With all the diversions delays and so on, the need for two trips to shuttle everything – including the boss – to winter quarters, and some pre-departure chores to do, it was mid-afternoon on Easter Tuesday before we finally set sail. Not helped by the Captain disappearing and taking some time to locate, rather confused, a long way from the boat. That “marina orientation” course looks even more necessary!
Despite the plan to head North, we started by heading South for reasons that really aren’t mentioned in polite society. It was a glorious sunny and warm April day, with a few scattered fair-weather cumulus and very little wind. We’d been serenaded during our departure preparations by a Reed Bunting and a Blackbird in the hedge by the boat. The omens were good, and it was nice to back on the cut again.
As seemingly usual, as we passed Peewit Farm by Slat Mill Lock, a mile or two south of Cropredy, there wasn’t a Lapwing in sight, but, as usual we heard and saw a pair of Curlews bubbling away. Still seems a little odd hearing them in rural Oxfordshire, even more so now they’re on the Red List of endangered species. They even gave us a fly-past – the omens were good.
Reaching Banbury late afternoon after a few locks had exercised muscles that had atrophied over the winter, we moored up close to the centre in Spiceball Park. We could have moored right in the middle of the shopping centre, but the boss prefers some greenery to hide in or explore. And there we made a tactical error.
Quickly scanning TripAdvisor, we headed for a highly regarded Italian Restaurant for a celebratory dinner, and having failed to take on board the comments about portion sizes, both of us ordered a starter and a main. The starters were both large enough to be main courses for two, so although the food was excellent, we failed at the second hurdle. Asking for TWO doggie bags is a first for us. Perhaps the portents for our usual summer exercise-led weight loss programme weren’t as good as the cruising omens.
We staggered back to the boat, to find the Captain, fresh from bothering the hedgerow birds in the park, sitting on the back deck with an accusing eye.
Still, at least we’re afloat.