Thursday, 28 July 2016

A lovely kind lady & some sad news

Thursday 28th July
When we were moored at Thrupp we were close to the busy road  which was quite noisy, so we moved up a bit further and moored near The Boat pub. It was another glorious day and we sat out in the sun with Jaz and around lunchtime we popped over to the Boat pub for a cold beer and then we sat outside again for most of the afternoon. In the evening we went back over to The Boat for a meal which was very good.
On Sunday morning we were waiting to leave but we had arranged to wait for another boater who we had been speaking to on Saturday afternoon. He was on a boat called Tadpole 2 and his name was Pete and his wife was called Val, they were moored outside the other pub The Jolly Boatman and they didn't care for it there so they wanted to move up to the moorings where we were and as the moorings were full they had to stay where they were until we told them they could have our spot. I was just about to walk to see them when Pete came walking towards me to ask if we were ready to leave and so he went back to his boat and then when we saw him coming we let go our mooring ropes and set off to the lift bridge where Thrupp  BW services are situated. Kev walked on to get the bridge up for me and I picked him up after I had got through the bridge. We  got to Shipton Wier lock that takes you onto the River  Cherwell for a short distance to the next lock which is Bakers lock where there was a couple of boats ahead of us one of which was just entering the lock and the other was on the lock landing so we pulled in behind them.
This tree had fallen across the River Cherwell, just enough room though!

 We had a pleasant cruise and moored after Northbrook bridge.
On Monday morning we left at about 9.30 am and I walked up to Dashwood lock where a man was opening the gates for us as he had been moored above the lock and as he had walked to fill the lock he saw me walking towards it, so that was a bit of luck. We wanted water so when we got to the water point at bridge 206 at Lower Heyford there was a boat already on it so we waited for them to finish and then we got the hose out to fill ours, it was vey slow going. I put the kettle on and Kev was talking to a woman across the canal who was tending her plants on her canal side property, she was lovely and also had a boat moored outside her home. She was an American lady called Anita who has lived here with her husband for over 30 years, she was a mind of information about this part of the canal and we had a very long chat with her while waiting for the water to fill. We wanted to know if there was a shop near and she told us there was a small shop about a mile away at Steeple Aston, and she then said she would take me which was very kind of her, and she told me to walk round to her house when I was ready. When the water was full we pulled the boat back away from the water point and had a bite to eat and then I went over to Anita's house and she took me to the shop and also took me for a look at Rousham House, although we only drove to it and turned round. What a lovely lady she was and when we got back to Lower Heyford she dropped me at the bridge and later on Anita came over to the boat with lots of photos of the flooding  1998 & 2007 that occurred close by.
Kev pulling the boat onto the water point.
This was Anita's  cycle pass
We don't see these anymore! Perhaps we should!

Anita waving bye as we left.
This is the property next door to Anita with a pretty boat moored there.
We soon got to Mill lift bridge an as we approached a man walked across it and opened it for us.

A wave to say thank you to him, and a wave back.
This lift bridge would be very difficult if you were a single handed boater as it opens on the other side and the landing is on the towpath side! So you need a kind person to help or wait for another boat to got through! As we got around the bend from the lift bridge we decide to moor for the day, there was no WiFi signal or phone signal here. On Tuesday we had an uneventful cruise and moored after Kings Sutton Lock and then yesterday morning we set off for Banbury and as we wanted some shopping we decided to moor before bridge168 and go to the Morrisons store that Anita had told us about and it was only a 5 minute walk across bridge 168. When we had unpacked our shopping and had a bite to eat and then set off again and stopped at the BW services that are just before Banbury lock. 

Kev going to turn off the water as we are full again!
We got up through Banbury lock and also the lift bridge that is after the lock, and found a mooring close to Marsh footbridge where we stayed last night. This morning we went up to turn at Grimsbury wharf and headed back to moor once again in Banbury but closer to Tom Rolt bridge. We have turned around as tomorrow Kev's daughter, Colette, her partner Ryan & Colette's son Joseph are coming to stay overnight. It is Kev's birthday on Saturday and so we will all go for a meal tomorrow night. Colette is going to Hull on Saturday to stay with her brother Lee so she is going to give me a lift home  so I can see my mam, and do some other things & also I have a funeral to go to. Dolly who was 98 tears old died on Sunday, she was lovely and her daughter Gail is a good friend. I will come back on train to Heyford train station on Monday 8th August and will be bringing my mam with me so she can stay on board for a week or so. Meanwhile Kev will be heading back to Thrupp and his friend Nigel will join him there, they are going to have a cruise back onto the Thames but will probably only get as far as Abingdon.

Dolly earlier this year, RIP lovely lady.
Looked out of the window this morning to see this little acrobat!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Off the Thames & onto The Oxford canal.

Saturday 23rd July
Well yesterday was our last day on the Thames and we have had a reply nice time, it was nice meeting up with George & Carol on "WB Still Rockin"and we hope to see them again another year. We also met up with Mags & Geoff on "NB Seyella"  a few laughs were shared with them & then we got to see Sue & Vic's new wide beam No Problem XL. So we are now back on the canal system and very strange it is too, slowing down the pace again but it is very nice.
We had a meal in the Feryman Inn at Bablock Hythe and we wouldn't want another! Kev had a Steak & Ale pie which was crap he said there was only a couple of pieces of beef in it & it was just full of thick gravy! I had fish & chips which was ok but only ok!!
It was a lovely day again yesterday and we left Bablock Hythe just after 8.15am and when we arrived at Pinkhill lock it was on self service although there was 2 blokes there who we had seen on their canoes previously. They helped me with the paddles and the lock gates, they had stayed behind the lock cottage on Thursday night and had slept outside in hammocks! Its a good job it hadn't rained, they said the lock cottage was empty but they had plugged their phone chargers into an outside electric point so were very pleased. They also had a shower as there are some showers round the back of the cottage too! They were waiting for the lockie to come before they would leave and as Kev was coming out of the lock and heading to the lock landing to pick me up, the lockie arrived. We didn't have much further to go before we arrived at Eynsham lock, our last lock on the Thames. As we approached the lock landing the lockie there was just walking to the lock gates and opened them so we went straight in. Once we were down through the lock we stopped briefly at the sanitary station and Kev emptied the cassette & also took the rubbish to the bins and then we were on our way again and were soon at the junction for the Oxford canal.
Left to the Oxford canal to the right Kings lock
Kings lock
Very overgrown and narrow

Slow going through Dukes cut
Full of constant moorers, what a way to live!
Our first lock Dukes Cut Lock, onto the Oxford canal.
A boat appeared as we were leaving the lock but he was turning around and heading in the same direction as we were! The next lock is round the bend to the left so I got off once we were through the bridge and went to help the man on the above boat with the next lock and then emptied it again for Kev. 
A very ornate sign.
We had a swing bridge next and then Kev walked with Jaz for a bit then I pulled over to get them both back on board.
This is Yarnton bridge and is very low!
When we got through bridge 224 we moored alongside quite a busy road, we were going to move a bit further on through the next bridge were the Jolly Boatman pub is but we were told by a fellow boater that all the visitor moorings were full so we stayed put, we had a walk to the Coop for some bread & milk and we then went for a pint on the way back, the pub has had a name change from The Wise Alderman to The Highwayman! We have been there in 2006 with our caravan when we were with a few friends who stayed in the pub, it is a good little caravan site. When we stayed on it we were all going to a game fair at Blenheim, the weather then was glorious too!
When we got back to the boat we got the chairs out on the back of the boat and sat in the sun for a while and about 7pm we took Jaz for a walk to the Boat pub in Thrupp and also on the way back stopped at the Jolly Boatman for one too, it was a lovely evening with plenty of people enjoying the weather too, as both pubs were very busy.
A moorhen & her chick opposite our mooring.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

A bit of maintenance

Thursday 21st July
We stayed put for a couple of days so Kev could take advantage of the weather to do some maintenance on the boat. He has painted the base of the gas locker & also painted the bilges in the engine bay. The weather has been glorious but windy and so we couldn't light the BBQ on Tuesday or yesterday! It has been lovely moored on open fields with not many people passing so it was quite private and Jaz could be loose and only on occasion did she have to be on her tether. I had bought a new iPhone 6 when we were moored in Kingston Upon Thames and it has died a death! I like to get photos on it but haven't been able to get any. Th escreen started to flicker on Tuesday and the phone went off but I spoke to Sam who told me how to reboot it and it worked but then yesterday it went off again and now there is just a blank black screen! I have tried all sorts to try to restart it but it is not having any of it! So it looks like a trip to an Apple store when I can get to one, fortunately I can use my iPad for my calls & texts as we are with 02 and they have an App called "TU" and it means that I can still make & accept calls & text too but only when we have wifi.
Anyway this morning I walked up to Rushey Lock with Jaz while Kev set off on the boat to meet me there, he wanted to get rid of our rubbish and so as I got to the lock with Jaz he was ready and waiting for me to fill the lock. As it was almost 9am the lockie appeared as I was setting the lock and so I helped him with the gates to let Kev in the lock and then another narrowboat appeared so once the other boat was alongside us in the lock I helped the lockie with the paddles and the gates before returning to get back on R&R.
Another lovely day, a bit cooler but it was still about 24 degrees and no wind! When we got to Shifford lock we stopped at the water point and topped up, and then made our way down the lock with the narrowboat that we had shared Rushey lock with. After we had gone down Shifford lock we carried on to the moorings at Newbridge where we moored to have a sandwich and take Jaz for a walk.

Tenfoot  Bridge
Leaving Newbridge mooring. The Maybush Inn on the right.

This looks like a hot tub, it is on The Maybush pub land.
When we were moored at Newbridge last week we went to Rose Revived Inn across the bridge for a meal, the meal was fine but the service was crap, with people queueing for ages.
When we got to Northmoor lock the lockie was on so this time Kev went to help with the lock & I brought the boat into the lock and then another boat was coming so we waited for them. We were going to go to the shop at Appleton on the bikes provided but decide that we were ok for provisions.

The 2 bikes you can use to go to Appleton shop!
Not much further on before we arrived at the moorings at The Ferryman Inn at Bablock Hythe and we got moored and then took Jaz for a walk to the pub where we sat outside for a pint! We will go for something to eat there later, they do food 7pm to 8.30pm. We got the chairs out after w returned back to the boat and sat outside with Jaz, it has clouded up a bit but it is still warm.

Kev & Jaz sat outside.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Lechlade & about turn!

Monday 19th July

After leaving our mooring at farmoor reservoir we only did one lock which was Northmoor Lock and then when we got through Newbridge we moored at the moorings through the bridge.
Newbridge mooring
Lovely open space at these moorings and we noticed that there was a water tap at the far side of the field, but it was probably for caravanners & campers as there was an old sign near the gate close to the water tap  saying Caravan club certified location. There is an old farmhouse too which is empty and is very run down so we assume that the site is no longer in use. The water tap is still in use though as I turned it on, I would think if you were moored here & were running short of water you could fill a container up! Mind you there are plenty of water points along the river.

The river is a bit overgrown in places

There are lots of these pill boxes along the river!
After leaving Newbridge we got to our first lock which was Shifford lock and as it was before 9am 
we worked the lock ourselves. It was then onto Rushy lock and then the river gets a bit narrow in places but is quite overgrown too there are lots of tight bends too. We were soon through Radcot lock where there was a lockie on and as we approached he had the lock ready & opened the gates for us to go straight in. Shortly after the lock we moored at some moorings before Radcot bridge, on the field next to the moorings there were a few people camping and looked like they were having a good time. It was a nice sunny day so we had a walk with Jaz over the bridge to The Swan pub and sat in the beer garden. When we got back to the boat we sat at the stern on our sun chairs as there wasn't much space outside the boat to put the chairs. As we were sat a car came along the field and stopped along side of us and a man got out to talk to us, we thought he had come for a mooring fee but he hadn't, he was actually the landlord from the Swan pub and owned the field along with the moorings and said he didn't want any money as he knew we had been in his pub! We had a good chat with him and he was very nice, we just about got his life story! We were off early yesterday as we wanted to get to Lechlade to get a bit of shopping but we didn't want to stay there as the cows in the field where the moorings are apparently chew at your ropes and lick the paint! We had 3 locks to get through and we were soon at our last one which was St Johns lock close to Lechlade.

Leaving Radcot, the bridge is quite narrow.
The Swan Pub is just before the bridge.
This Heron was waiting patiently for a fish!
This was a bit tight with the buoy at the bend.
St Johns Lock, with Father Thames watching over everyone.
Inside St Johns lock waiting for the lockie to fill the lock.
It was quite funny as the lockie had been at the previous lock which was Buscot lock and once he had got us up through that one he drove to St Johns lock and was waiting for us!
There are 2 miniature houses at the lock very pretty.
We only had a short distance to the moorings at Lechlade so we got moored and after I had took Jaz  for a brief walk, Kev & I had a walk over the bridge into Lechlade. It was very warm and we didn't take Jaz as it was too hot for her, she just wanted to lay under the table and stay cool inside the boat.

Looking down from the bridge at this riverside pub.
This shop is closed down.
Lechlade is a lovely small town with a lot of antique shops and a few pubs! We refrained from staying to going the pub but we did get an ice-cream from a shop that is opposite an Italian restaurant/pub. The little shop has only been open 2 months and sells real Italian ice-cream which is imported, as the lady in the shop told us that however they try to make it here using their Italian recipe it never tastes the same as if it was made from ingredients from Italy. The lady said that the Italian restaurant opposite the shop belongs to her & her husband. Both of us had coconut flavoured ice-cream cornets and it was lovely. We went into the Londis shop to get a few bits of shopping and then headed back to the boat, I was making us a sandwich and Kev was outside the boat with Jaz and he shouted to me that there was a snake swimming across the river! Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to get the camera, but it was a bit too far anyway to get a decent photo. It wasn't very big so we wondered if it was a grass snake. Once we had eaten our sandwich we turned round and headed back to St. Johns lock, the lockie was just leaving in his car so we did the lock ourselves, but there was a boat coming out so we could go straight in. As we got down through the lock we stopped at the services there & Kev emptied the cassette, and then we were on our way back downstream.
 This is the old Toll house on the bridge at Lechlade
There is R&R, the cows were further away from us!But they were chewing at another boats ropes!
Leaving the services at St Johns lock
We had a lovely cruise in the brilliant sunshine and we never passed another boat for ages and as usual when we did meet another boat coming towards us it was at a bend as usual!
A pretty thatched cottage.
This Kite is taking in the sun too.
These cows were cooling off in the river.
It had been a long day yesterday and we finally moored for the day just upstream of Rushey Lock, we got the chairs out and had BBQ and sat with a cold beer!! In the evening we sat in the cratch where we were visited bay 2 swans & 2 cygnets.
 Our mooring last night, just as it was getting dark.
One of our visitors last night

Friday, 15 July 2016

Waking up to some terrible news on the telly!

Friday 15th July
What terrible news to wake up to this morning, we turned the news on to hear about the terrorist attack in Nice. Our hearts go out to all the people who lost someone in this horrific attack & for all the injured that are in hospital fighting for their lives. It must have been terrible to witness this event too & I can only think it must have been carnage.
Anyway yesterday was a lovely day and Kev managed to finally get one side of the boat washed & I went for a walk into Oxford while Kev stayed behind with Jaz. I took a few photos as I had a walk around so here they are....

Yesterday afternoon about 5pm a boat came along and wanted to moor in the space in front of us, but there was a man fishing there and he was refusing to move! The woman on the bow of the boat had got off with the head rope ready to tie up once her husband on the tiller had brought the stern in, but all they both got was a lot of abuse from the fisherman, he said "I have paid for my fishing license and don't see why I should move for you bloody boaters"! Anyway he got his way and the couple on the boat moved off, the fisherman packed up just before 6pm and left a good mooring empty for the night! No more to say!!
This morning after we finished watching the news we had breakfast and then Kev took Jaz for  a walk to the recreation field and when he came back we had a cuppa & then left about 9.10 am. It was a completely different day to yesterday, instead of wearing T-shirts it was sweatshirts! 
Leaving this morning, The Punters pub behind the tree.

Osney Bridge is very low!
This is the lowest bridge we have been through since we got onto the Thames! We had to drop the canopy for this one!
Plenty of trees have been chopped down here
Plenty of logs piled up, it looks like a boaters dream!
Through this footbridge is Port Meadow, you have to keep to the centre of the river as it is shallow to the right side.
Well thats one way to moor!
Think they will get their feet wet getting off!
Keeping to the centre!
Leaving Godstow lock
Just after Godstow lock is the remains of Godstow Abbey
Then there is Godstow bridge
Kings lock
After we left Kings Lock we passed the entrance for The Oxford Canal (Known as Dukes Cut)
We carried on and when we got through Eynsham lock we stopped at the water point and topped up with water, I took Jaz for a walk and Kev emptied the cassette and we were on our way again.
Shortly before we arrived at Pinkhill lock we passed a familiar boat..
A quick wave to Sharon & Richard on Nb OakApple.
When we were up through Pinkhill lock we moored just around the corner on the 24 hour moorings, close to Farmoor Reservoir.