Saturday, 17 May 2008


I am using a borrowed computer. Emma has taken pity on me and lent me hers until the weekend but at least I can get up to date and have even managed to upload some pictures. I am using my new mobile broadband modem from 3 which sometimes manages to pick up broadband and sometimes reverts to 3G connection. Even the broadband is nowhere near as fast as at home but with a good connection I can upload pictures, albeit one at a time and very slowly.

We have now reached Oxford. We went leisurely up the Thames to Lechlade from Tuesday to Friday. The countryside is lovely but very remote, most of the time passing through meadowlands and it is extremely bendy!! Despite being able to go a little faster than on the canals as you are not passing close to moored boats, the bends really do slow you down, some of them turning you almost 180 degrees.
The locks are all easy to use and all manned by lock-keepers. Occasionally he (or she) was absent and we worked them ourselves. All the lock-keepers cottages looked well kept and the gardens lovingly tended. Some of the keepers have been there most of their working life and as well as looking after the locks they look after the associated weir. With British Waterways threatening to sell off some of the cottages presumably their jobs are threatened.
Mooring is not as easy as we are used to as even in the places marked as suitable for 24 hour stay, the banks are very high. This is not good when one has on board an ageing dog with arthritis. As I said in the previous post the first night we moored by the Ferryman pub at Bablock Hythe and the bank was so high it took both of us to heave Ellie out and get her on board again.
Emma arrived with mail and since the Ferryman was closed on Tuesdays(sod's law) we drove to the Rose Revived at Newbridge. Here Emma treated us to dinner which was excellent and very reasonably priced. Weather was glorious.
The second night we moored on a pontoon by the Trout at Tadpole Bridge. It was for patrons only so we went up and had a pre dinner drink. As it happened we couldn't have eaten there as they were fully booked. It was more a gastro pub and the menu looked lovely but quite expensive. We felt that what we paid for two drinks covered our mooring fee!!

On Thursday morning we awoke to pouring rain but decided that we had to get on as friend Ronnie was meeting us in Lechlade. We had a very wet couple of hours before it lessened, taking it in turns to brave the weather.
By the time we reached Lechlade it had stopped raining and we made for a place which a passing boat had told us was good to moor. This was by a meadow field and we managed to put Petroc with the cratch entrance by a piece of bank that was just right for Ellie!
Ronnie arrived about 5pm and, once again thanks to a passing boat, we went to eat in the small Chinese restaurant in the town. Only 4 tables but the food was excellent and not expensive, and the service extremely friendly.

Friday morning we left early (0710) and first went further up to the Round House which is the head of navigation and then began the long trek back. We had originally thought we would stop at the Rose Revived but the mooring was on a very high bank again so decided to carry on to Oxford. It was a dull grey day but at least it was dry and the forecast was for heavy rain on Saturday.
We went through Dukes cut with the intention of mooring at Wolvercote. However it was not very salubrious there so carried further down beyond bridge 240 almost as far as Jerico. We have moored here previously just adjacent to a small park. 3 days up to Lechlade and one day back but we were all quite tired at the end of the day.

We had arranged for Tony & Di Fletcher to visit for the evening as Ronnie is a friend of theirs also. I cooked on board and another pleasant evening was had by all. We can manage to seat and feed 5 quite easily but it would be a bit of a squash for 6.

Very leisurely morning on Saturday after our long day yesterday.....Geoff missed out on his siesta! However he was up bright and early and off exploring to determine exactly where we were in relation to roads. Ronnie was being picked up by her daughter Emma so directions were needed. He also managed to find a church for Sunday and a possible pub for Sunday lunch. At lunchtime after Ronnie's departure we visited the pub to ascertain its suitability for lunch and were favourably impressed so have booked for tomorrow as we expect to see John and Rosi Lillis.

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