We had the very sad news last night that Elaine had lost her battle with cancer. Anyone who had met Elaine knows what a lovely person she was, with her infectious smile and just one of those people who have an impact on us. Our heartfelt condolences go to Paul and their families at this very sad time. We have very happy memories of our too few gatherings. RIP Elaine. xx
Abingdon. What does the name conjure for you? I suppose, for me it is a southern Midland industrial town, cars and such. How wrong am I. My only previous experience is calling in for fuel from the A34. From the river aspect, it is just so different.
For a start, this town welcomes boaters. Five consecutive days FREE mooring is unheard of on the Thames, so it is very popular. The town centre has a pleasant blend of old and sympathetic new. Not wow, but erm, yes. Well done. A rather understated place, but none the worse for that.
So it was with some regret that the time came to bid the town farewell. Claire and David I hope, enjoyed their visit, although unsure if the hotel really met their standards. We had a good time and they even got to meet as Martine and Malcolm would say, the Cliff!
Monday was the day of departure from fair Abingdon. A really pleasant cruise up river. This section of course, holds no surprises, as we came this way earlier in the year. The spectacular Riverside properties are now somewhat behind us, but the river remains interesting. Deep and wide waters for us ditch dwellers are always a bonus.
Approaching Oxford, we met with a dilemma. The moorings above Osney lock were full! So either carry on up river, or divert slightly, go up Isis lock onto the South Oxford, in order to meet up with Malcolm and Martine.
Up Isis went we then....
We managed to moor up just beyond NB Penny Less, who had a prime position, despite being resident for but a moment(!) Bit of a chat, then blow me, it was time to go for a beer, I mean food, of course. We wandered down to the Punter above Osney lock and had a quirky meal. I enjoyed mine, not sure about the others. Would you believe Ali & Martine drank them out of Gin!
Malcolm and I of course remained completely sober and escorted the ladies back for a night cap, or three. Malcolm I believe, like me, met Cliff. Again. Honest, this is completely out of character for me...
Tuesday, with a heavy head,(heart) we said farewell to Malcolm & Martine. Odd to be in an urban environment again, although it did allow us to replenish supplies thanks to M&S food. Now we either carried on up the Oxford, or reversed back, down Isis lock, and continued up the Thames.
Up river from Oxford, the rivers character changes. Gone are the automated locks and the river itself meanders severely. A little chopping back of the odd tree would not go amiss. Adds to the experience though. Ali says she needs travel sickness pills though!
On Tuesday we moored in splendid isolation, with ner a sound of the 21st century. Not a lot of residences or villages here, nor bridges. On Wednesday, we wended our way onward and called it a day just short of Radcot. The weather has been more than kind, as has been this beautiful river. So chilled out, for the final push, before the weather finally breaks?
But it has held for one more day. Thursday was stunningly hot. A bit of morning cloud, but after that, it was hot, with ner a breath of wind . The trip up river from Radcot is a joy. Whilst the countryside is flat, the meandering river makes up for this. Deep, albeit at times narrow waters, whose contorted course offers a challenge at every bend. And there are many! Too many for Ali really, but she endured. No dramas on the way up river, for us anyway. A couple of small cruiser style day boats pirouetting as they left Buscot lock raised a smile though.
We are now moored in rural isolation at Kemscott. The harvest is in full swing, the cows drinking the waters opposite and not a train or automobile to break the tranquillity. Just the odd military transport heading for Brize Norton. You can never fully escape the 21st century, but here, it's as near as damn it.
After enjoying the afternoon sun, we walked into the village and enjoyed refreshments at The Plough, in this stunning picture postcard Cotswold village. It's like being on a film set and expecting to see Miss Marple bicycling past.
So, hunkered down for the predicted deluge, then dodging in to visit Kelmscott manor on Saturday.
Just as an aside, TV. We really have not watched it much this year,apart from the Olympics. Some years ago now, we met a chap who had one of these
He raved about it. So bought one, but it was an e-bay buy, and was rubbish. That said, until the connector parted company from the lead, it worked, occasionally! This was when we had a sat system. Since buying the Maxview OMNIMAX with signal booster, TV has not been a problem, but leaving, £80 worth of aerial on the roof occasionally was a concern. Especially when in more urban areas.
We saw several boats using these in Windsor, so thought, let's give it another go.
The thought was, why not try a similar aerial again, in conjunction with the booster, so bought one from Maplins, understanding that it would only work in strong signal areas. It has been a success. Discreet on the boat roof and gaining on average 108 digital TV channels and 39 radio. But only in good signal areas.
Worth a £17 punt though. Only had to revert to the Maxview once since purchasing (so Ali could watch the Olympics).
Total distance 52 miles and 21 locks