Thursday, April 07, 2011
Back on the canal - hooray! More on that below, but first we leap forward to our entry to Thrupp.
Arriving at Thrupp in the glorious sunshine, we pulled in to moor and quickly spotted that the boat in front was Milly M of Maffi's Boat fame. Anxious to make his acquaintance although he was nowhere to be seen, we asked the whereabouts of Maffi. You quickly learn up here that everyone knows Maffi and Maffi knows everyone. "He's gone off on his bike." They said.
Oh, well we'll try Annie's Tea Rooms. Maffi and Bones are always blogging about them. So we wandered up the canal passing two pubs without going in either (a record??), and headed for the little lift bridge that takes you across to Annie's. "I reckon that's him. " said Kath, pointing to one of a group of men nattering on the bridge. "Look there's his bike and his dog." So I approached our eponymous hero and said "I think you might be Maffi." to which he replied " and you must be the Herbies, I heard you were on your way up from Oxford". The jungle drums up here had apparently been announcing our imminent arrival. It was a true Dr Livingstone moment.
Over tea at Annie's (recommended) and a pint or two in the evening we had a long talk with Maffi and it would seem that he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of goings on around this part of the canal. We also got a brief visit from Bones, who it turns out was the jungle drummer. Nice to meet you Bones.
Earlier in the day we said goodbye to the Thames and made our triumphant entry to the Oxford Canal.
I can't tell you how good it was to go through a narrow lock - our first for eighteen months and our first with single bottom gates for many many years.
Bliss. I love 'em. The chance to do some single locks was one of the factors in us moving Herbie further North.
I suppose I should also record that I painted the port side gunwales while we were here. It was hot and sunny and the bank side was clean and very low to the water, so I seized the day and slapped on a coat of black gloss. I expect half of it will get rubbed off in the coming week.
Heyford tonight. NOTE: Bones warns that we may not get a mobile phone signal in Heyford, so anyone who tries to phone or text (Graham, David, Rick) may not get a reply.