The Long Journey Home – Part 14
Monday 18 June 2018
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Boat name of the day: Calcifer – from Howl’s Moving Castle I believe.
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
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