To date : 514 miles, 285 locks
Today we visited Abingdon. What a gorgeous little town it is. There's an Abbey with lovely gardens and amazing old buildings. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk around the town and the gardens. Even better.... although no benefit to us.... was that the moorings before and after the bridge allowed a stay of 5 consecutive days free of charge. Now we really wish we'd taken a month license for the Thames instead of 14 days! We haven't seen anywhere so far that you can stay so long for free.
As we walked into Abingdon I noticed a sign saying "twinned with Colmar, France". I've been there in 2003 and it was a very nice place to visit. I dug up some old pic.
Barry and Carol were happy to stumble across a little folding table just the right size for between the two lockers in their semi trad stern. There's been much discussion of late about what to use for a table with Carol coming up with some creative ideas using their existing tall stool. This was a much easier solution.
The lock keeper at Abingdon Lock was a chatty old fellow... full of "are you right there, m'darling". We pulled the dinette apart today to swap duvet's to the summer weight one so took the opportunity of the water point at Abingdon Lock to wash the bed linen. Not only are we not allowed to let our batteries get much below about 85%, but it Mick and Barry are now fretting about water levels! Honestly! We can go a week on a tank of water if we're careful and we've barely had to go 2 days on the Thames but at least it gives them something to worry about. Mick received a little sign for his birthday and it was so appropriate.... given to him by someone who knows. Check out the bottom line!!
On our way again after Abingdon and we were hoping to moor up before Iffley Lock. I'm in need of a new camera. The old one works most of the time but "most of the time" isn't good enough on an adventure of a lifetime. Sometimes I've had to try 2 or 3 times to turn it on or off and I'm worried it'll just die on me just as a perfect photo opportunity arises. So, tomorrow I'll go to Curry's in Oxford and hope they have my chosen model in stock. I've had a Panasonic Lumix for years and it's been fantastic camera so I've chosen another similar. I tried ringing today to check if Curry's in Oxford had one but gave up in disgust with all the button pressing necessary and then being on hold and finally the call dropping out. I noticed Paul on nb Caxton just bought the same one I want and he seems very happy with it. Now I just have to find one.
The locks on the Thames are all different sizes. One today was barely long enough for two narrowboats one behind the other. There was a third boat to fit in so they pulled us right to the front of the lock and as I stood at the bow with rope in hand I hoped madly that when they opened the sluices I wouldn't get soaked. There was a steel flap hanging in front of each opening and this is what prevented the water shooting straight forward. So I didn't get wet but there was a bit of spray. The next lock was enormous. The lock keeper said they could fit 12 narrowboats in that lock. With only four boats in there... and one of those being a small cruiser... we felt dwarfed by the size of the lock.
After the last lock we planned for the day we had a couple of false attempts to moor.... first beside a pub but Mick and I decided we didn't want to sleep in the throes of a beer garden... and then where we couldn't get anywhere near close enough to get off the boat to even tie a rope.... we persevered just before Iffley Lock. In fact we have a nice view of the lock entrance and weir. It's the first time we've had a real garden at a mooring as we're against a jumbled stretch of wildflowers. We have a plank to get off the boat for the first time but that's ok. We're nice and close for an easy trip into Oxford tomorrow.