Monday 21 April 2014

Honeypot and obstacle.

We were wanting to park up at Thrupp today but its a “Honeypot” place and often full, so a plan was hatched last night to arrive at 11am, This is to jump into a newly vacated space as last nights tenants have had breakfast and departed.  This meant leaving Tackley at 7:47am this morning.  

Dawn at Tackley.
Last nights mooring.
Lovely stone bridge.

Its days like these that David LOVES, bullying his poor wife at the time of day she doesn’t usually like to see…But up I was, out filling the lock at 7:50am as ordered.  Still lovely blue skies, no clouds but cold, so cold that my eyes watered and then my glasses steamed up then I sneezed my head off.

All went well till we got to Kingsground Narrowboats, or rather just around the corner where there are moored boats on both sides of a pretty narrow stretch, we crawled along at snails pace but there in the medium distance was a bridge, actually its two bridges almost joined together, there was the nose of an oncoming boat, we on this side had almost reached the first bridge on our side, but still he kept coming, even though he had a chap sitting in the cratch we thought he was there to spot boats but then maybe he was reading… when he finally saw us he was three quarters through, so he popped himself into a tiny gap and the two men hopped off and pulled it in with ropes, that left 2’6” for us to get through the gap and a bridge.  David at my pleading reversed back about 50 metres in a fantastic display of skill I have ever seen, I could have kissed him.  
“Please don’t say anything” says I, David maybe small but he can be really vocal when displeased, 
“I won’t, I can keep quite sometimes you know”  Well actually I haven’t ever known…
The boat, a hire boat it turned out, so maybe they didn’t have the experience to reverse a distance in parked boats, came through and the man thanked David profusely which was graciously accepted.  I was impressed.

Pesky boat causing trouble.
My first heron
My first heron in flight.
We crept on and then it was apparent that another boat partially unseen by us was moored in-between the two bridges creating a hazard drifting in and out on long mooring ropes.   It was empty of persons to remonstrate with at but full of clutter that no woman would allow on her boat, if you get my drift. Bakers lock in front of us now, as we approached I saw my first Heron of the year.  Out of the lock and onto a gorgeous stretch of The River Cherwell, all bendy bendy with  meadows, weeping willows, birds singing, sheep grazing and attractive reeds.  I like very much. 

River Cherwell
Very beautiful section
Quiet too today.
But all too soon we are at Shipton-on-Cherwell lock.  A boat was about to exit the lock, two medium sized boys had opened the gate then ran towards us on the towpath yelling I want to get on I haven’t any shoes on!! 

Wonder if the boat picked them up...?
But by now their mother ship was in the middle of the river.  I turned back to look at the lock and saw that another boat was there and the crew had started to close the gate on us, David tooted the horn making her appear to jump out of her skin, she turned and looked most surprised and said she hadn’t seen us.  A curious thing as we are bright red and fairly big. No harm done and in we went. Marvellous things enthusiastic teenagers and this lady had one, so back onboard I hopped and off towards Thrupp.
Shipton Weir Lock
Congestion at Shipton Lock
Pleased to see Maffi again
Maffis's window. I agree with him.

Around two bends, tension rising….. will we or won’t we get in…..  But before the last bend there he was, King Maffi of Thrupp all smiles and Molly too.  Thrupp was full yesterday he said, Oh dear…. tension killing.  The lift bridge came into view, its on a right angled turn so you can’t see still if there are moorings beyond then suddenly, up went the lift bridge and a boat SHOT through it and towards us like a thing possessed he had white water at the back, revving like a idiot and he went straight ahead without pausing for breath into the concrete, a very interesting manoeuvre, 
“What the bloody hell…..” says David, “And now what’s he doing?”  the helmsman turned towards us, raised an arm thanking us, for what I do not know,  then shot across our bows again but heading for the services, a 180 degree turn at top speed,  phew glad he’s out the way!

So we moored, third boat along, EXACTLY where we wanted to be. Locked up the boat and went to Annie’s Tearooms to have coffee with Maffi.

I love Selfie's.  Maffi with a huge grin.

Our mooring in Thrupp
The view from Maffi's Bridge.
The reason for us getting to Thrupp is that we are off home and letting "Our Boat Sharers"*  have WaL.  They are arriving tonight. Letting us have their car to drive home with and them continuing on this journey...

*  See very first entry of this blog.


  1. Don't you love it when you strike it lucky with a perfect mooring in a busy place!
    It happened to us at Thrupp too.

  2. Indeed I do, right next to a road for exchange of luggage. Worth rising at first light!!!