Sunday, 7 April 2013

On the move again

The first weekend of April 2013 was gorgeous, a complete contrast to the start of 2013.  We decided that our medium term goal was to get to Crick by the late May bank holiday.  Crick is in Northamptonshire and the marina there hosts an annual boat show.  Karen’s cousin (Dave) and his wife (Barbara) help friends at the show and we had agreed to meet up.  These friends of Dave and Barbara build narrow boats and exhibit one each year at Crick so welcome help showing punters round.  Dave and Barbara also own a narrow boat and were bringing it down to Crick from Cheshire so we thought it would be a great way to meet up.

Up the Thames from Reading to Oxford

We decided that the first leg would be to Oxford and we should do that over the weekend so set off from our moorings of four weeks at Frys Island in Caversham:

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As you can see it was a beautiful day:

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All the locks are manned between 9 and 5 other than at lunchtimes.  Outside these hours you have to operate the locks yourself.  Here are some of the locks between Reading and Oxford.

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All locks on rivers have weirs to control the river flow and on the Thames tend to be very wide as in this one at Goring:

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We cruised for ten hours on that Saturday - our first cruise for many months because of the 
awful winter and spring.  It was a great day: we saw the first butterfly of the year and Saints won. We had left red wine warming by the stove ready for our return from the Wagon and Horses at Culham where we had a well deserved beer or two:

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On the Sunday we set out to complete the remainder of the trip.  We had a slight mishap at Abingdon just after this picture was taken:

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I won’t say who was driving but in their defence the buoy marking the sandbank had come adrift.  We were well and truly stuck as we had been going at 5 knots (you are allowed to go faster on wide rivers than on narrow canals).  We called a rescue company but they couldn’t get out to us for a couple of days as they had two boats to rescue further up the Thames and there was a sunken narrow boat just north of Oxford that they would have to wait to be recovered.

In the end the guy on the red boat in the picture turned up and came over to drag us off backwards.  This was rather comical as he was obviously rather hung over and couldn’t work out why his boat would only turn one way - his anchor was down.  Anyway once that was sorted he soon had us moving again. Of course by that time there were plenty of locals capturing the antics on their phone videos.

Here are some of the bridges we went under that weekend:

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And some of the places we passed on the way:

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And some of the smart houses on the Thames:

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