So we moored at Cropredy in a glorious sunset
and woke up to a brilliant, frosty, sunny morning.
And ice on the canal, an inch thick. Doesn’t it look nice?
We have broken ice with Farndon before. It’s quite a scary experience. The ice crashes and splinters and makes graunching noises and bits of it fly about. Inside the boat it sounds as if something is grinding the bottom off the boat and occasionally hitting it with big rocks. It sounds a bit like this ↓
Sometimes, the ice sheets split at an angle and shove the boat inexorably towards the banks. But it’s a steel hull after all and ice is only water? We tried breaking it up a bit before setting off and the boathook broke. It didn’t sink of course, just skimmed across the ice.
Here are some geese, who all looked up as we approached and then briskly set off across the field, away from us.
We crashed and graunched and shuddered out way to somewhere in the middle of nowhere and had a nice meal on board and there was wonderful light and a glorious sunset and a brilliant moon.
The next morning the ice was two inches thick and our nerve failed after about half an hour of crashing. We moored a hundred yards the other side of the middle of nowhere and waited for rain. We also rang the marina six times to say we wouldn’t be back mid afternoon on Thursday but they wouldn’t answer their phone. And we rang our boat management company but they didn’t answer their phone either. We felt abandoned – and not in a cosy showering sort of way. We reckoned up our stores and decided that we could make corned beef hash and omelettes if we never got back to the real world and I was very pleased that I had brought too many sausages and too much bacon and had bought some extra eggs and bread at Cropredy. Though oddly, the fridge seemed to get warmer as the weather got colder so the extras I had brought from far away Berkshire were just about keeping cool – ish. (We should have put it all outside!)
Eventually, it rained and the ice began to melt. It was the day we were due back (the marina still weren’t answering their phone). Wonderful Linda, from the management company, phoned us though and said when were we expecting to arrive because people were waiting for us. We explained that we would be another several hours and she said well could we take the boat to another further away marina where it was going to have its hull re-blacked? We said yes and then the gas ran out. Thank heavens I’d decided to make coffee first thing. We battled the rain and wind and lots and lots of cold locks and as we finally glided towards the marina, the sun came out and there were people waiting for us in the real world (quite cheerfully as they’d been having lunch in the pub).
Actually it was a really nice holiday. The days when we were iced in were sunny and bright and came with sunsets and frosty mornings. The other days were spiced with anxiety and in fact the gas didn’t run out till the very last minute – well, five hours. And inside was wonderfully warm and cosy. It was all very, very good. Can’t wait for July when we’re next out.
There will be more pics, I just haven’t quite got round to editing them all – what with the sunshine and slowness of travel, I took rather a lot. Now I’ve got to get a move on because the Middles are coming tomorrow and the house will be overrun with two small people. Possibly I ought to find them somewhere to sleep?
Sleep well all : )