About 08.45 on Saturday I left Milly M and headed for the Train station. There I met with Chris and Joy Wren (nb Wren’s Nest) for a trip to Heyford where Bones (nb Bones) was moored. We were to get the Good Ship Bones to Banbury by late afternoon. Kate Saffin (nb Morning Mist) and Nina (nb Gibraltar) were some way in front of us, with Kate towing Nina to Tooley’s for an engine. They were ably assisted by Heather a vicar, or was it Helen. Unbeknownst to us Steve and Jan (nb Quadlibet) were not far behind us.
Our first obstacle was Mill Bridge at the far end of Lower Heyford. This is an aluminium lift bridge that, under normal circumstances is easy to lift. Today however Chris had a problem so I went to help. With both of us pulling down the beam we still could not open it. Bones swapped places with me and still the bridge would not open. Eventually a third person arrived and the bridge finally wobbled open. I took the boat through. We were about to set off again when we heard that Quadlibet was coming so we went back to the bridge to help. There was no way Steve was going to lift it on his own.
When we finally got to Somerton Deep Lock there was an accident on board. I was driving the boat and, as I would normally do, I went to put the bow on the gate. Lifting the paddles before I was in contact surged the boat back the raised the stern and threw the boat at the gate. At the moment of impact Joy, who had been sitting down, was about to step out of the front door. The result being that she was thrown to the floor. and hurt her shoulder. There is a nurse on Quadlibet and she was only a short distance behind. Joy was strapped up and kept warm. We made our way up the lock without further incident. At Chisnel lift bridge we found two people waiting to operate the bridge, both nurses; well one was an ex nurse, Nina and Heather. More making comfortable of the Joy was achieved and we carried on. Kate, who was by this time near Aynho Lock, was called and asked if she could call a taxi to take Joy to the hospital (our nursing staff were convinced it was a break). Kate phoned her friend Martin who lived in Deddington, not too far away, and as he was going to Banbury he agreed to take Joy to the hospital. Yay Martin! Kate moored up and walked back down to Aynho.
While waiting for Martin Quadlibet over took us. With Joy dispatched to the NHS, what's left of it, we continued on our way. We had a plan! we would go through the lock first . Bones would moor up at Nell's Bridge and I would help Morning Mist and Gibraltar through Aynho lock. Bones would prepare the lock at Nell’s and Morning Mist would go straight in leaving Gibraltar in the bridge hole. At Aynho lock Quadlibet was already in the lock and called us in. They left first followed by Bones. At Nell's bridge Quadlibet went up the lock, another came down the lock and by the time we got there Kate went straight in. There was a hire boat above the lock and they agreed, as Gibraltar was in the bridge hole, to let us bring her up. Up goes Gibraltar and the tandem pair set off, down comes the hire boat, then I lock Bones up and we follow the tandem pair passing Quadlibet on the way moored up for the night.. At Kings Sutton all hands lock up the pair and I stay to bring up Bones. At Grants Lock Alec appeared, having driven to Banbury after sorting out his gearbox and riding down the towpath on a bicycle (gaining a puncture on the way).
Bones goes up the lock as part of the next plan and waits while we lock up the pair. The plan is Bones needs water so will go to Banbury moor up below the Town Lock and take on water. Alec and I would operate the lock for Kate and Nina. It was a good plan. While waiting for them to arrive Peter (nb Futurest) and Janice (nb Roots and Wings) arrived so we were mob handed for the coming locking. Kate went up first and moored up on the water point taking on water. Gibraltar comes up and was bow hauled to a mooring opposite Kate. Then we brought up Bones. With all three boats above the lock the lift bridge was opened Gibraltar was bow hauled through to be moored near Tooleys; Bones went through followed by Kate. All boats found mooring space. With all boats secured Heather had to leave, Peter and Janice were sorted, Nina had to look after her dogs and that left Kate, Bones, Alec and me to get a take-a-way. There was much creaking of hips and knees that evening. It had hardly stopped snowing all day!
Joy was diagnosed with a broken shoulder and will be strapped up for a few weeks. Get well soon Joy.