After a lazy lunch south of Nuneaton, we moved on past Marston Junction. A small boat turned off the Ashby after we'd passed, and speeded up behind us. Small boats are nippier than bigger ones, and we didn't want to hold him up. We know what that feels like! So we pulled over, and beckoned him past. Mistake! The boat was skippered by a single-handed man, with a restricted view because of a large box on the roof. His steering was very erratic, and he slowed down once he'd overtaken. Very annoying! Now we were crawling, and it got progressively worse. He looked very agitated, and kept peering over the back of his boat. Perhaps he had boat problems.
Arriving at the start of the Hawkesbury moorings, he pulled over and stopped. As we passed, it looked as if he did have issues with his engine or prop. Poor bloke. I know how he felt!
Grace took Kantara around the 180° turn into the Hawkesbury basin, we were now back on the Oxford Canal. Or, rather, we were once we'd been through the very shallow stop-lock. And the Oxford is beautiful, too - after the first half mile or so, anyway.
But then we remembered the problem it has that we'd experienced on our way out, weeks and weeks ago. It has little in the way of good moorings. The banks are often rocky, or have reeds and rushes growing against them. Or both. So we travelled longer than we'd intended - as we had on our way out - until finally we found a stretch or Armco, only long enough for us to moor against after the skipper of the boat in front had moved his craft forwards six feet.
Back a while, between bridges 19 and 24, we'd been through very polluted water. Very black, with white, bubbly patches, smelling foul. Chemically. And it was leaving a thick, black deposit on overhanging plants. Water birds had deserted it. After mooring, I phoned the CRT emergency line, and reported it. They already knew. Let's hope they got it sorted out before it did real damage.