About Us

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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Noises on Oxford cut

Sounds at Oxford on the canal..............  Thump and plop on the roof as the cherries from the Cherry tree rain down on us from above,  rumble screech and squeal of the freight trains going all night long, natter, natter, natter of the university students sitting on the benches outside the boat and going on till dark, ring ring of the bicycle bells from the constant stream of bikes rushing past at all hours, bong bong bong on the hour of the clock on the church opposite, merry makers from a stag do arriving back to their hire boat at 1 in the morning, dogs barking, ducks quaking, crows squawking, irate man on phone to friend about how his wife has been unfaithful and not only did we learn all about the affair but every other word started with a F. The call lasted over an hour and was within yards of our boat. In fact the man from the boat Beez Neez had a right go at him when the call ended. More bad language! We woke this morning feeling very fuzzy headed and not through drink I can tell you. More like sleep deprivation!

The Cherry tree above where we were moored

The rubbish left by the talkative University students after they had gone.

Ian clearing rubbish from the lock beam at Isis lock. Oxford!! The rubbish capital!

Just in case you don't know how to wind!!

On to the Thames

First thing to greet us was this heron
 Today we we actually got onto the Thames. Left Isis lock by 9.30 and made our way to Osney lock downstream to get our licence. Pulled in before we got to the lock which was the best thing to do as a ladies team of cox'd eight were blocking the entrance to the lock and landing and a plastic cruiser was trying to barge his way through! Anyway paid for 1 week £57 and then entered the lock with another narrowboat and another plastic cruiser.

Cruiser forcing the girls over toward the weir!

Cruiser long gone leaving the ladies to slowly make there way out.
The moorings at Oxford on the Thames had only one or two spaces as we went past so we probably did the right thing staying on the canal, even though it was horrendously noisy!

All manner of craft where out in force today. We forgot that today was Saturday so it came as quite a shock to contend with canoeist, rowers and the odd very large trip boat.

At Iffley lock we had our first taste of things to come. We must have waited a good 30 minutes before we got into the lock and boy were we packed in. Every lock we came to was the same. We hadnt bargined on such a long wait. We may have to rethink our timings. River Wey is a good 80 miles from Oxford. Maybe we will have to purchase another weeks license if we don't make it by the 26th. Thats the expiry date on our currant license and I really don't want to rush this beautiful river..

Queuing for Iffley lock

Sardines come to mind!
The river was spectacular and we saw no end of possible mooring sites on meadows along our way. It was a bit to early to stop so on we went. Saw another couple of sunkan boats and at Sandford lock saw these idiots nearly sinking a day hire boat!

On reaching Abingdon I noticed a mooring available above the lock and just yards from the facilities. As the time was now 2pm we decided that tomorrow was another day and we would stop to go exploring. So we have been into the town, bought icecream from in the park, let Jade have a swim in the river, and once back at the boat, settled down to my first session of river fishing.

Mooring for tonight above Abingdon Lock
And finally:-

These damselfly thought my float would make a good place to lay her eggs,

You can just see the females abdomen as she disappears into the depths.

Waiting for her return.


Ali and John (NB Triskaideka) said...

Hi again, we have found the Thames manic on weekends and much quieter on weekdays, hence ducking onto the Wey before the weekend. Sounds like your night in Oxford was even worse than ours!

Lovely pics of the damselfly makes mine look very poor, what settings do you use when you do a close up like that?



Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Ali,

We are really looking forward to the Wey and I have been reading about your travels on this charming river with great interest. As to my camera settings, my Lumix has a 24X zoom so I can get really close to my subject. I do cheat though and crop my photos so they appear bigger. Your photos are brilliant and I'm sure if you try my tip on cropping, your damselfly photos will be as good.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

Our plans were to cruise from Brentford to Lechlade and then go up the S. Oxford. We were at Reading three days ago when Les fell ill and had to go to the A & E. He needs further exams and tests and his GP is in Watford--so we have turned around and headed back down the Thames for Brentford. What a shame our paths will not cross now. So close and yet so far! We did the Wey and loved it--gorgeous, quiet, clean, lovely. Enjoy!
NB Valerie

Ali and John (NB Triskaideka) said...

Thanks Irene, I did crop the photo of the kingfisher that John took, but never thought of doing it for the others (don't know why!). You are going to love the Wey. The meadows are lovely.


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