Saturday, 31 August 2013

Rushey Lock

LOL. Got enough space there?

Duxford Farm, last night. King Alfred was here (Chimney meadows), signing a peace treaty, many many years ago.

The last surviving trees on the Bryant & May estate. The rest were turned into matchsticks. Some of these bends have become silted up and *really* shallow. Though, thankfully, I didn't run aground.

Tadpole Bridge, allegedly the oldest on the thames. I did not ram it. On the other side, the fine weather and the weekend had brought out the maggot starers in large numbers (fishermen). Their hobby doesn't appear to make them very happy, because they are always scowling at boats when they go past.

This pair of idiots had plonked themselves right in the middle of the Rushey lock moorings. They could see I was struggling to get alongside, because the wind kept blowing me off. Their sunbathing was more important than helping me. So I left the engine running for a couple of hours. Ha!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


In the winter of 1636, some of the Welsh sheriffs were bringing up their Ship Money to Charles I and, "as they were to be transported by Ensam ferry, by reason of the...tempest, & unrulynes of some horses & overloading of the boate, 3 or 4 were drown'd, £8OO lost for a time, & 8 persons with some horses escaped by swimming."

Thankfully, it was calmer today. Not a puff, ripple or raindrop.

The 24 hour moorings were both full, when I pottered down to Eynsham at 11:30 in the sunshine, this morning. Which was what I was expecting. People buffing up their buckby cans. So I just ditched the rubbish, filled up with water and headed back upstream again.

Found a place to stop on the free meadows just past the toll bridge. Which, thankfully, has internet access, so I can order up some shopping. Faced with the choice of crossing Swinford bridge again (death by wing mirror), or gambling that I can find a mooring up at Bablock Hythe, I've opted for the latter.

Eynsham is a lovely, quaint, picturesque and historical place. With bags of character. It has it's own butcher and baker. And boasts (at least) three pubs. But it also a long way to have to lug your shopping back from, down to the river.

I'll probably lose phone and internet signal around the next bend. So maybe no more photos or updates for a couple of days. But I hope everyone has a good weekend.


Swinford Meadows

I'm still waiting for Oxford Cruisers to get back to us, so we can get our BSC examination done. Bit of a drag having to just hang around, but the bank holiday weekend was ridiculously busy with boats going upstream. So, in a way, I was grateful not to have to jostle with them for mooring space. When the shiny boats pile out of their marinas there aren't enough 24 hour spots to go around. And the little GRP cruisers just plonk themselves in the middle of popular mooring places, so they don't have to share with anyone else. There hasn't been much boater cameraderie on display.

Here I am, nestled in amongst all the other overstayers. I decided to oik the batteries out for an inspection, and was alarmed to see that their fluid level was quite low. An inch of the lead plates sticking up out of the water. Eek! I hope I haven't boiled them dry. Topped up with distilled water, and am hoping for the best.

Four letters missing.

I've had no internet reception for a week. Didn't miss it that much, and I got through several good books that I had queued up. The walks for Sumo were enjoyable, though. And he got to help himself to blackberry bushes, which he always loves.

Relaxation factor = 8.5

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Northfield Farm Meadows

Sheena went back down to Devon this morning. It's her month for caring duty. We're booked in with 'Oxford Cruisers' for a flue replacement and BSS examination, so I'm pottering about on the reaches above Oxford, until I get the phonecall.

Phew...Made it to Godstow lock without running aground. It's a beautiful stretch of water, with horses and cattle roaming freely on the meadows. But, ever since I read that a cow can walk across it in the summer, it's a relief to get to the other side safely. I saw an egret wading around in the mud, on the way up.

Made the most of an opportunity to carry out some impromptu hull maintainence, at the East street mornings ~ Oxford. Great place for a food delivery. Though it was completely full with boats by 11am most mornings.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Lechlade & Back

Twisty, Turny. We've had a lovely time. Both of us glad we made the decision to come up here, and avoid the summer rush of lower down the river. No massive queues for locks. No jostling for mooring space, or asking grumpy cruiser owners to "budge up a bit" (please). We've encountered very few other boats on the way, and have just been pootling along at tickover speed for most of the journey. Stress factor = 0%.

The bridge at Newbridge. Built in 1285. Destroyed by Puritans in the Civil war, but later rebuilt. Tadpole bridge (further on upstream) may be older, but it only has the one large central span, and lacks the charm and character of this one.

Moored up on the Wedding reception lawn, so that Mister could have a good old run around.

Everything was going fine, until we got to Newbridge, where our throne broke. The plastic pegs buried inside the kickstarter had sheared off, so the little ball wouldn't spin anymore. Eek! Headed back to Oxford Cruisers, where Mark kindly sold us a new secondhand pedestal from a hireboat at a heavily discounted price. Cheers! Dismantled the toilet, scrubbed everything down and reassembled. Sorted. What a lovely job, when I should have been sat out on the back deck, with my feet up, enjoying a Pimms (or two).

Dragonflies all over the place. Sheena spotted 14 in less than an hour.

Panorama of Bablock Hythe. We managed to get our first Tesco home shopping delivery to the boat here. Wonderful! Having ice and six days worth of meals onboard made a tremendous difference to our journey. Thanks for the tutorial on getting it sorted, Sue.

Picked up this passenger on our way upstream. He seemed quite used to human company, and only moved when Sheena wondered if he was hungry, and chucked a poppy cracker at him.

The spire of Lechlade, viewed from our kitchen window. An hour after we'd moored up, Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell from BBC soap 'Eastenders') chugged by on his barge "Barbara". We got woken up at 8.30am the next morning, by a farmer banging on the roof wanting his 4 quid.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

To Oxford

Sumo has conjunctivitus. We have to take him back to the vet in 10 days, so we can't be venturing too far away from Abingdon. We're thinking that we can make it up to Pinkhill resevoir or Bablock Hythe, before we have to turn around and head back again.

We had some lovely weather. It's nice to be back on the Isis again. Further upstream than we managed last year, because of all the bad weather and flooding.

Sheena, giving it some welly.
Nothing popped, rattled or fell off.
A good day's cruise.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

To Abingdon

After more than a few relaxing days in the shade and bushes of Wallingford, we are on the move again... Yesterday, we made our way up to Abingdon, where we are extremely lucky to get the last space in town. A boat was pulling out, just as we were arriving. Otherwise, the place was completely stuffed. They came back an hour later, and were quite miffed to see that someone else was in 'their' space. Sorry, but that's the way it goes, isn't it?

The journey wasn't too bad, though the stretch from Days lock to Culham was as boring as usual. Baking heat, nowhere to stop, and a dozen different views of Didcot power station. Thankfully, our little 2 cylinder engine did us proud again. And the alternator held on with 'two bits of string' (cable ties), didn't chew up any more fan belts. All good.

Heron on nest, snapped by Sheena.

Edit: to call the Culham reach 'boring' is an overstatement, on reflection. It was the Thames. And it was sunny. Parts of the journey through it were "very nice". We saw herons, dragonflies, damsel flies, and baby coots. It's a shame that the predominant vista is "power station". But I suppose, they have to go *somewhere*.


We are in Abingdon, counting our blessings. There was an accident at Bourne End Marina, on the exact spot where 'dogma' is normally berthed. Their vintage tug is completely squashed. Could so easily have been us.

More pictures here.