70. Drifting boat on the Oxford Canal & oak doors


Hello, thanks very much for watching. Well
this is Kidlington. Now my experience to get here was a little bit frustrating. Because
as I’ve done in the past, which I really shouldn’t do again, I should know my lessons.
Coming down the Oxford Canal I kept saying, I’m sure there’s a better mooring spot
just around the corner. I kept doing that again and again and the day got later and
later, the light started to fade. It got really, really dark. But very, very luckily, and it
was purely out of chance, just around the corner from this next bridge was Armco and
I moored up here. Just over the bridge I was able to park the car and the Kidlington town
is just around the corner. There’s a big supermarket and it proved out to be a really
good place to moor up. I stayed here for the full two weeks, just above the lock here and
I went away for one of the weekends, so I didn’t want to moor up on grass like this
with pins. I was really eager to moor up on the Armco where I knew it would be secure
with other boats going past but, Kidlington is just north of the city of Oxford. {Music} I left my car at Twyford Bridge and continued
to head south. The canal follows the route of the trainline so I knew I could get back
to my car once in Kidlington. To the south west of Kirtlington is Whitehill
Satellite Earth Station. Its large dishes can be seen from the canal and the station
is operated by Cable and Wireless. Then at Bakers Lock the canal shares a short
course of the River Cherwell down to Shipton Weir Lock. Into the outer suburbs of Kidlington,
I moored just north of Kidlington Green Lock. The weather had been rain one minute and sunshine
the next and together with some strong gusts of wind, just south of Lower Heyford I came
across a boat that was adrift. So decided to help. Paul, Ade, Vivian and Jim were already
trying to salvage what rope this boat had to try and secure it. Originally it had been
moored on the off side to a fence but the ropes had snapped. The narrow boat had limited
gunnels and a fragile roof so tricky to climb aboard and move the boat. So, using Alice we managed to secure and move
the drifting vessel to the towpath side where the bank was closer. You often find when boats
come adrift or things float into boats, there is a real community spirit to help out. With
the boat safe once again, I continued my journey south. My narrowboat has metal doors on the side
and at the stern. Using the same European oak as my tv cabinet, carpenter Michael got
to work making solid shaker style wooden doors. I wanted the same style as my tv cabinet and
my kitchen doors so there was a uniform look. The top and bottom rails are connected to
the sides using mortise and tenon joints. These are strong and have no mechanical parts.
The doors have two panels each and the inner panel is around 6mm smaller than the outer
edges to allow for expansion. This is one of the side hatch doors with the
oak placed inside. In the stern door, instead of the bottom rail
being wider than the top, I wanted it the other way around. This was not only required
as there are two air vents in the bottom section of the door but I wanted a solid larger area to fix
a door lock at the top of the door. I oiled all the doors on all edges with this
Osmo TopOil. It has a clear satin finish and I’ve given the doors around 4 coats with
a light sand between each coat. The doors were then stuck into place using a flexible
marina glue. At Bakers Lock I was rather impressed with
this electronic water level board. Although the level was rising, as long as I was careful,
I could pass. {Music} At bridge 219 I really struggled to keep the
lift bridge up. In the end I had to use chains to connect it to the floor so I could pass.
Of course, this bridge had no off side mooring so I had to climb across the weeds and the roof
to navigate on my own. At Thrupp there is another lift bridge. The
good part is this bridge is electronically opened but the bad part is you have to make
a tight 90 degree turn through it. With people watching and random gusts of wind I gave it
a go… To my utter surprise I swung Alice around in one go and through the narrow gap without
touching the sides! I must say hi to the couple at the stern of
the first blue boat on the right. Moored up near Sparrowgap Bridge, they were viewers
and were really surprised to see me. Oh and they were also trying out a new birthday present of
mooring chains! It was at this point I was eager to moor up
myself but all the spots were full for hours on end Until next time, see ya later.

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