Well I promised you news of what it takes to keep the boat afloat. But it isn't much use keeping afloat if it doesn't go so the drive system is VERY important.
Sonflower is now the possessor of a brand new gearbox. The bill came to a conveniently round 1000 GBP. That did include some work to the engine as well (new injectors, belt, oil and filters). But it is all essential if we are to keep boating.
A slightly reduced crew took her back to the home mooring on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was hectic. We cruised to Heyford where we left the boat to get the bus to Thrupp. Unfortunately, we just missed one at the traffic lights between Steeple Aston and Rousham. As there isn't really a bus stop there and we had an hour to fill, we walked to Rousham House but found there isn't a bus stop there. SO we walked a bit further to Tackley Turn but there isn't a bus stop there either. We asked a passing tandem cycling crew to look at their mapo to find we were too far from Tackley to walk any further so we sat in the shade and waited to flag the bus down. This worked and we found out from the driver that there are NO official bus stops between Steeple Aston and Tackley! At Thrupp we retrieved the car and drove to Banbury, stopping at Sainsbury's in the way.
Once back in Banbury, we caught the last bus back to Heyford getting the driver to drop us at the "unofficial stop" by the traffic lights between Steeple Aston and Rousham. After walking back to the boat, our Pooh Bear declared himself sick with heat stroke and decided to put himself to bed. We were exhausted and slept well.
Sunday saw a brilliant sunrise as we slipped away toward the Mill Lift Bridge. I don't like lift bridges and single handling this one is impossible. Piglet awoke to help and we worked through Allen's lock and stopped for bacon and egg breakfast before Heyford Common Lock. After breakfast we set the lock just before a Braidbar Boat (no60, 'Smudge') came along. They enjoyed the smoke from our engine in lock queues throughout the day. We had seen them on Saturday and they thought that by starting early they would avoid the queues. No such luck. The day was punctuated by queuing. We passed another Braidbar (no 95, oooooh only a year old) on the way.
We turned at Aynho, queued for a pump out, turned again and continued to Banbury lock to join an queue of six boats. Here we paused for a kick about in the park and then progressed through the lock to our home mooring. Here we found a new moorer "nb Aborigine" on it! We turned and moored alongside and then moved it back to moor in our accustomed position.
There comes to the end of our Summer Cruise. 192 miles, 2 flg, 190 locks and 10 moveable bridges.
19 hours ago