Day one. Left Reading at 9 to go through Blakes Lock which has no lock keeper. So we let ourselves down on to the river with Jan & Roy on 'Slicer'. A lovely hot sunshine day to enjoy the wonderful Thames. Much calmer now compared to our trip down in October. Already seeing river birds like grebe and cormorants. We plan to make for Days Lock which is about half way to Oxford.
On the way to Goring at lunchtime a cruiser passed us by to get into the lock first. We both entered behind. The lock keeper was away for his lunch and the crew of the cruiser was about to have theirs! "Not in the lock" we said and proceeded to operate the lock. Thankfully Cleve Lock was not far away so we all stopped on the river bank for lunch.
Sad to see that this particular lock is now un manned and some boaters are struggling to operate the locks correctly. Then we travelled 10 more miles passing Wallingford, through Benson Lock and on to Days. It seemed ages in the afternoon sun hoping to find somewhere to stop before the lock. But we knew there was a place just after the lock. During the day we observed that 12 narrowboats and 20 cruisers were on the move.
Day two. Another hot sunny day. Didcot power station was busy creating clouds. The boat is covered in little dead white fly's. Set off at 9 again, 4 miles to the next lock seems like for ever. Once again being passed by that same cruiser wanting to get in front. As we approached one lock it looked like one boat was moored well back so we went in front. "Wot do you think I'm 'ere for, me health you know?'', said Mr. Angry. He went to open the lock as the keeper was having his lunch. Then moved in and stopped half way, so we went in on the other side one behind the other as the keeper arrived.
Later we all entered Iffley Lock and were told about the Oxford Regatta. "Wait here till the race is over then you can proceed slowly down the centre". As we went through several 'eights' were passing us on both sides and in both directions, practicing for the next race. As we passed the rowing club houses they were crossing in front.
A seemly chaotic scene on the Thames in Oxford.
Osney Lock let us in but there was no room for our friends on 'Slicer'. We left first with Mr. Angry following and he turned off on to the Oxford canal at Isis Lock. Then we slowed down to let 'Slicer' catch up. By the time we had reached the next lock it was not long before they joined us. Two more locks on the Thames was far better than going up the dead end bit of the canal. Turned off along Dukes Cut to join the canal then on passed all those 'rubbish' boats moored for about a mile or so. Eventually finding somewhere pleasant to stop for the night. During our second day on the Thames we observed that 14 narrowboats and 11 cruisers were on the move. We had been moving for over 7 hours on each of those days.