What beautiful weather we have had to do the dash up the Thames River as far as we can go before returning in time to attend Bob’s eye specialist appointment in London on the 18th June.
After several lovely days in Abingdon where we replaced the gearbox, repacked the stern gland, met the wonderful Julia and Malcolm on NB Figment and enjoyed the historic town, we finally left on Tuesday. It was hard to say goodbye but we had to make a move sometime!
After passing through the lock and refilling our water we continued up the river toward Oxford. The boat is running very well but Bob continues to be worried by vibrations. He is happy with the engine and gearbox but not sure about the propeller. Bron thinks its all fine.
We had only gone about 4 miles and Figment caught up with us – apparently thats a rather different thing for them as they have a history of being passed by both walkers and an elderly couple in a rowboat! We happily shared a couple of locks and then decided to moor together about a mile downstream of Christ Church Meadow in Oxford.
Bron headed for a nap while Bob worried about the vibrations and then we went next door for a happy hour or two before returning to Celtic Maid for a good night’s sleep and a (relatively) early start on the next phase. Malcolm and Julia are going to potter around and then head slowly back to Leicester by mid July.
On this stretch we saw Celtic Lady moored along the river which was a bit exciting. Not sure that they are related but…..
Wednesday morning dawned with our renewed determination to get to the top of the navigable Thames at Lechlade and return to near Oxford by Monday the 16th so that we can arrange to secure the boat and head to take care of medical matters in London. This means we need to stay focused and put in some rather long days. So another goodbye to these fabulous people and we headed toward Oxford and beyond. I think all of our livers will thank us for parting now but we do hope to catch up again sometime along the cut!!!!!
The wide Thames below Oxford gives way to a much narrower stream alongside the city and then stretches out again past Port Meadow.So many different patches of scenery and its hard to believe this is all the same waterway!! From this point on all the locks seem to be self service but now they are operated with wheels and gates that need pushing so Bron is back doing lock person duties!
We found a very nice mooring at Bablock Hythe on Wednesday night but alas had no internet or phone coverage. So we left the world at peace and got a good night’s sleep again.
This morning was a bit of a record for us – we were up and gone by 9.00am!! It has been a beautiful day and both of us are now sporting a bit of sunburn. Miraculously I assume our Vitamin D levels have also increased dramatically.
The scenery through this stretch is mainly farmland but we must be going past an airbase not far away because we have had some very interesting aircraft filling our skies. And of course even higher are the commercial jets. On a day like today it is not unusual to see 6 or more flying overhead at any time!
At one stage Bron took the tiller while Bob changed the camera lens over. Only problem was it was at a stage of the river with some very tight bends and Bron lost it on the third with Bob having to recover the steering with no option but to go through some overhanging branches. We think the L plates are still required!!!!
When we came through one of the locks today a crew of workmen were just packing up after laying new pathway today. They kindly helped us with the lockage so Bron had hardly anything to do again!!!!
We have finally moored near Radcot tonight with only about 6 miles to go before we reach the end and turn around. So far our timing is going very well.