Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Sandford to Days lock

Johnny Nash was playing on the radio this morning - he got the forecast spot on - it was 'a bright, bright sunshiny day' when we untied FL from the bank at 08:30. 

We shared Sandford lock with two other narrow boats. A short stop at Abingdon to visit an ATM and cash in Sue's £11 lottery win, which we exchanged for some Magnus and Carling -well it is going to be 30 degrees later. 

After Abingdon lock, Culham lock and then Clifton lock's are approached via long lock cuttings, after Clifton lock there is a backwater navigable for a mile to the Plough at Long Wittenham, we have made this trip in a small cruiser before but I think FL would have to reverse all the way back - so we stayed with the main flow.

Spotted our first Red Kite that wasn't airborne, Sue again managed to get a good shot of it on it's perch. After Clifton Hampden bridge the river arch's round to Day's lock a favourite mooring on the Thames. We managed to fit against the bank with two, three men in a boat style camping rig's behind. 

Self service, but all electric

Clifton lock

The progress of flood management had a blip in 2007

Clifton Hamden Bridge and church

Elaborate brickwork to the arches.

St. Michaels and all Angels.

Day's lock mooring

Monday, 29 June 2015

Pinkhill to Sandford

After watching the resident barn owl hunting for his breakfast at 08:30, we pulled the pins. A short distance to the first lock of the day, the Pinkhill lock keeper took note of the trout Sue caught yesterday- seems these catches get recorded. 

It's proper shorts and T-shirts weather today, we might finally get to store the jumpers and fleeces in the dark hole beneath the bed. Water tank was filled and the dumpables were removed at Eynsham lock services, we washed the side of the boat while we waited for the tank to fill. 

We shared Kings lock and Godstow lock with nb Goosey Gander. At Osney lock Sue locked nb Niblick through, Sue knew the name had a golfing connotation - she was right as the skipper is a retired golf pro.

The Osney moorings were full as were the Oxford moorings, the wino's bench was well attended too, one chap slurred something incoherent as we passed. We planned to moor at Sandford which is another popular mooring spot, unusually there was only two other boats on the meadow when we arrived at 15:30. After repositioning one of the pins that I had driven through an ants nest we went to the Kings Arms and sat in the garden with a cool glass of lager.

Barn Owl hunting on Pinkhill meadow. 

Oxford Cruisers 

This waterlogged tree seems to be doing well.

Remains of Godstow Abbey by the lock.

Cooling off at Port Meadow

Oxford college boat club houses.

Ifley lock

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Meadow land

I walked into Eynsham for some supplies using the farmer's field route rather than the towpath, this cut about a mile or more off the journey.

Later the farmer came and had a chat while we sat on the bank, he was making sure we weren't staying on his land too long, until Monday was fine and he hoped we had a pleasant stay. Unusual for the Thames that he didn't want a fee.

A field of dandelion weeds.
Eynsham cottages.

Watched a bit of Glasto last night, on one stage Micky mouse was putting out a hypnotic beat along with a singular lyric which was the F word, didn't understand why, it used to be a shock tactic in the 70's to get a record banned and so promote it through notoriety - come on this is the 21C.

The night before we watched Motorhead we couldn't make out any of Lemmy's lyrics accept for the f word.!!

Sunday morning it rained on and off for a few hours, Sue & Vic joined us for Sunday roast aboard FL, with a creamy rice pud for afters from NP's galley, we shared some wine and an enjoyable afternoon was had by all.

Friday, 26 June 2015


We had a walk around Farmoor reservoir after tea yesterday, it forms part of Pinkhill nature reserve.

A causeway splits two reservoirs

Dinghy sailing , surf boarding and fly fishing were all taking place.

Twicher's hide.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Trout and flies.

 Just a short cruise to Pinkhill meadow today, the weather has stayed fine.
Sainsbury's delivering supplies to FL.

Lot's of geese around the meadow.

Sue hooked this trout- not big enough for our tea though.

A pair of Damselfly's hitch a ride on Sue's float.

Morris men in Bablock Hythe.

Another summer's day - hoorah.

Before settling down in my bank side chair for some relaxation with kindle and binoculars, the wood on the rear doors were sanded and given  a coat of varnish while Sue worked on  her latest cross stitch project.

The moorings here have filled up today, Serenity came past looking for a mooring ,so I called over for them to come alongside FL, a grateful Silv & Ted pulled in. While putting the pins in I managed to slip of the bank and into the river, thankfully only up to my knees - does this mean I am a proper boatman now or is it only a full baptism that counts.

Serenity had just moored when two more boats were looking to moor, a bit of creative bow in stern out positioning had  Vixen and FreeSpirit breasted up in front of FL.

We had our tea in the Ferryman and watched Morris Men dancing in the car park.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Bablock Hythe

Sue helps the lock keeper at Shifford lock

Newbridge is a favourite bridge of ours, The Maybush Inn beside the bridge has gone through a major refurbishment, the brewery are now looking for a new landlord/lady.

The Maybush

Northmoor lock is on self service, we share the lock with another narrowboat, the skipper on her way back to the Leeds and Liverpool canal is a widower who is continuing to enjoy her boating.

Sue shuts Northmoor lock.

We have reached Bablock Hythe our mooring for the next couple of nights, we were going to have a meal in the Ferryman Inn but it's shut on a Tuesday. We were offered a lift to the Red Lion by a skipper we allowed to share our mooring pin, but declined the offer. Tomorrow evening there's exciting entertainment at the Ferryman - we plan not to miss it.

This chap was fishing opposite our mooring.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Lechlade to Chimney

Staying in one place for six days is a record for us, Lechlade is the navigable end of the Thames for powered craft, a nice place to chill out for a few days. The village has a few antique
shops to wander around, a good butcher come green grocer, a co-op, Indian, Chinese and Italian restaurants, cafe, plus a few pubs. We put a few coins into the local economy via some of the above establishments.

The Trout

The friendly farmer comes by each morning to collect a fee, his cows do circuits of the field occasionally stopping at moored boats to give them a lick and the ropes a bit of a chew.
It was quite comical to see boaters popping out of the cabin doors to guard their boats from the marauding moo cows. We just let the cattle get on with it apart from when one of them swiped the flag.

Today we moved off and winded above Half Penny Bridge and started to retrace our steps towards Oxford. We got rid of the dumpables at the services at St. Johns lock, a last look back towards the spire of St. Laurence, a wave to the locky and we are away meandering to Buscot lock, a couple of large military aircraft with wheels down towards Fairford airfield roar overhead. The village of Kelmscot is on the North bank -we stopped here overnight last year and visited the Plough . At Grafton lock, which is probably the remotest lock on the Thames we fill the nearly dry water tank.

In between Rushey lock and Shifford lock there isn't many opportunities to moor, the banks being overgrown or full of reed beds, after the pub mooring at Tadpole bridge there is only the one opposite the hamlet of Chimney , luckily for us it was vacant.

St Laurence spire.
Tonight's mooring.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Two Dutch men & an unusual pill box.

The two Dutch guys have made it to Lechlade, when they moored I did ask if they had sailed the boats across the channel. "Of course, we are here!" after a suitable pause while I marvelled at this news. " A lorry and ferry helped" .......... bloody comedian.

An Opduwer or Push Tug.

From Wikipedia
An opduwer or opdrukker is a small tug- or towboat that was used in the Low Countries to push barges on inland waterways. Opduwers were predominantly in use in the first half of the twentieth century. During that time the internal combustion engine got adapted for inland shipping. Earlier, barges were propelled either by sail or by towing from shore by horse or manpower. Fitting an engine and propeller to an existing barge was found cumbersome however. It was easier to construct a small tugboat and use this to propel the existing barge. Opduwers were built between about 1910 to 1940. A large number survive as pleasure craft.

 These WW2  invasion defences commonly known as a pill  box are the length of the upper Thames.

 Here's an unusual one.......

 .... now who's a bloody comedian

Great name.