Backwards With Purpose. 18th July

Kelmscott to Rushey Meadows

A touch further to go today, we pushed off and soon passed a boat we’d be leapfrogging, NB Narrow Escape. Is this the Narrow Escape that we met on our first time on the Oxford, did they suggest Somerton Meadows to us? It’s a while ago now, but it could be them.

Pretty boat

We pulled in at Grafton Lock to fill with water, a load of washing had been on the go since we’d set off, the tank now after a week needed replenishing. Here the tap is not situated well for a downstream facing narrowboat. The short hose ‘someone has left’ was about 2 foot too short to reach our tank even with us pulled as far back as possible and the hose threaded through the cabinet door. A sign suggests the Lock Keeper may be able to assist, but Mick decided to see what he could do first.

Too short!

Some tape and our hose at least meant we’d get some water, but it would be far slower and such a waste of water as it dribbled along our hose and filled up the cabinet. Mick walked up to ask the Lock Keeper if there was a better way. There was, facing upstream would help. Words are carefully used by the friendly Lock Keepers on the Thames. They don’t want to be seen to give you an inch.

It was soon obvious that we knew the uphill boat in the lock, John on NB Thermopylae, we’ve met him a couple of times on the St Pancras Cruising Club Tideway Cruises, last year he’d offered to crew for Mick when I was in Chippy on panto. Being a single hander he was keen to stop for a cuppa, the Lock Keeper was not keen on him pulling into the layby but he could breast up to us as we filled with water. NB Narrow Escape came along also wanting water, they were waved into the lock as there’d be an hour wait.


Thermopylae was tied to Oleanna and the kettle put on, time to set the world to rights with John. Just as we finished our cuppas the water tank started to overflow. We did a do-si-do so John could fill with water as we headed for the lock, all watched over by a rather beady eyed cat.

We hoped for a space above Rushey Lock on the meadows, another few miles ahead and one more lock. As we approached we spotted a possible space some distance upstream. The next one was taken, NB Vienna’s stern sticking way out. Then the good length of mooring was just about full, NB Narrow Escape having grabbed the last space. We tried pulling in at the near end, but bushes would have given our paintwork an exciting look at the stern.

Sad Oleanna

Only one thing for it, reverse. It was quite a way to the space we’d seen before, but Oleanna quite likes going backwards with purpose and thankfully the wind played fare. We pulled into a space by ourselves, long grass stretching out as far as you could see, we thought Tilly would love it. Well she didn’t maybe because from her level all she could see was tall grass, there were some sideways trees and a tree too, but she wasn’t too bothered with it all.

It’ll still take quite a bit of work

More work for the walkdown of Cinderella. A tiled rostra and steps, maybe a touch complicated, but if I can make up some big stamps for each colour it should be quicker to paint.

This is rubbish this!

Mick was on cooking duty again, kedgeree, yumm!

2 locks, 5.9 miles, 0.5 in reverse, 1 full water tank, 1 cuppa with John, 3rd brood, 1 spot reserved just for us, 1 unimpressed cat, 4 steps, 15 lanterns.