Last night we joined Doug and James for a meal at the Fire and Stone restaurant in Oxford and when Doug booked the table he asked if Phoenix could come as well. The assistant manager who was from Brazil was obviously missing his Labrador back home as he booked our table in the name of Phoenix and went out and bought her some chews which he gave to her at the table so that she would not feel left out. Although she does draw a lot of attention this is the first time that anyone has bought her a treat. Needless to say we had a great evening.
This morning on our walk Phoenix and I discovered Canal Street at the back of College Cruisers and it looked like some of the houses were the original ones from the hay day of canals. One however had been colourfully decorated.
With rain being forecast for today and Wednesday the Lock keeper had suggested that we would be best to leave early for Reading as with the ground saturated the river could go back into flood at any time. So at 09.00 after filling with water I reversed Autumn Myst back up the arm and the down Isis Lock onto the Thames. James had reversed down and so came out forwards but had to negotiate the lock backwards. Fortunately the Thames is about 1.5 mtrs above when we were here 2 yrs ago so it was only a small drop in water levels.
We were soon out on the Thames proper and hurtling down through Folly Bridge and out onto the wider part of the river next to Christchurch Meadow with its abundance of rowers.
With the fast flowing river and plenty of depth below us we were able to make excellent progress and soon reached Abingdon with its lovely church as a backdrop.
All around us was evidence of the earlier flood levels including a cruiser on the fields just below the recently refurbish Abingdon Lock which had been flooded several times itself as they tried to complete the work on time.
Later we passed Burcot House which both John and Dennis will remember as the Training College of North Thames Gas and which I visited a couple of times just before it was sold off.
From Thrupp and all the way down the Thames we have seen many Red Kites, so many in fact I think that they could become a problem in a few years as they are a top predator. Unfortunately trying to take a good photo of one is very difficult from a fast moving boat and a bird which soars on the strong easterly winds, so no apology for the quality. There were also a lot of Grebe and Cormorants along the river and one Grebe gave a spectacular sight of catching a large fish and then trying to devour it.
It was nice to see a group of youngsters from a local school learning to canoe on the river.
One of the features of the Thames are the magnificent houses which line the river bank from old Tudor Style through to Art Deco and the ultra modern.
There was a good flow on the river all the way down to Goring Lock and the weirs were a sight to behold.
Doug and James waiting at a lock for the gates to be opened.
We arrived safely at Goring but were tired from a long days travel and after enjoying June’s home made cake and a cup of welcoming tea we settled down for the evening.