Ten Bob Note  

Wednesday 12th March 2008

Location: Oxford, Oxfordshire, Oxford Canal

Today: 9 miles, 6 locks. Total distance: 1195 miles.  Total locks: 762

Pulled the pins around 07:30 and headed down to Oxford with the intention of jumping onto the Thames tomorrow and shooting down to Reading to join the K&A.

A very windy day today – gale force gusts at times. We would not have travelled if it had not been for the fact that we wanted to get down the Thames before it gets closed due to further rain expected.

As we passed Duke’s Cut (an access to the Thames just before Oxford) the red ‘Strong Stream’ warning boards were up which basically means don’t travel on the river.

When we got down into Oxford – no surprise – the red board was up at Isis lock as well.

Phoned the Environment agency and after getting switched over to a recording, was advised that the river is at condition yellow – wrong!!! The recorded message was last updated yesterday at 17:00 and is obviously out of date.

Not sure how long we will have to hang around here, it’s all down to the amount of rain in the Thames catchment area over the next few day I guess. Will try and get to speak to a real person tomorrow to see what the outlook is.

We passed nb Bones as we went through Thrupp. We missed Bones the last time we were in this area and sadly missed her again today. Apparently, she was away doing something called work – strange way of life some people have!!! One day Bones…..

Also stopped beside nb Milly M to see if Maffi was around – again, no one at home. Perhaps they knew we were coming and hid for the day ????

Just outside Oxford we spied a big duvet lying beside a bridge. We commented on the fact that we wouldn’t like to get that around our prop. A short while ago we were looking at nb Balmaha’s web site and guess what, they picked it up on their prop as they passed this way a week or so back.

Thursday 13th

We phoned the Environment Agency this morning to get an update on the river condition. They gave us the number for Osney lock. Phones Osney lock and were advised that yellow boards were up, more rain is on the way and told us that it would probably be mid next week before it would be OK to set off for Reading.

Went into town (only a short walk) to do some shopping and to have a look around. Oxford is a lovely town, lots of interesting buildings and history.

We walked down to Osney lock after lunch. The river looks fine to me, we have been out on much worse before.

We spoke to the lock keeper – think it was the same guy we spoke to over the phone this morning. He told us that the yellow boards are now down and that the river is fine. He went on to say that there is some rain forecast over the next 24 hours or so but nothing much to worry about. I asked if he thought it would be OK to shoot for Reading tomorrow and he said no problem as long as we don’t mind getting a bit wet.

I mentioned the fact that there was still a red warning board up at the top of Isis lock and he didn’t seem interested.

My impression of the Environment Agency has gone well down hill. We could have headed off first thing this morning if we hadn’t listened to EA and the Osney keeper!!!

Anyway, we are planning on setting off early tomorrow morning – rain or shine. Looking at the met office site, heavy rain is forecast for Saturday evening and Sunday so I suspect if we don’t head off tomorrow, we may well get stuck here due to the heavy rains raising the river levels again. As much as Oxford is a nice town, we don’t want to be stuck here for any longer than absolutely necessary.

Mo and Vanessa on nb Balmaha have kindly been keeping us up to date with their progress via email. They are now at Abingdon and have not been having any problems with the river. We will hopefully catch and pass them over the next two days as they will probably be going at a much more leisurely pace than us.


Current mooring top of Isis lock

nb Bones at Thrupp - we passed at 10:24 and no one was home - next time

So nice to be out of the countryside and back into civilisation - NOT

See if you can spot the speed boat in this picture

Strong Stream warning sign up but no strong stream condition any more!!!

Nice window boxes on the boat

Same boat from the rear - quite a few similar in the area


Material Copyright © 2008 Ernie Williams
This page last modified on: 23 April, 2014 5:30 PM