Aynho Wharf (Again)

As part of our pootling around the Oxford Canal we are back at Aynho Wharf. This is because we are off to Henley tomorrow, by car, to support our family in the half marathon. Today was another bright day but it was cloudy and there were some showers around.
A packed Heyford Wharf

At Heyford Wharf all the Oxfordshire Narrowboats hire fleet were at home making navigating interesting.  A day-boat was leaving the wharf ahead of us but they pulled over and let us pass after an adventure with some trees! Another day-boat was also moored up near Allen's lock. Unfortunately they had managed to moor up on a corner with ropes set at an acute angle so their stern swung out and nearly collided with us as we passed (on tickover). They latter moved up to the lock and were preparing to empty the lock with the boat only tied on with a stern rope! Maggie walked back to warn them of the possible consequences and also instructed them about how to operate the lock - heigh ho.

Clouds - above Heyford Common Lock

Somerton Deep Lock
The bottom gate at Somerton, which is large (obviously) was very difficult to move. It took both of us to operate it.
As we approached Aynho I was looking behind the boat at our wake and saw a grass snake in the canal. It had wriggled across from the opposite bank but as I continued to watch it it turned around and headed back from whence it came. The last time I saw a grass snake swimming was about 30 years ago. It was in the Grand Union Canal near Cosgrove. Maggie was reading Narrow Dog to Wigan Pier this afternoon  and found on p118 that Terry Darlington has also seen grass snakes canal swimming. He writes very lyrical prose describing their wonderful swmming action.  
Tonight we are going to the Great Western Arms again and looking forward to it.