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The Odyssey – Summer 2008 Day 15

Posted by indigodream on 29 June, 2008

Does it still count as an ‘odyssey’ even though we haven’t moved the boat?! Whatever – Homer left Odysseus on Calypso’s island for years and he didn’t call his book “the odyssey (apart from the bit where he was making out with goddesses)” so I’ll keep the title as it is!!

Euphoric Blue after a long car journeyForgive me – I’m euphoric at being back on board – hurrah! This in part has been caused by the sense of joy in finally arriving here – we had a terrible journey up from Surrey. I was trying to be philosophical about it but for some reason the 4mph that’s so blissful on a boat is just grim when you’d doing it in a car on the M25!

I must mention the Cherwell Services off Junction 10 of the M40 – they have the BEST dog-walking area of any services in the country. If you nip down the alley between the Travelodge and the main services (past the bins!), you’ll get to a little wooden bridge over a stream and there it is – a very large open field, flanked by woodland, with mown paths among the long grass and rabbits out late evening. We had no hesitation in letting Blue and Lou off the lead for a rummage and we had quite a long walk (and only explored a quarter of the available area)! This was such a relief – it had taken us the best part of two hours to get this far (we’d hope to be at the boat in that time) and we all needed a break.

Another reason to be euphoric – Kelly from the boatyard had done a BRILLIANT job of cleaning the inside of our boat. It was a real temptation just to camp on the towpath and just look at it through the windows – it wouldn’t last once we got on board! Dylan from the boatyard also did a competent job of fixing our back door – this was a relief as I’ll be staying on the boat by myself next week and it’s nice to know that I’ll be secure! Richard had wanted someone competent to check the alignment and that was pronounced perfect. We can thoroughly recommend this place – great service and very helpful people – it used to be Swallow Cruisers but is now Richard’s Narrow boats – tel. 0121 777 0697.

As Kelly predicted, the boat had been fine on this stretch of towpath – no security problems and we had a good night’s sleep – only interrupted by the loud calls of what I think was a peacock at 5.45am. Just on the other side of the fence here there’s a very civilised looking farm with free-range chickens and ducks, three large pigs and a few sheep – all looking fat and contented. We wondered whether it was a ‘petting’ farm – it was all so neatly laid out. We looked around to if they sold eggs but we didn’t see a sign – shame, we’ve had some wonderful eggs from canalside ‘farms’ who just have a few hens scratching in the garden.

Bridge 26 - good dog walking!On the dog-walking front – if you walk from the boatyard in the direction of Bridge 26 there is a decent towpath which is well fenced (despite being close to the road). At the liftbridge (26) the path is securely gated from the road and if you cross the bridge you get onto a useful footpath which seems to run into the village. We didn’t get that far because the main feature was open fields of crops with wide margins where the dogs could have a thorough rummage. Good time had by all!

Curiosities:

Pekingese picnic bench!This unusual picnic bench on the towpath caught our eye – the end panel seems to be in the shape of a Pekingese!

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