Nine Shades Of Blue. 8th July

Below Eynsham Lock to Pinkhill Lock 24hr moorings

Today was going to be wet, how far should we travel? And would we get soaked?

Lock ready and waiting for us

By the time we’d had breakfast Mick had spotted a Lock Keeper, time to get ourselves a licence. We’d deliberated as to what duration to get. Two weeks would be £155, if we stayed on the river for longer then a months licence would be cheaper than three weeks. Mick returned having spent £155 and in return we had a licence to display in a window. I was all ready to tape it to the inside of the cratch where it can be seen by Lock Keepers no matter which side they are on.

Covers were rolled up and we pushed off into the lock soon followed by a second narrowboat that had just come into view.

Pippin and Oleanna rising together

The Lock Keeper was on duty for both here and Pinkhill (the next lock upstream) today. Unless there was a problem up stream she’d likely be staying at Eynsham. We chatted as we turned the wheels to operate the sluices. The EA has kept the same number of Lock Keepers, but reduced the number of seasonal keepers this year. She said the locks were the same as ever at this end of the Thames, but we’d notice things were different up stream, our last visit being four years ago.

On leaving I thanked her and wished her a dry day. This was not to be however as the heavens opened fairly soon after leaving. Waterproofs on we wound our way round the meanders of the river. Most of the moorings along here were occupied, one boat was the first boat we ever went to look at NB Cream Cracker, it had cream leatherette panels in the ceiling and a trad stern so we’d discounted it very quickly.

We kept up with NB Pippin, I hopped off on the lock landing and went up to help open the bottom gates. Here the Hollyhocks stood proud in the lock cottage garden, muted colours suggesting they’d faded with the sunshine. Not much of that for us today, it was now really quite wet.

Pinkhill Lock

NB Pippin was on a touch of a mission, they hoped to reach Lechlade today, then would take their time returning over a few days. We let them go first whilst I closed up the lock behind. We might see them at the next lock, but might not.

As we rounded the next bend a space on the picnic moorings called to us. If the weather forecast for today was correct then we’d only be getting more and more wet as the hours went on. Or we could just stop and sit out the rain. We decided on the latter and pulled in.


Tilly was not impressed! Rain at both ends of Oleanna, So not fair! But the rain passed over and shore leave was deemed to be okay again and off she went looking for friends.

Should we stay the day or risk the rain. The weather didn’t seem as bad as it had been forecast, but had we not seen the worst of it yet? One job for my panto model would require several hours in one sitting to paint the backgrounds for the majority of the set. Today could be that day, or tomorrow. We chose to stay put.


The paints came out and I mixed my first shade of blue, azure mixed with white for a pale shade, this was for the floor. After two coats on relevant model pieces more blue was added, the next band painted, two coats. This continued throughout the afternoon until I’d reached the top band which was just about black at the top of the cloths and portals.

Mick had to be Dreamie monitor for the afternoon to try to keep Tilly away from my model bits. A shake of wetness could leave marks that would end up being printed twenty five times bigger! However I tend to be the Dreamie dispenser, so she naturally came to me on returning from shore leave. Thankfully though my model survived without any added splodges.


The weather was surprisingly not constant, we had sunny intervals and rain at times. Paddleboarders came for an explore, dropping into the river between us and our neighbours. A family came to fish, the kids playing whilst Mum and Dad sat with rods to our bow, the rain didn’t seem to bother them much. All afternoon groups of teenagers walked past, the lead person with a big map in hand, everyone carrying big rucksacks on their backs. Were they doing a Duke of Edinburgh walk? Or was it a whole school year walking the Thames Pathway. They kept coming and coming until early evening.

In one sunny spell we headed outdoors ourselves. Time to set the towpath barbers up and give Mick a haircut. Much better now.

2 locks, 1.6 miles, 1 wet day, 1 miffed cat, 5 hours painting blue, 0 barbeque, 6 paddleboarders, 79 walking kids, 12 Dreamies, 9 shades, 3 blue fingers, 1 thumb, grade 3,1 smart and tidy boy again.

2 thoughts on “Nine Shades Of Blue. 8th July

  1. Dave (Scouts)

    That part of the thames path does get used quite often for DofE expeditions. They then head up round farmoor reservoir via appleton/cumnor to Youlbury Scout Campsite or maybe as far as Northmoor lock and then to Youlbury. if heading other way they often go to Hill End. Lots of the locks also allow DofE camping

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