No Direction

No Direction is our 70ft Narrowboat which is now home to my wife Jayne and myself, it was launched on 4th February 2008.

We spend the Winters in a Marina and cruise in the warmer weather.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

To The Limit of Navigation

Friday/Saturday 10/11 Sept 2010
Bablock Hythe to Lechlade
21  Miles 7 Locks.

Friday.  I put my wet weather gear on this morning as it looked likely to rain, luckily it held off, just very windy. The first Lock was Northmore, we had heard from other boaters yesterday that there was no Lock keeper on duty at this Lock, but he was back today.
Past a couple of nice country pubs where the Thames goes under the bridge carrying the A415, the "Rose Revived" on one side and "The Maybush" on the other. You need to check the prices at pubs along the river as some are a bit "up market" a fellow blogger reported Steak and Chips for £18.95 at the Trout Inn at Tadpole Bridge (watery names around here). 

The Lock keeper at Shifford Lock told us to look out for a two men in a punt coming down stream, they were trying to punt the 124 miles from Lechlade to Teddington in one go raising funds for the R.N.L.I.

I reckon about 110 miles to go.

The next Lock today was Rushey Lock, as the keeper was on his lunch break the self service sign was displayed, working these locks is very easy when compared to a normal Canal Lock, on a Canal Lock you use a windlass to wind the sluices (Paddles) up which can sometime be very hard, on Thames Locks upstream of Oxford the sluices are raised by turning a large wheel, it takes very little effort as the sluices are counter balanced by a large weight rather like an old sash window.

Turn the wheel, when the white one is up the sluices are closed, red up sluices open.

All the Thames locks are well looked after with neatly mown grass and plenty of colourful flowers, however the keeper at Radcot Lock had gone one better with his lockside gardening.

Lockside Topiary, Apparently you can see them on Google Earth. 

We moored tonight just upstream from Kelmscott Manor and will go the 4 miles to Lechlade tomorrow.

Saturday.  After a stormy night and a heavy rain shower this morning we got going about 10 o'clock, more 180 degree bends to swing the boat around before the first of today's 2 Locks, Rushey Lock, went through with another Narrowboat and were soon at the next and last Lock on the Thames, St Johns Lock, immaculately kept, we could see the spire of the Church of St Lawrence from the Lock so we knew we were not far away, we found a good mooring just before ha'penny Bridge by the side of a large field with a herd of young Cows and, on the route of the Thames path.

Ha'penny Bridge, Built in 1792 and now carries the A316, amazing.

Moored at Lechlade

Our Neighbour's

After we had had a cuppa and the washing machine had finished jumping around we wandered into the Town for milk and vegetables, there are some nice old shops including 2 antique shops, the one I could have spent all day in was "The Old Ironmongers Antiques Centre",  there is also a useful Londis mini supermarket.

Open All Hours ?

Those were the days

Bikes like the one above were still being used in the sixties by Butchers and Grocery store delivery boys, I only had a paper round ( 7 mornings and 6 evenings a week)  for which I had to use my own bike and was paid 17 shillings and 6 pence (87p) a week, a friend who was a year older than me delivered for Wrensons the Grocers on a shop bike like the one above and was paid £3 10 shillings (£3.50) a week, an amazing amount at the time for a 15 year old.

It pays to plan your arrival time at popular places like Lechlade so that you arrive mid morning when you have a better chance of finding a good mooring as they fill up quickly, there are 24 hour Environment Agency Moorings right outside the Riverside Pub if you don't mind a few dozen people gazing into your boat.

Mooring outside the Pub is a bit like being in a Gold Fish bowl.

We had Cod & Chips tonight from "Monica's Plaice" just over the bridge from our moorings, £4.50 for a huge portion, unless you haven't eaten for a week then 1 portion is more than enough for 2 people.

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