Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Improving conditions

It hadn’t been too cold overnight when I woke yesterday and I was still moored in clear water which was a pleasant surprise. As I was feeding Lyra the hire boat that had been icebreaking the day before passed heading back towards base. This prompted me to make an earlier than usual start as I expected to have to do my own icebreaking all day which would make for slower progress.

Conditions were much better than expected with mainly clear water with only patches of ice that had reformed and nothing that impeded progress significantly. As Lyra hadn’t had a good run first thing, as it was a bit busy to let her off  her lead, I pulled in above the Claydon flight. Whilst moored a couple of boats passed so I was no longer clearing the path, but now all the locks were against me. With so much broken ice above each lock I had to do a lot of clearing both to be able to open the top gates fully and to avoid getting hung up, which made for quite slow progress through the locks.

The weather wasn’t particularly pleasant with a constant drizzle throughout the day but I wanted to make progress, partly as the batteries needed a good charge after days of being moored. It got cold as I was working through Slat Mill lock so I moored just  below the lock. This is quite a nice spot as there  is an easily accessible field for Lyra to play in. Luckily she didn’t remember that the river runs through it otherwise she’d have been off for a swim.

It had been quite along day but I resisted the urge to got to bed really early and settled down to watch a DVD as the TV offerings were pretty uninspiring. It was sleeting a bit when I took Lyra for her last walk so went to bed hoping for the forecast heavy snow.

It was grey and drizzly this morning, with no snow at all. I wanted to move on a bit despite the weather. The patches of ice were even less frequent than yesterday and it hadn’t been cold enough to refreeze so progress was easy. There was still enough ice at the entrance to the locks to mean that I needed to clear between the boat and the walls but conditions had definitely improved a lot.

Moored alongside the park in Banbury as I had an important task to perform. Lyra only had about another weeks supply of food and Banbury is the last convenient place that I could get some. She is now supplied for another month or so, I was slightly concerned when we were iced in, and should have made sure I had more food with me.

As it was cold and wet today, I couldn’t be bothered to move any further, but will have to move tomorrow whatever the weather as I want to be somewhere fairly remote tomorrow night.

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