Tuesday, 24 April 2012

XL Day trip...

Our pop over to Mum and Dad at their eriba caravan meet was a little longer than originally intended. There was an outside chance that we would like to stay the night so packed a couple of extras.

The bongo's power cable (along with a boat spare one) stayed in the back of the garage in Poole so I had to take our extra long power cable from the boat. Even though the van is parked no more than half a mile away it was a bit of an early morning trudge down the ever muddier tow path with all the gear.

The forecast showers in Daventry lasted until we got to the camping site near Witney. And continued for the rest of the day. We are used to camping in bad weather but usually have our full kit with us and our awning is great for all the extra storage space. We soon had the eriba full as well as most mum and dads canopy awning.

We had a pleasant drive out through some of the eastern Cotswold's region (now Oxfordshire Cotswold's - I am sure they have expanded and no sign of the actual hills). Some of the villages and towns are my old stomping ground as it was only a little further west (proper Cotswold's) that I started my catering career in the summer of '88 as a commis chef at the Lower Slaughter Manor.

Stopping in the lovely little town of Chippping Norton we dodged some of the heavier showers and headed to the nearest pub for a late lunch before continuing via a couple of charity shops to Banbury. Dad had promised a boat warming present of a set of walkie talkies. Until now the only way of communicating to and from the front and back of the boat on the move was using an old cheap doorbell that we found on board and some rather rudimentary hand signal (not sure what Deb was trying to communicate but the hand signals didn't look too polite!) They will be most useful at locks where Deb can let me know if the locks are in our favour or if I need to moor up and wait for the lock to become available. Also useful when looking for a good mooring position; there is no way I can tell from half a mile away if a gap between boats will be big enough.

A quick stop at the pub on the way back to the caravan turned into another pub meal (shame I was looking foreword to dad's paella). It was a bit of a bargain though, order before 7.00 and get a home cooked two course meal for £5.00!

Proper camping weather by the time we got back, squelching over to the loo blocks and, of course, with the weather so bad everyone was locked away in their own little spaces which lost the atmosphere of a club meet.

We left mum and dad to it after breakfast and headed into Oxford to get some shopping (love Aldi!) and get some wood to make a pair of top boxes/solar panel supports for the roof (hate B/Q!). The weather was good for the journey back and the tow paths have dried out a lot over the last day or so. It was a bit more of a chore unpacking the van. We had all the day trip gear, a weeks food shopping and a load of wood. We did a couple of round trips with the bike trolley but I have left a couple of the larger pieces of wood in the van. Tomorrows weather looks abysmal so I probably won't get much woodwork done tomorrow anyway.

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