Category Archives: Flowers

Inventing Velcro. 20th August

Abingdon to East Street, Oxford

A quick shop at Waitrose so that we could eat tonight, £5 to the Lockie for our extra night and then Mick was in the car heading to Oxford to drop it back at Enterprise. Tilly and I prepared Oleanna for cruising, rolling the covers up, trip computer poised ready to click the go button.

Valhalla, used to be moored above the Stockton flight on the GU

We pushed off just gone 11am, winded and headed to the services to top up with water, empty the yellow water and dispose of our rubbish, then we winded again and were heading towards Oxford.

Sandford Lock

Sandford Lock has a big overhang on the lock landing, so we kept away from it. It is also a side filler, but was very gently done by the volunteer. Apparently Environment Agency volunteers always have a full time Lock Keeper with them for insurance purposes, also there is quite a lot that can go wrong with the locks so someone has to be on hand to deal with that.

Iffley Lock

Iffley Lock came into view, no sign of a Lockie here, the top gates wide open, I walked up to press the buttons.

Bee
Heaven

Such a pretty lock with so much lavender everywhere, the bees were having a field day. They got on with their business and I closed the gates and emptied the lock.

Company with a pretty boat

A small cruiser was also heading up stream, so I paused closing the gates and opened them again so that they could join us all the time accompanied by the gentle humming from the bees on the lavender.

The many boat houses all quiet during the University holidays

Now we were looking for a mooring, hoping to find a space before Folly Bridge. Having spent quite a bit of time at this end of the Oxford Canal last winter we wanted a different view and Tilly would prefer it despite the busy towpath. But not one space big enough for us showed itself. So we had to carry on, hoping that above Osney Lock we’d be lucky.

Approaching Folly Bridge

The first stretch of moorings was full, but then on the straight before Osney Bridge there was a long expanse of empty bollards. Phew! A late lunch and no shore leave for the four legged one.

Whilst tucking into my hummus, Tilly sat on the cupboard next to me having a bath. All of a sudden there was a panic. Tilly seemed to have her paw stuck in her mouth. Despite the thought of those incredibly sharp teeth something had to be done to help. La la nnh meola hf la ga so lala phla! No idea what she was saying I intervened getting spiked by claws as I did so.

Not many spires in view today

It seemed that she’d been trying to reenact a manoeuvre she used to do when she was young to remove her collar. Slotting it onto her teeth and then pulling with one foot against it until it came loose. I thought she’d long grown out of that.

Five minutes later the same again! Just what are you doing?! La m lyilyn srh loi meliw gow! On closer inspection I could see what had happened. Somehow the end of her collar (an elasticated one with a fluffy back to it) had got in the way of her bathing. The fluffy side met with her tongue and as she licked she had invented velcro. Her tongue was stuck to her collar! Blimey!! Once tongue was free her collar was removed so everyone could calm down. Antiseptic wipes for my even more spiked fingers, luckily I’d only been clawed and not bitten. Poor Tilly.

The offending length of collar was trimmed back, it is now impossible for this to recur.

Dear Aunt Lucy

Looking at the map for the next few days, it seems like we’ll be away from shops. So even though we’d picked up some bits this morning we would need more supplies before leaving Oxford. We could visit a second Waitrose or maybe get a delivery as we are right alongside a road here.

No delivery slots for the morning with Sainsburys or Ocado, so we tried Tesco, bingo! So the rest of the day was spent online shopping.


Property Game

This one is back in Maidenhead, own private mooring, office space and pretty windows. How much?

3 locks, 1 self service, 8.5 miles, 2 boxes wine, 1 celeriac, 500grms mince, 0 car, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 2 new plants, 0 space, 1 free of charge Osney mooring, 1 feline inventor, 1 inch removed, 3 sore fingers, 1 recovered cat, 1 bowl pizza dough, 16 Ottiwhatsit meatballs, 6 more boxes wine, still 3 too many stitches! Grrr!!

Yesterdays Answer

£295,000

https://www.watersideresidential.co.uk/property-for-sale/?id=10220&type=2

Currently moored in Staines. Two cabins and a roll top bath.

Joa was closest at £245,000 with Jennie a little lower at £225,000.

Buddy. 27th July

Godalming

Tilly was given freedom of the towpath for an hour or so as the weather sorted itself out. A bit of a damp morning which gradually improved. Once Tilly was back on board we locked up and headed off into town.

Hanging baskets overflowing with blooms

Considering we were moored so close to Sainsburys we had quite a walk round to Town Bridge, which meant in the end we were closer to Waitrose. I’d already prepared a short list of things we’d not bought yesterday hoping it would amount to £10 to be able to get a free newspaper. With our list complete we then spent a good five minutes trying to find something for 20p or more to get us over the threshold. Marmite came to the rescue.

A pretty town

The Godalming Art Shop provided me with a new sketch book for work. This was followed by a walk up through the town to see what we could see, just so happening to coincide with a Farmers Market! Oh dear!! Fortunately it was by no means the largest market we’ve seen with only about 8 stalls.

Our purchases

The first stall caught our attention. Large posters for Binary Botanical, ‘Tangy like prosecco, refreshing like beer’. Samples were being handed out, so it would have been rude not to try it especially as it was gluten free. Very tasty, we ended up with three bottles. A sausage roll stall also received some of our money in return for a pork and black pudding roll for Mick. Now with a heavy bag we headed back to Oleanna for some lunch.

A cat walk day

Second shore leave had Tilly coming and going, Tesco Pillow Pockets seem to be going down a treat. A chap came past and asked how easy it would be to lower our pram cover, no problem at all, we’d been expecting to have to do it. At around 1:30 the doors were closed, no more shore leave and Mick flattened the pram cover, then checked for anything on the roof that might cause a problem.

Buddy

Back at the wharf preparations were being made. Iona’s hold was now full of passengers and there was just one thing missing, Buddy a 22 year old Clydesdale cross gelding. The white band on his nose just visible inside the wharf building.

Buddy striding out

Two ladies donned high vis and brought him out to walk him round to Town Bridge and back down along the towpath to opposite Iona’s mooring.

Winding with no power other than that from the river and a pole

After an introduction talk to the passengers, the chap at the helm walked up to the bow and gave it a push, then the stern was pulled back into the winding hole, the flow of water keeping the bow moving to wind her. He then walked along the roof to the bow which needed a little help at the bend, so a few pushes from the barge pole.

A quick snack before work

By now Buddy was chomping his way through the undergrowth on the towpath, having a snack before his work commenced.

Toggle
Attached to the roof

The tow line was thrown to the bank, attached to the boat’s roof at one end and with a large toggle on the other which was then passed through Buddys harness. He had his eye on a tasty branch which he swept down as he moved forward to start pulling the load. This wasn’t a popular choice of his with the ladies, it was soon confiscated and thrown back into the hedgerow.

What a tail

With Iona now winded, Buddy took on the work and started to pull her downstream. Once she was moving they had Oleanna to contend with.

Up and over

Buddy was slowed to a stop whilst the other lady gathered the tow rope on the ground to give her enough slack to hold the line above our roof. Iona had enough momentum to keep moving by herself.

A two hour silent trip

Our pram cover would have been quite a problem had it been left up. We checked how long it would be before they returned, a couple of hours, as it wasn’t raining our hood stayed down and we headed back into town.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trips to town, 1 free newspaper, 1 sketchbook, 3 bottles beer/wine, 1 horse, 46 passengers, 1 giant toggle, 1 dry day, 2 loads washing.

Dap Dune, Dap Dune, Dap Dune. 21st July

Send Church Footbridge to Guildford Town Bridge

Still edible thank goodness

As long as I took things steadily, no rushing around I thought I’d be okay today. The other thing to avoid was bending down, as any sudden change in altitude usually ends with a very sharp pain between my temples, bloomin migraines! Yes we could have stayed put, but with an early train to catch in the morning we had to get closer to Guildford today.

Bad photo, but anyone know what this is? Wrong leaves for a thistle and a fluffier flower. the flower heads were a couple of inches.

Only two locks today we made our way round the tight wiggles with weirs on the outside bends. At Bowers Lock the navigation takes a left hand bend up onto a cut section. The weir here seems to be having major works done to it and the towpath is currently diverted through woodland.

How low can you get?

The lock first needed emptying, I did this by myself as it was quite a walk back to the lock landing around the bend. Then I had no choice but to inflict altitude sickness on myself. The bottom gates are so low that they only just clear the bridge deck. This of course makes it easier for those walking the towpath, they can just step over open gates. But to be able to close them you need to pull on the bar and chain. It took a little while for me to realise that to close the gates I also needed to be low to the ground. You can stand and pull diagonally, but the gate is reluctant to move in such a direction, it wants to go horizontally. I accepted being low to the ground and pulled eventually closing the gates behind Oleanna.

Coming up

As we finished rising in the lock a boat appeared above along with a lady popping out from the trees, this was their crew who’d decided to walk to set the lock. We chatted a bit, they’d been moored overnight at ‘……….Oh that wharf place’ ‘Oh what’s it called!’ ‘You know ……. wharf’. Sadly I didn’t know. She warned me that there wouldn’t be much space to moor there if we wanted to, but we needed to be closer to town anyway.

A few more manicured lengths off bank suggested moorings, one had been chosen by a couple from a canoe as a handy resting place for a picnic.

Another pretty lock

Approaching Stoke Lock we could see it was emptying, we hung back to give the boat space to leave, then entered closing the gates behind us. With ropes around bollards I was about to start filling it when Mick signalled to me. We were being joined, a chap opened one bottom gate and his boat came in. It was the couple from the canoe.

Yep that’s a lady in the lock with us

Okay so one tiny boat made of fibreglass with a lady sat in it alongside what is most probably 20 tonnes of narrowboat! Mick had warned them, but the chap said they shared locks all the time. Obviously I wound the paddle up just a short way to start with. Luckily these locks seem to behave and with the paddle open on your side with your stern line tied to the yellow post you hardly seem to move an inch, other than upwards. I kept a close eye on the lady, then the chap said to wind the paddle straight up!

They had come out for a paddle yesterday and camped overnight, so their boat was full of camping gear making it heavy, therefore they’d not wanted to lift it out below the lock. We all survived.

There’s a lower bridge to come

Now on the flat for the rest of the day I didn’t need to set the bow rope on the roof for the next lock and could stand down from my duties. We now had chance to practice as the canoeist had mentioned the wharfs name. Dapdune, Dap Dune, Dap Dune, not Daphne, Dap Dune. We’d got it.

A full wharf

Daphne Wharf was full of boats when it came into view so a good job we hadn’t wanted to moor there. We continued onwards into the side of Guildford I’ve not visited. A high mooring showed itself by the Odeon, so we pulled in. The cabin top only just above the towpath height.

After lunch Mick headed off into town to do a recky of other moorings, the station and for a new second hand tablet to be used at the stern. We’d offered to buy Josh’s old one from him if Mick could make it work, sadly it had been resting too long and will be added to the technological graveyard somewhere.

A boozer table that didn’t end up on the floor!

I got on with the last few jobs before my panto meeting tomorrow. A paint list and photos of the model now it was all completed so I could do a final story board for all the creatives to see. Outside it seemed busy, I could hear a group of girls on the path above, then I could hear footsteps above. Someone was using our roof as a continuation of the path! Oy!!

A group of young teenage girls were sat on the bench and by the time I got to the front and opened up the cratch two other girls were stepping off the roof. ‘Can I help you?’ better than a tirade of words. ‘Sorry Sorry lovely boat!’ Hmmmm!

Final checks

Mick returned a short while later the next mooring also as close to the station was free and a touch lower, so not at roof level. We moved.

Property Game

On the River Wey. Fleurs house has quite a large granny annex.

How much? Answers tomorrow.

2 locks, 4.73 miles, I edible loaf, 2 Lilliput gates, 1 tiny sharer, 0 shore leave, 2 moorings, 4 clomping feet, 0 harm done, 1 model ready and packed, 15 sheets drawings, 11 groundplans, 198 photos of models, 1 owy head, 1 twinge.

Yesterdays Property

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-80242586.html

£475,000 Sold I’m afraid if you fancied it.