Hi readers, yes, we are in Banbury. Home of the cross of nursery ryme fame. It's not actually a cross, but marks a crossroads in the centre of the town. The original cross was demolished in 1602 and the present one is a 19th century replica.
Leaving Fenny Compton yesterday we soon came to what is known as Fenny tunnel. It is not a tunnel now but was opened up into a cutting not long after the canal was built. We had a very relaxed cruise round the rest of the summit level before the locks started to appear, this time going down. First the five Claydon locks, followed by several more spread out till we reached Cropredy, where the famous folk festival is held every August. It is a lovely sleepy village, with a fine old thatched pub, The Red Lion. Before going in for a pint we explored the old church. The brass eagle lectern is of interest. On the eve of the battle of Cropredy bridge during the civil war, it was hidden in the nearby river Cherwell to save it from the puritans. On its recovery one of the lion feet was missing. The lectern was so tarnished they thought it was bronze so it now has stands on two brass and one bronze lion feet. The clock in the tower has one of the slowest ticks I have ever heard. It is almost hypnotic and very much echoes the pace of our life on the canal.
This morning we set off for Banbury. Just as we left the water point the local canoe club were also setting off. I have grave misgivings about the wisdom of putting children in such fragile craft on the same water as 20Ton narrowboats. They just didn't seem to grasp the potential danger and surrounded us, much too near the prop. for my liking. Eventually we lost them at the first lock and we made our way into the centre of Banbury, mooring right alongside the shopping centre.
On the way in past the permanent moorings we spotted a familiar boat. She is called Dorothy Mary, and is the first narrowboat we owned, Oakapple being our third. We had a brief chat with the owner who said she has been refitting her.
After shopping in town we decided to stay tonight. Town centre on a Saturday night? Not sure but lots of other boats moored here as well. Hope it's a quiet night!