Saturday 29th July
Setting off from Lower Heywood, I had a brief chat with John Harris, whose boat “Kings Vanquish” is moored at the bottom of his garden. He is a Morgan Car Club member and is friend of Peter Darch. I phoned Peter after he failed to reply to my email two days ago, and he agreed to meet up for a meal later that day in Yarnton, where he and Anne ate every Saturday evening at The Turnpike.
These black swans must be are quite rare.
I had stopped at The Rock of Gibraltar for lunch on board and then went into the pub for a pint, only to meet up with Kevin and Ingrid at the bar. Strangely, we met there about the same time last year. Their boat Columbia (1909) now had a home mooring at Gunpowder Wharf at Thrupp.
Upon getting to Thrupp, I passed by nb Bones with herself sitting on the bow. She offered to open the lift bridge, for which I was grateful as it saved me precious moments getting to a vacant mooring.
All went well and I reached Thrupp in good time to moor outside The Jolly Boatman, where Peter said moorings were always available. They picked me up later than expected and had a great meal and conversation in the pub.
Sunday 30th July
Several small upkeep jobs were on the list for today. The air horn needed attention once again and sure enough the supply voltage dropped to zero when it was operated, so a voltage drop caused by under gauge wiring was almost certainly the problem, as it worked fine when closer to the battery at the stern. Whatever it was, I replaced it with an electrical trumpet horn, although not so powerful, it did the job.
Secondly, although the alternator was showing a charge to the batteries, the rev counter was intermittent and took a long time to operate after starting the engine. I suspected the voltage regulator and brush assembly, having previously researched the problem on Canal World Discussion Forum. It was easy to remove from the rear of the alternator by three screws and sure enough one brush was only half the length of the other one. Now knowing what the problem was, I spent a long time scouring the internet and only found one match, but it would need to be ordered on the internet and with no address to send it to, it was impossible. Amazon showed one, but a replacement in their store was on an unknown time scale. Researching even further, I discovered that a Lucas A127 voltage regulator appeared to be exactly the same and these were far easier to find on E-Bay – progress?
I did some more washing this afternoon and got that out of the way once more, before visiting The Jolly Boatman for a pint. I have certainly had enough of fault finding for today!
Monday 31st July
It was a beautiful morning with no wind when I let go, although it got windier by mid afternoon and the clouds appeared, but the rain kept off. It was quite an uneventful trip towards Oxford and the locks were easy, despite them all being against me. At one lock I picked up £15 that I had previously walked past – free drinks for a few nights!
The alternator was behaving better today after tightening the belt, so there was less squeeling, but I will still phone around the limited number of auto factors when in Oxford, although there is only one that I can walk to near Osney.
I stopped for lunch whilst watering up at a very slow tap just above Dukes Cut. After that I had forgotten how many lift bridges there are on the approaching length into Oxford, which slowed me up considerably, even though they all opened with a key from the towpath side.
I was on the lookout for a less common type of blackberry that was fruiting right now, with very large and lush berries that were so ripe, many fell off when moving the bush. When I did spot them on the offside, either it was too shallow, or there was another boat coming. I did find a handful eventually when I took the rubbish across a lift bridge to a service point. When I moored up in Oxford opposite College Cruisers, imagine my surprise at seeing one of the bushes only feet away, where I picked two bowls full. I set to peeling the Bramley apples, bought in readiness and cooked them up immediately.
The strip of land between the cut and Castle Mill Stream.
Do people actually live here?
I was disappointed to find The Bookies closed on Mondays, as I have been there so many times before, so I had a look in the Harcourt Arms, but there were few people in there at the time. Having already walked past
The Rickety Press earlier, it had sounded as though it might be interesting so I walked back to it. , www.thericketypress.co.uk Sure enough, it was busy with students and the beer pumps were up and down like yo-yos. Food was served in the form of burgers and pizza, the latter cooked in a wood fired oven.and made from their own dough, so an enterprising pub run by the Dodo Pub Company. Looking at their web site later, I wondered how they are making progress with three new pubs and others are going under at a phenomenal rate.
Amusing or just encouraging alcoholism?
Tuesday 1st August
I should really be off the CRT waterways today, but decided to stay on a bit longer to shop for a few basics in Jericho. I phoned the only auto factors within walking distance and as expected, they would have to order the part, so I hope it keeps going until I return home. On the way back from shopping, I popped onto The Bookies for a well deserved pint and whilst perusing their menu, made a snap decision to have Moules Farcies and another pint of Landlord. The stuffed mussels were swimming in garlic butter and breadcrumbs and served with sliced French bread and I have to report that it was all delicious. Why is it that the French are so good at these things?
Back on board, I decided that I would move on to the Osney moorings, if there was space there. In fact there was plenty of room for at least six boats, so I was in luck. I winded below and close to the lock and entrance to Osney Mill Marina, where there was more room and pulled into one of my favourite moorings for the night.
Another close shave with a private boat trying to moor up in front of me, so I offered to take a line whilst the steerer sorted his boat out. Only this morning another boat came in to moor in front of me and clouted the button on my bow. I had an apology from his wife, but why is it that these so called experienced boaters do not seem to have the knowledge to handle their boats? Hire boat steerers I can understand making mistakes, but then they are often more careful and often slower in manoeuvring than private boats. Maybe the latter suffer from over confidence.