Having overstayed somewhat in Jericho, but needing to be back in Oxford so someone could catch a train to rescue the car from Cropredy, then head for home to pick up post, parcels etc., a quick overnight trip up The Thames seemed in order. The journey up through Port Meadows to Eynsham in bright sunshine was quite delightful, with hundreds of Greylag Geese lining the banks, a cormorant perched precariously and ominously on a blasted oak, and a bunch of (common?) terns whizzing past. The river itself was full of strange and vaguely unpleasant looking black and brown stuff floating past; sometimes huge floating islands of it. Given the number of geese around and the mess they make on the ground we had a horrible feeling it might be related to them, but a lock-keeper (yes they still exist, sometimes) assured us it was some kind of debris coming up from the river bed: probably last year’s leaf litter or something.
While negotiating a tight hairpin bend just above Duke’s Lock, Fran remarked that in the copse on the inside of the bend she could see a bloke’s bare bum pumping up and down in some energetic al-fresco bonking: clearly spring has arrived! Too busy trying to get round the bend without hitting the outside bank I missed the rutting, but did wonder if you can get some kind of automatic porn filter for a boat, to avoid any further possible distraction as spring progresses.
Decent moorings on The Thames aren’t easy to find, so we were pleased when the Eynsham Lock keeper said we could moor just below the lock for the night, with the promise of a pump-out and fresh water the next morning.
At the lock was a blackboard with the message “England does Spring the best” with which it is hard to disagree, and may well have been aimed at the couple downstream, but the impact was somewhat lessened by being next to another blackboard saying “Pump-out Out of Order”. The latter proved to be to our advantage, as being only partially broken, it needed “testing” the next morning so we had use of the facility for free: what a nice lock keeper!
After seeing to the boat’s needs (it’s always nice seeing the water gauge reading Full and the waste gauge reading Empty), a trip to Eynsham in search of beer, lunch and provisions provided a pleasant interlude before returning downriver to Oxford. The toll bridge only charged 5p for a car and 20p for a double-decker bus: the Severn Crossing take note! The first ducklings of the trip were duly spotted, but there didn’t seem to be any repeat of the other shenanigans even though eyes were kept firmly peeled…