Friday 26 July 2013

A day in port - Napton on the Hill

It certainly is on a hill!

A cooler morning and a bit of rain overnight.  Over breakfast we had a visitor.  It was the dog we met when we came to Napton with the two Aussie women who were staying with Jane and Ian.  We have no idea of the dogs name but he’s a bit of a fixture on the canal down here.  Apparently he lives in the village and goes home each night.  He just loves fetching a stick and kept bringing one to us and laying it on the gunwale in the hope that we’d throw it… again.. and again.. and again.  There’s not much in the way of decent sticks along here and they were pretty pathetic offerings.  Mick took sympathy and gave him a stick from our kindling bag.  This dog never seems to tire of the game and when we ignored him he began putting the stick through the side hatch and dropping it on the floor. 

We took advantage of the pleasant weather to have a good walk around the village of Napton on the Hill.  It’s a pretty village with a church perched high on the hill, a couple of pubs and a little village store.  We bought a few bits and pieces in the store including 4 cards drawn by a local artist.  We’re thinking we might frame them and put them on the dinette wall.   

Along the way we saw a house with a sign advertising free range eggs.  At one pound for half a dozen they were the cheapest we’ve bought since the first week we were in the UK.   The village meanders up the hill with some really nice houses and most of them have stunning views down to the valley where the canal is.

The views from the church were fabulous and were well worth the steep little path to get up there.  We chatted with a fellow who was doing some painting in the church and then headed on our way back.  As we passed the last of the houses and headed down the narrow road that leads to the canal there was a bit of drizzle and we thought we and our groceries, phones and camera, might get wet but it was a false alarm.

I had a couple of hours to do some work before lunchtime.  Just as we finished our lunch we heard frantic cries from the back of the boat  “Help! Is anyone there?! Excuse me! Help!”.  I raced down to the stern to poke my head out and see what the fuss was about.  A boat was trying to reverse around the bend with two women holding ropes bow and stern.  When they’d reached the moored boats they’d run into trouble.  The first boat, which was behind us, had nothing on the roof at all so they’d managed to get the ropes across the roof but when they encountered our pram cover they were in trouble.  It wasn’t going to get any better because our aerial was even higher and the boats beyond us had all manner of things on top of them.  Their boat was drifting on backwards and the lady was desperately trying to keep hold of her rope.

I quickly shoved my feet into my shoes with my heels not properly in them, and grabbed the bow rope from the lady just in time before she dropped it in the cut. I scooted along our outside gunnel and met Mick at the bow so we could pass the rope around the aerial.  By then the stern rope lady was there too so we passed that along and I fended off the bow of their boat from hitting us.  Other boaters, hearing all the fuss came out of their boats and so the process continued.   There were people standing on the roof of their boats passing the ropes over and others out on their gunnels fending off the meandering boat.  It really wasn’t the easiest way of reversing past moored boats. 

The cause of all this?  Their boat had got stuck in the bottom lock as it was an inch too wide!  I don’t know at what point in the proceedings they had discovered this but it must have been awful all the same. The Napton locks are fairly narrow but they certainly aren’t the narrowest we’ve been in.  It reminded me of something Peter Berry from nb Kelly Louise had once emailed me before we bought our boat.  It was along the lines of choosing a boat with a known shell builder as it’s important that the dimensions are exactly right.  At the time I did take note but now I can see now how vital that piece of advice was.  How disastrous to have a narrowboat that can’t fit into narrow locks.  They might as well have a widebeam!

This is a mooring with lots of people to chat to.  While I work I can hear Mick’s voice talking to all and sundry.  There’s been plenty of cricket comments… getting a bit boring now… and we’ve met a couple of Aussies and a British couple who have lived in Australia most of the last 20 years or so, spending the UK Summer over here on their boat. 

While out walking this afternoon, and admiring the cherries on the trees, I spied the name of a boat I thought I'd seen on the Crown Narrowboat website.  It was nb Coromandel... another Kiwi name.  I saw the Crown on the stern and said hello the folk.  They were heading the same direction as I was walking back to the boat so we had a chat along the way.  They've only had her a month and were so happy with the boat.  Another happy Crown owner!

1 comment:

nb Bonjour said...

What lovely photos! We've often been through Napton on the cut (and driving too) but never walked round the village - definitely one for the future. That narrow lock used to have a warning notice, and we were once held up by a plastic boat whose owner ignored the notice and refused to pull in his fenders - he soon realised his error when he became suspended as the water level dropped!
All the best