The Last Drop. 19th November

Jericho Wharf to Sheepwash Channel to Jericho Wharf
Sitting in one place for lengths of time means your water tank gets a touch low. Last night the gauge had reached the last dot and the ! was flashing at us. No choice this morning, we had to get water. With the washing drawer full too from my return we also needed to do some washing. Normally this is set going before we reach a tap so that we know we’ll leave with a full to brim tank, but today we didn’t think we’d make it to the tap before the tank was totally dry, we were down to the last drop of water.
Ahead of us the next water point is further than we wanted to go, still having a few things left on our list to do in Oxford. So we’d have to reverse to the nearest tap. With breakfast over we made ready, rolling up the cratch cover. We’d timed this badly as two of the College Cruiser boats were heading our way, backwards. Few narrowboats handle well in reverse, but these seemed to have no means of steerage what-so-ever. Every ten foot or so they seemed to need a good blast of forwards to get them lined up for the next ten foot. If only we’d got ourselves ready ten minutes earlier! Chatting to the chap on the first boat he said that he was heading onto the river to wind, then reverse back to the hire base, the following boat was short enough to wind above the lock, but would be reversing too. No point in waiting and watching, it would only make their journey longer.
P1430436smAfter a while the first boat came back backwards and our way was now clear to reverse ourselves. The spring line Mick had put out was the last untied (this holds your boat steadier on a mooring as boats pass, not that there have been many passing boats), we then pushed off, me walking behind/ahead (?) to set the lock.
P1430440smA foreign couple watched as Mick reversed Oleanna into the lock and I wound the paddle up to empty it. They then watched as we reversed onto the pontoon below. From here our hose would reach the nearest tap. Once the water was flowing the washing machine was set to work on normal clothes, painty clothes can wait a while longer.
P1430450smTom has tried this before! He thought he’d fooled me that time, but they certainly weren’t going to manage it again. I so wish they’d let me sample the outside we pause at, but no!
Once the washing machine had finished filling for the last time, Mick topped the tank up again and we were ready to head back up the lock. The foreign couple were just returning from their walk along the towpath, they must have wondered what we were doing as they’d not seen us filling with water.
With the tank empty we could tell the difference, Oleanna rocked more, but the galley drawers didn’t open once. It’s amazing what difference half a tonne of water in the bow makes.
P1430447smP1430457smOur 14 days were up and today we really should be moving on, but there were a couple of things we still needed to do before moving out from the centre of Oxford. So we slotted back into the space Oleanna has occupied for the last couple of weeks. I knew it! The same outside again. They’d better pick their socks up and start moving it properly again otherwise there will be mutiny.
A visit to John Lewis. I’d spotted our bedroom curtain fabric had been reduced. Tilly has left her mark on most of the curtains on the boat, ripped lining or claw pulls to open them when shut, so buying enough to remake them made sense as I liked the fabric, I like it even more with 30% off! Next was a visit to the mobile phones. Recently I converted my account to a Sim only contract, not feeling the need to upgrade my phone. However my phone about ten days ago decided to become an object, since then I’ve been using Micks old phone that we keep as a spare. This was okay, but it’s memory was very quickly filling up and it is better suited to being a spare phone, just in case.
P1430459smWe’d had a look on line before getting to the shop and there were a few Black Friday Deals on. A choice between a Motorola and an Honor phone. The Honor was reduced to the same price but has space for a second Sim card and the camera had a better spec. We hope that when we are away from Oleanna we might be able to use the Sim from her router in my new phone, therefore not having to rely on our data allowances on our phones or Wi-Fi hot spots for internet.
Next we stocked up on a few bits from Sainsburys, they seem to have liked us using them again, we have so many vouchers for triple points. So a couple of boxes of wine fell into our trolley to keep us going.
Back at Oleanna it was starting to get dark, so we decided to stay an extra night here and move off in the morning.
2 locks, 1 twice, 0.27 miles, 0.13 in reverse, 2 boats only going backwards, 1 load washing, 1 full water tank, 2m blue fabric, 2 sim phone, 2 boxes wine (1 each), 1 bag pasta, 300gms Red Leicester, 500gms Apricots, 2 late to move, 0.3 of a sock knitted.

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