Saturday, 30 April 2016

Friday 29 April 2016

It’s always nice to get going again when we have been standing still.  I think we have had every season today – sun, wind, rain and hailstones!

Through Kings Lock which was operated by large wheels rather than being electric.  We then took a sharp right into Duke’s Cut where we joined the Oxford Canal.  Back in narrow land – the locks are singles here.  Nice to be back on the canal, although you forget how it feels to not be able to turn around if you want to!  And we are back to using the windlass and leg power to open the gates. 

We chugged past Kidlington heading for the facilities at Thrupp – we need to fill the water tank and empty the other tanks!  It’s lovely at Thrupp so we have decided to stay here.  The only problem was we had to go through a swing bridge to use the facilities but the moorings were before the bridge so we had to test Steve’s reversing skills and I’m pleased to say he did a grand job!

Happy days – living the dream.

Leaving Godstow

So cute - you only have to baa at the lambs to get their attention!

Rolling English countryside.

Working the Wheel

It's been great seeing a lot more of the Thames this year.  We have decided not to do the last bit to Lechlade as it just twists and turns and many people have told us it is boring - we may come back and do it when we have seen the rest - nearly at the Oxford Canal.

Luckily we took the chimney off before we got to this bridge - we don't want to squash our new one!

Where's the farmer - this flock looks pretty sad.

Lovely to be in the little locks again.

Same field - beyond sad.

It's busy along here - let's hope we can find a space.

Thrupp - a wonderful canal village with a terrace of stone houses running along beside the towpath, a pub at one end and a British Waterways yard at the other.  "The quality of the village makes it an unusual survival of early canal prosperity" - says the book. 

Reversing back under the swing bridge in the pouring rain!

You're doing a grand job Steve only another 200 yards!


Moored up for a night or two and the sun has come out - I'm off for a walk to explore the surrounding area.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Tuesday 26 - Thursday 28 April 2016

Tuesday morning we had a quick dash into town to pick up some provisions and set off for The Trout Inn at Godstow.  The Thames splits here at Osney Bridge, one side passes along the outskirts of Oxford and the other meanders along past Fiddlers Island, Binsey and Black Jack’s Hole to Godstow.  We didn’t travel very far but the wind was bitter as it blew across port meadow – a large open space between the railway and other branch of the river and this side of the river. 

Our weekly boat guests, Rob and Claire, came to meet us one last time before we get too far away!  We had a meal in The Trout Inn which was a bit disappointing as their fans were not working in the kitchen so the whole pub was full of smoke. 

Wednesday – Happy Birthday Harry.  We didn’t venture far and Thursday we hired a car to take Steve to his appointment in Cambridge.

Thursday marked four weeks since we left Carthagena so here are some statistcs for you – we have chugged 142 miles, been through 75 locks and hired two cars!

Leaving Oxford - the river level is high we had better take the chimney off.

Under the low bridge and the chimney can go back on.

That's Sheepwash Channel - we would go that way if we wanted to go through the outskirts of Oxford although we have heard that it is not that nice - Even Tim and Prunella said so on Great Canal Journeys!

And out into the open - the chill in the wind here was unbelievable - I've got bright red checks to prove it!

Lovely countryside!


I think someone is living in that bush!

Godstow Bridge.

Pink sky at night - over the remains of Godstow Abbey.

Over the bridge to The Trout Inn for dinner. 

Don't see many peacocks on the river!

Boogying the night away!

Our neighbours for the next three nights!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Monday 25 April 2016

We had a very peaceful night’s sleep in Abingdon and woke up to a very grey sky, the weather forecast said cloudy this morning and showers this afternoon so we decided to head off in the hope that we would get to Oxford before the showers started – no such luck!

We are still fighting against the flow of the river, our usual calculations of 3 miles or locks per hour are not working at the moment.  We thought the cruise from Abingdon to Oxford should take just under three hours – it took us four and a half!  It wasn’t helped by the fact that when we got to Osney Lock there was no power so we had to manually operate the gates and sluices – I have been looking forward to getting back on the canals so I can manually operate the locks but turning a big wheel to open hydraulic gates and sluices is another matter!

When we arrived there was a narrowboat coming in the opposite direction so I went to help the lady turning the wheel – I wish I hadn’t as when it came to opening and closing the other end to let us in I ran out of steam!  Steve had to get off the boat to help.  It also didn’t help that I had almost got the gates closed when a little charter boat  - with a family having a lovely lunch on board - arrived with only a lady captain (and she had to get off and hold the ropes).  So I had to open the gates again to let them in.  She did call the emergency number but we didn’t want to wait so Steve and I continued to wind by hand – be careful what you wish for!  Oh and whilst all this was going on we had the first of the afternoon’s showers – or downpours!

We moored just by Osney Bridge and had a walk into Oxford.  I feel guilty saying it but I don’t like Oxford as much as Cambridge – it doesn’t have that nice oldie worldie feel.  It probably didn’t help that it was raining and very windy for our little excursion! It was still very clean and tidy though.

Looks like the weirs are fully open again trying to discharge the water.

Recycled Coke Can!

I wonder if somebody is living in there?

It's so cold this Canadian Goose has made a duvet for her eggs. 

Nuneham House.

I never get bored of seeing the kingfishers! 

Looking small in Iffley Lock.

It's very pretty around here.

Rowing clubs - we must be getting near to Oxford!

Are these bridges getting lower...

or is the water level just very high - the cruisers would struggle with this.

Looks a nice spot to moor.

I think this is a grey wagtail as the yellow wagtail has a yellow head - anyway she has a nest in the side of the building and I have watched her all afternoon catching flies and bugs and taking them back to feed her babies!

There is some great architecture in Oxford.

It's raining again so we'll take cover in the indoor market!

Four Candles....fork handles!

There we are four boats back - can you see how quickly the water is flowing - we had to tie the front up quickly so as not to end up being carried into the boat behind!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Sunday 24 April 2016

Another bright sunny morning - the BBC had threatened possible snow today but I am pleased to say that whilst it was cold when the sun went behind the clouds it was nice in the sun.  I walked back into Clifton Hampden this morning to take a photo of the lovely village and to up the steps on my fitbit!

We had a short chug up the river today to Abingdon because it was on my list of places to visit.  It is another pretty town with some lovely buildings but I must say that when you arrive by river I think you see the prettiest part!

A quick top up with diesel and refill the water tank on one side of Abingdon Bridge and a nice green spot to moor the other. 

Clifton Hampden

Blooming Lovely!

The river here twists and turns around Didcot Power Station - one minute it is on the right, next on the left, then behind and sometimes in front!

Morning - so it was you - I thought Steve's phone was vibrating on the wooden shelf but it was a cow mooing outside!!

Under Appleford Railway Bridge.

Heron mooring.

Sutton Bridge at Culham.

Sailor with a deathwish - Steve tried to get him!

The Old Anchor Inn and the high chimneys belong to the Alley Almshouses which were apparently built in 1446-7.

Amazing arches on the Almshouses.

Stopping for diesel just before Abingdon Bridge


The Kings Head and Bell - looks like a nice place for a drink Steve, Steve....oh well next time!

Through the Abbey grounds and what have you got there - oh some kindling out of a skip!

Who ruined that?

I'm a lumberjack and I don't care!