Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Why is this river so narrow?

Monday 24th October to Thursday 27th October 2016

We are still pretty much ahead of the time to make it past the stoppage on the Napton flight in early November so we decided that a day or two in Oxford would be worthwhile and allow us to see a few things that we still had not done.
There was also the matter of re-stocking the pantry and fridge.
Spotted this litlle place coming up towards Oxford - make a nice weekender
One place that we had never visited in any of the many times that we have been to Oxford was the Ashmolean Museum, which has a fine reputation, but as we found out on Monday, it is closed and only open for business Tuesday to Sunday, so we headed off to the covered market to seek out The Pieminister for lunch.
This establishment has been here for a few years and with a great reputation for great pies, as the name suggests.
mmmm - The Pieminister

So we had lunch there and also got a bit of shopping done for ourselves and for Diane’s mum, who had asked us to source a book for her.

We could wait for Tuesday to re-assault the Ashmolean.

And so it came to be; after getting my work done (well most of it!) we launched ourselves from the boat – by this time we had come off the Thames and were moored in Jericho opposite the new waterside development.

We were a bit “surprised” at how narrow these other little “rivers” are when you do leave the Thames and there are plenty of boats close by.

Standing right opposite another Oxford institution, the Randolph, the Ashmolean has gone through a bit of refurbishment, which is easy to see.
You could imagine a stuffy old museum, as they used to be, and now there is a bright building – inside and out – with fine collections of relics from history with excellent and illuminary descriptions of the empires that have gone before us.

It was well worth the effort, but we have to admit that all of that walking around has had an effect on our legs and we did need to have a bit of a sit down and relax – think we must be getting old or something.

During our few days here we did manage to get the shopping done as well – although Diane was very disappointed that the Aldi was closed for renovations and so we repaid all of those free Waitrose coffees by getting the replenishments there – as well as having another free coffee.
Looking across Port Meadow back towards Oxford

A blog cannot be complete without a picture of cows - just because I can!
It was now time to move along and we left Oxford, for what may be the last time on the boat, and headed northwards.
The day started off just a little bit foggy, not misty, but not cold at all – there was no breeze and with all of the moored boats we just took it slowly.
By the time we were at the junction we had caught up with another boat so we were back to waiting at the lock – they were new to boating so it took them time; the hire boat coming down the lock were new as well, so they took their time, we were almost blocking the bridge hole for Duke’s Cut, so the boat coming through there took their time.
Eventually after 30 minutes we made it through the lock and continued north.

Coming to Roundham Lock (Lock 42) we noticed that there was a boat just coming out of the lock – I could clearly see the boat and the skipper, the weather had brightened up considerably – but I needed to sound the horn to let them know we were there as they were closing the gates.
Diane by this stage was already walking towards the lock; the other woman apologised saying that her husband didn’t tell her we were there – he did look a bit dim!

A very fine mooring was found at Thrupp – not on the 7-day mooring rings, but then we weren’t staying that long.
Whenever we stop in Thrupp there always seems to be a need to visit Annie’s Tea Rooms and since it was nearly lunch time, then why not.

The day had by now brightened up well and truly – the sun was out and it was quite lovely. The days are getting noticeably colder, and will get even colder in another month or two, but for now the presence of the sun, even a bit warm, is really nice, so we enjoyed it all.

There is such a huge difference between the Thames and canals – we have been quite used to the depth of the river, allowing us to cruise quite easily; little need to adjust speed when passing other boats; the canal with some shallow stretches, proximity to moored boats and the consequent need to slow down – there is a certain intimacy about the canals which you do not find on large rivers; but a sort of freedom on the rivers that is missing from the canals.
Love them both, we do!

14 Miles, 8 Locks
YTD:  738 Miles (1188 km) , 411 Locks, 10 Tunnels, 14 Lift Bridges, 3 Swing Bridges

Total: 4533 Miles (7296 km), 3110 Locks, 122 Tunnels, 59 Lift Bridges, 170 Swing Bridges

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