We were heading for the Kennet and Avon Canal, running from the Thames at Reading to Bristol on the Avon. The 'obvious' way would have been to go south down the Grand Union to the Thames at Brentford in London, then upstream to Reading and turn off there, but we did some calculations and worked out that this apparently shorter route was actually longer in 'lock-miles' than the alternative of travelling northwestwards via Norton Junction, Braunston and Napton, then down the Oxford Canal to join the Thames and downstream to Reading. Besides, this southern part of the Oxford Canal is one of our favourite canals, with its narrow locks, contour-hugging route and quiet countryside. It was the second canal we travelled on, back in the late 1970s, and we have been back since, on our 'share-syndicate' boat in 2005 and then on 'Zindagi' in the early part of our travels in 2007.
Moving on after a few days there, we came to Napton and the start of the narrow locks of the Oxford Canal – a welcome return! More surprising was to find ourselves apparently transported back to India as there were water buffalo in the fields next to some of the locks.