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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 43 – River Thames

Posted by indigodream on 1 September, 2016

Rewind to Sunday 31st July

Godstow to Lechlade

Reflections....

Reflections….

With Richard’s car already waiting for us in Lechlade, we had a busy day’s cruising to make sure that we finished up there – no loitering today….

Having been a little naughty with mooring right on the end of the lock moorings at Godstow, we resolved to be away before we could possibly inconvenience anyone so it was an early start by Indigo Dream standards. Herbie hound’s preferred getting up time is around 10.30am, so he wasn’t impressed!

It was another fine day and we enjoyed passing through Kings Lock, which feels like the start of the meandering journey to Lechlade. Of course, the gentle curves between Kings and Eynsham Locks are just a rehearsal – a chance to get a feel for the tiller and how much you need to do to turn a 60′ narrowboat 180 degrees round a narrow hairpin bend! The river was stunning, with perfect reflections fooling the eye and giving an otherwordly feel to our journey.

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

However, nothing brings you down to earth like stopping at the services for a pump-out and to dump rubbish, which is what we did below Eynsham Lock. I wandered around with Herbie hound, who was appalled when a little black labrador took a fancy to him, turned her tail and presented her nether regions for some action. The look on his face was priceless as he pulled me back to the boat – Herbie told me that he doens’t like fast women – quite right, Herbie, very wise….

The lock-keeper at Eynsham looked familiar, and seemed surprised when I asked him how married life was treating him! Three years ago, he got married and we delivered a card to him from his fellow lock-keepers as we cruised downstream. We got the few photos of his wedding boat up on the ipad and he was delighted – apparently married life is going very well indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

Three years on and he's still smiling :-)

Three years on and he’s still smiling ๐Ÿ™‚

I felt a great surge of love for the river and the countless stories that have been told along its great length (historical and physical), but was brought down to earth by another chore – filling the water tank, which we did above Eynsham Lock.

I have some clear memories of cruising here – sadness that the great horsechestnut trees at Grafton Lock, which had been diagnosed with a deadly disease in 2012, had now gone, with just sad stumps as a reminder of their once magesterial presence. Then we had a chat with the people Northmoor Lock – there was a relief lockie on duty, but we had a chat with the main lock-keeper’s family who seemed to be looking after the cottage while they were away. We were asking after their lurcher, Flood, whom they’d adopted when they found him wandering lost and frightened during a storm in 2013 (having previously lost their old greyhound, Handsome Pa). We were delighted to hear that Flood is fine, though we were sad that he was away and that we didn’t get to meet him again.

Ok, so I may not remember anything about what we did on Day 41, but as it didn’t involved greyhounds then what can you expect!

Almost there - St John's lock just downstream of Lechlade...

Almost there – St John’s lock just downstream of Lechlade…

We had a surprise visitor later in the day, when one of Richard’s work colleagues asked if he could join us for the last part of our cruise. We’d been negotiating meeting places and times – Lucio lives not far from Lechlade so was very familiar with the area. Whether by immaculate luck or planning, Lucio was parking up at the riverside meadows at Kelmscott just as we rounded the bend.

Although we usually encourage visitors to have a try on the helm, the bends in the river downstream of Lechlade are a challenge, especially when you add in small hire boats, barely under control and often on the wrong side of the river. Lucio was happy to watch as Richard and I took turns to navigate the narrow river. It was noticeable that there are now a load more green and red buoys and that the ones we remembered are well away from the bank, the river is getting shallower . .

It was such a thrill to reach St John’s lock – we were within metres of fulfilling our ambition of cruising the length of the navigable (by narrowboat) Thames in a single season. However, we didn’t have much time to celebrate – we found a good mooring spot on the meadow below the bridge, and decided that our trip to the Inglesham Roundhouse would have to wait until next weekend. We had wanted to celebrate our Thames odyssey with a glass of bubbly (maybe offering a libation to the river itself) but we had to drive back to Surrey.

The meadow moorings cost ยฃ5 a night – we would not be there when the owner called the following morning, but he has an arrangement with the narrowboat moored permanently just downstream of the bridge so we gave them our week’s mooring fee and headed off.

Although it was a low key end to the day, we still felt elated at reaching one of our big cruising milestones – it had already been an epic year’s cruising, but there was much more to come…

Photoblog:

The horsechestnut trees at Grafton lock are diseased and dying - they will be cut back this winter - grim, especially in the light of the news about the spreading disease that might kill off our ash trees...

From 2012: The horsechestnut trees at Grafton lock are diseased and dying – they will be cut back this winter – grim, especially in the light of the news about the spreading disease that might kill off our ash trees…

So sad when mature trees are lost...

So sad when mature trees are lost…

Takes all sorts....

Takes all sorts….

r_Thames-31Jul2016-007

Reflections....

Reflections….

Reflections...

Reflections…

The photo doen''t do justice to how surreal the buoys and their reflections looked -

The photo doen”t do justice to how surreal the buoys and their reflections looked –

There were free range chickens running around at one of the locks - luckily Herbie hound wasn't interested - he'd prefer his ready roasted from Waitrose :-)

There were free range chickens running around at one of the locks – luckily Herbie hound wasn’t interested – he’d prefer his ready roasted from Waitrose ๐Ÿ™‚

Hot tub....

Hot tub….

Almost at the end of the navigation - this is just downstream of St John's lock - just think, at the far end the river was five miles wide :-)

Almost at the end of the navigation – this is just downstream of St John’s lock – just think, at the far end the river was five miles wide ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picked up Lucio at Kelmscott

Herbie

No cattle at Lechlade – paying for moorings – electric fence

 

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