Sunday, 19 May 2013

Off at Last!!

Sunday 19th May, 2013 - Heyford, Oxfordshire
Unusually, we were blessed with good weather. It was dry, bright and warm in the sun. We arrived at Enslow at 11:30 and unloaded the car. Guy, already sporting his boating kerchief, was quite overcome with excitement at the prospect of being back on board wearing his "Captain's" badge.
We were delighted with the new "storage" sofa; thank you "Susan" (who deserves to be called Annabel too, after being four months late with the delivery!). We did, however, get it in time for our departure today. Richie and Steve had very kindly removed the previous sofa-bed, which is now in Tiffany's office awaiting sale.
We were in good time, made good progress, and were ready to set off by 2:00pm but we found that we were stuck fast due to the shallow water in the marina.  James and friends to the rescue!  Much pushing and shoving and hauling on ropes resulted!  "Yo Heave Ho"!
We were finally free and floated to the water point to top up with water. Then we were off. Hooray!!!
What a joy it was! The sun shone, the birds sang and the countryside was at its most beautiful in that first, fresh, verdant flush of early summer. Yet, in the midst of this bucolic serenity on the quiet South Oxford Canal there appeared a gang of pirates! However, these were not your ragamuffin rowdy marauders; these were courteous, cultured pirates sporting magnificent embroidered shirts and red sashes. They were quite subdued, probably due to the stag night revelry of the previous night in Oxford. They admitted that they finally retired to bed at 5:00am with the dawn! We helped them through the locks because they were on a tight schedule to get their hire boat back to Heyford.
At Heyford, we found a good mooring opposite another Kingsground boat, nb "Kings Vanquish", which is moored permanently outside the owner's house and a beautiful "shared" boat, nb "First Dawn", which we saw at the Crick Boat Show two years ago when it was first launched.
We fell into conversation with the shared owners, a pleasant couple from Eastbourne, and ended up walking with them to the local pub, "The Bell", where we had dinner. The village is delightful, with classic Oxfordshire stone buildings clustered round a giant oak tree. Dinner was good too! The Bell is an excellent establishment.
A bright moon guided us home in a clear sky.
Today: 5 miles, 3 locks and 3.0 hours

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