The nip in the air coming home from last night’s gig wasn’t a figment of our imagination. Monday was overcast and cold, in complete contrast to the weekend. Sue left for the station short order, as she had to get back to Southampton, wash her morris uniform, and get back out again to dance in Odiham in the evening. Some people have it bad!
We soon set off too, as we had an appointment in Thrupp on Tuesday morning with Mark Paris, a Boat Safety Scheme Surveyor. Yup. Song & Dance is nearly 4 years old!
The winding hole on the Oxford Canal proper is eight feet too small for Song & Dance. So, locking down onto Castle Mill Stream/The Thames (technically needing an Environmental Agency licence – oops) we quickly locked back up again before anyone noticed. Then, pausing only for a croissant and coffee at the excellent Hayfield Deli right on the canal, before averting our eyes from the Agenda 21 dwellings, we soon escaped Oxford, noticed that the red board at Dukes Cut Junction had gone, and were soon passing Mark’s boat in Thrupp before finding a mooring right outside The Boat Inn. How convenient!
Anyway, it was so cold and miserable, we decided that we’d better eat there – not a hardship. And later we saw Mark playing cribbage in the bar, so kept our fingers crossed that he won, and would be in a good mood.
Shortly after we’d arrived, Joss turned up. We’d spent a week or more crossing paths with them and their mates in Corniche back in September while coming down the River Soar and Leicester section of the Grand Union. Last week, we’d passed them moored in Banbury on the way down to Oxford: this year they were heading to the Kennet and Avon, but all the Thames red boards and a poorly dog had caused them to delay for several days in Banbury while we hit the fleshpots of Oxford. With dog and river sorted, they’d obviously decided to move on now, as they came into Thrupp shortly after us. More catching up to do!
The next morning Mark arrived, spent an hour or so prodding and poking around the boat and testing the gas and stuff before pronouncing himself satisfied. A couple of very minor issues that need addressing but that’s us all legal for another 4 years. We celebrated by going for a walk in the Thrupp Community Woodlands by the Cherwell in the cold and rain before retiring for tea and cakes at Annie’s Tea Room before a cosy evening “at home” on Song & Dance.