At Banbury we stopped for a late breakfast, and decided to shop for fresh fruit and veg at Tesco, via Spiceball Park and the keep fit machines, what a laugh they were. The noise of the traffic brought us abruptly into modern day life. This Tesco is massive, I soon wizzed along the isles with my list filling the trolly with essentials whilst Martin visited the clothing and homewares upstairs, we swapped places after that and returned to the boat within an hour. After a coffee we decided to move on again, through Banbury.
We cruised on through the countryside and the many lift bridges, thankfully most are left open nowadays.
We soon arrived at Somerton Deep lock, it looked busy with people on our approach and a thought crossed my mind that something may be wrong. We pulled onto the lock mooring and I went to investigate. The crew from the boat in the lock had had difficulty winding the bottom paddles up, and there were several children with their mums watching too, checking that everything was ok I got chatting with the children and their mums, it turns out they were out for the afternoon and had just had a ride on the boat going down in the lock, they were learning a little about the canal and the lock in the process.
When it was our turn to come into the lock I'd enlisted some very willing volunteers to help with gates and paddles, 5 really interested and bright children, who worked really hard on their day out, had asked some interesting questions and were now walking along the towpath at our pace, still chatting away to us, at this moment I spotted the mini flapjacks in the galley sat there looking out the window, we were close to another bridge so arranged a flapjack giving. Many a 'thank you' was heard, and they were soon divided and devoured. That made our day, and actually it made my holiday, they were great.
By now the warm weather was turning cloudier and rain could be seen in the distance, we were making for one of the Helford's and had decided to moor at the first decent bit of Armco.
Just before Allens lane bridge and the bends to the next lock we found a good stretch of straight Armco and moored, overlooking fields and a farmer working away collecting bales. We put the canopy up too as it had started to spot with rain, with more forecast overnight.
We also decided to have a meal out tonight, so ventured along the towpath over the bridge and up the hill, quite a steep hill where we reached the Barley Mow, Upper Heyford a friendly welcome and a good meal was had, local banter and we stayed put for drinks after.