Guildford Town Bridge to Yvonne Arnaud Theatre to Dap Dune Wharf to Broadford Pipe Bridge ish.
Guildford Town Bridge to Reading to Oxford to Chipping Norton to Oxford to Reading to Guildford to Broadford Pipe Bridge ish.
An early start. Not such a good one, the combination of very low lock gates and then twisting as I opened up the cratch, to assist the young ladies who’d got lost yesterday, meant my back was none too cleaver this morning. Mick did everything low level for me and after an early breakfast we headed up to the station, only a few minutes walk away. Luckily by now I was able to move a touch better, so there was no need for a Sherpa to Oxford.
From here I got a train to Reading, another to Oxford where I awaited the S3 at Bus Stop R5. It was running late but soon made up for it on the country roads out of Oxford. For part of the way the roads follow the Oxford Canal, passing Thrupp and Oxford airport where a private plane was taking off. Then the route veers off and passes Blenheim and Woodstock. The majority of passengers, mostly foreign hopped off here.
Today was my final model design meeting for Puss in Boots at The Theatre Chipping Norton. The Director, Producer and Production Manager were all in the room, last year there had been a few more but Panto is still some way off. I worked my way through the show scene by scene. The last time John and Will had seen the model it was all white with no colour, so as I revealed scenes it was nice to see their reactions.
Last year a touch more money was found to aid the build costs. This year it had been hoped that the show would have a second life and transfer to another venue next Christmas. But the deal doesn’t seem to have come off, so the budget couldn’t be expanded. Some savings were needed. Gemma and I had already gone through what could be done on the phone.
A few bits could easily be cut. Then came the harder bits. One option was to use the existing House Curtains which are a musty shade of green, I was after red ones. We headed down into the auditorium to have a proper look at them. Some water damage could be disguised, but how would they take coloured light. With too many voices in the room, an aching head and twinging back I had to call for silence as I just couldn’t hear myself think. All the scenes had to be thought through with green curtains instead of red. Decision made I could live with the house tabs. Cutting one of the three portals was a cut I’d already decided was possible without loosing too much visually. These two cuts brought us down to budget. Phew.
A long meeting, but worth it. Just a shame the quotes hadn’t come in earlier before I’d painted the whole model!
Lunch with Gemma before getting another late bus back to Oxford and then trains back to Guildford. This time my Ikea bag was almost empty. We may manage to claim back the corner of the dinette for a few weeks before I start on the model for my next project.
Meanwhile back in Guildford, Mick had moved Oleanna up to the next winding hole and retraced our steps to
Daphne Dapdune Wharf to fill with water. Ahead of us is a very low bridge and we’d really like to get under it, so the extra weight of water will help. He then brought Oleanna back to where she’d been in the morning right by the back doors to a big Scenery Workshop, Ricky from Finesse must have reserved the spot for us!
A few days supplies were needed to keep us going so Mick stocked us up ready for my return.
Back on board at around 6pm we decided to seek a shaded mooring for the next few days when the temperature is due to soar. I changed my costume from Designer back to boater and we pushed off leaving the busy city centre behind.
Up ahead lies Millmead Lock which sits behind the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. I know the theatre well as Alan Ayckbourn shows from Scarborough would start their proscenium tours from here. Neighbourhood Watch, Sugar Daddies, Seasons Greetings, Snake In the Grass, Drowning On Dry Land and Life and Beth have all brought me to the theatre.
In January 2015 we made a visit for the opening night of Roundeley whilst we were moored in London. A big shame we hadn’t managed to make it by boat. But today we finally achieved that ambition, just a shame all those familiar faces weren’t on the terrace to wave at us, also a shame that the theatre is now closed for the summer.
Once up the lock we started to look for possible moorings with as much shade as possible. Moorings are not two a penny. One showed itself just to the side of a great willow. We considered it as it was off side and be good for Tilly. Except she would have to keep her tail down or risk catching it on the electric fence!
Onwards passing a busy pub, no sign now of where the hire boats used to be moored that the SJT Stage Management used to stay in. Several obstacles, a rowing boat and a couple of lads having a swim in their pants to cool off. Nowhere to moor still, we continued.
At St Catherine’s Lock ‘The Shallowest on the navigation’ we rose the 3ft to the next level.
Ahead a railway bridge which we managed to miss. Now up ahead was a trimmed mooring, just missing the shade of trees on both sides of the river. Could we get into the side just before it?
Mick pulled us in, the stern coming almost into the side. The bow was reluctant. With stern line tide he tried to pull the bow in, but something under the water prevented this. We could move on, but here there are trees both sides, the towpath not too noisy. We decided to stay shade more important than ease of access or looking good.
This one is in Guildford backing onto the river with a short mooring.
2 locks, 3.44 miles, 4 trains, 2 buses, S3 from R5, 3 hours meeting, 1 set of sheers to prune it, 1 show now in budget, 1 model and drawings passed on, 1 Ego Engineer, 1 full water tank, 1 empty pooh bucket, 1 GF quiche, 1 pair of Sheers to prune the bank, 1 gang plank, 1 shady mooring.
A little bit of Spanish influence here with up to seven bedrooms (!) for £765,000