Friday, 30 June 2017

Whee Hee...on the river proper now but where has summer gone?


Cannot believe we were sweltering this time last week.  Today it was back to 3 layers and almost needed gloves!!

Osney Lock   -   Big locks now, but no hard work.

Down past Christchurch Meadows and many of the university's boat houses on the left

Iffley Lock was on self service but even that is no chore as everything is mechanised.   
We had to wait a while at Sandford Lock, not due to traffic but due to lack of water.  The lock keeper came up and asked if we would mind waiting a while as he was trying to conserve water.  We were in no rush so on went the kettle!   Apparently all the weirs are right down and there is a great lack of water.

As we travelled down Geoff said he remembered why he was not so keen on rivers....there are long stretches where he gets bored!!  He is only coming this way because he knows I have wanted to come back this way for several years.  The added attraction is that Giles and family are quite close at Goring Heath and it is possible to hop down to London to have the odd day with Emma and Dave.

Geoff and Barney also miss out on their walking along the canal towpaths at a similar pace to the boat.   No so easy on the river.

Last lock of the day was Abingdon, the intended destination.   Watered etc at the top of the lock so we are good to stay here for a few days.   It was only late lunch time so there were several empty slots on the moorings.  We moored just below the lock in sight of the weir.  A great spot with tons of walking around here for Barney,.   Unfortunately it was too cold to sit out......

Total distance:8.80 miles 
Elapsed time:4h8m17s 
Average speed:2.13 mph (3.09 lock/mph) 


A bit warmer today although not sunny so after a few household duties and a walk to town for the paper and bread I managed a fair amount of sitting outside watching the world go by.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

On the river at last

The moorings st the end of the canal are not the most salubrious as can be seen from the picture above.   This is just a little way back from us.  The boat, together with several other obvious long term liveaboards is moored just across from the canal on a small backwater.  We have been told (don't know the truth of this) that although the towpath (to the right and just out of the picture) is the responsibility of CRT, the land adjacent to the backwater belongs to Oxford City Council.  As for the water it is below ISIS lock so presumably the Environment Agency.   With 3 bodies involved they probably cannot make a decision as to whose responsibility it is to get the area cleaned up.

Geoff decided to take a walk along the Botley road to acquire some more dog food.......High Priority!

On his way back he looked at the East Oxford Road moorings just down on the river and they had lots of space so we decided to move down.  It is quite a tight turn at the bottom of ISIS lock and it was not made easier as a boat arrive onto the pontoon to go up the lock.  However all was achieved without incident.  We had taken our aerials off the roof as the railway bridge just after the lock and Osney Bridge are quite low.  In the event I think we would have just scraped through as the river is not very high at the moment.

We had our pick of places, although it filled up later on.  Mooring here is free for the first night and then £5 a night for up to 2 extra nights.  We think this is quite reasonable.  You have to ring in to the number on the notice and announce your arrival and apparently they call you back if there is anything to pay.  This seems more realistic than the notices in Banbury and Oxford where it is 48 hours but a £25 a day charge if you do they collect the money........

Total distance:0.53 miles 
Elapsed time:0h24m41s 
Average speed:1.47 mph (1.47 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Day trip to London

The end of Paddington Basin has altered since our last visit by boat a few years ago
The weather was promising to be iffy on Tuesday so we decided to stay over a day up at the end of the canal.  Since the station was so close it seems reasonable to have a little trip down to London.  Emma was free as this is the last week before she starts her new job, so plans were made!

We had a little wander and remedial cup of coffee in Paddington Basin on arrival.  The boat end is much as I remember it from our visit here on Petroc a few years ago, still very full of boats.  However the far end has been developed. there are small gardens and several coffee and eating establishments. There are also several mobile food outlets.    Although it was not doing so today (rain instead) I imagine the wind still whistles through the area because of the high rise buildings.  We shall not venture down this far on Petroc as it is too difficult with Barney.

After a short museum visit to the Welcome Museum  (Medical) we adjourned for early afternoon tea in the Park Grand Hotel Lancaster Gate.........

Tea was finished off with a glass of Prosecco!!
A good day out.......These little fixes of the hub bub of a city make me appreciate my quiet life.

Monday, 26 June 2017

On the move again

Not exactly a big trip today.  We had decided that if there was room just before Isis lock we would linger there for a couple of days and lo and behold there was a Petroc sized slot.

We are moored opposite the two pictures above.   Is it a pipe dream or will it happen.

See Future Heritage Group   The site does seem to indicate that they have planning far we can see no sign of activity.

Total distance:0.64 miles 
Elapsed time:0h54m0s 
Average speed:0.71 mph (0.71 lock/mph) 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Weekend in Oxford

Along the Thames path en route to The Perch pub
Friday I took the bus up to Summertown.  This is definitely the upmarket end of Oxford.

The shops shout it out!!!  Even the charity shops charge more for second hand books than in other places............

The moorings where we are are, are  designated as `Quiet Moorings` as we are in a residential area and next to a children's playground.   We are asked to keep to a minimum the running of engines, no loud music and only to burn smokeless fuel.  They are all very reasonable requests but I have to say most of the noise comes from said playground.!!!   Not that we are bothered as that is what children's playgrounds are for.    As for the running of engines I am not sure who would hear them apart from other boaters.  The houses opposite are set so well back from the canal they could not possibly hear.

Saturday  we went up to Summertown for our weekly cooked breakfast.  This was in Joes Cafe where we had a very good meal........definitely not a greasy spoon!!  Then our first weekend visitors arrived. Tony and Di Fletcher.   We had a good walk across Port Meadow, round part of the Thames Path and found a delightful pub, The Perch.  Obviously a well known and popular pub but we managed to find a table in the garden where the fellows consumed a couple of ales before returning to Petroc for supper.

Sunday  A leisurely start to the day as the service at St Margarets was not until 10.30.  A big choir of adults and children, lots of children departed for Sunday School and there were two children being baptised.   Then we had our second weekend visitors Geoff and Gill Smith.   This time we had lunch on board before the 3 of us did the walk across Port Meadow.  Geoff magnanimously volunteered to stay  behind and do the clearing up.

Tomorrow the Thames beckons with vague thoughts of Abingdon towards the end of the week.   We are promised a change in the weather though.  Tomorrow looks OK but Tuesday does not so we shall see.

Whilst we have been here there have been very few other boat moored and there is room for at least 8 boats, we cant work out where they have all gone.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

and so to Oxford

Thankfully the day promises to be cooler than of late

The busy A34 is the high bridge and Geoff has opened the little one for me!
Not sure how effective these would be as the boat was moored in lovely shade

Waiting our turn
Wow....big trip today.  We didn't moor until 1415...unheard of on Petroc.   Cant remember why we were so slow....under 5 miles!!

We found a mooring by Aristotle bridge in what we think is a wonderful spot.   A park right opposite which is handy for short walks but just further we can go over the railway bridge into the vast Port Meadow and walk round to the river.   A two minute walk to a small deli....bit strange really...expensive and they don't take out Telegraph coupons.   However there is a pub adjacent and a church just round the corner.   A 10 minute walk takes us to plentiful buses going to various places.

Total distance:4.45 miles 
Elapsed time:5h24m38s 
Average speed:0.82 mph (1.38 lock/mph) 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Still sweltering

We decided on an early start on Tuesday.  We needed water and shade!!

Thrupp has been a very congenial stop, the surroundings are pretty and well kept.  They have a plethora of Dog Bins which is very helpful.  Two pubs and a tea room, Sani station and a book swap...even a small shop withing a 10 min walk, and Kidlington a slightly longer walk.  There are also buses into Oxford or Banbury,  The only sad thing was that the Community Woodland has become very overgrown and one cannot venture too far without long trousers because of nettles.  Very sad as there are some lovely walks.

We knew there was a water point not far beyond Thrupp.  It is in rather an awkward place on a bend just after a long bridge.  It is almost impossible to moor conveniently and not obstruct the canal.   We just hoped no one else was moving yet.

The bigger problem was that the tap had a strange thread on it.  Despite Geoff rifling through his many variations of connector he couldn't find one that would fit.   Still we had to have water so he had to stand there holding it on and getting well sprayed...

Needless to say we just took on a minimum amount or we would have been there all day!
Luckily no one else was around so we were not in the way.   Only about another 1/2 a mile and before the lock we found a nice shady spot.   It is not devoid of sun but a definite improvement.

We decided to stay over for a day as Geoff had spied a barber in Kidlington.

 He went early before the heat set in and we have had another day of just trying to keep cool..
 However I did manage to wash one side of the boat before it became too hot.  I had no intention of doing this, just saw a few dirty marks  and decided to wash them off and before I knew it I was doing the whole side!!!  I waited until Geoff returned before climbing on the bow to wash the front windows.   I thought it might be foolish on my own as it is easy to slip in when wet.

There is vague talk of thunderstorms but we have taken a chance and not closed everything up as it is still so hot.

We have paid for our Gold licence so River Thames here we come

Total distance:1.18 miles 
Elapsed time:1h11m2s 
Average speed:1.00 mph (1.00 lock/mph)

Monday, 19 June 2017

Fathers day in Thrupp

Not a breath of wind at 9.45pm when Barney and I went for a last stroll.

For the last few days the only time I could venture out was very early morning or late has been hot

Giles and Zan and the children arrived for lunch on Sunday.  We ate at the Jolly Boatman where we did eventually find some shade and it was great to see them all.  The food left a bit to be desired however.   Giles and Geoff did best as they ordered steaks which they were very pleased with, but I had the roast which was overdone beef and veg including burnt roast potatoes and a very small Yorkshire pud!!  Zan opted for prawn and avocado salad to which they had forgotten to add the avocado.   When we pointed this out the very least they could have done was come out with some but no such luck.

Today has been just as hot so much reading done interspersed with cold showers!

Lovely cooler walk this evening though.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Hot Hot Thrupp


Emma departed this morning, we were sorry to see her go.   She has had a very laid back week which was just what she needed.  

Later in the morning we had another visitor....Maffi appeared, lots of chat, tea, snack lunch and a beer later he departed.

I have decided that this is the ideal spot for a Tesco shop and drop so have commenced my list.   I had to go across to one of the cottages to ask for their post code and found a very friendly blues musician in the process of moving out.


Today it is too hot to do anything.....we managed our cooked breakfast in Annies Tea Rooms and very good it was too.

Bones appeared just before we went for our breakfast offering a lift for a Sainsburys shopping run which was very kind of her, however we declined as the shop and drop was organised and also it would have been very hot shopping!

The rest of the day has been spent down below just trying to keep cool.  I am hoping that later on it will cool off and I can emerge and maybe sit on the side for a quick Pimms!!!

Tomorrow, Father's Day, we have the grandchildren coming.   We had trouble booking somewhere for lunch as The Boat was fully booked.  However the Boat Inn has managed to find us a table for 2.30 so we will not starve.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Towards Thrupp

Shipton Weir Lock
Decided on a relatively early start as it was a very bright morning and I wanted to get going before it was too hot.

Geoff having an easier time than normal as Emma is there to help with the locks.   She is having a very relaxing week after her stressful time at work before she left.

Geoff walked ahead to see what was available at Thrupp.  Initially it did not look too promising as all the 14 day moorings before the Thrupp swing bridge were full.  Going through the swing bridge also did not look hopeful, however there was just space on the far end of the 7 day moorings with our bow on the 2 day!!  Before we had even boiled the kettle the boat behind departed so we were able to pull back.  Great spot and here we can stay for the weekend which is good as we are expecting Giles and the tribe for Fathers Day.

Total distance:2.04 miles 
Elapsed time:1h26m36s
Average speed:1.42 mph (2.80 lock/mph) 

and a bit further south

Not a sight we see often this far from the sea!!
Not an early start this morning as we had to wait for the shop to open at 9.  We needed the Elsan point and a new gas cylinder.

Emma, Barney and I walked to the first lock by which time it was getting a bit too hot for me.....musn`t complain about the sun!

The loose plan was to moor below Bakers Lock but who should we discover moored at the top of the lock??

Note Boots and Barney studiously ignoring one another.
At Enslow there are no facilities for visitors to moor.  After the pub there is a long line of visitors moorings and not a single space for visitors.

There was just room for us to moor in front of Bones so we decided to remain........after supper she came aboard for the odd glass of wine...or two.....a great evening with much chat.

Total distance:5.24 miles 
Elapsed time:2h27m40s
Average speed:2.06 mph (3.16 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

...and a tiny bit further but still in Lower Heyford.

Off early this am to water the boat and get a mooring just after the water point so that we were convenient for the gas engineers visit.   Needless to say Emma stayed in bed whilst all the manoeuvring was going on!  She is having a very chilled out few days after finishing a very stressful job and before starting the next one.

As promised Clive the engineer turned up about 5.45.   He could smell the gas as soon as he opened the gas locker.   He was there just over an hour.  He found a leak at one of the joints and also tested all the gas feed to the cooker.  It took him a while to find the test point...apparently all boats have one somewhere.  Since we were not aware of this we didn't have a clue where it was.  We had to take out all the back cushions in the saloon and it was found lurking in a corner there.   He had some weird machine to set on it to do a thorough testing.

So leak is repaired and I am a much happier bunny!!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Day out in Oxford

An early start today to move closer to the station as the plan was to meet Emma and do some grocery shopping.

I caught the 9.45am into Oxford and Emma came up from Clapham Junction.

We had a lovely gentle day walking all along the river and round Christchurch meadows and having a leisurely lunch at the Head of the River pub.

We nearly met up with Maffi.  We saw his boat the Milly M across the river as we were walking on the other side.  No sign of anyone on board, but later had a message to say he thought he had seen us somewhere in Oxford....not sure where.

After a good lunch we hit Sainsburys to stock up on fruit and veg etc.    There is a small shop in the boatyard at Heyford, but not much fresh produce.  It was a slower walk back to the station as we were laden down with a rucksack of shopping and the dreaded wheelie!!  Still Geoff was at the station to meet us as we were wilting a bit by then.

Later I had another moan about the smell of gas which as usual fell on deaf ears as far as Geoff was concerned, but Emma added a little weight to my plea and a couple who had stopped to chat also confirmed they could smell it.  So decision taken I called the Gas engineer whose details we had been given.   We are promised a visit tomorrow, Tuesday after he has finished a job in Banbury.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Weekend in Lower Heyford

The moorings at Lower Heyford is conveniently placed right alongside the station.
However we chose to stay just north for the weekend in a lovely secluded spot with just one other boat there and no restriction on length of stay,

Saturday was a little bit of a domestic day for me, I had ambition to do some cleaning of our blinds, unfortunately by the time I had had a thorough damp dust and sweep through, the ambition had faded somewhat and they will have to wait for another day.

Sunday was Family Service in the local church where everyone was very friendly and they even served ground coffee afterwards which pleased Geoff.  We were very envious of the area at the back of their church where they had removed 8 pews and now had not only a very sociable area but also a kitchen and toilet.   It was all very tastefully done without detracting from the rest of the church where the pews remained.

Lunch at the Bell Inn followed, which was extremely food value.  Starter and roast for £9.95.

Of course we had to up the ante by being greedy and having a dessert as well.

We would have moved closer to the station later but since we had a good TV picture we didn`t want to risk losing it as Poldark was restarting!

Friday, 9 June 2017

and a little bit further again towards Lower Heyford.

A bit further to go today as Emma is coming to visit on Monday for a few days.  She is between jobs as she finished one one today and doesn't start the new one for a couple of weeks.  Lower Heyford was our intended destination for the weekend anyway and there is a convenient station right alongside the canal for trains to Oxford or Banbury.

Somerton Deep Lock (12 ft) was the first of the day

Its a long way down!

At Heyford Common Lock next we had some cow gongoozlers!

It was still quite windy which makes life interesting at times.   We decided to stop short of Lower Heyford as we found a delightful mooring spot.   Just one other boat there and a good wide towpath so Barney and I were able to sit out in the afternoon sun.

Total distance:4.51 miles   Gosh we have done nearly 5 miles today......
Elapsed time:2h23m52s 
Average speed:1.88 mph (3.13 lock/mph)

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Not a good decision to move today

We ummed and ahhed about moving today but decided we were just being lazy so though we might move on a couple of miles...not the best decision we have ever made.    The rain started just as we left our mooring and became steadily worse.   The only thing in our favour was that it was warmish rain!!!!
We stopped short of our intended mooring place as we were soaked.   Only 2 locks and the second of those was Ayno Weir lock which is diamond shaped and not my favourite lock.

At least once we are moored up and down below we are dry and warm.  Thank goodness we decided to have to hot water tank inside an airing cupboard when we had Petroc built...on days like this it really comes into its own as after the engine has been running a while it gets beautifully warm inside there.

Total distance:1.11 miles 
Elapsed time:1h16m27s
Average speed:0.87 mph (2.44 lock/mph) 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Goodbye Banbury

After being idle for so many days we decided we better push on a bit.

As promised Tuesday was not a good weather day so we stayed put, taking it in turns to take Barney out and we did some shopping at Morrisons which was a longer walk than I had bargained for!

Today we decided on an early start so we might find the sani station free!  We were off at 7.30pm but the water point above the lock was free so we decided to use that.   Watering took a while as it had been nearly a week and whilst we were there at least 7 boats came past and went down the lock.  Everyone trying to catch up because of the grotty weather of the past 2 days.

Our turn now

Goodbye Banbury

A gentle trip as we were not in a rush,   However quite long by our standards this year.

Total distance:4.91 miles 
Elapsed time:3h58m33s 
Average speed:1.24 mph (1.99 lock/mph) 

Monday, 5 June 2017

Winter in Banbury

Today that's what it feels like!!
However it has not been like this for all of our stay here so cannot complain too loudly.

We stayed on the very congenial mooring just short of the 48 hour places.  It was very handy for walking Barney around the reservoir and also not too bad a trip to Tesco's.  However it was a 25 min walk to the station for my trip to London to see Emma and Dave on Friday.

This was a brief but pleasant trip to collect mail.  Emma and I had a lovely walk along the banks of Old Father Thames on Saturday morning followed by cooked breakfast in their local greasy spoon....very good it was too.   Later I met Maggie for an early supper before catching the train back to Banbury.

Sunday we went to St Mary's Church in the centre of Banbury and then we had been invited to Ian & Christine Gillespies for Sunday lunch.  Sadly Geoff was not too well so I went alone.  I joined them for Choral Evensong in their local church in Deddington before they ran me home, where I found an ailing Geoffrey who had been asleep most of the afternoon.

Today he is somewhat improved but 'not 100%`  I was informed.......

We decided it as time to move and had intended to go through the lock and visit the sani station and then see where we ended up.   However the promised rain started as we reached the centre and as there was a convenient mooring place we decided to call it a day.......and as you can see below we did not travel far!..

The forecast for tomorrow does not seem much better so we may stay over and take our full 48 hours we are allowed.

Total distance:0.64 miles 
Elapsed time:0h22m46s 
Average speed:1.69 mph (1.69 lock/mph)