We were itching to be off on our journey North, but Sunday dawned a bit dour and chilly. But the forecast for Monday was awful – torrential rain, gale force winds and cold to boot. So to put a peg in the ground so to speak, after filling Song & Dance with fuel and water, and unfilling the unmentionable tank, we noted the mileage on our car (which we were leaving behind) and said our good-byes to the chaps at Cropredy.
The wind wasn’t as bad as the previous time we’d left (gosh – was that really nearly a fortnight ago) and we exited the marina without heeling over or any undue drama. There was a fair bit of boat traffic about, and we stopped for lunch after three locks, before tackling the five in the Claydon flight climbing up to the summit pound.
By the time we reached Claydon Top Lock it was windy, and absolutely freezing: 20 degrees colder than the same time a week ago. The weather’s gone crazy.
We’d noticed a few swallows had arriving a few days ago, but the ones at Claydon Top Lock really looked as though they wished they hadn’t. Quite a few just perched the edge of the lock looking miserable, barely bothering to get out of our way; a few made desultory flits over the water but there was nary an insect in sight. Hope they make it through the next few days. Strangely, we haven’t seen any Martins yet – just swallows.
Turned out several other boats had made it to the top before tucking up for the night; none of us expected to move on the Monday and we all battened down the hatches. Last time we spent the night near here (a couple of years ago) it snowed.