Thursday 25 July 2013

Snakes alive

It rained during the night. Only I noticed as the tablets the chemist gave Lynne for her insect bite knocked her out for the count, giving her respite from her pain and her best sleep aboard. The weather is overcast, dry and relaxingly cool, moored close to Shipton lock, a strange triangular design (for some unknown reason ) on the river Cherwell, which came as a shock to me as I was convinced we were back on canals . Whilst "lost" in Oxford yesterday and seeking a chemist we stopped to ask a passer-by directions. When casting off a large ( 3 foot) snake swam alongside the bank looking for escape. I am no snake expert but it had all the colourings associated with Britain's only venomous species, the adder. I had no chance for a photograph or will to help it back onto dry land so we parted company. We helped a day boat (crewed by 3 generations of the same family) through the lock and the next one at Enslow. For miles the river and canal flow side by side, which raises the question: why go to all the expense and bother of building the canal anyway? They are still together at Pidgeon's lock and later as they cross the Roman Akeman Street (which you cannot see) where we stopped for lunch near an old quarry(which you can). Both cats have learned to associate the boat engine stopping with a chance to explore the nearby countryside. Lynne spotted a kingfisher this morning, only the second of our travels this year. Today is hot again, but the blue sky is dotted with fluffy white clouds just waiting to create formations. It has taken some considerable time to get this blog published today which is surprising given we are within touching distance of the  satellite earth station.......... At this point I should tell you I am no expert on canal history, royal family , government love affairs or other guff I have fed you over recent weeks. The information (surprise,surprise) comes from the relevant Pearson's Canal Companion. Over our canal boating years we accumulated several of the series and presents from family and friends ensured we had the complete set before starting our adventures. There are other guides but I prefer Pearson's as I find them easy to follow (except in Oxford) , informative and entertaining. During the afternoon cloud formations formed, sparkling white above like a Persil advert and grey beneath like suet pudding.

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