Thursday 30 August 2018

So just how wide is a "Navigable channel"

This mooring proved chilly and grey, we had slept with the back sliding hatch open, plus our bedroom door to allow cool air to come through WaL  (all middle aged women will identify with me here)  but this morning there there was the unmistakeable sound of a body entering the water but not falling in.  
David went out and there was the jolly man from the wee sailing boat behind us undertaking his ablutions!!!     
Now I have swum two or three times this summer but I kept my head up and my mouth closed and afterwards had a shower.....  I did not use the river as my bath.  

It really did make me want to ask that oh so famous gongoozerler question  "Does it had a toilet....?"  to which I don't really want to know the answer.
*see yesterday's photos if you understand not.

So off we go not lingering in Oxford as we did do a full day trip here way back in May  HERE   I'm sure you'll want to re-read that.

This is the famous Osney bridge, this is the one those Gin Palaces can't get under, this is the line in the sand, or as Gandalf says regularly in our house "You shall not pass", I mean look at it, even shortie David had to duck.

Osney Bridge.

The bottom of the Sotuh Oxford canal as it joins the Thames.

A line of house backs as we go north towards Dukes Cut, I wonder if these ever flood?

I have included this next lot of photos to help illustrate how the dreaded willows are over growing, snapping and falling into the water then they grow more, the "Navigable waterway" is growing much thinner in places.  NB Dulcieblue had also abandoned their forays up to Lechlade mostly due to this too, some of these shots are actually from Dukes Cut but I have lumped them altogether.






Thames with Port Meadow coming into view.

So this cruiser slipped under Osney bridge and now look.

I'm not sure where David was thinking of mooring but as soon as I saw this I said here here here here.  I had no memory of this place but when we approached as a NB was leaving the mooring I said thank you very much and goodbye...  
Well how fabulously fantastic!  I do love an old ruin.   I left him to check on whatever he checks when I clear off and I cleared off to have a look.

David checking things, it might be the cricket.

This is the remains of a small chapel

The interior or at least the other side of the walls.

Don't you just love doorways, are you like me and imagine the nuns of the past ushering through on their way to pray?

The abbey had a bit of a colourful past, King Henry II  mistress is buried here, Rosamund Clifford, Henry adored her but really hacked off his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine.  But that story is for another day and in fact another novel several of which can be found on Amazon.

The Fair Rosamund by John William Waterhouse, well fancy that, more Pre-Raphaelite art that I love so much, image borrowed from Wikipedia.

Much of what remained of the abbey was destroyed in the English Civil War, which I do think is a pity.  But that's history for you, leaves you full of regrets.
We walked to Wytham, a village that is part of an estate so nicely preserved without modern houses, I get a bit twitchy about this sort of thing, I just feel like its been put here by the Disney Corp, these autumn berries were on the way.... could be a sign of a hard winter, all fishwives will tell you that. 

Some thatches in Wytham I can only hope are awaiting to be repaired, we couldn't quite imagine what had made them thus?  Rats, squirrels or its come loose in a storm...?

Wytham village.

We walked back to the village of Wolvercote and The Trout Inn, Sue on NP XL had been here the previous Monday and been told if they hadn't booked they couldn't eat!  I booked online this am and every session was available so we had decided on 3pm, a good move as it wasn't busy and better still the sun came out later and we sat having coffee next to the river watching the Kingfisher dart about, a young Tern sitting on the now closed wooden bridge, dragonflies fluttering and glad to say we avoided Krug's best shot!!  Krug is an antisocial Peacock, it seems to have a home on the roof, it was on the roof when he squatted and fired a jet propelled bullet of faeces into a shrub narrowly missing a woman who wasn't looking.  
Peacocks to my mind belong to the same category as Canadian geese, willow trees and Herring gulls, but that's just me. 

The Trout Inn, been here since the C16th.

Bloody Krug came in the door he was shown the door by a waiter before I could help with my boot.

My Kitchen window this evening....  can this be beaten I ask?

Supper at 3:30pm had been Salt & pepper squid, Cod with only twice cooked chips, but I managed to choke them down then lemon cheesecake and blackcurrant pureĆ© which I shall try at home.  
It was excellent, sorry Sue that you missed out, try it again when you are passing.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Bikes Jags and is there a pub up here?

So there was coffee and paracetamol for me this morning and  much later I drove back to Abingdon and into the arms of Truest Darling Angel Love, aka David.  You can see how see how I won the nickname competition in France eh?

David had asked me to get back early-ish so we could set off but that didn't happen, so after a nap (Him and me) and cheese on toast and I think then early night.  

The next morning David had this mad idea that I would meet him at Waitrose here at 7am  Hahahahahaha....  
He had been out cycling and moving the car, I overslept and received a phone call saying don't worry I can do it.  Twenty minutes later it was you'll have to come after all I've run out of money!

So I scampered off and after the big put away we did set off and the lock had just opened.

This was last nights mooring, in my absence David had escaped the goose poo all over the lawns on the right of the picture and with the help of Sarah and Chris on 
NB Dulcieblue,   (and thank you both very much for having him to supper when I was out clubbing)  he had nipped over to the left side of the photo.  By this morning many boats had already wandered off.

Abingdon's skyline.

We made our way northwards and got to like this stretch a bit more.  Previously I have thought it a bit featureless and dull, but not today grey skies notwithstanding.

On the way down almost a month ago, on a sharp bend a little south of Oxford, we met a wide beam on our side of the river, bombing along and had it not of been for David's sharp intervention with the cissy button (Bow thruster) we may well have collided, the woman helming just called out to David "Sorry" and didn't reduce her speed at all, now today on the exact same corner look who came bombing around!

We didn't see this behind the trees approaching, bit of a surprise he chose a corner to overtake on but that's trip boats for you.

This guy was doing the Hawaii-Five-O stuff balancing gamely on what appeared to be a pencil.

I was hoping for him to fall in but actually he was quite good.

Now I haven't seen this before, is it the way forward I ask?

So we came down the left side in the photo here, but its a blind corner going upstream,  David went to the right.

You can choose your archway...

This lovely place is in need of a face lift.

The walkway has been completed but I have decided far too close for me to open water.

We were undecided about moorings for tonight, it was lunchtime and we didn't really think these moorings at Osney Bridge would be available but they were and we hopped on.  The wee sailing boat was there already and as we moored up the owner popped his head over the top of that wee green almost a door, he was very chatty, said he would like to go on the canals but he was a bit too wide and needed fenders too.  I don't think he had sailed it from Canada but he was headed for London.  The cover over the wee green door had his solar panels on, a most comfortable coffin type arrangement I felt.

David asked me if I was up for a bike ride, actually I thought it might do me good so off we went.  But before we could get on this quiet country lane.....  we had to get around these roadworks on a dual carriageway intersection and roadworks, I almost went home.

This was a bit of a treat to come across... if you are unsure, its an MK IX Jaguar 1961, 57 years old but a nice polish job.  He drove past us as we slogged up the hill and it sounded like a road drill.

So this is what we came to see..... impressive eh?  I only pushed the bike a wee bit too up here to Boars Hill.

Amazing view!!!!
For those of you that can't quite see;  

I did my very best to get it all in but you can read all about it here  HERE  

So a bunch of poets washed up here, one of them Thomas Arnold who wrote the line "And that sweet city with her dreaming spires" in his poem Thyrsis in 1865.

Further on we finally found Jarn Mound, I was excited as it was this stonking great hill, built by hand, to have the wonderful view of Oxford preserved...we climbed up the very steep and deep steps to get to the top and this was it;

The tress won in the end, although the whole site is owned by The Oxford Preservation Society, I think their hearts are not in it any more.


 The good thing about getting to the very top of Boars Hill, is that the whole way home is downhill, a nice circular route brought us passed a new Waitrose 500 metres from the boat, Oh how we laughed!!

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Sad goodbyes, gins and Diplodocus.

A bit of a sad day today, we say goodbye to lovely people, it was three years since we last saw all of them, but hopefully not that long till next time.

We had said to the latecomers, (NB Lady Georgina, who arrived after 6pm and wanted to moor up, they breasted up against us)  yesterday afternoon that we wanted to leave at 8am,  Chris said to David  "We'll try to be up" which 
unnerved him a bit but at 7:45 they were up starting their engine and they insisted on paying for the nights mooring £7, frightfully nice couple.

They moved off and feeling a bit like the Queen when she has crowds to wave to her...  Sue, Carol and George were there to wave us off.

Wallingford Bridge this morning, a bit chilly, I had my jeans on and a waistcoat.... I didn't pack any socks but they would have been on too.

David has made the turn, and we are heading upstream towards  the first lock today, Benson Lock, just out of sight now was NB Lady Georgina.

Got a bit close to the bridge when we turned, that is downstream towards.... well someplace.

The Darling 'Rockers' George and Carol.

 You can see Carol, has her camera in hand, she got some much better photos than me, her's are here    HERE 

Both boats, No Problem moved off today as well.

Through Benson Lock and this is Shillingford.  I just love these old stone bridges, I appreciate now the work that men put into them with their hands.

Wobbled the boat here as I was driving & D making the coffee, I don't yet have the knack of driving and taking photos.

Last to arrive at Benson Lock but we were the first in!  This is Lady Georgina following us.

 These two from RAF Benson very near here, I THINK that fat plane is a Hercules,  but anyone know what the Helicopter is?

So we did all three locks with NB Lady Georgina, excellent sport was had approaching Clifton Lock, a large Le Boat (They are all large) had tried to come past us, he hadn't smiled waved or made any eye contact, minimum manners required!   But as he was on the verge of coming past there were a couple of orange marker buoys in the river marking the shallows or maybe a wreck  but he had to stay back and at the lock he didn't fit in with us NB's.  Needless to say after this lock he did shoot past us and we thought he would be through the next lock, Culham, before we got there but no, the lock keeper waited for us so he hadn't gained anything at all, much sniggering from me.

We arrived at Abingdon and got a nice mooring next to the swimming pool, NB LG moored up too and as we stood in the the ankle deep goose poo, NB LG moved across to the meadows side, David was on the verge of doing the same when two mini cruisers shot into the last gap so we stayed.... almost all the moorings were taken by lunchtime, but it was the weekend coming.

I looked about and saw that NB Dulcieblue   HERE     was in town, we really weren't expecting to see them as I had thought they were in the upper reaches of the Thames.   We hailed them just as they saw us and they arrived for coffee, which carried on into wine, beer and snacks.  

NB Dulcieblue is a most striking boat, not only the lovely warm peachy colour which is so unusual but the decorative effect arty Sarah has achieved too around the portholes.  We met up with these two Chris and Sarah at the end of last summer at Hawkesbury Junction by good luck.

I neglected to take any photos so I have stolen this shot from Sarah's blog.

Wwll the reason we landed up here in Abingdon is really for me.  I was included (in my last daughter to get married in September)  her Hen Do in London, it was all very hush hush as she didn't want a Hen Do.....  David had left the car here for me and it was a real easy jaunt down the M4 from here early the next morning.

It was a very nice Do you'll be happy to hear.  
Any pure Boating fans can look away now, but here are a few photos.....

It took the form of team games in the park, races in fancy dress costumes all very tasteful of course; 

Youngest daughter in a hotdog outfit doing the egg and spoon race, eggs not boiled!

Eldest daughter helping someone into the Ketchup outfit.

So this is me if you hadn't guessed... a spider and Bride id a Diplodocus, her favourite.

I think this wedding is going to be fun.

Afterwards there was gin and partying not quite till dawn, no photos of that but I did have slightly aching eyes the following morning.