Yesterday evening I was sitting in the lounge when the boat rocked, just like it does when someone steps on the front deck, I looked up and there was an oriental lady siting on our bench seat. She waved at me through the doors as I looked up, said sorry and goodbye before leaving again.
This morning we rigged the anchor ready for the Thames and set off backward passed all the residential moorings. It was 11 30 before we set off in steady rain that had been falling since the early hours. On our way back we spotted this pretty little craft moored amongst the wide selection of residential boats.
Since we were last here BW/EA have installed a row of buoys across the cut, there are still two boats moored below them but the buoys are in two staggered rows so I suppose they could get out between them if they ever wanted to.
As we traversed Sheep wash cut through the old railway swing bridge, the deck of the bridge is very clear to see, I think this may be down to clearing the undergrowth from around it. I hope this is not the first step to removing a bit more of the history of the canal. As you pass the old gear system for rotating the deck is very visible. There is a piece of old film on YouTube showing this bridge being moved in the 50s at http://youtu.be/Pt5Me7EyfRc
Once out on the Thames we turned right, upstream towards Lechlade, as we passed the meadow on out right this narrow boat was high and dry. When we reached Godstow lock I asked the lock keeper how long it had been there, her answer surprised me as it only went aground today, from how high it was out of the water he must have slid up at a fare lick, I thought he had been there weeks from when the water was much higher. We had just passed this when we met 3 people swimming down the river not far from the pub landing stage. Although the landing stage has now been rebuild and says “No Mooring” under the pub name, There are small signs on the actual decking and the down stream end is reserved for customers while the upstream end is “No Mooring” so we may be able to pay them a visit on our way down stream, if not we can turn into Dukes Cut and moor overnight on the canal.
The Lock Keeper at Godstow said she would let the approaching boat into the lock before us as it was a hire boat, what a wise young lady. They rocketed into the lock hitting the right hand wall, hard astern and swinging over to bash the left, stopping just before the gate. They finally tied up on the left and we slid in beside them. The offed to let us go first but I assured them they would be much faster than us so they shot off.
We saw this unusual craft moored at the Abbey ruins and the rest of the bank upstream from them looks to be occupied by long term moorers. We caught to the hire boat at the next lock which was on self service, they wondered for a while why the lock wouldn’t fill with all 4 paddles up. We left the lock first but they passed us by Dukes Cut with the bow wave almost up to the gunwales, we continued on at a more sedate pace until we decided to pull over on the right hand bank for lunch. I spotted a nice spot, right on the outside of a wide bend, the grass short and even a scaffold pole driven into the bank, I drew close, dropped the speed right down to zero and we were against the bank, bang, as if held by magnets. The wind is blowing straight across the river from the south pinning us hard against the bank, I would struggle to get away from here if I wanted to but the weather is so yuck we will stay until tomorrow.