Sunday 29 September 2013

Love is ...sharing your pint!

What a fabulous Sunday...
and good food and good friends

I love Sundays - Sue and Vic (No Problem) have taught us how to do it.

Time for bed said Zebbidy!

Saturday 28 September 2013

An epic voyage of 1 and a half lock miles

We left our fab mooring on Friday and positioned ourselves at the Trout moorings at Tadpole Bridge where I had positioned a car earlier in the week. Sue and I drove into the butchers at Bampton and then G and Vic drove to the other Trout at Godstow to pick up Vic's daughter, Lou, who was visiting No Problem for a few days. So Sue and I sat on the bank with the dogs and Daisy and had a natter and a pint whilst we waited their return. G and I retired for the evening to share a bottle of wine over Strictly.

Set off  this morning towards Bablock Hythe.  G pulled over to water above Shifford whilst I set the lock - I expect most of them to be on DIY at this time of year and at the top end of the Thames. If there is a lockie it's a bonus.

 With perfect timing NP arrived just as G finished with the water jet hose
 Vic comes in ready to pass me the rope to starboard-
- just as Sue goes to port. We hovered in the lock as some EA guys told us to help ourselves in the orchard. Plums and cherries were ripe, but the pears weren't ready. Lou on the back with Sue and wearing a happy grin
 NP approaches Newbridge 
 we pulled in just through the bridge at the Rose Revived for lunch where I got my other lovely locking glove back (left behind on our way upstream) hooray!
 where I got all broody over this 12 week old Norwegian Elk Hound
 then through Northmoor lock onto the meadow at Bablock Hythe for a few ball games before Sue and I set off for a walk
 Baxter and Muttley were, unusually, enthusiastic about the game and wouldn't stand still long enough for me to get their buoyancy jackets off
 but G had to stop before Penny pup gave herself a cardiac

Thursday 26 September 2013

Best news ever. Baxter's bloods have come back clear.

An e-mail at lunch-time gave him a clean bill of health - better than clean, in fact, for a dog his age. They can only put it down to the shock of the punch up with Muttley who would really like to be top dog now. Phew!!! So let's put the last two weeks behind us and move on - except for these pics. These were taken about 3 hours after we (Sue, I and 4 dogs) left boats this morning and just after we received the good news- perhaps he felt the release of tension in me.
 Nothing much wrong with this boy who couldn't even walk two weeks ago!
We woke yesterday to atmospheric fog rolling across the meadow and I left the boats to do a bit of car hopping and then walked back to meet the boats at their new mooring by Rushey Lock.
 The sun came out and we sat out all afternoon - some of us in shorts and some in thermals - that Muttley seriously needs a bath
Set off on the aforementioned walk to Buckland, past the ongoing major weir project 
 to a farmer's land who, clearly, didn't want us there - this is a serious 'Floyd' style. Fortunately Meg was nimble enough to find her own way over and the other 3 are light enough to lift: 6 stone of Floyd Labrador is a nightmare - same problem out the other side. Grrrr!
 But the village of Buckland was lovely and the dog friendly pub wasn't shabby either

 I loved the politeness of this notice
 Yep: it's that time of year again - look at the colours in the Virginia Creeper

Wednesday 25 September 2013

We ended up staying way longer than intended at Lechlade

Lechlade is, however a smashing little town - the walking is good
 and it has all the basic shops you need including an Arkwrights (believe it or not the credit card label on our account came up as, 'four candles') 
plus one that you might not need very often ........
 and Sue collected her son, Tony, from Oxford on Tuesday
 and we did get underway, eventually, on Wednesday, just as Graham and Jill on NB Armadillo arrived; best laid plans.........
 No Problem did a bit more bank ramming - even more difficult running downstream. Those bends are sooo tight on a big boat
 and we stopped at The Plough at Kelmscott for lunch (again dog friendly). An amazing village and a mooring Daisy would have happily stayed at for weeks - not just a lunch break
 Old Father Thames makes another appearance
 a lovely mooring and a good giggle with the Anglo Welsh occupants behind us
Look at that lot!!!!
 and my furry chested friend stayed with me whilst Sue was away and G was away and Vic was away. It's been ever so peaceful
Now these are pictures of Faringdon . G had a 6 1/2 hour journey to his Mum's so brought the car back,  rather than face a similar return journey, and we picked Sue up from the bus stop in Faringdon

 and then we got heavily involved in a crayfish marathon - MR v NP. That's a story for another day!
We used the car to have Baxter's bloods re-done (and collect Vic) in Oxford and we shall have the results, hopefully, tomorrow. Everything crossed tonight.
Sorry: this has all been a bit potted but brings us up to last night.

Friday 20 September 2013

Pleased to say that neither MR nor No Problem have sunk

It's just been awfully busy. First of all there were all the bends going up to Lechlade on Thursday.

We didn't get round this in one - doesn't look like Sue will either
 How about this one?
 No. Plenty of reverse thrust in that new engine. Not easy as the water levels are very low and you can't use all of the river due to shoals - good fun though
 Leaving NP moored outside the Riverside (a public mooring)
We went on in MR to the 'head' of the navigable; we couldn't do all the way from Margaret Ness and not do the last 3/4 mile
 down to the winding hole at the Round House which, we were later told, the EA had been promising to dredge since June! So that was another long reverse back up to NP to breast up for the night
The following morning we moved the boats onto the meadow, the weather was depressing
but I set out on the kayak anyway - hoping to find a trip up the old Thames and Severn Canal and the River Colne 
This is the canal
 No through roads rivers anywhere
 Not even to this brook
 so it was straight up the Thames where I met a delightful chap on his cruiser who passed me down a cup of tea
 after 3 hours I had to give it up and start heading back - soaked and tired but happy - as I had the NPs round to share the afore-mentioned rabbit stew that I'd prepared earlier
 It's like out and back walks - nowhere near as nice as circulars. The way to do it would be to put the kayak in at Cricklade and paddle down to Lechlade
Sue's invention test pudding was inspirational - 3 ways with peaches

Saturday Sue was off on the kayak whilst we had good fun with G's old mates (as per his previous blog). Sunday morning was the traditional girls walk with the dogs and a pint at the lovely Trout Inn by St John's Lock - one of the most fab pubs and atmospheres I've ever come across. Followed by the guys' Sunday lunch. Monday Sue and I jumped a bus to the outskirts of Swindon where we made sure Go Outdoors didn't go bust this winter and then carted a Tesco shop back. The weather has been so awful whilst we've been there but it's England - if you stopped doing things because it was raining you'd never leave the boat.