Hail Friend, Farewell Napton

Friday night, and The Folly was mobbed: we got the last table for dinner. Turns out they’d had an Open Mic night on the Thursday, but carrying a guitar down five locks-worth of towpath in the hail and sleet wouldn’t have appealed even if we’d known.

While noshing, I caught a half a glimpse of a lady making her way across the crowded bar room to the plumbing facilities. I said to the boss “You know, that lady looked awfully like Kathy of Kathy & Neil…” – a couple who we’d known for years, decades even, as they were local folkies who ran the Bracknell Folk Club for some years; our paths had crossed numerous times over the years, but always at music related events.

Curiosity getting the better of things, I wandered round to the other bar, and there was Kathy saying to Neil “I’m sure I just saw Bob & Fran hidden away in the corner of the other bar…”. Indeed it was them – they were moored below the bottom lock, around the corner.

Actually, we sort of knew they had a boat, but no idea where they kept it or how often they got afloat (grandchildren, you know), but they joined us for coffee back on Song & Dance where it turned out that Neil runs a highly regarded blog on their travels. They were en-route from the Slough Arm on the Grand Union, relocating to Cropredy Marina for the year. Guess we’ll see more of Neil, Kathy and Herbie over the next winter.

Napton Bottom LockNapton Bottom Lock & Napton on the Hill

In the sunshine, Napton Bottom Lock is a nice place for watching the world go by, with good views across to Napton-on-the-Hill.

Napton Bottom Lock Keeper's Cottage

Biggles was taken with the lockkeeper’s cottage as it not only had a suitable half door for dancing, but was already equipped with his access requirements as well.

Herbie & Cathy CorbettHerbie & Cathy

And just as we were getting ready to cast off, Herbie and crew headed off up the hill to Cropredy. We were heading – err – not sure. Turning left at Napton junction was as far as we’d “planned”.

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