Ten Bob Note  

Monday 3rd March 2008

Location: Adderbury, Oxfordshire, Oxford Canal

Today: 13 miles, 6 locks. Total distance: 1172 miles.  Total locks: 747

Woke up this morning to a lovely bright but cold day.

We had to move to take on water as we were just about out. We don’t want to arrive at Oxford too early as it is not a place we want to be around for very long. There is nothing wrong with Oxford, it’s just that we prefer the countryside. We decided to head down to the nearest winding hole at Nell’s bridge then turn and go back to Banbury to dump rubbish and take on water. All in all, the total round trip took all day. We are now moored up about a mile from where we have been moored for the last 5 nights. It’s a lovely mooring spot between Adderbury and Kings Sutton – both nice little villages with shops. We will spend a few more nights in this area then start moving slowly on down toward Oxford. Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of villages with shops between here and Oxford.

When we got into Banbury centre, we passed a young swan that had wandered into the territory of an older pair of breading swans. The older male swan beat the hell out of the younger swan until it was too weak to get away. Finally, the older swan climbed up unto the back of the younger swan and was using his mouth to hold the younger swan by the top of the neck and to push it’s head under the water. It was amazing to see as there is no question that the bigger swan was in the process of deliberately killing the younger swan for encroaching on his territory. I have seen many swan fights over the last year or so but in all cases, the younger swan has managed to fly away. This young swan was just too week to get away. As no one was doing anything about it (a small crowd had gathered to watch the event), I reversed back, removed the tiller arm and went and ‘persuaded’ the big male swan (pushed it back with the tiller bar) to move out of the way. I managed to lift out the younger swan and carry it a hundred yards or so away from the big swan. As I was getting back on the boat, some stupid woman shouted over to the effect that I had just clouted the swan over the head and dragged it out of the canal!! Anyway, we moved off and the silly younger swan climbed back into the canal and came under chase from the two big adult swans again. Out of nowhere, a man and woman appeared and told us that they had called the RSPCA and that they had seen everything that had just happened and were not surprised by any of it. They explained that the breeding pair had been around the area for a while and that the younger adolescent had just come onto the scene and was encroaching on their territory. They went on to say that they had to remove the big male swan from the neighbouring motorway a week ago. I asked the couple who they were and they advised me that they were the police and that they were just about to sit down beside the Banbury lock to eat their sandwiches when they saw the crowd gathering and came over to see what it was all about. I asked them if they had heard the stupid woman shouting about me hitting the young swan over the head and dragging it out of the canal and they said that they did – they went on to say how easily things can get misunderstood and turned around. After moving further up the canal, turning and coming back, we had a quick chat with the two police officers again. They said that the RSPCA hadn’t turned up yet but two of their colleagues had arrived with a blanket to try and catch the younger swan to take it to the RSPCA. The two big swans were still hovering in the area but the younger swan was out of their sight behind some boats at Sovereign marina and it appeared that the older swans were happy as long as they couldn’t see the younger swan.

Anyway, it could all have turned out differently. The stupid woman could have phoned the police and told them that some nasty man on a boat called Ten Bob Note had just cracked a swan over the head with a big bar and dragged it out of the canal. I believe swan attacks have been quite common recently as some eastern Europeans like to eat them. Because of the stupid woman, I am not so sure that I would intervene should I end up in the same circumstance again.

On the subject of swans, they are lovely looking things but nasty by nature. They come tapping on the boat looking for food but when you go near them they hiss at you with a vengeance. I don’t like them but also don’t like to stand and watch one of them kill another younger weaker one.

UPDATE: Having thought about it, should the swan situation with the stupid woman mentioned above happen again in the future - I think the safest course of action would be to attend to the swan as before then beat the silly woman over the head with the tiller arm, push her into the canal then hold her head under the water just as the big swan was trying to do with the little one - joking!!!!

Wednesday 5th

We walked up to Adderbury yesterday morning for the papers. A lovely walk on a lovely crisp frosty morning.

Today we walked into Kings Sutton, all in all it’s a 4.5 mile round trip. We can actually see the village from our mooring spot but because of the river between us and the village we have to walk back to the nearest bridge in order to cross the river. Another lovely crisp frosty morning.

Around lunch time we heard a horn beeping and looked out to see Mo and Vanessa on nb Balmaha passing. They stopped for a quick chat and this time I remembered to get a photograph – see below.

Current mooring - Lovely frosty morning on 04-03-2008

That's Kings Sutton church spire in the distance - a lovely church

nb Balmaha


Material Copyright © 2008 Ernie Williams
This page last modified on: 23 April, 2014 5:29 PM