Tag Archives: Annie’s Tearoom

The Long Journey Home – Part 10

The Long Journey Home – Part 10

Saturday 9 June 2018

Our First Visitors and a Short Trip

The Long Journey Home – Part 10 began with us cleaning the boat. We needed to do this as will become apparent. Most importantly, we checked the level of water in the newly installed header tank. The level had gone down but only by a little. Maybe it was finding its level. We were waiting for my Brother-In-Law Ian and his wife Christine to arrive, hence the cleaning. They were to be our first guests aboard. After everything had been made as presentable as it could be (including myself, difficult job I know) we sat outside on the deck, enjoying a cup of tea – it’s a narrowboating tradition. Suddenly

“Hello! Excuse me!”.

A stranger on the towpath was waving & calling and pointing across to the other side of the canal, just above the marina. It was Ian & Christine trying desperately to get our attention.

“You’re on the wrong side!”.

I went off jogging to meet them. I must be more specific in future

“On the towpath side…” 🙂

Our First Visitors

Our first visitors, bearing wine and beer – the best kind of visitor 😉

Welcomed aboard, we sat out, on the deck, in the sun enjoying a drink, discussing the merits of the mooring and how the engine was performing and how wonderful the weather was. It was glorious. It seems that no matter where you moor on the canal system, it’s always a great location.

Long Journey Home - Part 10 - Ian and Christine image

Now, Ian & Christine had come for a trip on the boat, to get a feel for it but the day was young and it was, as had been said; wonderful. We decided, once again to walk to Thrupp.

Long Journey Home - Part 10 - Walking to Thrupp image

Ian had a chance to photograph the bridges and Annie’s Tearoom was a welcome sight once there. I recommend the Toasted Teacake. The walk is very relaxing and takes you through a wide range of canal journey; bridges, a lock, various types of towpath, a river as well as canal and moored narrowboats as well as cruisers etc. We had got to know this part of the Oxford canal quite well by now. It’s worth visiting if you ever get this way.

Long Journey Home - Part 10 - Baker's Lock image

A Short Trip

Back onboard Mirrless, we set up a journey so our visitors could experience travel on a narrowboat. So, we performed engine checks, fired up the engine, cast off the centreline and then we moved the boat, out and south towards Oxford 20 yards and then mu pulled us in, on the centreline, in front of the boat we had been moored next to. Short, very short but sweet! The problem was, we didn’t want to lose our mooring spot. We felt this was a safe and logical place to break our journey. We had however gone through all the motions but our guests would have to visit again for a more representative trip (it was all just a ploy to get them to bring more wine and beer 🙂 )

We locked up Mirrless, nervous about having to leave her (there! I’ve done it. I’ve called the boat her!) but feeling this was as good a place as any. We strapped in for The Gumball Rally part two and made Godspeed back to Wiltshire. It would feel strange not sleeping aboard Mirrless that evening.

A Big Thank You

We both have to say a big thank you to Ian and Christine for taking the time to come and visit us and giving us a lift back to the South West (I had work the next week).


Long Journey Home - Part 10 - Gang of Four image

Here ends The Long Journey Home – Part 10

The Long Journey Home - Part 9
The Long Journey Home - Part 8
The Long Journey Home - Part 7
The Long Journey Home - Part 6
The Long Journey Home - Part 5
The Long Journey Home - Part 4
The Long Journey Home - Part 3
The Long Journey Home - Part 2
The Long Journey Home - Part 1

The Long Journey Home – Part 9

The Long Journey Home – Part 9

Friday 8 June 2018

A Walk to Tearooms

The Long Journey Home – Part 9 saw us with the second day we had ‘stayed still’ since setting off from Whilton. It was an overcast day so perfect for cleaning and walking. We cleaned and carried out a few odd jobs. Things get dusty very quickly when out on the cut. It’s a by product of having the doors open both ends and flying backwards and forwards through the boat, relaying messages (58 feet is a long way to shout over the roar of a BMC 1.5 diesel engine). It’s a lot safer than traversing the footprint wide gunnels down either side of the boat. The roof currently isn’t an option as the solar panels are full width across the top of the boat.

A Walk to Tearooms

We decided to walk to Thrupp from Enslow as it also had a marina but more importantly; a Tearoom 🙂 Just after setting off I called Whilton Marina to try and address the continuing use of water by the engine. It was drinking us out of house and home! Even at rest! They called back and agreed to send out two engineers to try and resolve the issue, once and for all. They would bring parts that might be needed with them. It sounded hopeful.

It was a beautiful walk of 2.5 miles, over a bridge where the river Cherwell joins the canal and you actually drive along the river for a distance, before leaving it to rejoin the Oxford canal. There are two locks and a disused railway line that no longer spans the canal. You then enter Thrupp. There is a canoe club and the marina has quite a few canal-side moorings. It was full, obviously very popular.

Traditional

Annie’s Tearoom was a lovely traditional English tearoom. We unfortunately had to rush our toasted teacake and tea & coffee as we were conscious of the route march we would have, back to Mirrless, to meet the engineers from Whilton Marina.

Back at Mirrless, the day was a bit brighter and warmer so we cleaned some more and waited. Eventually Barry called, he was at The Rock of Gibraltar with Dan and they were making their way to us. Barry had worked on Mirrless and was the one who finally got her ready for us to move aboard on the Friday. If anyone could resolve our problems, Barry could.

Sign of a Leak

Two guys with a wheelbarrow loaded with equipment trekked down the towpath and after I’d given them the history of Mirrless’ overheating, they started to work on her, looking for the offending leak. Every pipe, link, join, outlet, even the gearbox was checked but everything was bone dry – no sign of a leak. So, they set to installing a header tank. This was basically a white plastic container to hold more water (or to be fair, coolant). It would theoretically remove any chance of an airlock (especially with the calorifier, which was higher than the Bowman tank – all good technical stuff). With this installed, filled with coolant and the engine tested, all was looking good. Only time would tell.

Barry had fished the Cherwell river which was next to the canal, the other side of the towpath. He knew the Oxford canal, the Thames river and the Kennet & Avon canal and gave us some invaluable tips for our future journey. He was also very knowledgeable about the London canals which would be useful for future trips. After the engine had been left to run for a significant amount of time without incident, Barry and Dan left, stopping only to look into the Cherwell at the point he had pulled out three large Chubb (“They were this big!”).

Thanks guys!

The Rock

We returned once more to The Rock of Gibraltar to avail ourselves of their WiFi and phone charge. We also had a pint of Brackspear bitter and Thatcher’s Haze cider. It would have been rude not to. We also had a small meal, then sat in the garden, to enjoy another Summer’s evening.

We walked back to Mirrless; across the old stone road bridge (now superceded by a large metal road bridge) along the towpath on the other side, back towards the Winding Hole.

A Quiet Spot

This area had been a quiet spot with very little traffic; on the canal or the towpath. After the meeting of boats at every turn, it seemed the 9 mile stretch into Oxford was less frequented. At least at this weekend.

We put down the blinds, turned on the lights (Mirrless is very well lit) and made a few notes about the day for the blog.

Tomorrow we would receive our first visitors to Mirrless.

Here ends The Long Journey Home – Part 9

The Long Journey Home - Part 8
The Long Journey Home - Part 7
The Long Journey Home - Part 6
The Long Journey Home - Part 5
The Long Journey Home - Part 4
The Long Journey Home - Part 3
The Long Journey Home - Part 2
The Long Journey Home - Part 1