Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Boat Blog: Micro-odyssey Day 5

Posted by indigodream on 4 May, 2012

Sunday 22nd April

Note: Still over a week behind but catching up!

This doesn’t surprise me at all – well worth a visit!

It’s been a busy few weeks and by Friday night we realised that we had reached the end of our tethers, tanks on empty, in other words, totally knackered!

So on Saturday we decided to stay at home and have an undemanding potter around – the lockie at Goring was very obliging when we rang to request an extra night’s mooring. It’s nice being on the lock moorings – our boat is not the lockie’s responsibility, but it’s good to know that the mooring is secure and that there’s someone to keep an eye out for any problems.

But on Sunday we thought we should move – we played a familiar game – I didn’t want to be the one to suggest that we didn’t move, so I was hoping that Richard would say “let’s leave the boat where she is for another week” (as it turns out this would have been a great idea but more on that next time!). In the meantime, Richard had hoped that I would say “lets not go”.

So it was that we went to the boat, and I was glad that we did. I had forgotten how lovely it is at Goring lock, surrounded by a picture-postcard village and a scenic weir, all against the great green backdrop of the surrounding hills. Indigo Dream had been fine on her moorings – we paid the lockie for the extra night, got rid of our rubbish (useful skips under the bridge) and set off. We came out just behind a hire boat that had come up the lock while we were getting ready.

Graceful road bridge just downstream of Goring lock….

We had decided to leave the dogs with “Nanny Renia” today – it’s been an intense few weeks with Poppy and Lou being so unwell, but with both now on the mend (spoke too soon as it happens but that’s for another day) I wanted a little respite (though I did feel a bit guilty about it because I don’t begrudge their care one little bit).

The river was quiet and beautiful – it was a lovely day, although the wind was chilly at times, the sunshine was warm in the shelter. We soon got to Cleeve lock, which we shared with the hirers – they are experienced boaters who aspire to own their own narrowboat. They took a fancy to Indigo Dream, commenting that she would be the ideal boat for them…..

They were stopping at the Beetle And Wedge, just upstream of the lock, to have lunch and pick up more crew. We were tempted to stop there for lunch as well, but there was only one mooring spot and it seemed mean take it from them (we were ahead of them by this point). We would have been interested in hearing about their boating plans, especially if they’d involved buying Indigo Dream at a ridiculously inflated price ๐Ÿ˜€

Not that Indigo Dream is on the market!

We carried on past Brunel’s magnificent bridge and enjoyed the lush scenery. Apparently this is prime crime fiction territory – Agatha Christie lived hereabouts and there are several “Midsomer Murders” (the TV series) locations around here. I wish we’d known – the county of Midsomer is famous for its high body count and inventive murder weapons – would we be safe? ๐Ÿ™‚

The view over the weir – I love this spot….

We had the usual debate about how far to travel – we’d only been on the water for an hour and half but we were already looking for mooring spots – very out-of-character! We rang ahead to Benson Lock, but their visitor moorings were full so we stopped off on the left-hand side moorings after Wallingford Bridge to have lunch and contemplate our next move. The moorings here are 24-hour and cost ยฃ5 a night for overnight stays; but the notices do say that you can make arrangements for longer stays with the town council.

The moorings on the right bank are owned by the district council, so I wandered across (on foot) to try to get some more information. While I was doing that, a cruiser left the district council moorings, leaving a nice Indigo Dream sized space into which Richard quickly moved. The moorings on the left bank at Wallingford flank a council outdoor swimming pool, campsite and car park, but the whole complex was shut and is not due to open until May. However there was a board with a phone number for the Abbey Sports Centre – the staff there were exceptionally helpful, even though they weren’t familiar with the mooring procedures. The authorised a 6-day mooring for us and we arranged to pay them next Friday.

With our mooring sorted, we settled down to some DIY – I don’t feel that I’ve really “de-winterised” the boat yet – the cupboards need sorting and the whole boat needs a good spring clean. In the meantime Richard fitted the fixture for our new flagpole and sorted the engine. We only pottered around for an hour or so – we didn’t want to be too late home and we’re over an hour’s drive away now. I decided to take most of the dog beds home for washing, but I left the task of sorting the human bedding for next time.

We tied the boat relatively loosely with springs, in case the river should rise, but we were happy to leave her in Wallingford for 6 days – we figured that we’d soon be back….


The view upstream from Goring lock with Indigo Dream snug and safe on the visitor mooring.

I really like the idea of a boathouse (this is a fine example) but at Wallingford the river’s since risen about 4′ (in a fortnight) – how do these boathouses manage??

View back towards Goring lock…

Approaching Cleeve lock…

The Leatherne Bottle – riverside restaurant – it looks lovely – how come we’ve never stopped there??

The river is so rural here that the filling station and road looked quite out of their place and time!

We weren’t sure what this ‘notch’ in the riverbank is for – you certainly don’t need a winding hole here ๐Ÿ™‚

Very smart mooring pontoon (private I believe) – wish we were moored there now!

Oxford University Boat Club – a far cry from the average boat club ‘sheds’ that you see along the river!

Approaching the multi-arched bridge at Wallingford – remember these river levels – they don’t look the same today ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

A view of the many arches (19 I think) at Wallingford…

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