|Lockie Paul supervises his new assistant|
Well more wandering around Oxford – including into the bizarre and brilliant Pitt-Rivers Museum where everything from shrunken heads to Inuit clothing can be stumbled upon in a serendipity of dimly lit exhibition cases. A wonderful place: I could spend days there.
But chiefly we've entertaining family visitors: daughter Nancy and grand-daughter Martha. And the highlight of the trip for little Martha was being apprentice lock-keeper to the super helpful and patient lockie Paul who we met first at Eynsham and the next day at Pinkhill locks. "Thank goodness you're here to help," he said to her as we arrived at Pinkhill on Sunday night, "I'm exhausted after a busy day".
With one eye on the weather forecast "sunshine and thundery showers" I had worked out a 'mini-ring' of canal and river and kept fingers crossed for the sun to shine.
And it did...except on me. We headed out of Isis Lock then back up-river to Swinford Bridge in gorgeous sun – which turned to heavy rain just as I was banging the pins in to moor up. And I got soaked.
The wet shorts and T-shirt were hung over the engine to dry and next morning we headed further, again in perfect sunshine, to Vicky's swimming spot for paddling and lunch before turning (carried out with much anxious sweating between rows of moored plastics) and heading back downstream. But a bit too much dithering about where to moor meant that, once again, the sun vanished, the skies turned black and the rain poured down just as I was mooring. So shorts and T-shirt were soaked again.
On the final day we completed the 'ring' with a run into that delightfully secretive little link between river and canal, Duke's Cut. And on the way I got soaked once more in a sudden torrential downpour! Down the canal we went and back to moor opposite the old Jericho boatyard – still derelict and in planning limbo five years after the first protests into its re-development.
|The magnificent Pitt-Rivers museum|
And within minutes the rain stopped and the sun came out. And I got to thinking "what's the point in sitting here in the sunshine running the engine to charge the batteries when I could cruise down the river instead?"
|Moored just above Abingdon Bridge|