Friday, 21 September 2018

Aren`t canals narrow!!!

Isis Lock at the end of the Oxford canal.
It takes a bit of acclimatising to get used to the canals after being on the Thames for so long.

We lingered at the bottom of the Oxford for a day so that Geoff could take the train down for lunch with Emma and Kensa. can multi task
Kensa reportedly had her best nights sleep after Geffiepa had departed !!!
By now I had succumbed to a very nasty cold but manfully (or do I mean womanly) struggled on for the trip to Thrupp on Wednesday... We were lucky enough to find a mooring although there were a lot of boats around.  

By Thursday I retired to my bed and we decided to stay over another day......I was very cross as I had planned to go down to London on the Thursday evening but common sense told me that taking my cold to a baby was not the best of ideas.

Friday saw improvement and I decided I might live after we were off at 0815 on a beautiful if crisp morning.   We had forgotten how narrow this part of the Oxford can be in places.   We struggled with a couple of the locks.  At the first we had no idea what was trapping me half way in and only solved the problem when a kind gentleman appeared and helped Geoff pulling on the rope to aid the large amount of throttle I was having to use.  At the next it took four men pushing hard on the gate to open it sufficiently for me to slide in.

Happily on reaching our intended destination of Lower Heyford, our preferred mooring spot right just before the start of the permanent moorings was free.

How well we had timed it.   After a lovely morning we had no sooner raised the pram hood at the stern than the rain came......

Some time later I heard a loud cursing from the back and discovered Geoffrey not very pleased with himself.   He had left the spare set of boat keys in the control box of the lifting bridge as we left Thrupp.   Several phone calls later we have located them as some kind person took them to Annies tea room at Thrupp.  Giles had said he might call by tomorrow so he is going to pick them up and deliver them....we hope......

So train ticket for London is booked for tomorrow.  Having seen the weather forecast it looks like we are in for a wet weekend.   Not fir for travelling by boat....

Total distance:7.18 miles Elapsed time:3h32m28s
Average speed:2.03 mph (3.44 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Goodbye Old Father Thames......Hello Canals

A reasonably gentle start from Abingdon on Sunday and a long wait at the lock.   Two rowing boats overtook us on the way up to the lock and went in before us!  This took some time as at one stage the flow was too strong for them and they had to stop and start the filling sequence again.   However we were not going far so waited patiently.......

Watered at the top and then we were on our way to our intended destination of the moorings at Sandford Lock

Shortly after leaving we came across some motor bike scrambling which Geoff decided he rather fancied!!

Eventually found good mooring at Sandford Lock at the 3rd attempt.   We tried the spot just before the lock but the height was just wrong for us, we ended up sliding under the pontoon and rubbing along the topsides, so gave that up.  Went through the lock and tried on the side by the pub but the space there wasn't very satisfactory either and also not so good for Barney.   With the lock keepers permission we tagged on the end of the permitted moorings on the other side which were ideal.  Later the other two boats departed and we were able to move up a bit.   All that manoeuvring wore me out!

Later we visited the Kings Arms and had our Sunday Lunch.........well I had my Sunday roast but Geoff fell foul of a Mixed Grill........

Monday saw a leisurely start and Barney and I walked up to Iffley Lock whilst Geoff meandered slowly along.

We had slight problems at the lock.   The idea was for me to hop on Petroc with Barney but he flatly refused to walk along the walkway on the waiting pontoon.   So we had to effect a handover up at the lock.   
Here at Iffley lock, apparently the lock keeper is not allowed to open the lock gates until the boats waiting have actually moved forward.  The walkway across is a public right of way and the locals complain if they are held up too long!   This explained the frantic waving to me to come forward....I normally wait util I see the gates opening at least.   

Still we were onward eventually and thence through the last lock on the Thames at Osney.    Geoff walked round the corner with Barney and I ducked under the low bridges and round the extremely tight turn into our first lock back onto the Oxford canal.   Plenty of room to moor and who should be there but Maffi on Millie after a long coffee and catch up we settled down for the rest of the day.   

Sept 17th
Total distance:4.49 miles Elapsed time:2h8m32s Locks:Bridges:13 
Average speed:2.10 mph (3.50 lock/mph) 

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Back to Abingdon

On Tuesday I hopped on a bust back to Giles in Woodcote to collect something I had left behind......bus passes are great.......but some of the drivers think they are on a roller coaster round some of the country lanes!  

Decide to go 3/4 of the way to Abingdon so I could make my getaway...yes again....on Thursday lunchtime.   We moored at Clifton Lock where there is space for possibly two boats above the lock for which the lock keeper will kindly relieve you of £9.50p   Nothing much there but pleasant and quiet and walking distance to both a shop and a pub!

Total distance:8.08 miles Elapsed time:2h8m57s
Average speed:3.76 mph (5.15 lock/mph) 

Thursday morning was beautifully clear and sunny but with a decided nip in the air.

Appleford railway bridge showing how clear and still the river is.

Didcot power station is visible for a fair way along this stretch.

We slowed down to snails pace past these fishermen, they looked so peaceful it was a shame to disturb them
Quite a few boats passed us going in the opposite direction which boded well for space at Abingdon.

We were there soon after 1030 and could have had our pick of places, how much quieter than when we were on our way downstream.   We moored close to the bridge and I set off for the bus to Didcot and thence the train to London and grand daughter.   Abingdon is rather rather unobliging in that it does not boast a railway station, although I gather it did many years ago.

The journeys to Emmas are longer now so I stay two nights

Back at Abingdon now, Saturday and onward we go tomorrow.   Geoff reports that it has remained very quiet here.

Total distance:4.33 miles Elapsed time:1h29m3s Locks:Bridges:4 
Average speed:2.92 mph (3.59 lock/mph) 

Monday, 10 September 2018

Heading slowly upstream

Still travelling slowly to cater for my trips to London.   The train journeys are a little longer now so I am only going down once a week but staying 2 nights.   WE left Henley on Thursday (6th) and a rather early hour, just before 7am and decided to stop in Sonning on the moorings before the lock. 

En route we stopped briefly to shop at Tesco where we were surprised to find plenty of space on the new moorings outside and not a sign of a mooring restriction notice anywhere!

An interesting sign at Sonning

If we had gone through the lock to the Thames visitor moorings we could have had one free night but these mooring looked so inviting we stayed,  
 Another early start on Friday to make sure we could get a mooring in Pangbourne Meadows.
Bridge before Sonning Lock
Good choice of mooring places as we were early but sadly no TV picture so there was moaning from the skipper!!

We were positioning ourselves so that I could take the 3 grandchildren out for the day.  Luckily Boe is now nearby and she came to assist!  She also is running our little second car at the moment so that made it very convenient.  Emma (who was not coming!) had suggested Legoland near Windsor which seemed a good idea.   Some preplanning was required and we managed to acquire the wherewithal to get 1/2 price tickets which was great, this meant the balance could be spent on their Q jumping tickets.   Without these the day would not have been as successful.  
Giles dropped off the children at 8am at Pangbourne station and we caught the train to Maidenhead where Boe collected us.

I even went on most of the rides, but have to say that Legoland is not a patch on Disney.  To be fair my memory of Disney Florida may be a little ancient.  Emma, Boe and I went there for 2 weeks 22 years ago!   It was fantastic.......


Luckily we had prepared ourselves with picnic food to snack on through the day.  If the cup of Cappuchino I purchased was anything to go by the food would not have been great!

Boe and I stayed over to babysit whilst Giles and Susannah took the opportunity to have a night away all on their own.  

Later on Sunday Geoff was collected and we all had a family supper.  

Today, Monday 10th was moving on day, but a much gentler start.

Just as we reached Goring Lock, 2 narrowboats appeared just ahead of us.  Luckily the lock is long enough to accommodate all of us.

Goring Lock in company
Looking across from Goring Lock
We then proceeded at snails pace up to Cleeve lock.  It seemed rude to overtake for such a short distance but it was painful!  Cleeve Lock was on Self Service so Geoff hopped off to help as the other two boats were single handing.   We then had trouble getting in as the lock is shorter than Goring Lock.  However by persuading them to shuffle up a bit and putting ourselves diagonally across behind them we managed it.

To our great delight the other two boats stopped to water above Cleeve lock

Wallingford was a lot quieter than when we came down so found a mooring easily.

Total distance:10.35 miles Elapsed time:2h53m45s Locks:Bridges:5 
Average speed:3.57 mph (4.61 lock/mph) 

Monday, 3 September 2018

Trapped in Henley

Its just so pleasant on the moorings here, we cant seem to tear ourselves away!  Admittedly the weather is helping......not the too hot type of several weeks ago but definitely sitting out watching the world go by on the river.   I am off to London again tomorrow for the night and Geoff has decided he would rather be here than Reading.  So we shall stay until Thursday.
Up market trip boat

Another trip boat with a difference
On Saturday after my return from London, Anne & Keith came to visit and we had a very pleasant couple of hours river watching with cream tea followed by pre dinner drinks.  We then had a good meal in the Giggling Squid. 

Family picnic on Sunday

For this Geoff had to dig deep into the back locker for the boarding ladder so that that the boys could go swimming.

For the first time Barney decided to do a disappearing act when he went out for his last wee.  Normally he is very obliging he nips out, quick wee and back again, all within our sight.
Tonight he decided to go walkabout and disappeared into the far far bushes.   This resulted in both of us out (me in my nightie!) with torches.   Geoff found him eventually at the far side of the field in the bushes......there must have been something very interesting in there.

A possible break through has occurred with the restoration of my data for our personal finance program.    After all my computer problems this was the last one left to resolve.  However with the help of George in Northern Ireland (don't ask!) I think we may be close to the end of the road....fingers still slightly crossed but not as tightly as previously.