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CribBlog April 22

Finally I have managed to move off the Oxford canal and am now heading up [err down?] the Kennet and Avon canal . This was supposed to happen last November but I caught flu and then missed the opportunity to venture onto the Thames before it became a bit too interesting with the addition of the autumn rains.

Even I have got fed up with pictures of Cribbit from the front or from the back at various locations on the South Oxford canal. So, for the moment, I am sparing my readers this tedium. [But hopefully not for too long] Instead, I am taking up the story from the point where Terry joined me at Yarnton Bridge and we set off down the Thames as we had planned to do in November.

The first pic is of Cribbit from the stern, moored just above bridge 228 Yarnton Bridge, just about the last place you can access the canal, park the car and moor, before approaching the environs of Oxford. Met up with Terry at Gloucester Green Coach station and then walked to Magdelen bus stop for the 2B bus to Yarnton. This stops just before the canal bridge but that the bus driver had no notion that it was so close to the canal.

The observant may wonder at the disposition of warps and pins in the pic, and well you might! I spent the weekend before we set off in Hastings with sister Alex, and got an email on the saturday telling me that Cribbit was adrift and a hazard to navigation. Well there was not a lot I could do from the beach in Hasting so trusted to the kindness of other boaters to sort out the problem. Stopped back there on my way home and all was well though the big hole from where the pins were wrenched from can be seen in the pic.

Moored above Bridge 228, Yarnton, the big hole is where the pins used to be.

On our way, lunch on the move, sj would approve!

Privateer taken in tow

Sarah and David look quite calm even with Terry at the helm

Moored below Jerico on the last mooring rings before Isis Lock ready for the Thames tomorrow. Beer at The Lighthouse, the current name of the pub just across what used to be the terminal basin for the canal and is now a car park.

CribBlog April 23

I walked down here last winter to see what the access to the Thames was like. At that time water was roaring over the wier with a strong current ready to trap the unwary. The information board suggests boaters tie their bow warps to the pontoon and then swing sterns out into the flow to turn the boat manually into the right direction before trying to overcome the flow. When we went through, the pool was like a mill pond, with little flow so no dramatic boatmanship was needed.

Terry preps Isis Lock

Bottom gate, pontoon and weir





After the turn, there is a derelict swing railway bridge. Which is apparently soon to be renovated. I can just imagine the look on sj's face as she halts the Flying Scot in full steam and makes it wait for the passage of Cribbit, a bit like the bloke in the pic in the link.

Swing railway bridge

Swing railway bridge circa 1942

Folly Bridge

Iffley Lock


Approaching Culham Lock

Cullham Lock


Approaching Shilligford Bridge

Shilligford Bridge

Shilligford Bridge

Moored at Benson Lock


Benson Lock

Benson Lock weir

Leaving the Three Horseshoes


CribBlog April 24

One of the many pill boxes

One of the many boathouses on the Thames, most more salubrious than Catslide

A well layed hedge

Approaching Goring

Goring Lock

Goring Lock



And then the camera decided to do its own thing and we run out of pics

Not quite sure what happened to the camera but we got a perfect set of blank picture frames from here on. Pity as there were some memorable sights. Boating on the Thames is an experience in itself.

Part of our passage plan for the day was to pick up Jim at some point along our way to Reading. Our first choice for a rendevous was at Mapleduram Lock but repeated conversations by phone with Jim failed to enable him to find the [cunningly hidden] route to us. I have to say that Jim did seem a bit frantic on the phone but we put this down to understandable enthusiasm to join the crew on Cribbit.

Anyway, we changed our pick-up point to moorings just below the Roebuck Hotel near Tilehurst Station. This worked out OK and Jim's first act on joining us was to dive below to make use of the facilities. 'He's been a long time' says Terry, prophetic words indeed.

We left the Thames at Blake's Lock which is the bottom lock on the Kennet and Avon Canal, with its wheel operated paddle gear. [Much to the confusion of the boat's crew] Good images in these two links. Blake's Lock 1       Blake's Lock 2.

Blake's Lock from Leaf and Leisure

Wheel operated paddle gear from Ellie Bennet's Log

Moored in Reading at Blake's Wharf

Managed to find a 42 foot space [for 40 foot Cribbit] {actually, there is some debate about the true length of Cribbit, nominally she is 40 foot but for the purposes of Thames passages she shrinks to becomes 11.8 metres, there is a reason for this}, in the middle of the live-aboard moorings behind the island [with no name] but convenient for Toys-R-Us and Homebase. Then to the Fisherman's Cottage for our evening draught, the very pub that Jim had been in for lunch earlier with Jane and Liz.

We enjoyed the pub though it was very bright and with absolutely no 'clutter'. Terry and I noted that Jim was less enthusiastic about the third pint than we were but put this down to a lamentable lack of practice through joining us late. Back to Cribbit for chilli before we turned in for the night with Jim and Cj alternating trips to the toilet between Terry's snores.

Around 0400 Jim has to give in and admit that although he has been trying, he has not managed to pass a single drop of pee since the previous morning. This sounded pretty serious, especially considering his input volume during the day. So he called 999 and after being interviewed was told that his condition did not qualify him for an ambulance BUT that a night duty doctor would attend him instead.

Now this presented us with a bit of a problem, just where were we? Somewhere called Blake's Wharf apparently and obviously behind Toy r Us. Now Toys r Us seemed a most inappropiate place to meet a doctor so we settled on the Homebase car park instead.

All this took some time to arrange so Jim and I spent a happy hour [or two] wandering round the immediate environs. This was more interesting than one might image as it included Reading Abbey and Reading gaol, home to Oscar Wilde no less. Fortunately, the walking had some limited success in relieving some of the pressure! When the doctor did arrive, she fitted a cathetter and relieved him of a further 0.8 litres.

Night duty doctors must see some sights in their time but fitting cathetters in the dark on a canal boat must be one of them. Terry did offer his handy miner;s head torch but his offer was declined.

In 1960, I was rowing at Iron Bridge regatta and made use of the facilities before going out to race. The facilities were just a well dug trench surrounded by canvas sheeting tacked to old rowing blades set in the ground but perfectly functional. I was joined at the trench by a somewhat innebriated old bloke who loudly decared to me "Pee and be joyful!, that's my motto" and its been mine ever since.

Parenthetically, { THE big deal of the day was that the local beauty queen would present the prizes AND that she would expect a kiss from every prizewinner, no women rowing in those days, this ordeal was worse than the final race to my 16 year old and spotty self.}

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