The immaculate moorings at Thrupp are managed by the Thrupp Cruising Club, and the service area is equally well kept, with everything – even the library – close to hand.
While we were taking on water, the Captain took the opportunity to stroll round the back of the building to the well kept and quiet Shaded Garden to carry out some business of his own without upsetting anyone, apart from a noisy dunnock, who wasn’t impressed.
We’d originally thought we might make it to the Rock of Gibraltar at Enslow – a well known watering hole – for lunch. However, there was a queue at Shipton Weir Lock – where you join the River Cherwell for a bit – and again at Baker’s Lock, where you leave it again: Sunday day boat hirers, mutter mutter. We’d also heard that Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden was actually open, so it was full speed ahead to Pigeons Lock.
Jane’s is a bit of an institution: an outdoor tea room with loads of gazebos and tables lurking in the woods along the canal bank, that only opens every other weekend in the summer. Today was their last day of the season, and the place was mobbed…
It was all it was rumoured to be: fabulous tea and cakes, a super band playing suitable music, and a very nice place to while away a late lunch before heading off not very far to moor up in the peace and quiet.
We’d got chatting to a couple who had kindly offered help us out with a minor milk shortage, as it was clear we weren’t likely to make Heyford in time to buy any. We’d both said we knew of some really nice mooring just up the canal, so with some milk nicely in the fridge we set off. They’d also said that they’d only recently set off for a three month cruise, and having found the only place they could store their several cases of wine was in the shower, suggested we might like to pop over for a drink to help them clear some space for ablutions. Sounded like a plan…
… but they set off first, and went sailing straight past the place we thought we were both going to moor up. They were still going nearly three-quarters of an hour later, and we knew we were running out of anywhere suitable until some distance the other side of Heyford, so bailed out and decided to drink our own wine tucked up near North Brook Lock before it got dark. Oh Well.