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Latest News - A year of challenges and changes!

For us, a major event in 2021 was the arrival of 'Rusty', a ten year old ginger cat, who moved in with us. He came to Cropredy at the beginning of the year with a family that included young children and two dogs but he couldn't settle in their new home and chose ours instead. After weeks of finding him curled up asleep on our bed (having found his way in when we weren't looking) or waiting patiently outside our door with a look in his eyes that said "please let me in", we made proper arrangements with his former keepers and he has lived with us ever since. He even accompanied us for an occasional weekend on the boat; 'Rusty' is a real character but it has to be said that he may not yet share our enthusiasm for the waterways. Nevertheless, we are very pleased to have a cat in our home again - a pleasure that we have not enjoyed since the sad death of 'GC' at Woodford Halse in 2012. The image above shows 'Rusty' asleep on his favourite chair shortly after he moved-in to 'The Straws' during April 2021.

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At the end of April and through early May, we took our boat up to Glascote Basin for routine hull blacking by the excellent Norton Canes Boatbuilders team who took over the basin and yard after the sad loss of the previous operator, Steve Hudson. The image above shows Jane giving our boat a much needed clean while moored near Nuneaton en-route.

The voyage to Glascote Basin was not without incident: the engine start batteries had clearly reached the end of their useful life which necessitated 'jump-starting' from our bank of domestic batteries. It was also necessary to replace a failed automatic float switch (for the bilge pump) and the Lucas 33RA 24V split-charge relay - in the case of the relay, not for the first time! The way we have neglected 'Alnwick' in recent years is not entirely unforgiveable - our boat served as a very necessary static home while moored at the Old Coal Wharf in Cropredy for the past three years. We are extremely grateful to have been provided this excellent facility with the benefit of mains electricity and an Internet connection. These were essential when Jane was receiving treatment at home for cancer at a time when our cottage was not ready for residential habitation. During this difficult time, boat maintenance became a very low priority. The image below shows the boat at Glascote Basin with our car alongside to facilitate the transfer and installation of the replacement start batteries.

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Everyone at the coal wharf has been very good to us but now that we are able to live permanently at 'The Straws' our requirements are completely different and at the end of October we took the decision to move 'Alnwick' to a mooring in the relatively new Cropredy Marina

The image below shows 'Alnwick' on our old mooring at the coal wharf before we moved to the marina on 1st November 2021

Work at 'The Straws' has continued through the year and the image below shows the work underway to remove the old tarmac (that previously covered much of the area) and create the steps and path necessary to provide right of way access for Stephen and Brenda, our next-door neighbours.

Our plans for 2022 include a return to Glascote Basin to get 'Alnwick' professionally repainted and then we hope to enjoy regular canal and river cruises. Since retiring, Graham has taken on the work of treasurer to Cropredy parochial church council and we both have restarted our church bellringing activities. With all our hobbies and interests, we certainly have plenty to look forward to . . .

Please click here to access our news archive for more photographs and notes of our exploits with 'Alnwick'.

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© Graham & Jane Oliver 2021