Monday, October 14, 2019

Come Uppance

That'll teach us for being smug about staying dry through all the changeable weather.  Up till now we seem to have managed to cruise when it was dry and finish for the day when the rain started.  No such luck today, we got a proper soaking when we arrived in Thrupp.  As we were roping up to the mooring rings the heavens opened full force and we were instantly drenched.  Once tied up, we squelched up to Annie's Tea Room where we peeled off our soaking clothes and dropped them on the floor (the puddle on carpet will probably dry in due course) and pretended it was high summer by defiantly ordering cream teas.  I think the phrase 'lashings of clotted cream' must have originated here.  They give you loads of the proper stuff, as stiff as clay and at least double the jam you get anywhere else. A heart attack on a plate.  Lovely.  And you get an old fart's discount.  What's not to like?

I was prepared for the lift bridges out of Oxford to be a pain, but today, one of them, the one near the flyover, nearly defeated me.  The locking mechanism has now been abandoned by CRT as the bridge is balanced shut which makes it almost impossible for a frail old gentleman like me to lift and hold open.  In the end I had to cross over then dangle my overweight frame on the balance beams to get the bridge to open.  A proper twerp I must have looked. Goodness knows how a single hander would manage because they'd be cut off from their boat.  A little blue sign on the bridge tells us that the bridge is perfectly safe to use.  Huh!  Well the bridge might be safe in itself but not for the operator.  It can only be a matter of time before somebody injures themselves in the struggle with the weight of lifting and holding the bridge open.

The word is that the Thames is on red and yellow boards all of a sudden and I'm wondering if we'll be able to get up the short bit of Cherwell below Enslow tomorrow.  I wonder if the water shortage lock restrictions have been lifted at Claydon and Napton.   I wouldn't bet on it.


Oakie said...

Those Oxford lift bridges are an absolute b****d for solo boaters. I think the last time I did one solo I used the boat as a bridge with the bow on the offside and the stern on the towpath. The only way to keep the bridge open was to place an old battery on one of the beams to hold it open. Nowadays, I cannot heave a battery that far, so the alternative would be to anchor the beam down with a line around a stake in the ground. The last time I operated one was by remote control - just wait for a convenient passer by and ask him/her to do it for you - simples! The Leeds and Liverpool to Liverpool is the worst that I have come across -something like 20 swing bridges in just a few miles -exhausting.

nb Chuffed said...

Last year I had to prop that bridge open for Dave to squeeze through - a walker gave me a hand, but even together we couldn't push it up beyond the balance point. This year CRT had changed the weighting, as you discovered! I hear the one with the dodgy lock - where the resident boater pops out to help if you have trouble - is on the list for electrification