We collected WaL from the very kind people at Enslow Marina at the bottom of the South Oxford canal, loaded up the fridge and freezer and kept it all plugged in overnight to give the batteries a helping hand, these batteries are now six years old and we had thought of replacing them over the winter..... we just thought they'd do another season, well thats actually what we said two years ago too.
Just as we started fannying around trying to "Ease" WaL out of her mooring slot, on a fairly narrow section of the canal for a 70' to manoeuvre in, me on the pointy end clutching a fender to assist with non contact of neighbouring boats, a single hander went past....
Now we love single handers as much as the next person, in fact some of my friends are S.H. but even so, David wanted to get a bit of a wiggle on to Oxford and this chap was über slow and by the time we got to first lock we were third in the queue.
That lock, Bakers Lock he informed me had a dodgy gear, he was right too it kept slipping out so it was a long process.
We caught him up again on the river section too. By the time we got to Thrupp, David didn't need any persuading to stop, we had achieved a 2.5 hour cruise, but we both love Thrupp.
The next morning very early we set off as quietly as we possibly could at 5:30am. David is always banging on about how lovely it is very early, no people, no cars lalalalalalala but I have to say I agreed with him that day. We wanted to keep an appointment. At the first lock I went forward to empty it and this time a single hander came up behind us. A very cheerful chappie called David I found out later, grey haired but a dyed RED beard in the manner of Billy Connolly. He told me he had lived aboard 16 years now but didn't know if he liked it yet..... he might stay with it. He was looking to turn around to head back to Cropedy for the music festival.
Never had we been so pleased grateful and thankful for the turn David was to do us.... On exiting the first lock, we scrapped the bottom, it was really low this morning, then we went aground good and proper just past the lock gates, David reversed to try to get off and BANG went something as the engine cut out. Turned out to be a lump of wood, half burnt from a fire, totally wedged onto the prop.
Lovely red bearded David had a chisel and willingly lent it to help. It took a fair while to free the prop too, although he couldn't have passed us as we were grounded and blocking the lock!!
We parted company with David at Dukes Cut when he turned to head back to Cropedy. Lovely chap, if you see him say hello from me.
We went down the canal for no reason at all, just to see it, it certainly isn't quicker. Then onto the Thames, at the first lock I was astounded to see plenty of spaces on the moorings available, it was still early I thought so I reckoned these would have been fee overnight.
Licence brought and off we go, bombing down the river after we had got past Oxford. We had a way to go and it was getting very much hotter, sun hats were out already.
|An idea of how low the canal was this am.
|Well guess who? NB Milly M aka Maffi *
|The lift bridge was a two man job and then this.... Dukes Cut for us next time.
|Across vertically the entire canal.
|So these cottages are right on the riverside, a bit too close for my liking.... the road was having vital repairs too.
|If you haven't been on the Thames before, this is your first decision..left or right? those arches seem low from here so go right into the unknown which is narrow then when you've made your quick decision.... see below
|So small, but you breath easy as you can fit both ways, but who was to know?
|We went right, or rather David did whilst I scrambled for the bicocs to see....
|Nice terrace, dead plants, no stairs and then one gin and you fall in.
|I suppose Salters Cruisers have left room....?
|The first of many vintage restored boats I like and shall photograph for your pleasure.
|Ideas please? Dutch barge? River boat? We saw this one three years ago moored near the entrance to the River Wey.
|I did post this before but I don't expect you to remember, its the old entrance to the Wilts and Berks canal, supposedly being restored but don't hold your breath
I have put two links into Carols blog page as she was on the ball and had her camera to hand and I am a bit in wake up mode still!!!
We did have a fab couple of days with them, went blackberrying and were very tempted to swim but the maid forgot to pack the swimmers, did I say it was hot? After the first night Carol seemed pleased that WaL had kept the direct sun off of Still Rockin' we slept fine but we were a bit tired after the mammoth cruise.
George and Carol quite took the wind out of our sails with a suggestion completely from left field as they say..... It is going to be carefully considered and researched on both sides and more about that later, but we'll be seeing them further down stream or at least further on on our holiday.
Supper was smoked salmon on horseradish, chicken and courgette bake and chocolate cheesecake with raspberries and extra thick cream then a cheeseboard, David's favourite thing and we are VERY well stocked at the moment, (As David who peddled off to Waitrose hereabouts and got taken on Abingdon's one way system on the way!! I didn't laugh at all).
Maffi's Blog is HERE