Although we had taken canal holidays in the 1970s and 1980s, after our move to Devon in 1987 we knew it was most unlikely that we would be able to take any more for a while. The main reason was that we had livestock and could not get away for longer periods.
The years went by, we no longer had livestock, the children had left home and we were running our market gardening business. Sometimes we would go for a walk along the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton and enjoy 'canal scenery' in a Devon setting. After one such walk, we called in on our friends Calvin and Miriam, little knowing that they had been renovating a boat which they could take on a trailer, and had already enjoyed several short breaks on it. We went home from that evening with a renewed interest in boating, and Dave started looking up narrowboats on the internet – which is how we heard of the Challenger shared ownership scheme.
Very appropriate then, that Calvin and Miriam should come and spend a few days on 'Zindagi' with us. They met us at Banbury on Friday 3rd May, and we travelled southwards together as far as the outskirts of Oxford. We were here in the early 1980s but, like the northern Stratford Canal, very little of it remains in our memories! We had a great lunch in 'The Jolly Boatman', which we think is the same pub where we met Terry and Di, Paul and Jill all those years ago!
Here is Calvin in silhouette, working on the lock paddle gear, and Miriam sticking her tongue out as Dave takes her picture. We had a great time together!
We turned back north again and dropped off Calvin and Mim at Lower Heyford, where they got on their little folding bikes to cycle back to Banbury to collect their car. With hindsight, the train would have been a better idea, as this section of towpath is NOT good for cycling – they were exhausted when they drove back to pick up their luggage!