Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cruising down the river

While at Abingdon we walked across the lock and along the riverbank in the shade of the trees. Back at the boat we were entertained by the antics of an incompetent boater trying to maneuver his boat between the water point, weir and lock. It took several attempts as boats kept getting in his way. Next morning all was clear and we pulled Moore 2 Life on to the water point. When our tank was full the lock keeper arrived to open the lock for us.
Had to shoot the rapids to get on our way past the church and beyond.
We stopped at midday when reaching Day’s Lock and were pleased to find a space before the lock by the field.

All the locks are operated by the Environment Agency. The keepers are there to help and offer advice about navigating the river. When they are not doing that they are cutting the grass and keeping the garden flowers looking colourful. We have passed through Kings, Godstow, Osney, Iffley, Sandford, Abingdon, Culham and Clifton, cruising down 20 miles of the Thames. 

 Day’s lock is near Dorchester, a lovely Oxfordshire village with an Abbey Church. It was once the cathedral city of Wessex. In the morning we walked across the fields for supplies.

Geoff rang wondering where we were and suggested a gathering at Beale Park or Reading Park on Friday. So during another hot day we moved on down through Day’s, Benson, Cleeve and Goring. 
Goring Lock
 A further 13 miles got us to Beale before it got too hot. The Thames is very wide here and we watched ‘fours’ and ‘eights’ rowing up and down the river. Sadly the lake here is almost inaccessible because nature has been allowed to reclaim it! Even the Thames path is overgrown with nettles.

Friday was the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. At 12 minutes past 8 (12:20) bells were rang all over the country. We rang mum’s old cowbell. 
Plastic n metal in Mapledurham lock
 We did another nine lock miles passing Whitchurch and Mapledurham locks. We passed Derwent 6 on the way and found Rock n Roll and Seyela at Reading Park. Del and Al arrived later in the cool afternoon. 
 Then George n Del got out the BBQ kit and we all enjoyed the gathering with donations of food from each boat. The opening ceremony started at 9 so we went into our boats to watch the wonderful event.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Moore on a river

At last we are on the river Thames with the stream decreasing at least below King’s lock. The lock keeper here has to open and shut the gates and sluces by hand. If you do not have a Gold licence he is there to take your money! It has just got too hot now, such a change caused by that jet stream moving north. The water is still moving quite fast as we slip and slide round the bends. We passed quickly by several moorings before stopping past the A34 road bridge.

When it cooled down in the evening we went for a walk along the riverbank to the next lock passing by the abused Godstow Abbey. Pressing buttons now operates most of the locks. They are ‘self service’ when out of hours.
We got up early next day and started operating the lock before 9 am! The lock keeper arrived at 9 and helped us through. She gave us a new cruising guide to the Thames. We were the only boat on the move then!

Two or three miles of wide river follows through the meadows but then enters a narrow tree lined section where the river increased its flow rate. A bunch of rowing boats suddenly came to view and were in my path. It took some stopping and the boat ended up under a tree that swept our satellite dish off the roof! The flowers and DTV aerial stayed put. The low Osney bridge was easy after that.
Sandford lock
When we had got past that horrible Osney weir and lock, several other types of boat followed on our journey to Abingdon.

A mooring above the lock became available as we approached so we stopped there to stay while the day got too hot again to continue. Once again we walked out in the cool evening.
Abingdon weir

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Thanks to Carol on Rock n Roll who provided a link to an EA Thames page which shows the state of the river. It was mostly Red boards up indicating that boats should not move due to too much rain. A day of sunshine encouraged us to move on down a few locks on the Oxford canal. A mooring near Kidlington enabled us to visit the town. It did not take long to find the shops and a Post Office. As we were forced to wait we decided to have our post delivered here.
A few days later a short hop got us to above Kidlington Green lock. There we met up with John and Rosemarie on Devon Maid. It is not often that we meet people who invite us on board. Our dog Molly just jumped on board almost without asking!
The towpath is slightly better here but is generally over grown and muddy in places. Somebody has taken the trouble to paint some low branches of a tree red so you don’t hit them with your head. “Might have been better to have got a saw and cut them off rather than a brush and a pot of paint!”

The post has arrived, the Thames is decreasing and the sun came out to charge our batteries. While we wait the engine runs for an average of an hour and a half a day. One full day of bright sunshine the engine stayed quiet as the batteries actually gained power.

We were out shopping when Del n Al went past and told our neighbour John. Other friends on the Thames have moved on down so after the weekend we plan to chase after them.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The rivers are up again

The Cherwell follows the canal down all the way from Cropredy. It crosses the canal at Aynho and joins it for a mile near Gibraltar. We wait at Baker’s lock because it is up in the red, an indicator warning not to proceed, but despite that some boaters went on down on the river. Another boat joined us at the mooring and waited while it rained. We are feeling a bit apprehensive about getting down on the rivers during this wet weather. Several of our friends have got up to Letchlade and are slowly making their way back with red boards, or orange boards with stream increasing or decreasing flow rates.

Next day we walked down the river Cherwell and back noting that at the top end it was still in the red but at the lower end it was just in the orange. Several boats were on the move including Derwent 6 coming up. After a quick hello we went on down, going with the flow and sliding round the bends. Back on the canal we stopped at Thrupp. It had been a lovely sunny day for the trip. The Thames is in the red again and we wonder if we will ever get on it.

While we wait at Thrupp, ‘Annie’s Tea Room’ offers breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas. Maffy & Mortimer joined us at our table while we had a late breakfast which we enjoyed. Then we set off with the Sat Nav to walk round the fields heading for the church at Kidlington and back. Ended up at Annie’s for tea during a pleasantly sunny day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Moving on down the Oxford canal

We got down Somerton deep lock and stopped by a large field. It is a well-known place to see Barn Owls in the evening. We watched two of them, as they were looking for rodents in the tall grass. The sporting events had us watching the Grand Prix at Silverstone in which Webber came first and Lewis eighth. Right after that there was the Tennis at Wimbledon. Our first British player, Murray, was in the final for many years. Sadly he lost to Federa. We were lucky to see the whole match because a rainstorm took away the satellite signal. The alternative terrestrial digital signal was quickly found and we saw the finish.
The next day Dusty the supply boat stopped to fill our diesel tank before we moved on. At least it was dry but the towpath was in a sorry state. Being muddy and overgrown. Many bridges are so low that we have now lowered our Bimini. Below Allen’s lock the river Cherwell is higher than the canal as it is well in flood. We stopped above Dashwood lock for the afternoon hoping to find some walks. But the fields were full of cows.
Is this an Orchid?
So we moved on again after breakfast next day to Kirtlington Quarry. Here we found Ian and Allison with their boat and butty together with Sonya on Zodiac.

We then walked up to the village to discover that we were a day late to see the Olympic Torch pass through.

Friday, July 06, 2012

We've been away

An invitation to a family gathering that cannot be missed. There were several anniversaries and birthdays to celebrate at a community hall to accommodate every body. It was an opportunity to meet all of them in one place. We went by car to take some items away from the boat that were no longer needed or had been replaced. We had printed our own tickets to get back by train. Enterprise let us leave the car down south. “Oh how they all rush about!” The time spent with the family was almost like a holiday when we did completely different things.

The train taking us back to Banbury was packed and there is never enough space for all that luggage! Even the disabled space was filled and was cleared when the inspector came, only to be filled again at the next station! So many people standing that the refreshment trolley could not get through. Moving people about during the Olympics is going to be difficult.

We are getting back to a boating routine by moving, yes moving, up to turn round and returning through Banbury. While getting Gas at Sovereign I mentioned our diesel problems with water and the bug. They asked if we had let our tank get too low. “No, I got 80 litres here last time”. They also recommend using Marine 16 to kill the bug and have it for sale. We carried on down to the Tramway moorings where Tesco delivered goodies next day. We had run our stocks down before leaving so there was a lot to put away this time.
The river Cherwell is in the green here at this time
We moved on down the cut stopping first by that farm and then on past Aynho. Enjoying a sunny day before the forecasted deluge. Setting up the TV to watch the tennis in the afternoons.