Fenny Compton to Cropredy

We spent a pleasant few weeks in Fenny Compton, moored close to The Wharf pub. It was a very convenient spot, particularly as there was parking, WiFi and free coffee refills at the pub. Quite luxurious!

The walking around Fenny Compton was amazing. There’s this stunning butterfly conservation area close by, and some beautiful reservoirs. Poppy and I very much enjoyed our long early morning walks. Amy sadly couldn’t join us as her foot still needed R&R.

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With such great weather, we got around to doing the jobs that had been lower down our to do list. For the first time in a while, there wasn’t a big crisis to resolve, so we could work on some of the less critical things.

Amy marinated the mushroom vents in all kinds of substances; from cider vinegar and lemon juice to bicarb. Brasso was no good at getting the decades of tarnish off the brass. The internet informed us that ketchup would work better. They came up OK, but everything stank of vinegar and they’ll need some tougher chemicals to get them really shining. I’m not sure we are really shiny brass people anyway.

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I chiselled out all the old, brittle sealant from around the skylight and resealed it. It looked like a quick job before I started, but ended up taking me a whole afternoon. Even then, it leaked and had to be done again. Given the monsoons we’ve had in the past few days, I’m glad it’s sorted!

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The most enjoyable job was finally getting to build a few planters for the roof. I’ve really missed having a garden. So I dismantled some pallets and made a few boxes to put plants in. Amy insisted I chose things that went with the boat’s paint job, so they’ll all be yellow and red when they flower. I also created a little herb garden and planted a bit of kale. It’ll probably get munched by the many creatures about, but it’s worth a try.

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A friend came by and said how much he liked our little garden. However, he had a cautionary tale about ducks nesting. Apparently a duck nested in his, and he couldn’t move the boat for 5 weeks for fear of disturbing her. The best part was that she only moved once per day. She’d sit still all day long, and then wander off her nest and onto his roof to do a massive poo. He said his roof was absolutely caked in duck poop by the time the eggs hatched.

I still think it would be worth it to have a duck family on board.

Despite the hot days, we’ve had some very chilly mornings. The temperature changes have created some amazing, atmospheric mist. There was even a frost about a week ago.

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Our two weeks in Fenny seemed to pass quickly and soon it was time to move on. The next part of the journey involved travelling through what used to be a tunnel, but is now just an open cutting. Although it’s been opened out, it’s still incredibly narrow. There’s woodland on either side, so it felt like cruising through a jungle.

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Thankfully, there weren’t many other boats about, as most people were watching the football or the royal wedding. Two things Amy and I couldn’t have had less interest in. We were much happier cruising on a lovely quiet canal.

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We passed through some beautiful countryside, and saw our first goslings of the year. We also went through our first lift bridge. We were a bit disappointed it was already open, so we didn’t get to play with it.

After about an hour, we reached Claydon. A friend has a mooring there, so we stopped for a few days to catch up with her. It was a very peaceful spot, but there was nothing at all nearby.

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We enjoyed it for a few days, but decided we’d like to be a bit nearer civilisation, so then pressed on to Cropredy.

We set off early on our cruise to Croppers, as there were 8 locks to get through, and it’s so much quicker when you don’t need to wait for other boats to use them. It was the first rainy day in weeks, and we both found it refreshing to be outside in the wet weather for a change. Plus, it always feels very exclusive when you’re on the move early enough to have the whole place to yourselves.

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The journey to Cropredy was happily uneventful. It all went very smoothly. For the first time, I felt really confident driving the boat. Even with the narrow single locks, we didn’t bang into or scrape on anything. That felt like a big win after each cruise we’ve done so far involving at least a few stressful, panicked moments. Learning to drive something so huge has been pretty scary at times, especially when the steering is unruly and factors such as the wind can wreak havoc. It was great to finally feel a little bit competent!

We’re currently moored up in Cropredy about 5 minutes walk from the village. It’s a pretty place, but it doesn’t as boater friendly as the other places we’ve been recently. There’s a fair bit of signage telling us what we should and (mostly) shouldn’t be doing. The majority of the moorings are only 24 or 48 hours, and the C&RT wharf where the water and Elsan are has no sensible pedestrian access. It’s entertaining climbing over a wall with a full toilet cassette…

That said, there’s a decent pub with its own micro roastery. In my view, that’s definitely a redeeming feature.

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