Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bridge 130 to Bridge 81

Miles 16.7 Locks 9
We passed through Braunston Turn on our way from one Big Sky view to another. We are moored out in the sticks again by Bridge 81 on the Northern Oxford canal. The trip down Marston Doles and Napton locks took one and three quarter hours which was a relief in the growing warmth of the day. We had heard of trips taking up to 4 hours to get down. The canal is busy today with a 50-50 mixture of private and hire boats. Bird of the day was a Green Woodpecker see shortly after we set off this morning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cropredy to Knott's Bridge (near Fenny Compton)

Miles 9.1 Locks 9
Things have cooled down now since the overnight rain and the brisk breeze that has been blowing all day. We are moored in the middle of nowhere – well by bridge 130 on the Oxford canal but the view is terrific you can see forever as the saying goes. The picture does not do it Justice.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Banbury to Cropredy

Miles 4.4 Locks 3
We are moored at Cropredy Wharf tonight with the sound of the Campanologists practicing in the nearby church. It is a warm and sticky evening with the threat of thunder storms immanent. The sounds of the bells being mixed with the distant rumble of thunder. We spent the morning shopping in Banbury with a trek out to Morrison’s and then to the charity shops for more books to read. Oh I did manage to buy myself a new pair of jeans. Though when I will wear them is anybody’s guess.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kings Sutton to Banbury

Miles 3.2 Locks 2

A very hot day today and a short trip into Banbury. We are moored opposite Castle Quay shopping complex and guess what - yes ther is a BHS ther so for all the fans of BHS the photo today is of Gralyn and that illustrious emporium. No tv signal so we will miss our weekly dose of Midsomer Murders so if anyone reads this B4 8pm on Sunday please record it for us.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pigeon lock to Kings Sutton Lock S Oxford canal

We did our last river crossing today as we passed through Aynho Wier lock and crossed the Cherwel. Pic is taken from the weir bridge. we have moored just south of Banbury as going any further would have meant a late arrival in Banbury an little chance of a mooring. Getting there mid morning tomorrow hould make it easier and there is always the opportunity to wait around for somone to leave. I lost a bet this morning on how long it would take to clear Somerton Deep lock and I have to get tonights meal ready. As soon as I have published this blog. Yesterdays was posted a few minuits ago as there was no signal last night

Pinkhill to Pigeon Lock

Miles 13.2 Locks 9
Our last day on the Thames. We are now above Pigeon lock on the Southern Oxford canal missing the wide deep water already – still there is always next year. We saw our most northerly Red Kite today between Enysham and Kings lock. It is amazing how this one specis of raptor seems to have taken to the Thames valley. Talking to a boater from Peterborough last night who says they have been successfully introduced to the Nene valley too. Pic for tonight the parting viev of the thames as we pull off of the main river and make for Duke’s Cut.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Godstow to Pinkhill

Miles 5 Locks 3
This will be our last full day on the River Thames and we are at the same mooring where we spent our first night 30 days ago at Pinkhill. Pics of the lower lock landing and the lock with its “cottage” in the background. R& G in Shropshire Lass passed in the early afternoon, they are going up to Letchlade. Tomorrow we will make our way to the Oxford canal via Dukes cut and start our journey north. The Thames has been a smashing river to spend our first extended cruise, I was surprised by the increase in dutch barge style boats and wide beam “narrow boats”. There seem to be more places to moor but that may be we are getting to know the spots better as ths is our fourth visit. Nothing special in the wildlife spotting today, we did see what at first looked like a muskovy duck but it was all dark, could have been a “sport” I suppose.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Osney to Godstow

Miles 2.5 Locks 1
An even shorter day today, eking out the last few days of our Thames licence. Wild life feature of the day was a family of Jays. We moored upstream of Godstow Bridge and went for a look at the Abby ruins only to find out that it was a Nunnery and that apart from the Wall and a few dried cow pats there was not much to see. We then went into Wolvercote and found a shop selling ice cream so that made Wolvercote a nice place to visit. Pic for today is looking back towards Godstow bridge.

Abingdon to Osney

22 July 2008
Miles 5.9 Locks 4
We left Abingdon on the dot of and were first through the lock, our reward was the bird of the day a green woodpecker by the water point. It was to be a short day with us mooring at Osney bridge just after 11.30 am . After lunch we walked to the laundrette and M did the washing and drying whilst I went back to the boat to do a little more touch-up painting. I had just got the undercoat on as M got back from doing the laundry so we got out the chairs and sat by the boat in the sun for a couple of hours. For the evening we decided to catch a bus into Oxford and have a meal and go to see MAMA-MIA at the local Odeon. It was a fabulous film – Full marks to the renowned actors who had the courage to be in the film. After the show we walked back to the boat and sat out in the balmy evening.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wallingford to Abingdon

Miles 13 Locks 4
We are back in Abingdon moored next to Calluna. We spent a nice relaxed afternoon chatting to R&S putting the world to rights and catching up on each others news. Last night I published the blog quite early which was too early to report on the aerobatic display given by a Hawker Hurricane over RAF Benson which was near by. I don’t know what the occasion was but there were fireworks later. We did manage to walk round the castle ruins at Wallingford and the gardens at the town end are magnificent. Tomorrow will be in Abingdon so I will not have much news so I won’t update the blog again until Monday night.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beale Park to Wallingford

Miles 9.3 Locks 2
Hurrah we have managed to moor at Wallingford, not on the official moorings or the NT field but alongside Castle Meadow about a quarter of a mile upstream of the bridge over the river. And well worth the stop the town has still got all the shops that most towns have lost over to take-away and mobile phone shops. Picture is of the town hall by the market place which was in full swing behind me. Theatre on the left and a Waitrose tucked discreetly away on the right. We are back into red kite country with a vengeance we saw eight in the air all together above a field where hay making was in progress. We trogged to the outskirts of town to visit the preserved railway but although al the welcoming signs said the right thing it was closed. At least we got some exercise. For out treat tonight after tea we are going to have a walk over to the ruins of the castle although from here it just looks like grassed over piles of earth.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Henley to Beale Park

Miles 17.5 locks 6

We finally dragged ouselves from Henley and almost as soon as we were through Marsh Lock we saw what must be the Bird spot of the day. A black swan. in the company of two mute swans. I couldnt find it on the RSPB site so this one must do. after a short stop in Reading for Tesco and Better Boating for food and diesel in that order we continued upstream hoping to moor at Pangbourne - they were all taken so we cruised on up to Beale Park. It is hard to imagine that there have been two IWA National Festivals here as there are only about 6 places where you can get a boat alongside. Finally this has me guessing what is this bird ? I have looked in all our books and cannot come up with an answer. We have seen them on the River Avon too and occationally on the Macc.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Still at Henley

Miles 0 locks 0 Moring Fee £8/night
Stayed in Henley today going for two walks one into town the other to Marsh Lock and back into town via Mill Lane. Whilst we were away in the afternoon the Swan Uppers caught up with us, today’s pic shows their boats. The Queen’s is on the outside, the Vintners with the Red flag and the Dyers with the Blue flag. We also met a couple from Hazel Grove who recognised my NCCC T shirt and struck up a conversation – they are on holiday down here and were quite surprised to see a boat off the Macc this far away from home waters. We will continue up river tomorrow and expect our day to include a visit to Tesco at Reading.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cookham to Henley

Miles 12.2 Locks 4
A short journey today to Henley, as we intend to stay a couple of days. It was not as busy as the day we came down river when the Regatta was on. They are dismantling the course as we came past which included removing 20 ft long 12x12 inch posts that had been stuck in a line in the river bed. The day started dull and it wasn’t until the sun came out in the afternoon I realised that my head was burnt as I was not wearing a hat this morning. Saw Hilary Aboni at Hurley lock on board Beyond. I called and waved and she waved back but I bet she didn’t know who it was calling. Bird of the day, as there were several swooping round the boat as we left Hurley lock, the Common Tern. and the pic is us at Henley among the big boys

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back to Cruising. Datchet to Cookham

Miles 11.9 Locks 5
The departure from Datchet this morning was less of a problem than I thought it would be, the boatyard had moved their boats round so that all I had to do was release the stern ropes and let the current swing the stern into the side and then cast off the bow and use the current to pull the bow out into the river. The flows were still strong with the current just below Bray lock being the strongest (about 2 mph I think). We did some swan spotting for the swan uppers who are coming up river to Cookham tomorrow. We were asked to report any swans with cygnets we saw once we had got to Cookham. Pictures tonight one from the wedding with the Bride and Groom and wedding party arriving at the reception and the recently erected wheel at Windsor (it wasn’t there when we left last Tuesday).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Staines to Datchet

Miles 5.3 locks 2
Not a long journey today but so different now that yesterday’s persistent rain has stopped. We passed Runnymead today and through to Old Windsor and arrived at Kris Cruisers in Datchet around 11 am, one day earlier than we had told them, after a bit of negotiation we managed to get them to let us stay tonight as well as fri, sat & sun as booked. This will make it easier to get to Norwich tomorrow. We have decided that the grumpiest lock keeper on the Thames from Letchlade to Hampton Court was the chap at Bell Weir lock his morning. I don’t know if it was because when he arrived we were already in the lock (the crew of a French Bros ferry emptied it as they came down and left the gate open) all we did was close the gates and wait – and did he make us wait checked everything over very carefully before filling the lock and letting us out. Pics today are moorings at Staines this morning and at Datchet tonight.
The Blog will not be updated until Monday as we are going to a wedding.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hampton Court to Staines

Miles 13.1 Locks 5
Today has been dominated by the much so that I have not got a picture from today so you will have to take Pot luck ( from yesterday Sunbury lock, one of the few places on the River Thames where there are two locks). Bird of the day I the Tufted duck We called in at Sheperton marina and topped up with diesel and did a pump-out as we left Hampton Court. It is not the best of days for a Flower Show either. We have moored in Staines beside a small park at the end of Church Island.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Windsor to Hampton Court

Miles 20.9 Locks 8
Well we have made it to Hampton Court and the flower show is in full swing so as you can guess all the moorings were full including some N.B.s breasting up. Well almost, we managed to squeeze in right at the end where the inside narrow boat was shorter and the overhang of the bows of the Wide beam cruiser had enough room to take our stern. And we got in without touching. We have still got to work out our exit strategy. Due to the flower show there are about six trip boats taking passengers from the show site to the mooring jetty next to the railway station. This means that one passes almost every two minutes, hopefully the show will close soon and we will get some peace and quiet. Pictires today show one of the more novel ways we have seen to moor your boat and an example of the size of boat we are sharing locks with. Bird of the day A ring necked parakeet

Monday, July 07, 2008

Still @ Windsor

Miles 0 Locks 0
We dodged the rain and got our Senior Rail Cards and went on the train to London and had a ride on the London Eye. I took so many pictures it was quite difficult working out which ones to put in the blog. In the end just a general view of the Eye and another that I know that Pete W will appreciate. I bet he went on trips to Spurn Point on this just like I did, although both of us would have been too young to appreciate the " Bar Open" sign .

There has been lots of rain here when we got back, including a couple of thunder storms. The river level is varying by about a foot over the period of a couple of hours, I guess they have let the level down to take up any extra water due to the heavy rain. Same thing happened yesterday.
I also realised as we were writing some post cards that this is the longest continuous period that we have stayed on the boat just over 3 weeks and still more to do.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

@ Windsor

A dull rainy day today. We managed to get out this afternoon and walked round Eton and went to the railway station to get application forms for Senior Rail Cards and check the timetables into London, as we intend weather permitting to go into the capital and "do the London Eye". We also need to sort out tickets to Norwich for the wedding this weekend. Bird spot for the day Egyptian Goose (aint that smart. Picture for the dayWindsor Bridge

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Marlow to Windsor

Miles 14 Locks 5
Passage through the locks has been slow today with the longest wait at Marlow where the lock keeper turned up 20 mins. late, the next longest was at Boulters where the boat in front didn’t tell the lock keeper there were two other boats behind. As you can see from the photograph today we have reached Windsor and although the Queen is in we have not been invited to tea “Again”. The shopping centre has been upgraded and looks nice now finished (when we were here last it was under construction). It rained overnight but this time I didn’t have to wash the side which was a relief. It has been sunny and warm with stiff breezes on the reaches that point North – South, a good day for messing about on the river in a boat.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Reading to Marlow

Miles 16.4 Locks 6
We went through Henley today and the rowing regatta is in full swing. We were handed a sheet of navigation instructions at Marsh lock telling us where to go and what to do. The only problem was if other boats were given the same instructions they did not read them. The important thing is to be seen and that includes the skippers of every type of boat you can think of all going roughly in the same direction no regard for where the closest boat is, although they seemed to know instinctively where their glass of wine was. On top of all this the Umpires launches weaving in and out to get to the bottom of the course for the next race. It was a fantastic experience and included riding out some pretty high swells with the boats bows going up and down. After Hambleton lock there must have been 15 – 20 boats waiting to get up to the Henley level including two passenger steamers. At Hurley lock we managed to get a glimps of the two Taylor boats Beyond and Lady Avon that used to moor in the High Lane arm.
Pictures today the extremes of boats to be seen at Henley, the view looking towards Temple Island with the race course on the right and the two Taylor boats at Hurley lock

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Going to Reading

Miles 11.4 Locks 3
It was raining when I woke up this morning so I turned over and tucked myself in for another hour and I suddenly realised that rain on the moorings at Goring = mud splatters all down the side of the boat. The rain had stopped by the time we were ready to set off so we made our way to Beal Park and washed down the side of the boat and then cruised on, with a brief pause for lunch at Mapledurham, to Reading. After a quick visit to Tesco and a visit from Columbus’s crew we walked into the town centre. The Riverside complex of coffee shops and restaurants is fantastic. So much choice. Had a call from the crew of Kestral who have arrived at Goring. Today’s pictures had to be the Boathouse complete with swimming pool and yes its own helicopter.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Abingdon to Goring

Miles 19.6 Locks 6
We had intended to stop at Wallingford but the town moorings were full and try as we may we couldn’t get in on the field moorings below the bridge so we went on to Goring. It was a disappointment as we have never stopped at Wallingford except for a short lunch break. Thank goodness the laundrette in Abingdon was still open as Wallingford was our next port of call. I don’t know why the town turns its back on visitors from the river. We have seen our first kingfishers of the trip and too many Red Kites to remember, though today we had our best sightings of 3 birds apparently playing just above the tree tops by the river. There was no blog yesterday as we had a “make and mend“ day starting with a visit to the laundrette. We are also getting used to noticing the local bus services as we were able to get the bus back into Abingdon from the laundrette. It has been showery for most of the day and only getting better once we had moored up. Todays Pic is of the downstream view of Goring lock.

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