Saturday 1 September 2018

We finally leave the Thames

We were leaving the fabulous Godstow Abbey behind today.   We were short of Dukes Cut (A quick way through to the Oxford Canal avoiding the lower section of the canal with several locks and a lift bridge or two)  short of Dukes Cut by a lock on the Thames, but we decided to go past Dukes Cut to Eynsham Lock where there are services we wanted. 

On the lock landing was a boat we had passed several times both on the Oxford canal and again on the Thames, striking colours of tangerine and pea green I had remembered it particularly as we had asked to come alongside at Days lock one time so I could dispose of our rubbish, the Captain had come across nervous, he asked us to be careful as it was a new paint job.  Obviously we intended to careful no matter what state the other boat was, but suddenly the wife appeared and offered to take our bag to save the mooring thing.....  Well that same boat was on the extended lock landing here today, but with a board across the cratch doorway.....

I enquired of the lock keeper had it been broken into....?  No he said,  Oh it's a sad tale, the owners had it repainted in the spring with the intention of selling it at the end of this year and they were out for their last trip when their friend was helming it and he crashed into another boat! 
Well, you would cry wouldn't you?  Very sad.

On the short hop up to Eynsham were some shallow areas close to the banks marked by buoys "So" says David, which side am I supposed to go of these buoys?  I was pretty sure so I quoted him the old adage that "There is never any port left" which is fine but I do agree with him.... which side do you go when you are returning down stream?  

The locks are hand propelled up this end.

Lock beams too, it felt a bit odd seeing them.

The countryside is flatter and quite open, some husbands might go so far as to say a bit boring.

Over exposed but I captured him as he was taking flight.

We winded below the lock, as all the services were below and headed back towards Dukes Cut.  Our licence on the Thames expired today, one calendar month.  I have loved it.

The next shots are of the eclectic collection of craft moored on the cut.  I would hazard a guess that they occupy a "No-Mans Land" of waterway here, between CART  who operate the canals and the Enviroment Agency who do the rivers, possibly without any proof I say avoiding some aspect of the required licences.... 

Nice paint job.

Then from a wide section it bends and suddenly narrows.

Then bends again.

This one was semi submerged, I can't imagine either agency volunteering to remove it.

I couldn't remember for a moment how to secure your windlass here, then the penny dropped.

I felt rather sad to be back on the canals here.  You come past some moorings, a sunken boat, arriving at the first lock with part of the working held together with gaffer tape, the trees are overgrown, the towpaths in places are falling away and the water levels low......

Is there any real prospect of improvement of the maintenance  situation?  
How long can these canals truly last with the increased boat numbers to the pleasure of all?  

This is the lock below we well and truly grounded in a month ago, as you can see the water levels have risen a bit in this section.

Favourite photo of the day, possibly the week.

I quite like the old style passing the new style here.

I haven't noticed Hops growing in the hedgerow before, I think they are very attractive.

 On the Friday before the Bank Holiday our daughter Fliss and SIL Leon arrived for the weekend, they came to Thrupp, we drove to Somerton to hide a car there, then drove back to Kirklington to have supper in the Oxford Arms, our third time this summer.  These two are a pair of Foodies, so we try to find a venue they'll appreciate and this one certainly came up trumps again.
I managed the potted shrimps, the pork loin and the chocolate hazelnut torte with HEAVENLY pistachio ice-cream.  
No breakfast was partaken the next morning.....

Nice and early we were off leaving Thrupp behind, topping up with water which took ages then doing the pretty river section of the Cherwell.  
The summer has been glorious, but on each occasion we've had guests its been horrid.  Tomorrows forecast was dodgy....
They both wanted to run, but after they looked at the perilous towpath they decided to give it a miss and try tomorrow.  We also wanted to make as much headway as possible as other friends were arriving in a few days time.
This is the lock at Heyford either big, great or upper Heyford, David swung WaL in and I jumped but Fliss was a bit slow, instead stepping off like a Lady at the entrance to the lock.  This one is a tricky one to line up, Leon declined to do it and I don't blame him...

Fliss missed the boat... (sorry)

There's a small by-wash here too, small.

In beautifully I have to write.

Natures palate, red black and pale green.  Good year for Elderberry wine I should think.

Sky started to blacken, but no problem as David said there's no rain forecast.

 But indeed it did rain, gently at first, drizzle then good old fashioned heavy rain.  The two guest went below and we hurriedly arrived at Somerton Meadows.  David wanted to moor as close to the gates as possible but the only problem is you can't see our favourite mooring until you've past all the bushes, if someone should be on your intended place then you have no choice but to continue.  

The rain lessoned, and I said as we passed the last of the armco, its almost stopped keep going, so we did and the rain hammered down harder than ever.  We moored put the heating on in August! We got up to our favourite place and no cows grazing to bother us.

Later the sun came out.

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