Friday, 18 July 2014

“Dreaming Spires”


Most of Thursday was spent on the moorings above the lock at Abingdon – for a good reason, which will become clear in the months to come. (Mmmm!)


The day was very hot and sultry but, after a quick clean of the boat (what changes), we had a “fun” afternoon before eventually wending our way onward to Oxford.  These chaps, most in the seventies, have rowed from Marlow to Lechlade (the furthest navigable point of the river) and are now on their way back.  Wishing them good luck, one humorously replied “we don’t want luck we want certainty” – if only!


Our two hour trip to Oxford was, of course, pleasurable but uneventful (apart from James being bitten to death by flies - he now has about forty huge lumps which are itching like mad today).  Iffley Lock, just outside Oxford is very  pretty.


There’s a long straight approach to Oxford where a lot of the college rowing club houses are situated, and where, when the leaves are not on the trees, you get a great view of the “Dreaming Spires” of this beautiful city.


After the rowing clubs are the delightful Christ Church Meadows and, on the opposite bank, some very good moorings.  We managed to slot in to the only remaining space with the help of a kind boat owner who interrupted his fishing to move his boat along for us.  Within a few short minutes Doug was out on back deck with a bowl of water and some Cif to clean down the dodger.  The few specks of muck on it must have been annoying him!


Later in the evening, one of James’ longstanding friends, Michael, cycled from his home to meet us for a drink and one of those all important catch-up chats.


We also had the privilege, while at the pub, to watch a very old game called Aunt Sally, the playing of which seems to be limited to just Oxfordshire. It requires the throwing of large hard wooden sticks at a wooden ball perched on a post.  It’s best played sober so that the other pub customers do not become casualties.  These lads were not sober!  James, although an Oxfordshire lad (technically he’s Berkshire bred but they’ve moved the county boundaries  since) has heard of this game but never played it, seen it played or knows anyone else who has.


Today we moved up about a mile to the moorings just above Osney Lock.   This is Folly Bridge which supports the Abingdon Road from the city centre and a bit of a sod to negotiate when the river is running fast – as we’ve experienced previously.


The moorings above Osney Lock are very busy at this time of year and fortunately a boat was just leaving as we arrived.  Being moored up by 10 O’ clock there’s now plenty of time to clean the boat down again after last night’s wonderful thunder storm which deposited a lot of tree on top of us.  James had to walk back to where we were last night to retrieve a mooring pin which he left behind – having a bad memory certainly keeps him fit!  Today’s going to be a busy day for us.

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