Following yesterday’s bleak, winter-like cold and rain, today was altogether brighter and sunnier in feel. Em and I headed down to the Lower Heyford boatyard to meet up with the Bicester Vets crewe for a birthday boating outing down the Oxford canal to Gibraltar (for a cream tea) in hour of Lucy’s and Kate’s birthdays.

I’ve never been on a narrow boat before and we are given instruction into how to drive it. Then we all have a go at driving it, and find myself pretty good at it. It’s also good fun. A small boy from another boat teaches us how to use the manual locks and we continue on our way. In the end we don’t have time to get all the way to Gibraltar, so I end up turning the boat around and reversing the last little way to lunchtime moorings at Kirtlington Quarry.

Lucy’s housemate, and fellow vet, David paddles alongside in his beautiful, homemade wooden canoe. I shy away from having a paddle, remembering all too well when I had a go at canoeing on my PGL adventure holiday of yesterday year.