We woke to a golden morning with bright sunshine and mirror-like water. We set off through Isis Lock just before 9.00. We were undecided as to whether to take a license for the shortest possible journey to Reading and the Kennet and Avon, or for a couple of weeks and go along to Walton and back to Reading. When we spoke to the lock keeper at Osney he said that we could pay £33 and take two days to reach Reading, or £109 for the longer period. It seemed more sensible to go for the two day option which would give us until midnight tomorrow to reach Reading, so no rush at all really.
There were plenty of boats moving along and apart from Osney we were sharing locks with a mixture of narrow and wide beam boats and cabin cruisers, and sometimes had to wait in a queue. We travelled through half the locks with a couple on a 70 footer where the wife had broken her ankle and was very immobile which gave them some problems as her husband juggled with the ropes.
It’s wonderful going out of Oxford and through Abingdon but otherwise, apart from short stretches, this isn’t my favourite part of the Thames. However today was still a million times better for views than most other rivers – the Severn, Trent or Ouse where we couldn’t see anything over the banks.
Wallingford was our preferred destination for tonight as it’s a lovely town, where we spent some time during our first winter on the boat. There were new moorings on the left before the bridge but these were full. On the town bank, where we had moored before, there were several boats and two big gaps. Neither, however, was quite long enough for us. We manoeuvred next to the thirty footer in the middle of the 100 foot space. There was obviously someone on board with the front door open but they resolutely ignored us until I started calling out. The chap, a little older than us, finally came out, but when I asked if they would move forward a mooring peg so we could fit in he said “Oh no, we won’t, we couldn’t possibly”. Politely, but firmly, I told him that it was completely unreasonable for him to take up so much space. The woman shot out saying that they had been shafted all day and disappeared in the direction of town. It then appeared that he was saying that he wasn’t capable of moving the boat so Alan tucked our stern in while I fended off the bow from the boat in front, and hopped off to move his boat along to make room for us. It seemed they had brought the boat from Stafford but how they had managed this stumps us.
It was great to walk around Wallingford again. We wouldn’t mind our new house being here but think that what we are looking for will be above our budget. Oh well, we can dream.
Today we did 23.13 Miles, 9 Locks
Statistics so far:-
2972.96 Miles, 1956 Locks, 177 Swing Bridges, 117 Lift Bridges, 57 Tunnels