I know blogs are used to give a chance for people to give out where and what you are doing. I have something on my mind, but i am not sure if this is the place to air those thoughts. I shall decide later and watch this space
Sunday saw us welcome in the Chinese there was 5 of with a load of chinese food, we didn't manage to finish it all, even Whyte Swallow had to stop( that was a first for me).
The last few days I have been worrying about my pre BSS inspection. I had some little jobs to do which over the last few days,which I managed to do. Come Tuesday I will know if it has been worth it. fingers crossed!!!!
I do cook and it is something I enjoy doing, It is even better when you are cooking for someone else. Whyte Swallow came over for dinner and I did stew. It easy to do, the great thing is that it can sit on top of the fire and you can eat it when ever you are ready. WS seem to like it as her plate was wiped clean. I like a satisfied customer.
I have just just about recovered from the flu. I have been talking to Whyte Swallow about redoing part of the boat. She has bought some of the wood to construct a new sofa for me. Also last night a couple of quick phone calls I was off the pub to meet Bones. I also meet so new friends as well.Hadar. I had a lovely evening and I managed to get some floor space on Ocelot, thanks PJ. Friends are great as I just fancied a change of scene and I had not seen the gang since before Christmas. Thank you all and it was great meet Jo and Keith
It has to be noted that I now have water again. My friend Neal came over and fixed my water heater. I have now a full tank of water and the washing machine is back on. I am so pleased, I am suprised how such a simple thing can put such a smile on my face.
Abingdon Marina has become very popular as winter mooring Abingdon Marina Park (off-route) One of Abingdon's secret hideaways, a lovely place for a picnic Abingdon Marina Park (off-route) View across the river to Culham Toll House and old bridge You will be crossing that wooden bridge on your return trip. A Big Stink! If you smell a bad smell you are on route, as you walk by Abingdon Sewerage Works, once located far out of town
Peep-O-Day Lane now national Cycle Track 5 This was once the main route from Sutton Courtenay to Abingdon 3 Concrete Blocks (please do not take these home) If you see these you are still on the correct route O-Day comes from Oday Common and Oday Hill Picturesque Stream Bridge Drayton to Abingdon Rd your "southern most point" Plenty of Maps and Signs to get your bearings
Hamster House (long wooden fence) Dozens of Hamsters are sometimes to be seen in the garden In this image you just see one! Entrance to Sutton Courtenay Warning a 100 or so metre section without footpath GingeBrook or Ginge River all the way from East Ginge Sutton Courtenay is criss-crossed with footpaths and waterways At the rear of Sutton Courtenay (off-route) there is small nature park At this junction you bear left and head north back to Abingdon Admire the sundial of Cross Trees House Peak over the wall of Sutton Courtenay Abbey, now a New Era Centre with meditation courses. The oldest section of the Abbey was built in the 13th century by the great Benedictine Abbey of Abingdon. In 1284 the Abbey was handed over to the Courtenay family, Lords of the Manor of Sutton, in a dubious court trial. Thomas Courtenay the then owner who was involved in the War of the Roses, was beheaded and his lands confiscated. In 1485 Henry VII gave the house and its income to the Dean and Chapter of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. Manor House, birthplace of Matilda of Matilda versus Stephen fame in 1102. The Manor was granted to Reginald de Courtenay in 1177 by Henry II, son of Empress Matilda. In the early 1900s Captain Lindsay rented the house from Lady Wantage, and hosted many weekend parties for the Prince of Wales set. Norman Hall built in 1192 by Robert, son of Reginald, de Courtenay Sutton Courtenay has been settled by man for at least 6000 years. The region is very fossiliferous with marine and land-animal fossils It's always worth examining any exposed gravel for Belemnites and Ammonites All Saint's Church it's graveyard contains the tombs of Eric Blair (George Orwell) and David Astor (former owner of the Observer, and the Manor House, and son of Nancy Astor) who organised his burial here (George Orwell had otherwise no particular connection to the region) A rather sad Tomb With his books "Animal Farm" and 1984 Orwell warned of the dangers of totalitarianism. Much grander is the Tomb of Asquith, Prime Minister of England. The only excuse I can think of was that England took less space than Great Britain! Asquith was Prime Minister until 1916 when the death of his son in WW1 caused him to lose his political desire. If the church is open read the booklet on Miss Shrapnell daughter of the British Officer who invented that terrible weapon. She had fallen on hardtimes and was reduced to buying meat in Oxford pushing it in a pram and then reselling it locally
George and Dragon It's curious how often there is a pub next to a church Alms Houses Not everyone in Sutton Courtenay was noble, and these Almhouses are proof West Row A very nice row of houses Wharf House Situated at the unusual sharp corner of the village, Wharf House does not appear particularly imposing. Wait until you can see it and its lovely gardens and boat house from the rear to form an impression. This was the home of Prime Minister Asquith and it was here that Britain reputedly formally declared it's entry into WW1. Mill House On the other angle of the sharp corner this house has a magnificient garden and bordered by a section of the Mill Stream This was formerly the home of Violet Bonham Carter. It was previously a white paper mill with a contract to print banknotes for the Bank of England Mill Stream Cut Bridge There is now water on every side, a very dangerous place for small children Rear view of Wharf House A glorious garden, cottage and boathouse Open Water looking upstream towards Abingdon This is the Thames again but you will see few boats because there is a lock cut Now cross the field passing by the blockhouse and help to the steep bridge over the lock cut If the weather has been bad, things could get muddy from now on, this is all floodplane Cut across the field follow the track you should see the footbridge over the lock cut WWII Blockhouse part of this defensive line that was supposed to stop Rommel Were they ever actually manned? From the top of the bridge you see Culham with a last chance to visit a pub. On the other side of the bridge turn sharp left and follow the cut upstream A long bend and a large agricultural field Culham Toll House situated at the end of the old bridge, provides one of Abingdon's classic postcard views A civil war skirmish was fought on the "Old" Culham Bridge (intact). When the Royalists unsuccessfully tried to attack the Roundheads in Abingdon. "January 11 1645 - Colonel Sir Henry Gage was mortally wounded attempting to destroy Culham Bridge and establish a fort against Abingdon; he is replaced as Governor of Oxford by William Legge". The bridge spans Swift Ditch formerly used to bypass Abingdon Swift Ditch makes the cut off piece of land an Island called Andersey Island Follow the bank until you reach Abingdon using the Spire of St Helens as your guide Get your camera ready for more classic across the water views of the Old Anchor pub and St Helens Wharf.
When you reach Burford Bridge, observe the few houses on the East bank of the Thames they are built to survive floods. Cross the bridge, in summer the Nags Head beer garden is very popular.
You never how much you rely on something until it is gone. The lack of water has not caused to many problems. I can fill the kettle from the sink in the toilets as they are not frozen. However things like brushing my teeth has gone to the old fashion way of putting some water in a glass, I have to do this before I boil the kettle. I borrowed Valonia's washing machine. I went to the local swimming pool to have a shower. Its all very back to basic stuff. I can't till I get a water supply again. However all the water points are frozen so I need a thaw as well.
I should listen to my own advice and drained my water heater. As when I returned and the water had all melted in the pipes after I had lit the fire. I discovered that the water heater heat exchanger had burst. It leaked water all over the place all over the bed and in the bilges. It turns out the cost of a new heat exchanger is all the same price as a new one. So I am going to have to buy a new one and butcher it to repair the other. It has caused nothing but trouble today trying to sort it out. I also don't have any water as I can't use the water pump. I won't be able to sort till Sunday and I will have to go swimming just to have a shower. So next time you stupid boy drain your water heater.
We enjoyed going to the Waterman at Hatton so much, we returned for Sunday Lunch. It was really nice I had lovely roast pork. Helen even joined us for a drink on her way home back from up North. I am hoping if she is reading this she won't fall asleep, she knows what I mean
We decided to go for a walk we found a circular walk, which involved the Hatton flight of locks. I have included the directions if anybody would like to try it.
Hatton Flight looking up
Starting from the Main Car Park at Hatton Locks, cross the bridge over the canal, go straight ahead towards the yellow waymarker on the fence and pass through the hedge to the gate. Go through the gate and bear slightly left across the field following the yellow way markers, cross the railway line using the footbridge. Go through the wooden gate into a field, keeping to the way marked footpath. Cross this field and pass through gap in hedge. Proceed in the direction of the farm on the ridge taking you across the field and over a footbridge and through a gate. (Keep an eye out for Buzzards!) Go up the hill towards the farm and pass through the gate. Continue through this field to a gate into a small strip of land adjoining the farmyard. There are now two walks of differing lengths. If you would like to take the shorter route, go through the first gate, turn left and head back towards the canal going across a field to a metal gate and under the railway back to the lock flight. Cross the bridge, turn left to walk up the Grand Union Canal and back to Hatton Locks car park. If not, go through the second gate on your right, turn left and with the farm buildings on your right, follow this track until you reach a tarmac road. (Wonderful view of St Mary’s Church, Warwick and St Michael’s Church, Budbrooke as you walk along this track) Turn left. At the T junction turn right into Church Lane and continue along this road until you reach the double gated entrance to St Michael’s Church, Budbrooke.
Enter the churchyard and follow the path to the left, then take the gravel path around the side of the church (keeping church to your right) and exit through a wooden gate to rear of churchyard. Bear right across a field to a kissing gate. Enter the field and head to the right towards the gate before the railway and church spire/tower in the distance. Go through the gate and tunnel, turn right and follow the edge of the field keeping the railway to your right until you come to a wooden fence. Walk with the wooden fence on your right and go through the metal gate into Warwick Parkway Station car park. Cross the car park of Warwick Parkway Station to the traffic lights. Cross over at the traffic lights, walk left, and then turn right down the access road to the picnic area which is on your left next to the bottom of Hatton 21 (locks).
The Canal was frozen in places
Cross over the canal using the lock gates (take care when crossing the lock gates) onto the towpath. Turn left and walk back up the Grand Union Canal to Hatton Locks car park.
We decided we needed some refreshment before we headed home, the beer was quite good there was even some nice art work on some of the seats
I came all over funny and bought myself a camera. I think it is the first one I have owned in years.I am not a fan of my photo being taken so I tend not to inflict in on any one else. However like Bones I have been thinking about buying one for ages. I walked into the photo shop with the idea about buying a certain camera for a certain price. As usual I got carried away and bought another camera with the extras for a lot more than I had intended, oh well. I have tried to up load some photo's but it does seem to be working. I bought it as part of the great trip in the summer. I am off for 1o weeks and am off up the system and go and look at some of those canals that I have been missing all this time.
Well another year has passed, we saw the new year out in style drinking Champagne and watching other peoples fireworks, they where quite spectacular. We shall see what this year brings, Happy New Year everyone