from the boat behind and said she reads my blog. Quite an unexpected surprise and so very nice to meet a fellow blogger. The boat was nb Firecrest I have put the web address on the blog list, right-hand side task bar. I never asked her name, most remiss, so it is a good job I found it on her blog. Lovely to meet you Cheryl and with us both heading for Lechlade, hopefully our paths will cross again.
It's been a day of challenges, mainly because of that strong Easterly wind, although I did wonder how many lift bridges we would have to raise. As it turned out only the one (Chisnell) as the numerous others (and there were a lot) had been left open.
|Just one of many. This was Coles Lift bridge. Check out those waves. It was really, really windy!|
Dropping down at Neil Bridge lock, the River Cherwell crosses the canal at Aynho Weir lock. The shape of this lock is pretty unique. It's an octagonal chamber designed in this shape to increase water volume because the drop from the upper canal to the lower canal wasn't sufficient to keep the water levels up with a conventional lock.
I mentioned Chisnell Lift Bridge. Ian set off with the windlass, just in case it had winding gear. It didn't, a chain hanging from one of the arms was the method of lifting. I watched as Ian heaved and pulled, but nothing happened. Then the penny clicked. A fixed chain towpath side needed unhooking. Amazingly, that did the trick!
|Heave too Ian.|
|Back across to unhook.|
At Somerton Deep lock, I struggled to get FS off the landing. It was that blasted wind!!! Pinned FS securely to the side. Took a humongous effort by that man of mine to push the bow off, and even then FS tried to enter the lock sideways!
The Oxfordshire hire boats were on the move, It's changeover day and usually the new hirers leave base mid to late afternoon. It's not easy for first timers to get to grips with the steering at the best of times, but dealing with the windy conditions didn't help them one bit, and I thought we were in for a collision. We managed to miss each other, but at one point I thought the Oxfordshire hire company was set for another damaged boat. The lady steerer aimed straight for that tree, and it was only me bellowing for her to stop that disaster was averted.
Gosh, we struggled with the wind again as we came to Heyford Common lock. Not a straight approach either, but a long sweeping curve to the lock landing. This in itself was a pain because the wind pushed FS straight onto the piling, annoying because the lock was bound to be with us, seeing as how we had passed that hire boat. It was, and it was always going to be because both top gate paddles had been left up! So then I had to get away from the side and this time the pole had to be used. Even with that, it was a struggle. To tell you the truth, by now I had enough of fighting the wind, so decided the first available mooring found was going to be ours.
I thought we had struck lucky when a boat was seen coming toward us. Relief because it would mean Ian could get back on FS as we left, and I wouldn't get pinned against the side again. Slightly premature though! The oncoming boat got well a truly stuck on the mud! No way could I get past, so onto the landing I had to go after all. Then we watched a very impressive throw of the rope to her hubby, and a brilliant catch, he soon had her back on track.
We found a mooring below the lock. Got ourselves nicely settled in when the realisation that we had no phone signal or internet! We were so close to the Barley Mow pub, you would have thought some sort of signal would be in the vicinity. Anyway, we moved again, this time to Heyford, and a signal, although weak, was had.
It was here that a lady came and waved to me through the window. Poking my head out of the cratch cover, she asked if I was the Free Spirit that a blogged. Her name was Sue and went on to say she had left a comment on my blog about the Frenchman and his cruiser incident 5 years ago. To cut a long story short, a chap got his cruiser stuck at All Oaks Wood, had to be towed out by a passing boater and then consequently hit a moored boat doing damage to the super structure. If you fancy finding out more, click HERE Thank you, Sue, for stopping to say hello. It was lovely meeting you.
And wildlife today,