A Somber Eynsham. 20th July

The Ferryman Inn to King’s Lock

What’s he doing? At 3:30am? Why’s he going out the back? I could hear the zips on the pram cover and the doors being opened. Apparently we’d developed a list and Mick had gone out to loosen the ropes and try to push the stern out. By the time it was daylight we were on a jaunty list again, further pushing out required, would we now be able to reach the bank to untie?


Supplies had got very low, in fact we’d run out of milk of all varieties, only one thing for it a cooked breakfast, well as much of one as Mick could manage with what was available.

Yesterday you had to walk down the gunnel a few feet to be able to get off the boat, this morning you had to get to the centre and then hope that knees were capable of hoiking you up onto the bank. He made it and ended up having an hours wait for our supermarket delivery. Heavy bags were split and then passed in through the side hatch, thankfully nothing landing in the drink.

Cupboards, wine cellar and freezer replenished. Our battery capacity is just about managing to keep up with our needs so we’ve decided to keep the freezer on, it definitely needed restocking.

Above Pinkhill Lock the picnic moorings were empty apart from one cruiser, they were leaving and followed us towards the lock. Here a volunteer and Lock Keeper opened the gates and we were asked to nudge as far forward as possible, the cruiser slotted in behind.

Conversation at the bow was about flying Spitfires, at the stern it was far more sollom. There was mention of a Lock Keeper who had passed away and a planned memorial service.

The toll bridge

On leaving we let the cruiser pass us, they were aiming further than us today. Past all the same boats on the meadows that had been there nearly two weeks ago we pulled up behind the cruiser as the lock was being filled. The chap on board said the Lock Keeper would penn us down separately. In they went the gates closed behind them.

The bottom paddles were raised slowly and the chap from the cruiser walked round to the little cabin by the lock adding a bunch of flowers to several others. The Lock Keeper who had died was the very nice man we’d met the day we arrived on the Thames nearly two weeks ago. Nik Vallely, had passed away on the 10th July, a big sign stood by the lock cottage saying Private House, Do Not Disturb. How very sad.

Eynsham Lock

The Lock Keeper on duty is here until things get sorted, his normal patch further downstream. He apologised for not penning us down with the cruiser but he’s not accustomed to the dimensions of Eynsham Lock yet. Another EA chap walked up for a chat. The funeral is being held at the lock on the 28th July at 12:30pm. There were discussions about cutting grass, I suspect the lock and surrounding area will be immaculate for the day.

A pause to drop off rubbish and then we were on our way downstream, no room at the moorings below the lock today. The river now wider and more boats nestled into the banks.

Kings Lock mooring

At Dukes Cut Junction we turned towards King’s Lock and pulled in on the lock moorings leaving space for a shorter boat between us and another boat. Mick walked up to see the Lock Keeper and to pay our £6 for the night. He chatted about the level dropping above Pinkhill Lock last night. Thames Water sometimes extract water from that reach, but usually the EA are informed before hand and react accordingly. There is also a warning system which alerts the Lock Keepers of changing levels, even in the middle of the night, but no alert had been given last night.

I’ll be queen of the island!

We settled in, Tilly headed off across the neat grass into the trees and friendly cover. A short while later a boat pulled up onto the pontoon close by, a family with children who were excited to be on an island. Noisy blighters! I’d been enjoying having the outside to myself.

Time to make notes on my model. I was going to work my way through all the scenes, but changed my mind knowing I wanted to alter the colours of some of the town square setting. This could take sometime. A check in the model box and an alteration of the clock towers colour too. I think my alterations were wise, here’s hoping I still think so tomorrow!

I put a bolognaise sauce on to cook and left Mick to cook some spaghetti as I added details to the Ugly Sisters boudoir. The rest of the scenes will have to wait for tomorrow. We enjoyed our spag bol with a glass of wine, it may only be Thursday but it is our last night on the Thames! That was our excuse, we stuck to it and had a second glass to keep the first one company.

2 locks, 6.4 miles, 1 delivery, 1 boaty list, 1 queen of the island, 3 pesky kids, 1 town square make over, 1 soggy chair, 1 wet back.