Monday, 22 August 2016

Apart from the wind and rain ...

A bleak day dawned on Friday with heavy rain and the wind picking up to gusting at nearly 40 mph!
We were curious on Friday afternoon on hearing lots of tooting from the river and looked out to see nb Milly M coming by.  We helped Maffi to moor up in front of us and invited him onboard for tea and biscuits.  It was great to catch up with him, it was 16th October 2014 when we saw him last at Goring, and hopefully we’ll be able to catch up further when he’s on his way back to the cut later in the year.
The lovely sound of old engines took us to the window again an hour or so later, when we saw GUCC butty Brighton passing by, we couldn’t see the name on the motor but assume that it’s Nuneaton.
Later still on Friday at just after 9pm we could hear a bow-thruster and engine thrashing the water outside Still Rockin’ and when we looked this boat was either trying to moor in the very shallow water opposite or had beached in the silt by accident.  George went onto the deck to ask if he could help in any way and the steerer said that he was ok, he was firmly on the bottom and was going to stay the night! George reminded him that if the rain continued the way it was the river may well rise during the night and take him off the bottom to drift downstream (backwards) so we were pleased to see on Saturday morning that he’d managed to paddle his way onto the bank to secure his boat with one mooring spike!  He did manage to get away safely later.

So, apart from the above and the wind and the rain there’s not been much going on! No long walks with Molly due to the inclement weather but hopefully today that will change as the day wears on and brightens up a little. We need a few supplies and hopefully we’ll manage to stay dry as we trek into Dorchester and back.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Don’t know which way is up!

Thursday morning 6 o’clock, an early start today we need to fill the good tank and empty the nasties!
9:15 and jobs done George winds (turns) Still Rockin'
… and we re-enter Abingdon Lock, we’ve got time to kill so are retracing our steps

This notice made us smile but at least it’s clear for novice boaters!

Red floaty things!

We say cheerio to Peter and Corin on houseboat Gypsy Willow

The River Thames between Wallingford and Abingdon is a huge horseshoe shape and we pass Didcot Power Station at least 6 times sometimes on the left bank, sometimes on the right!

Collecting the crayfish traps from the riverbank

The chap on the narrowboat said that the’d had an ok harvest this morning.

George quoting the mantra ‘leave the green bouys on the right when going upstream’ and this threw him a bit until I pointed out we were now going downstream!  

I tell you, we don’t know which way is up at the moment!
It’s not long before we can see Wittenham Clumps in the distance

Could he be waiting for someone to open that gate so that he could meet up with his pals on the other side perhaps?

We’re now back at Dorchester moored about a mile above Day’s Lock

… with lots of open space on the meadow

… a good view upstream

… and downstream

… of the wide river just here

… and we can still see those chimneys!

I am astounded at these pictures of the sunset here at just after 19:30.  These have not been enlarged or edited in any way and with no special camera settings either!

We shall sit out the forecasted gale force winds and rain here for the next few days and then we shall be turning once again and returning to Abingdon.  (we still don’t know which way is up!)

Friday, 19 August 2016

Sad news and Abingdon

First and foremost, our heartfelt condolences go to Paul (Manley Ferry) whose beautiful wife Elaine died last night after such a brave fight with cancer.  She will be sorely missed by so many.  Rest in peace lovely lady.

It hardly seems right to continue with this blog post, but in all the sadness, life does go on.

Monday 15th August we woke early at our mooring on the meadow above Day’s Lock.  It’s time for us to move on.

The sun was just rising and there was a mist on the ground

and on the river

At 06:13 it was just under 4-degrees - in mid-August!

Arthur and Linda were the first to leave on nb Weyward Lass, it was good to meet up with them last evening for drinks on Gypsy Willow.

Next it was No Problem XL’s turn to leave (they were breasted up to Still Rockin’)

While Sue winded (turned) ...

Vic walked to Day’s Lock to set it in their favour

… here she comes

… passing houseboat Gypsy Willow where we’d spend a very pleasant couple of hours with owners Corin and Peter and friends last evening

The Church of England parish church of St Michael and All Saints

… at Clifton Hampden

Good balance!

Once through Clifton Lock the Thames continues to meander this way and that ...

… have I told you that I love these reaches on the very curvaceous reaches of the Thames?

The River Thames splits here; to the left under this lovely bridge is a navigable channel to the Plough pub in Long Wittenham.  We must do that one day. To the right is the way we're going, to Culham Lock; the lock landing in just over there!

Slowly does it here on this blind bend, the lock is just beyond the bridge

All good, it’s all clear for us to enter

Culham Lock is quite deep at nearly 8’.

Sluices open and the water pours in.

A mile or so further and we see the spire of Trinity Church, Abingdon
 Anyone and everyone takes this photo if they arrive in Abingdon by boat, it certainly is stunning!

 These are the waterside views from the first mooring we tied up at while we went to see what others were on offer further along

… and these the ones when we finally settled in … not too shabby at all.
Salters Steamers run regular boat trips from Abingdon to Oxford, this one has come through the bridge and is turning into Abingdon Marine to pick up more passengers … all without the help of bow thrusters … I’m glad it’s not me having to do that!

After enjoying an evening meal alfresco at the Nags Head we walked along the riverside.  This is Abingdon Town Hall and Museum.

 Walking back to Still Rockin’ (middle left)
 Night time view of the church from our mooring.

We’ll be spending a quiet day today in a contemplative mood with Paul and Elaine in our thoughts, it’s just so, so sad.