Eaton Hastings to Chimney
The water needed topping up and our black yellow water container was full so we needed to use various services. The first water point was at Grafton Lock, we pulled in and started to fill the tank whilst the Lockie filled the lock for us, he then pushed open the gates ready and waiting for us. From a quarter of a tank to full in about five minutes, I love these Thames hoses.
A mile further on and the number of tents had decreased dramatically at Radcot Bridge and all the tepees were closed up. Not even a faint hint of bacon in the air this morning.
Another mile on and two boats came towards us from Radcot Lock, would that mean it was in our favour. As we approached the top gates were being closed and I could see the Lockie winding up the paddles. I walked up to help with the gates. A large chunk of reeds was in the lock with the boat, the Lockie was determined to get ride of it. She hoped it would exit the lock but it stayed put. So up it came again where she could hoik it out.
As the top gates opened and Oleanna went into the lock another clump came with us. With Mick and the Lockie working in unison it was pushed to the side and she managed to lift it all out. No chance of it getting round anyone’s prop now.
Yesterday the Lockie had seen 62 boats through Bascot Lock, so she was pleased that today it was far quieter on the river and spotting Tilly sat in the window made her day.
Two miles of wiggles to Rushey Lock where we pulled in with another narrowboat who’d been using the services and giving their boat a wash. Rubbish and the elsan for our yellow water. We’d both forgotten that there had been signs saying that there was no rubbish at Rushey. There was a large skip, but it was locked. A few people had left bags of rubbish on the top of it, but we decided to take ours with us to the next bin.
By the time we were finished we pulled in alongside the other boat and the Lockies dropped us down to the next reach of the river. There weren’t as many people about as yesterday, maybe that was just as well as around the next bend a chap came striding along with only boots and glasses on. I do hope he’d applied some sun screen! We waved and he waved back.
On my phone I’d marked several places that were possible moorings for us today, so when the first came into view on the off side we gave it a go. Just long enough for us, a grassy garden all to ourselves for the afternoon, with plenty of friendly cover to keep Tilly occupied.
I was given until 7.15. Loads of time. Great. I came back a couple of times. Tom spent the afternoon with string hanging out of his ears, apparently he’d been listening to England winning again. It wasn’t any different but apparently knowing the outcome he could hear different things.
She got the big board out. I could have stayed in to help keep an eye on the back of it for her, but there was far too much to do in this outside. So whilst she drew up bigger things I made full use of my surroundings.
Here there are holes, very handy holes to put friends in for safe keeping. I managed to find several of them quite quickly. No trees, but so much friendly cover. I came back at Ding Ding time and had a few biscuits, but because Tom and She were eating outside I would have to wait for my Ding Ding so I headed back off into the cover.
Being on the off side meant we had no passing footfall, no woofers to disturb our little thug. It’s nice to find such places and let Tilly come and go, but when dusk hits I’d rather she was indoors. We finished our barbecue, pork and veg kebabs with some almond rice, and tidied up. I could see a large white bird, an owl maybe, swooping low over the field behind us, but I couldn’t see a cat! I called and meowed with no response. The light was now fading, I tried again. Nothing.
Patience was what was needed and trust that she would return. The torch was used to scan the fields once it was dark, still nothing. Another look outside at 10pm. Still nothing. Patience and trust. I popped her litter tray out on the stern in case she’d gone deaf and couldn’t hear me.
By 11pm Mick had put long trousers on and was wading through the friendly cover with the torch. I stood and called. I stood and listened. Nothing but the faint rumbles of farmers in their fields. Mick waded his way to the nearest best looking tree, then back again along a small ridge sweeping the torch too and fro across the field. Nothing what so ever.
Back inside we both sat in silence the TV making it’s noises, both of us not taking any notice, listening elsewhere. What if this had happened? What if that? Our patience and trust slowly disappearing.
Both of us flinched at a single small noise outside. Nothing followed it.
Then I heard another two similar quiet noises, followed by three more. I opened the back doors and went outside. This outside was very dark and my eyes were not accustomed to it so I couldn’t see if there was a white tipped tale. Four paws landed on the stern and fur brushed past my legs. Thank f****ing ……..
I really don’t know what all the fuss was about. I came home when they wanted me to and then they didn’t want me! So I’d just been amusing myself. Tom put down some Ding Ding, the gravy was nice, but I’d filled myself up already. Time for a good nap I think.
3 locks, 8.21 miles, 1 full water tank, 1 load washing washed, 1 load washing dried, 2 cheeky pink cheeks, 1 perfect mooring, 6 hours extended to 11! 4 friends that we know of, 2 pork loins, 4 veg kebabs, 1 AWOL cat, 2 very concerned boaters, 1 torch needing recharging, 4000 zzzs needed now, 2 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 1 confiscated by She!