Saturday, 27 April 2013

After Two Years!

Again the day started overcast with the breeze of the river also making it rather cold.  We slowly cruised up the Abingdon Lock where the lock keeper must have seen us coming as he opened the lower gates as we arrived.  The lock was refurbished over winter and it certainly looks “newer” than the other Thames locks we’ve been through during the last two days.  The lock has all the service facilities but we only needed to fill the water tank and dump the plastic bag of rubbish.

The cruise to the next lock (Sandford Lock) proved to be quite cold  and we were both considering donning our coats when the sun appeared.  The tree lined banks of the Thames would probably look more interesting in summer (when they are green) or in autumn with all the browns and gold colours.

We passed Nuneham House where lusty Victoria and Albert spent part of their honeymoon.

The Sandford Lock Keeper must have also seen us coming as he opened the lock gates when we came into sight.

Many of the Thames locks are very pretty and on enquiring we also discovered the lock keepers still live on site in the old lock keepers house.  The biggest problem I have with these locks is trying to find the time to take a photo whilst simultaneously attempting to control the boat.  Hopefully things will improve with time!  Above The lock is the King’s Arms pub.  I bet it does a roaring trade on a hot summers day.

Two ditchcrawlers (narrowboats) and a yogurt pot (plastic cruiser) passed us going downstream.  The second narrowboat (nb Sarah D) had five white stars on the NZ flag so we guessed they were Aussies!  They also yelled some comment about the rugby so we assume they’re still bitter! Smile

The heavy rainfall and flooding during winter has created serious problems for some boat owners.  today we passed two sunken boats and one that had been sunk.  It looked as if the owners were now considering what to do with their seriously damaged boat.

Iffley Lock was particularly picturesque and again the lock keeper opened the gates for us before we arrived.  All the Thames EA lock keepers have been very friendly and helpful.

Iffley Lock - How about that for a home to go with the job!

Very quickly we were on the outskirts of Oxford.  The initial impression was the journey through Oxford would be very attractive.

However it appeared Oxford had turned it’s back on the Thames which seemed to become a dirty winding ditch until we reached Osney Lock.

Osney Lock

There are free moorings above the lock (24 hours) so we decided to stop cruising for the day and spend the afternoon looking around Oxford.

Moored on the Thames above Osney Lock

Jan managed to sniff out a chinese supermarket.  Looks like dinner will be interesting with dim sims and steamed pork buns on the menu.  She also bought some oyster and soya sauce.  I walked further down the Thames Path to the junction of the Thames and the South Oxford Canal.  There I found it…..  after waiting two years… our first narrow lock.  It looks so……… well narrow! Smile

Isis Lock

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