Tag Archives: Oxford canal

The Long Journey Home – Part 14

The Long Journey Home – Part 14

Monday 18 June 2018

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Narrowboat Artwork image
Narrowboat Artwork

Onto The Thames – Nearly

We awoke to the day we would enter onto The Thames. The sun was out, a boat had been past and we weren’t adrift – a good start to the day.

Tea, Best Drink of the Day

Tea clarified the task we had to undertake and as we thought more about it, we decided we needed more information (and probably tea). Rather than just setting off and hoping, we decided we would spend the day in Oxford. We wanted to walk to Isis Lock and see the entrance to The Thames before attempting it in a boat. The Thames river is under the auspices of the Environment Agency, not the Canal and River Trust and as such, required a separate licence to travel on. Luckily, a short pass can be purchased from the first (or subsequent) lock on The Thames proper (not Isis), for a small fee.

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Artwork

The walk from our mooring, along the towpath took us from Wolvercote (The Wolvercote Tongue), through Woodcock (The Last Bus to Woodcock) and onto Jericho (The Walls of Jericho) and then on to the Bodleian Libray and Brasenose Lane where further episodes of Inspector Morse were represented. We were walking through the history of Colin Dexter’s creations, as represented by the TV Series.

Isis oh Isis

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Isis Lock Sign image

The Isis Lock was a less daunting prospect than we had thought it to be, the water levels were Green and as no rain was forecast, all looked well for the next day. The turn at Isis Lock is a sharp one with two options to travel on The Thames and one blocked off with buoys as non-navigable. There are complex instructions on mooring to a pontoon, pushing the back of the boat out, ‘walking’ it along the pontoon to turn it, then off. As the water looked today, I would have been tempted to power straight around but would check before we went.

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Bridge 243 Isis Lock image

Walking over the lock bridge: a black and white iron one similar to the one at Braunston, we made friends with a beautiful little cat that would have made a great boat cat. It tip toed along the bridge hand rail, deftly jumping off and back up, craving affection. It lost interest after a while.

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - River Thames Sign image

With the journey recce’d, we decided to walk into the centre of Oxford. I knew there was a newly opened exhibition of Tolkien’s work as a world builder and as we were here, was hoping to see it.

Worldbuilder

After coffee to kickstart the morning (the walk had been a sizeable one), we went in search of the Bodleian Library. Across the road from it, at The Weston Library we found the exhibition and the excellent thing was, it was free admission! We had to obtain tickets but admission was immediate.

It was an excellent exhibition! It put Tolkien’s work in perspective, in the place where he had created the masterpieces: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and many others. There was a full body of his original artwork and manuscripts for each of the key books. Other works were represented, along with books in different languages and jacket covers but also; two interactive maps. There was so much more and it was a haven for anyone remotely interested in Fantasy (or even if you hate it! Which is blasphemy, of course) to see. I’m so glad I got to see it and mu found it really interesting and inspiring to see what Tolkien did and how he did it. I bought the mug!

The walk back was long, slow and hot. It seemed a lot longer than the walk into Oxford. Several stretches of the Oxford Canal here are designated Conservation areas, with no mooring. This meant that the urban aspect of the canal was very much muted back into the countryside.

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Undergrowth image

All Hands to The Plough

Back at MIRRLESS we frosted the bathroom window and mu made a curry. Afterwards, although it would have been nice to find another pub, The Plough was so near and the beer and cider so nice that we decided to visit there again. After sitting outside for a while in the garden, we decided to retire inside so I could recharge my phone. No engine running means no inverter so no 240 Volt converted down to 5 volt access (or something like that). Thank heavens for pubs!

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - MIRRLESS Moored

Boat name of the day: Calcifer – from Howl’s Moving Castle I believe.

Footnote

Once we get MIRRLESS back, we want to get MiFi: a WiFi hotspot set up, a 12-volt fridge to replace the current 240-volt one. We have to keep running it whilst MIRRLESS’ engine is running, via the inverter, then turn it off when we stop. A marina hook-up would provide power but at a cost.

Here ends The Long Journey Home – Part 14

The Long Journey Home - Part 13
The Long Journey Home - Part 12
The Long Journey Home - Part 11
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 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