Thursday, 19 June 2014

Onward to Oxford.

So we left bankside mooring early-ish, we were nice to cruiser man and didn’t use the bow thrusters at 8:30am tempting as it may have been to some people.  

Wal snugged nicely into the bank
It was another long haul up to Oxford today.  It started bright but already the wind had picked up, now to non boaty friends Boaters HATE the wind as it sends your narrowboat off in the wrong directions, that does not effect you quite so badly on this wide river but its very tiring facing into a cold wind for six hours…

David had been up at dawn and been on a walk. 
I had not.  
He took the camera after asking me at about 5am how to switch it on, I told him without opening my eyes….  later on his return there was a bit of discussion about the depth and quality of my instructions as he didn’t know how to zoom in.
He walked up some imposing big hill in the hope and expectation of having a view of Oxford, sadly this wasn’t to be but he had a nice view of the surroundings.

Very early morning sunshine streaming through the trees.  I never see this.

The Thames is down there but no view of Oxford.

Sorry no zoom so excuse the fluffiness.  Well seen wouldn't you say?

So onward.  Getting colder all the time as the clouds built up and then sun went in.
 We did share one lock with a narrowboat which had the Kennet and Avon written on it, David fell into conversation with them and as an update Reader I can tell you that the photo I put up a few days ago of the boat is thought by this chap to have been PLACED there quite deliberately by a hire boat company, covered in tyres for the protection of their other boats who regularly go wallop into it when doing that Oh so tricky turn at Woolhampton, out of the lock,  getting thwacked immediately by the river flowing in from the right then making a sharp turn to the right having been pushed off line by said river then through a swing bridge PHEW!  So that’s that cleared up.  Maybe that boat is even a good idea.
Marvellous pointy bridge here.

I forget where though, I can look it up if you really want to know...

This was a house but too big for me, I think it looks more like a golfing pavilion.

Fishermen eh?  They can be alright in the main BUT we had une petite contretemps with a couple in Abingdon…
We were chugging along towards the bridge, not fast as there are moored boats before the bridge, plus we just exchanged a few pleasantries of farewell with a cruiser captain we had shared a lock with as he moored up.  20ft in front of him were two fishermen, with rods out.  Now we generally find that due to Wal’s size, 70ft, plus being “Red for Danger”, that we are visible. suddenly these two gentlemen leapt out of their seats grabbed rods, jumped up and down and shook their fists….. It transpired that we had taken a line around the front of Wal unbeknown to us and unintentionally.  
Some frightful language came forth, but I reprimanded the captain at once.  The fishermen reckoned we should have gone to Specksavers 
(I didn’t say so but we both do).  They simply refused to believe that their tiny thin clear fishing line is invisible to a boater coming along.  I might add that they were fishing from moorings and they declared we were far too close to the shore and themselves.  Well we decided not to linger to discuss the point further but carried on.  
Another boat owner on the line of boats moored there said they had behaved exactly the same to him after he failed to see a line too.

Well here is the nice bridge at Abingdon, I didn’t get the fishermen's picture as I thought it may inflame the situation.

Reader you may remember that we passed the other end of this canal on the K&A, its the Wilts & Berks canal. 

Nice riverside Abingdon pub.  Last summer we watched some Morris Dancers here in the biting cold wind.

Ancient building on the riverside too.

Great bridge here at Abingdon

Lovely historical pub here that I read all about last year whilst we listened to live Jazz with a great meal last year.  Would have happily have done that again today but....

Just past the bridge at the edge of the meadows.  If you could have just smelt these roses Reader...

How cute is that? And I don't really like swans that much.

Many spaces in Abingdon should we have wanted one but not us today.  

Now the stretch above Abingdon lock is deadly dull unless you are into trees, and almost all the same type too.  But I did spot these;

He seemed tame and watched us with his beady eye the whole way past him.

A Cormorant I reckon.

Red Kite I am sure.  He was being harangued by a Kestrel and a crow, but they were too fast for me.

Then the most wonderful garden at a lock there is to be seen.  The assistant lock keeper told us that he only does the weeding and the credit should go to the Lock Keeper and his wife who have created this garden over the last ten years.  He said it must be the most photographed lock garden on the Thames.  We have seen far less interesting gardens belonging to the National Trust.  It was the lock one or two before Oxford.
I would pay money to visit this garden.

Loveliest house of the day for me.

I wasn’t exactly shivering when these two hardy souls passed us but getting that way…
Not even wearing coats!
University Boat Houses lining the bank here in the run up into Oxford.

These buildings on the right are on a small island, last year a lock keeper advised us to use this channel coming down, we think the visibility is better this way
This hirer didn't and came whizzing through the bridge seemingly at 80mph, we held back luckily as we were following another boat who had wisely stopped to let them through.

Unattractive "Garage-like" appendage.

Most attractive Day Boat that I like very much.

A flavour of Venice, now I have been and this shed adds nothing.

Houses far more of my liking except for flooding risk.

Then finally into Osney Lock, the one before the moorings we wanted.  Last year we arrived here at about 11:30am and got on the second spot, we went in and had a spot of lunch then as we came out to go visit Oxford every spot was full within 45 mins.  So Reader you can imagine how pleased we were to find that there was a long WaL sized space on the very end.  “Bunk up” says I to David as we moored up, “Don’t leave any annoying gaps”
“Nothing is going to moor up at this time now” 
“Ok” says I,   “But what’s that then, Scotch Mist?”
at that moment a small cruiser arrived and popped onto the very back as we nudged buttons with the boat in front.
Friends from home who were visiting Oxford that night arrived for supper, Reader I had the central heating on as we were frozen.

Friends Murray & Debbie from home 
Supper was a quick on of sausages and sweet potato wedges with cream filled chocolate profiteroles and cream on the top.
We slept well.

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