Thursday, August 14, 2008
End of the road
Day 16, Radcot to Lechlade, via Inglesham
This morning found us sitting on the bottom at Radcot Bridge, with it not having rained overnight and levels having abated somewhat. Having sensed this when I first got up (It's always easier to tell that you're listing in the dark), I sneaked outside for a look. The surrounding fields were saturated, but there was definitely less water in the river. It didn't look too insurmountable; we were only sitting on soft mud and the back wasn't on hard, and while we stood and stroked our chins, the boat began to move - the result, I guess, of lock keepers upriver coming on duy and letting some water down.
After a brief chat with the licencees of the Swan, which, unforgiveably, we hadn't visited, we were off through the notorious Radcot Bridge, without touching the sides - quite an achievement I am given to understand. Though the yellow boards were still out, the river was running nothing like as fast as yesterday, and there was much less wind - adding to my sense of achievement for my steering then, if doing little for my still aching shoulders.
A few more locks brought us to Lechlade, but we proceeded the further three quarters of a mile to Inglesham and the junction with the now disused Thames and Severn Canal which, according to Nicholsons, really is as far as you can go. We winded in a willow tree, and were back under Halfpenny Bridge and moored to a field in Lechlade in time for lunch.
The staple product of Lechlade appears to be antiques. We like a nice root around in a tot shop, and at least some of these didn't disappoint; in particular, if you were in the market for old enamel signs I should head this way post haste. We may yet take one home with us. There is also a small Londis supermarket; the extent of its range may be gauged (OK, I can spell it now Moominpapa) by the fact that it includes pickled eggs. There is also a boatyard/marina here, which we visited in pursuit of mooring pins, being down to our last two, but on both occasions there was no one to be seen. I am finding it quite hard to come to terms with the fact that I am in Gloucestershire; to my knowledge, this has never happened before.
While we were washing and polishing the boat in readiness for the visitation of the Swindon branch of the family tomorrow, Steve rang to make a date to hand over the pistons, liners etc. We arranged to meet at the Crown pub, which turned out to be rather nice and had chinchillas (asleep). As luck would have it, it was quiz night, and despite Jim's objections we entered the four of us as a team (The Three-Pot Club; you knowhow hard it is to think of a team name. Steve has just bought himself a boat with a JP3, but he'll always be 3D Steve to us). And guess what, we won. Then we weren't sure what constituted a decent interval after winning the quiz for a bunch of strangers in town to up and leave. Tirteen minutes, I think it turned out to be.