Cow Mooring, Lechlade to Eaton Hastings
Awake at 6am with a hooligan Mooing at us 2ft away from the window at the foot of our bed. Luckily for us and Oleanna the big post there was more attractive to the cows than anything on the roof or our covers, our herbs and Christmas tree had been moved to the far side of the boat, so they were safe too. We managed to get another hours sleep before the alarm went off.
A quick shop for fresh supplies at Londis. The Cafe across the way had some very nice loaves of sour dough in the window, but as there was no price by them we guessed it would be expensive. We dropped off our shopping and then walked along the meadow down to St John’s Lock.
A chap on a cruiser the other day had suggested that we might be able to get diesel at the marina and that they had a chandlery. Before trying to get Oleanna there we’d decided to check which turned out to be just as well. The chap said that diesel would be easier tomorrow and that the bolt Mick was after they wouldn’t have as it had an unusual thread. At least we’d had a walk.
Time to get moving, Lechlade was starting to get busy. The boat behind us was getting ready too. When they’d moored up yesterday the chap at the helm came across as a
arse dictator. His two teenagers were ordered what to do, then told off for not doing it correctly, despite not having been given adequate instructions. His poor wife tried to show her son what was needed but then got barked at as she was meant to still be on board in case the boat drifted off. This morning the orders were being barked again, we decided to let them get ahead so we’d not have to share locks with them. A phone call handily delayed us.
We pushed off and headed for Ha’Penny Bridge, from here on the water was filled with canoes, swans and flamingos all with crews who had little awareness of our existence. We managed to avoid them all as we made our way to the footbridge by the Roundhouse.
Two kids were on a paddleboard, then one stepped off and walked across the surface of the water, it would be very shallow there! Here the river was once joined by the Thames and Severn Canal, the furthest we’d be able to get Oleanna up the Thames, we were at the End. Here we hoped would be deep and wide enough for us to turn which fortunately it was as we had a group of on lookers.
Back downstream weaving our way back towards St John’s. We waited for a boat to come up which meant that the dictator had pulled away from the services and was still ahead of us. The Lockie let us down before he’d run away to find some shade for his lunch.
Back along the wiggles and winds to Bascot Lock which was on self service. The paddles were up at the far end and a gate open. I walked down to set the lock for us, some selfish person having left the lock without closing up properly. As I walked over the top gates I noticed that this was not the case. Some 6ft down a couple were holding onto the chains from their canoe, looking up forlornly. The Lockie had waved them in some ten minutes ago, then vanished and they were waiting patiently. Mick and I carefully wound the paddles up for them.
Two cruisers joined us going down and crews from each boat helped to lift paddles and open gates. More wiggles and winds. On one of the hairpin bends a large audience had collected, there being a handy parking space with lots of shade for picnics and a section of low bank to get inflatables into the water. Another steep bend we disturbed a paddleboarder picking blackberries, she was just where the stern of a 58ft boat needed to go, but Mick got us past without spilling any berries.
The sun was hot, we’d have liked some shade, but finding a suitable mooring was unlikely. There was space at Kelmscott, but we carried on to a space I’d marked on my map as a possible wild mooring. We got in and moored up. The back doors opened for Tilly, who very quickly decided it was far too hot and returned inside to the shade. I opened up the shady side curtains to see a wasps nest on the bank, Tilly must have known. Window closed we unpinned ourselves and moved on, not far to the next bit of bank.
Rules were read and I was allowed out. This outside was just as hot as the last one which I had rejected, but they insisted on this one. I had a smooch around, okay friendly cover, the trees were a bit too far away, it would do.
I told her, I told her that if she was to pounce off the gunnel then there wouldn’t be anything to land on. Did she listen? It fell on deaf soon to be wet ears!
Pounce, Splash, Scurry. Into the bathroom after she’d managed to soak every seat on the boat. A towel rub down, always a risk, and then an hour of drying herself off sat on the hearth rug. Cat Health and Safety rules should be listened too and adhered by! I’ve seen lots of woofers doing it and it was really quite cooling, just a bit of a shock.
2 locks, 1 a tight squeeze, 4.41 miles, 225grams sad gits mince, 2 pork chops, 1 loaf bread, 2 pints milk, 0 bolt, 0 diesel, 1 boat unhooliganised, 1 nest, 2nd mooring lucky, 2 many small craft on the river, 1 soaked cat for the second time this month! 1 lucky friend, 2 hot.