Just a smidgeon down the water from Heyford lies Pigeon’s Lock. It’s right out in the boonies, with a couple of houses there a mile or so down an unmade road from the pleasant village of Kirtlington (while a safe distance from any Morris dancers), and a mile or so across the fields from the equally pleasant village of Tackley (where lies a handy railway station).
Chief mate had to nip home for a night so was deputed to do the honours, i.e. walk to Tackley station, go to Heyford to fetch the car, and then return the next day on train and foot laden with all the things we had forgotten when we brought the car up at the weekend.
Just below the lock was a pleasant enough spot to moor for a few nights, but being under the circuit at London Oxford Airport (sic) it’s clear that the commercial flying training bit is still busy: the continuous drone of unsynchronized props on light twin-engine aircraft practising single engine approaches and landings is unmistakeable… BTDTGTTS! Ah what memories.
Add that to one or more large dark green and unmarked helicopters carrying out nap-of-the-earth operations barely above tree level, and thunderstorms bumping around on and off all day, it wasn’t entirely the quietest spot to have a day off.
Mind you, last time I moored near here, back in the late eighties(?), it was the first weekday evening after the clocks went back to GMT, and all the commercial flying instructors were out doing their three “night” circuits and landings to keep their Night Ratings current. Within 20 minutes of official dark there were 21 (yes, I counted them, 21) aircraft airborne in the Kidlington circuit. The poor old Blackbushe air traffic controller used to wet himself if there were five in the circuit, in broad daylight.
Eschewing any flying, a kingfisher chose to moor up for half an hour or more on the boat just up from Song & Dance: lovely to watch through the binoculars, though the photo is handheld through a dirty glass window at long range.
And just to add spice to life, the plan to meet SWMBO at Tackley Station on her return and repair to the local pub for dinner was rather stymied when I rang them to check they were doing food that night. They weren’t. Good job there was nothing in the fridge.