Thursday, April 09, 2009

Holiday - Day 1

Plans changed and the early departure changed to an early afternoon departure - 1:30. As I was walking through Oxford city centre my heart felt light and my step was on air as I revelled in the holiday fever that had started to swamp me. Back home on the boat I pulled the pins after a quick mental check that I had everything I needed on board (shame I didn't check where everything I needed was before I set off!).

Maffi opened the lift bridge for me, and in no time at all I was along side Helene of Troy to pick up Mr Paris for the first leg of the trip. I was impressed he came as the weather didn't look too promising.. but there he was looking like a 'proper' boater - crocodile hat and jacket with lots of zips (must get me some). We thought we had lost Stanley Mark's dog (who was taking a run), but he was trying to go home with a family with two small children feeding the ducks... after much eyebrow and eye work from Mark, Stanley remembered his loyalty and left the family and continued to run alongside the boat again. Looming up to Bakers lock I noticed the sign had grown a couple of legs, and Maffi stepped out - he had set the lock for us, and we were soon on our way.

It was a glorious day, over caste but the light was stunning as we came through the oxfordshire countryside. Coming up to Kirtlington Mark thought we should stop for a swing. I moored beautifully by managing to get the boat to skip onto a rock bringing the anodes half out of the water on the pointy end. I abandoned ship and my attention turned to the swing. I swung out over the Cherwell (I hasten to add that Mark did a knot check on the swing and took the first throw). Just as I had plucked up courage to swing out (the last time I did this on the Cam I fell in) I heard a yob yelling across the quarry 'MORTIMER'; I like yobs. Matilda Rose was strolling around the area taking some air. I hadn't expected to see them, so that was another holiday bonus, and I didn't fall in!

The swing was fantastic. It was interesting getting the boat off the rocks afterwards though - reverse, more reverse, more rocking, more reverse, more sweat, more levering, more pole work, more whatever and Mark eventually declared the need for a new strategy and he climbed the steep embankment and tied the stern rope to the tree, performed some magic and hey presto we were free. A quick wave to Matilda Rose as we went past and we were on our way again. I would have liked to have stopped to smile at them for longer, but that will have to be another time.

I love going over Dashwood lock; the light is stunning, everything looks so green and the views across the cow fields are splendid. We arrived in Heyford in good time despite the hold up.

Thanks for the good day Mark!!

Maffi met me in Heyford and Mark took the car home. Maffi arrived with a lovely big shop from sainsbury so I now have a full fridge. What a glorious start to the holiday.

Heyford at night with the warmth and bird song in the background; you can see the picture, but imaging the sounds!


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