Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Lechlade to Dukes Cut.

Thursday - The Lechlade farmer woke us up at 08:30 for a £5 mooring fee. He advised the longer you stay the more you save weekly fee is £25 and monthly £60. 

Friday - It was a sunny start to the cruise, said our goodbyes till next year to the two lockies we did see, they both replied with Happy Christmas!

We stopped at Radcot for an hour for a lunchtime drink in Ye Old Swan a pub that was missing off our list of Thames boozers visited.

Moored at Radcot

We moored at Bablock Hythe so Sainsburys could deliver supplies through the side hatch in the morning.  I swapped a bottle of Doombar for some maggots from a fisherman who was just packing away for the day. I try my best to keep my crew happy.

Monday has been overcast but a calm still day, the water is quiet and smooth, reflections are sharp. The verdant landscape is changing hues, green leaves have started to get a hint of gold, red and grey.

Inspection launch Evenlode

More than a thousand sheep at our Hagley Pools mooring.

Decent Roach( thats ground bait in the bowl not Sues breakfast)
Tuesday- Our last cruise on the Thames for this year, from here it is only twenty minutes to get to Dukes Cut and back on the Oxford canal. Then it's back to my crew getting exercise, winding paddles pushing on gates and heaving up lift bridges.

Misty start to the day

Route to get off the Thames using Dukes Cut under the A40 and on to the Oxford canal.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Thames navigable end

St Johns lock with Lechlade 'duel spires' in the distance
I took the above photo while we waited for the lockie to open the gates, I don't know how but St Laurence church has gained another spire -  in this photo at least.

Not long after mooring up I went to the aide of a fellow boater who's vessel had become untied, the gusting wind blew the boat across the river, a trailing stern line caught in the prop when he started the engine.  I soon had him against the bank with a centre line while he tied up properly.

Today we have stayed put, the wind and rain the met. office was promising never materialised. We went to the local medical centre to sort out a prescription, on the way back Sue wanted to pick up some bait but the tackle shop closed down 18 months ago, oh dear we will have to find another supplier quickly as Sue is starting to show withdrawal symptoms.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Abingdon - Chimney

We were going to get off the Thames at Oxford but instead we decided to have another wander up to Lechlade. We had overnight stops at Sandford and Pinkhill.

Godstow lock.


Northmoor lock
The lock was self service so Sue helped herself to fruit  and herbs from the lock garden.

Waiting for Sue to close up.

We love this spot

So peaceful
We have been watching a Kingfisher this afternoon fishing. It's favourite perch being fifteen foot up a tree to high dive down on prey, occasionally hovering midstream humming bird like before diving. My pictures were blurred .

Here's one from the www.

Blackberries this time. 

Tall blackberry bush

Peace interrupted. 

A man on a bike?

Chasing swans

Dhruv on his bamboo bike.

We met Dhruv, an interesting guy, who is doing his bit to save the planet, he is raising awareness of the problem of discarded plastic bottles by 'cycling' from Lechlade to Big Ben in London. He is unsupported so if any boaters on the Thames spot him offer him a drink ....but not out of a single use plastic bottle! You can read about the campaign here thethamesproject.org

Monday, 18 September 2017

Little Wittenham - Abingdon

Underway from our peaceful overnight mooring at 08:00, there is still a chilly  northerly wind to keep our fleeces in place. We were expecting a visitor so decided Abingdon would be a convenient stopping point. FL was moored on the park visitor moorings before the bridge.

Reading Blue coat school kids were doing a 35 mile ten lock sponsored row, their headmaster was running the distance.

Our good friend Ray who is half the crew and soon to be ex owners of NB Ferndale came to visit bearing gifts, I like this type of visitor. After a cup of tea and catch up on board we went to the Nag's Head for lunch. Ray will be returning home to Diane and Australia soon, we will be left with fond memories of all the zany times we have spent together. We are going to miss them not being on the cut but will stay in touch.  

Ray & Diane


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Wallingford - Little Wittenham

Waitrose is handily placed in Wallingford, we made good use of it. Some xmas mince pies were purchased , the girl on the till didn't know if they would keep till christmas when I asked.

The multi roomed antique emporium was closed when we walked back to FL, so I couldn't have a second look at a P10 compass I had my eye on, the type used in WW2 RAF aircraft. Oh well that made my mind up.

Jethro Tull had a house at Crowmarsh Gifford village on the west bank, not the one legged flute player but the older one who invented the horse drawn seed drill.

Underway we were passed by a brand new Shetland cruiser and friendly newbie crew. At Benson lock Sue asked them to breath in while the skipper anxiously looked at FL gliding in mm's from their shiny fenders.

Shillingford bridge hotel moorings were full

Sue's favourite boat house, pretty brick work.

Sue's favourite house

The owners are selling off the boathouse for £1,250,000. details here

Little Wittenham mooring

Friday, 15 September 2017

Pangbourne to Wallingford

It was dry when we walked into the Berkshire village to replenish the Earl Grey jar. It's a wealthy place is Pangbourne, ordinary looking 3 bed houses in the estates agents window were nudging the £1,000,000 mark and at the car lot down the road a second hand one previous lady owner car was a snip at £125,000. (Aston Martin)  It is amazing what a good rail link in the Thames valley can add to the prosperity of a village.

Before tea I had a wander over the toll bridge to Whitchurch, it was around 5 o'clock and the traffic was backed up to the end of the village to pay the 60p fee to cross to Pangbourne.

I was confused as to whether I was now in Oxfordshire or still in Berkshire The Ferryboat pub (which is in my Nicholson's guide) has its address in Oxfordshire - the Greyhound 50 yards further into the village (which is not in the guide) has it's address as Berkshire.  Unfortunately both pubs didn't open till 18:00 so I couldn't have an ale or ask the question.

Google maps gives Whitchurch a Reading address which is in Berkshire... Wikipedia says it is in Oxfordshire!

Whitchurch on Thames

Pangbourne meadow.

St Mary's  - lychgate.

We set off at 08:00, it was cold. 

We were well wrapped up, it was a pleasant cruise through three locks, approaching Cleeve lock we spotted Still Rocking, we had a quick hello goodbye for this year and a photo for the blog. 

View from Goring lock.

George & Carol on their way down stream.

Filling the water tank at Cleeve lock.

We moored in Wallingford, again we beat the showers to our destination.
Wallingford bridge.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Medmenham - Sonning - Pangbourne

The jolly farmer came along in the driving rain for a fee for tying FL to his field overnight. In the morning things were so much more peaceful as we left Medmenham under a diamond blue sky.

We would of filled these if we had birdie food on board
Stopped in Henley for an hour to pick a couple of bits up from Robert Dyas before slipping through Marsh lock. At cruising revs of 1100 we are scooting along in the deep water, on the canal we would be creeping.

Sonning lock.

We found a sheltered spot above sonning lock to wait out storm Aileen, stern & bow springs were incorporated into the knotting of FL to the hammered in pins. We slept through it and in the morning sunshine but blustery day greeted us.

The new signs at Tesco  haven't deterred the Reading jungle camp refugees.

Have to keep your eyes peeled here, easy to get a stowaway trying to make it across the border to Henley.

Mapledurham lock (love that name)

The sky's darkened so we pulled in at Pangbourne, we got tied up and disappeared inside as the first fat drops of water hit the roof.