On Friday leaving “Chance” in Oxford for the day we collected a hire car and travelled to Bristol to see a very dear and close friend in hospital. We were on our way to see her when the car broke down a few weeks ago so this was our second attempt. It’s always strange speeding down a motorway when you’ve been travelling at walking pace for so many weeks.
Returning from a successful visit to Bristol where we found our friend making very good progress we collected daughter Frances and dog Hixie from her home and continued back to Oxford where, in the evening we had a visit from lovely friends Marcy and Phil. We walked the 50 yards from the boat to ‘The Punter’ for a well deserved shandy and something to eat. Phil, Doug, Marcy, Frances and James quenching our thirsts.
On Saturday we started at 9 o’ clock with the weather looking very dull compared to the last few days. The Upper Thames gets very “tight” in places and quite unlike the vast areas of water it offers further down.
Of course there’s always the exception! This is Port Meadow just outside the city and it’s a fantastic example of what a flood plain should look like.
The early part of our journey was a bit moist but its something we really need to damp down the dust a bit. Here’s James dressed for damp but very warm conditions – Hixie a lovely distraction and it’s great to have a dog aboard for a while.
The character of the Upper Thames is enchanting – the bridges become very old (and small!) ……
……… the locks get even prettier …….
…….. and when the weather dried up it was time for fun and games in some of the “beach” areas the river has to offer. We’re now getting to James’ childhood homeland where he also enjoyed many occasions such as this.
We were treated to the most spectacular developing storm ahead of us. It was astonishing to see such a huge natural phenomenon.
We had a thunder storm both in front and behind us – it was the one behind which got in first with a very loud clap of thunder (Frances is startled by it just as James takes the photo!)
Further on and we get our first sight of Faringdon Folly in the middle of the trees on the hill above the town. Again, many happy memories for James.
Radcot bridge (circa 1790) and the scene of much childhood diving from the parapet into the river! It’s also one of the most amazing places to see the river trying to squeeze through when running at full flood.
On the back water now, next to the “new” 1790 bridge, is the river’s oldest bridge from the 13th century. The thunder storms are still baring down on us!
We finally reached Lechlade and our last resting place before we start our journey back. The sunset was lovely but the cows ate our prized orange mooring pin covers! So if your reading this Lady Esther we need some new ones!!!
We look forward to this afternoon when we hope to have a bit of a family get to together of James’ family.