We’d never had any problems mooring in Jericho before: it’s very close to the centre of Oxford, very close to the noisy mainline railway station, and a major cycle/walking/dog walking route, with the bells of St. Barnabas to keep you awake: not everyone likes mooring there but it is very convenient, and – surprisingly – Sir has always seemed at home there.
Well, we arrived mid-morning, and all the decent spots with mooring rings were occupied: some boats had been waiting over a week for the Thames to become navigable, and (sensibly) the 2 day limit didn’t seem to be an issue.
So we were forced to use mooring pins. Not normally an issue, but the consistency of the banks was not unadjacent to warm butter. You could push in a mooring pin with one finger. This did not bode well.
Some hour or so later, a hire boat from the immediately opposite College Cruisers went past at Mach 2, pulled all three pins out, and making all the kitchen drawers open… and Song & Dance was floating away unattached to terra firma.
We went and remonstrated with the hire company, who are supposed to provide training for their clients. Still, at least they gave us some free if rather old mooring pins so we could double-pin the front and back to make it more secure – in theory at least. Even double pinned, they were pulling away a bit every time a boat went past. And with all the hire boats on the other side we couldn’t even breast up with another more securely tied boat without blocking the canal completely… We clearly weren’t going to be able to leave the boat unattended for long!
Meanwhile, used to ducks and swans demanding food with menaces in Oxford, it was a novelty to find that the local geese had adopted similar tactics, perhaps taking refuge from the Thames.
Once the boat movements seemed to have ceased for the day we crossed our fingers and toddled of to a concert featuring our dear friends Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, who were – as expected – splendid as well as delighted to spend a little time catching up.
Let’s hope we’re still moored up to something in the morning.