Wednesday 8th July

Started at 6.45 am. Fairly uneventful journey through Kidlington and on to Oxford, though many lift bridges keep us on our toes as we cruise along. Canal becomes rather more shallow nearer to Oxford. (We later heard that running aground had been a common problem throughout the Oxford Canal until a recent programme of dredging improved matters very greatly). Coming into Oxford through Jericho, we went past rows of houses with gardens going down to the waterside, many of them with small boats moored. Thought to myself, 'The traffic must be terrible round here on a Sunday afternoon!'

Penny has used her paints to produce some red and yellow cards, displayed for various offences (steering through tree foliage, running into the bank, and so on). On Monday we showed a yellow card to a boat that banged into us. They took it quite well!

A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu?

Through Oxford and on to the Thames, where we had to buy a licence at the first lock. It costs so much for the day, so much for a fortnight. The prices work out in such a way that it if we were going to be on the river for three days it would be cheaper to buy a daily licence, but for four days or more it would be worth getting a fortnight's licence. We opted for the latter, so that we'd be able to stop and look around more if we wanted to, without having to hurry on.

Islip Lock

We seem to be making very good time. We'd underestimated how much faster you can go on the river. Due to meet June for lunch at Abingdon (where she works), and it looks as though we'll be early. At this rate we'll be off the Thames easily within three days. We'll also have to reconsider where to pick up June when she joins us for the rest of the holiday on Friday or Saturday.

Having moored above Abingdon Lock at 12.40, we walked down the footpath into the town, meeting June on the bridge. Constrained by lack of alternatives, we ate at a Morelands' Pub. (Nick and Penny have been boycotting Morelands because they bought up Ruddles and closed the brewery.) Under way again about 2.30, Alan and I took the boat through the lock while Nick and Penny went shopping for supplies at Waitrose.

Clifton Hampden Bridge

Weather not bad, but rather a threatening sky. Coming down towards Wallingford we could look back and see the cooling towers of Didcot power station looming up in the murky middle-distance.

Didcot, Dim in the Distance

On, with little incident, to Wallingford, where we stopped at 6.40. Then a walk to Wallingford Green, where we had pre-prandial drinks at a Fullers' Pub, meeting up again with June, who had driven over after school.

A pint at Wallingford Green