This is the fourth autumn in Cropredy, and our second autumn in the new house. The leaves have nearly all come down, but unlike last year where they lay on bare mud and clay, this year they lie on grass and flower beds. Those leaves that seem to miss our garden seem to be attracted to the canal, and in particular our boat and its relatively new landing stage which are currently sporting a healthy layer of willow leaves from our willow tree.
|There really is grass under there|
|The boat is moored directly below our willow tree|
So the search began for a new front door which fits our requirements:
- Less width, allowing for an adjacent glass panel to bring light into the hallway
- Hinged on the correct side
- A similar design to the 'incorrect' door
- A similar colour to the 'incorrect' door
- Not from Germany!
Whilst welcoming the prospect of a sale, the salesman suggested that we wait a week before ordering as we could benefit from a promotion which was about to be run. Thinking that we had already waited well over a year, we thought that an extra week would not be a problem, so we duly waited until the following Saturday. On the day, our reception at the supplier's for 'promotion day' consisted of prosecco and nibbles. The order of the door from High Wycombe was made; the promotional draw entered; the promise made that the door could be fitted before Christmas.
Imagine our surprise when later that same afternoon the phone rang and we were informed that we had won the promotional draw and were entitled to a free door! Well, the door was free, but we would still have to pay the VAT and fitting costs. Still this made a very significant difference to the overall price. A couple of weeks later, a surveyor turned up and measured the doorway and confirmed that fitting would 'probably' be before Christmas. So, dear reader, here we are again: we have not yet received a fitting date and the supplier has not yet informed us when fitting is likely to take place. To be fair, we haven't yet chased them. That is a job for the beginning of next week!
Although we took the boat out for several weeks earlier in the summer, we had little time to do so later in the summer. We were able to take it down to Oxford for a week during October, but this seemed to coincide with the start of the rainy season! On our way back, the canal shares its course with the River Cherwell in two places. Although the rain had swollen the river, we got across the first crossing, but by the time we reached the second, the river had risen to such an extent that the second crossing was closed by the Canal & River Trust. Fortunately, we were held up outside a decent pub. However, there really wasn't much else to do there and when we were informed that the closure could last several days, we realised that we were only about 8 miles from home, and got a taxi back, collecting the boat later. Since that week, it seems to have rained almost every day and earlier in November, so much rain fell that the entire village was cut off for a while, and one of the 'main' roads out of the village was closed for 2 days and sported 4 flooded cars by the end of it, one of which at a precarious angle in a ditch. Reassuringly, no water found its way into the house or the garden. The canal however did rise by about 18 inches, flooding the towpath. The Canal & River Trust appeared and opened all the sluices they could find in order to get rid of as much water as they could, probably to the detriment of Banbury which was suffering flooding further downstream. Unfortunately, they forgot to close them again, so we woke up the next day to find all the boats in the village sitting on the bottom! A selection of photos follows:
|Cut off for a while|
|Although obvious, a few still had a go....|
|Our boat sitting rather high against our landing stage|
|Flood towpath one day. Not enough water the next|
|Water rushing over the gates down the towpath beside the lock|
|This should be fields|
|One of the highest recorded river levels in Cropredy|