After spending a glorious month on the busy and magnificent River Thames, our two little ships now find themselves on the relative backwater that is the Oxford Canal.
Today it is trying very hard to rain as forecast, so since we have a day to spare in order to arrive in Banbury at the right time to rendezvous with Janis’ sister Sharon returning from her Greek Island adventure, we have decided to spend a quiet day at our current mooring just below Kidlington Green Lock. Here the silence is almost pure, there being just the gentle sigh of a breeze in the trees, the occasional patter of rain on the cratch cover and the quiet babble of water leaking through the nearby lock gate to interfere with it.
We have become so accustomed and spoilt over the last month having others look after us in the giant locks of the Thames that on our way out of the river on the Dukes Cut yesterday, we felt very strange and clumsy when challenged in quick succession with a narrow lock, an immediate very low and narrow bridge and then a sharp narrow left hand bend into a second narrow lock. After so long on the wide expanse of the river, imagine the confusion aboard. When we were settled in the top lock and gently rising with the incoming water I had to make myself a cup of coffee to recuperate but then had to hurry it on as somebody else was waiting to pass down through the lock. We learned very quickly, if perhaps a little gruesomely, that we were back on the narrow but endearing Oxford Canal.
But our last two days on the river were wonderful and will always be memorable. Before making the last passage from Oxford to the canal we were moored opposite green and lush Christchurch Meadow just below Folly Bridge where busy Oxford rushed about its business overhead on the road and large Salters Steamers and many rowing crews, from single sculls up to full ‘eights’ dashed past on the wide river beside us.
The ‘High’ Oxford
The World War One Roll of Honour Book Christchurch Cathedral
The world’s first Oxfam Shop in the ‘Broad’…..
…. with its plaque
Janis at the Bridge of Sides
While the weather did its best, Janis and I spent a whole day touring the city. We never saw everything of course but were happy with the places we did visit including Sainsbury’s in the Westgate Shopping Centre, which we called at finally for well needed provisions. The Bodleian Library and Christchurch Cathedral were memorable of course, the latter in particular as I was moved at the time of our visit by some talented person practicing on the organ. I found it very emotional. Here I also found in the roll of honour book of the First World War the name of my uncle who was killed at the age of nineteen.
And now we are on our last passage north towards Banbury when we meet Sharon again and have our engines serviced by Tooleys. Janis is also having ‘Roots and Wings dry-docked for bottom blacking so we should be around for some time.
‘Futurest’ moored below Kidlington Green Lock
Sharon returns home to Australia after a brief stay in Banbury and later Janis and I take our ships up to Warwick and winter moorings.