Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Drama at Nell’s Bridge

Oh, the joys of having a deep drafted vessel!  Coming back up to Banbury – we got stuck half in/half out of the lock at Nell’s Bridge!  Fortunately the performance (unlike Shakespeare’s plays) didn’t last too long!

The bridge is the original bridge built in about 1787 and is remarkably narrow!  Between this bridge and the next lock – Aynho Weir Lock – is a short section that is fed by the River Cherwell.

Now I know we have had very little rain but, being a river section, ………….. low water levels?  Somehow that didn’t make sense.  However, I flushed some water through and at the same time tried to pull John (and the boat!) through the bridge hole.  About a metre was achieved and then we ground to a halt.  Try as I might I could not shift her on my own.  Fortunately, being now the Easter holiday period I didn’t have to wait long for help.  Boats arrived both in front and behind us.  With one guy flushing some water through and the rest of us pulling on ropes …….. we were in and on our way.  Apparently, as the lock was emptied when the next boat went down, a large, yellow plastic container revealed itself.  I suspect that this got wedged under the bottom of our hull and is what caused all the trouble!

Just up from Nell’s Bridge we have, over the last three years, been watching the development of a small holding which specialises in the breeding of rare-breed pigs.  The couple who are developing this live on a narrow boat moored at the site.  They now have lots of pigs in neatly laid out stys, some chickens, a few sheep and the latest addition are some Indian Runner ducks.  They have put in a pontoon with electric hook-up points to encourage boats to stop and visit the newly erected farm shop.  They have also got a lovely old cart stacked up with bags of coal for sale.  Picnic tables and barbecues next?  They have called themselves “The Pig Place” ……………… lovely!  I think people who have the vision, the passion and the courage to do things like this are so enterprising and deserve to do well.

just a few 005

When we left Mick & Sue we went up as far as Chisnell Lift Bridge justjust a few 003 before Somerton Deep Lock.  We moored up for the weekend overlooking the Cherwell valley and John took another window out to repair the cill.  Gary and Joan called in to see us on their way home from their caravan at Winchcombe in the Cotswolds. 

Spot the little dog who, seeing an open field, thinks this is a good place for a game of ball!  Waiting patiently!


Back in Banbury we were hoping to get our fuel tank flushed out at Tooley’s boat yard.  John saw this advertised in Tow Path Talk some months ago - “Fuel Polishing Service”.  Of course we now realise we should have booked a slot – we might be in this so-called recession but they are really busy and obviously have plenty of work because so far, we have been unable to arrange anything.  For some time now we have had the dreaded diesel bug!  We think we can trace this back to some diesel we bought in about 2006!!  Once established it is really difficult to get rid of.  We thought Tooley’s was the answer but they are in no rush to take our money!!just a few 010

Tooley’s Boatyard was established in 1790.  When all the redevelopment of the area was undertaken the boatyard, being historic and so well known and respected on the cut, was saved, modernised and incorporated into the exhibits at Banbury Museum.  It was from here that Tom Rolt’s famous “Cressy” started her time as a re-furbished liveaboard boat back in 1939.

At the moment we are well aware that it is the Easter holidays.  Even though it is mid-week Banbury is busy with people – busier than we have experienced on previous visits.  Lots of hire boats are out and about and, in my opinion, that’s a good thing because it injects money into the system.

One more observation – on our last visit to Banbury my only criticism was the rubbish lying around in the park when I took Maggie for a walk there first thing in the morning.  I picked up lots of cans and put them in the numerous bins.  Humans!  This time, when I’ve gone up there with the dogs an employee of Banbury Council has beaten me to it – all cleared up and ready for a fresh day.  More brownie points for Banbury!


  1. The two of you will do anything for a bit of attention and to save a little diesel.:)

  2. Back on stage after so long then eh Ange!!

  3. I hope you got your diesel problem sorted. For future reference though we have just started a business on the Grand Union offering a fully mobile diesel polishing service. We can go to any location on the inland waterway system & also have our own power supply. More details can be found at