A Trip to The City of Dreaming Spires

DSCF2415aWe had a visit from friends, Allison & Paul at the weekend and took them for a trip down to Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires [a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford’s university buildings] We went through Isis Lock and winded on the new lock landing then moored up opposite College Cruisers where we saw Robert working who we had met in Banbury earlier this year. To be honest the city centre was so packed with people to the extent that it was not that enjoyable to walk around and one could have imagined that you were in Oxford Street, London.

The trip down was pleasant and Paul was pleased to be able to help out at the locks and take the helm for a good part of the time, giving Joy & Allison a chance to chat. Many of the lift bridges have been fitted with locks which require BW ‘Watermate’ keys to operate them which ought to make them easier to operate for single handers, although a couple of them were out of balance, maybe due to wet bridge decks, and needed holding open rather taking us back to square one.

DSCF2442aWe took leave of our friends Saturday evening and Sunday, having arranged to get our car down to Oxford, we drove up to Bloxham for the Banbury Rally, it was a great day and a great show, well worth going to.

We have had an easy day today and returned our car to to Thrupp ready for our return (thanks to our car shufflers Bones & Maffi)

from Aynho, to Heyford, to Thrupp

Apologies for our recent break in transmission of our blog which has to be be blamed on the appalling mobile internet reception at Heyford!

DSCF2347We had spent a peaceful week or two at Aynho, where we met up with friends and erstwhile co-workers from Heyford Wharf & Tooleys Boatyard; not to mention the artistically talented Katherine & Don (of nb Botticelli and the Corpus Gallery) and were privileged to be invited to the opening ‘private viewing’ of Don’s exhibition ‘Immersed’ at Tooleys Boatyard.

We departed the pastoral environs of Belcher’s Lift Bridge to head back to Heyford in order to fit a radio & TV to a customer’s boat. We spent a couple of nights just outside Lower Heyford in another beautiful rural setting before breasting up on my customer’s end-of-garden mooring just past Heyford Wharf, whilst I did the work for him and was also prevailed upon to service a Lister HA3 for another boater whilst I was there.

Some weeks ago I applied for a Technicians job in the Motor Vehicle Department at Banbury College and was pleased to be offered an interview which must have gone OK as I have a second interview tomorrow! The problem is that it is just 14.5 hour/week (OK) but spread over 4 days (not so good, when travelling is considered) so we must wait and see what happens.

DSCF2413On Saturday afternoon we departed Heyford with friends from church, Mike & Nicky along with their two children whom we had been promising a boat trip for ages, Rebecca & Isabelle and also our son Jeremy who turned up with a Father’s Day card & present, a T shirt emblazoned with a Dad’ll Fix It logo (he’s hoping I’ll be doing some work on his boat soon!)

DSCF2404So we set off with a crew of nine, bound for Thrupp and worked well together catching up a single hander at each lock who we helped on his way. We had fun whizzing down  the river Cherwell to Shipton Weir Lock where we met nb Twisted Compromise who was winding and all three boats locked through together in the diamond shaped lock. I went on ahead to open the lift bridge for all three boats, and a Anglo Welsh hire boat coming the other way and caught a lift back up to Thrupp lift bridge on nb Twisted Compromise sharing a beer with Alex (cheers mate!)

We found a mooring outside the Jolly Boatman, as all the moorings in the village were taken, where we partook of a drink with our crew before wishing them goodbye as they departed to their several homes.

DSCF2412On Sunday we reversed back to the water point and were fortunate to find a space on the 7 day moorings by the cottages just being vacated by Maffi.
Catty is quite inquisitive about her new neighbours and is wondering when Duck à l’orange is going to be on the menu.

Bones called today and took Joy off for a walk with Boots, her dog  and later we both we caught up with her and Maffi over a pint at The Boat now under the same management as the Jolly Boatman.