Cruising Notes

(The adventure before the dementia)

We stayed around the Banbury for a couple of weeks for various good and bad reasons. Interestingly after being on the canal for at least couple of days (from either direction) there is actually a sign confirming which canal you are on.


So we continued south to Oxford, now confident that we had been on the correct canal for the last 3 weeks.

On the way we passed a cement works which I thought was closed many years ago (my uncle worked there), seems I was wrong.

ISIS has recently become something else but was the older name for the Thames around the Oxford area, so we came across the Thames at Isis lock, with not a terrorist in sight.

The Thames has a different tempo than the canals. This is because of the locks. Thames locks have lock keepers and they work fixed times. You can work the locks out of hours yourself but few people actually do. As a result the river is much more awake during lock keeping hours. The Thames also has what is probably the worlds most varied, and certainly one of the largest collections of “private, no mooring” signs. We pride ourselves on being able to traverse the Thames without paying any of the exorbitant mooring fees that most are expected to pay in the few places that mooring is allowed, and managed it again this year. It's a case of a suitably annotated book being better than the Internet with every free mooring being marked.

Abingdon is an exception to the fleecing of boaters for moorings. Some years ago all traffic was stopped on the Thames because of an outbreak of foot and mouth. The local traders noticed such an upturn in trade due to stranded boaters that they told the local council that there would be no more mooring fees charged in Abingdon.

There are frequently ditches alongside rivers and canals, they are generally poorly maintained and often have remnants of fallen or felled trees in them. This one was special!

The Thames reeks of money, the houses, the boats, and the odd folly.

The university boathouses

The mature dwelling. Please note the house is raised as the Thames floods. Personally I would not buy a house that regularly floods (says he who lives in a boat)

The sun room (with opaque roof).

And the odd folly, I'm sure it has/had some use but it's stuck on an island in the middle of the Thames at Henley. Please note the obligatory no mooring sign.

There are also, of course, dilapidated boats, just bigger ones than on the canals.


Towards London there are a lot of house boats, some are huge two story mansions, some are more realistic. These days architects design them and the results have to be seen to be believed.

And sad to say, this one you could even smell

So that was the Thames for this year. It was wonderful to see all the sights again, to watch the huge cruisers built for the open sea but living their lives on tickover with a blue cloud behind them. The grand mansions and new yuppie apartments being built. The oppulence of huge boats and those who paddle a surfboard very elegantly while standing up.

Ah well. Back to boats that look like boats on the canals.

Have fun