Idyllic Abingdon–(Tufted Ducks excepted)

An uneventful departure from Oxford, and a remarkably quiet  (traffic wise) cruise down towards Abingdon in rather dull weather. Song & Dance’s washing machine only works when plugged in to a shore line, and the dirty washing pile was showing signs of taking over the boat. We knew of electric services several days further down the river at Goring Lock, but really needed something before them, and launderettes never appeal. A chance conversation with an Abingdon based cruiser in Sandford Lock regarding the possibility of overnighting in Abingdon Marina elicited the reply “No chance, but there’s a hook-up at Abingdon Lock, even though it’s not listed: Richard (the lock keeper) will sort you out” and off they zoomed.

Having failed to contact the lock on the phone, when we arrived at Abingdon Lock, Frank the volunteer came straight over to us and said “Are you the boat wanting overnight mooring with a hook-up?”  before directing us to a spot on the weir island. Perfick. And it was just like a lovely private garden, the other side from all the hurley-burley of the lock traffic. (There was a small notice saying you could camp there, but there were no takers). As a bonus, a pleasant 15 minute walk through the woods and Abbey Gardens took you straight to a large Waitrose. What more could one ask for? Many thanks to Richard and Frank for the hospitality.

The weather was lovely and we sat in our “garden” in the warm sunshine while the washing machine worked overtime, watched the passing traffic – proper job gongoozlers – and ended up staying another day. Also said hello to a passing David Piper boat of some vintage heading for Liverpool, and still going strong.

Abingdon LockOne of David Piper's boatsMeet the family

Duckling and gosling production seems to be building up fast, although we haven’t spotted any cygnets yet. On the way to Waitrose a male and female mallard and a solitary tufted duck were quietly paddling and dabbling around together in one of the overgrown back-waters, when a  moorhen (usually a pretty low key bird) steamed out of the undergrowth at flank speed and, with extreme prejudice, saw the tufty off the premises. Never seen a moorhen behave like that before. Wonder he had against tufted ducks.

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