Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Getting Colder

Yesterday was another lovely bright sunny day although feeling colder. We continued on our way back to Braunston on the lovely, winding South Oxford canal.

We met a couple of other boats on the move today, enjoying the sunshine.
A great day for reflections in the water.

The lichen on the wall was a really lovely golden colour in the sun.

The sun setting just as we tied up in a quiet spot below the locks at Claydon.

This morning we walked into Claydon just for a wander round before setting off today.  It was cold, and though there was no frost on the ground, there was some ice on the water.
As we got to the first of the 5 locks a boat was just coming out, good timing, the same with the second, and the fourth! So many on the move today, getting to a good place in case of a freeze, perhaps.

No sun today, with a misty haze and heavy clouds and a few icy showers. This farmer was spreading something on his fields, leaving a cloud behind him.

And despite the cold, we saw our first lambs in the fields.

And finally, moss on the lock edge, glistening with frost, looking very pretty.

17 miles, 12 locks

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Welcoming Visitors

Yesterday as we were approaching Banbury, Ian took a phone call from his brother, who wanted to come over and see us.
So having tied up in the town centre moorings we set to, a quick sweep round, a shower and put some potatoes in the oven and an hour later we were ready to welcome 3 visitors on board.
They brought our post with them, so we are up to date with everything again.  Thanks for coming over we enjoyed the evening together.

We have Tacet booked in at Braunston dry dock to get her bottom blacked next week, so we were going to make a leisurely way back over this week. Then today we had a message that if we wanted to get in the dry dock on Friday, we could do the tunnel bands first over the weekend. So we shall be moving back a bit quicker, but its not a problem as long as there is no ice.

14 miles, 8 locks, 4 bridges

Friday, 27 January 2012

River Thames

We've come to the end of our sojourn on the River Thames. As we can't get down into London via the Royal River nor down the Grand Union we will spend a bit of time pootling around the midlands. I have just been looking back over the photos and found some that never made the blog. So before we leave the Thames completely, here are some I took earlier......(in no particular order!)

An impressive boathouse

unusual lock house

the very narrow bridge at Tadpole

Paddle and Rhymer weir at Rushey Lock (I think)

Christ Church Meadow, Oxford

Wilts & Berks Company Canal bridge off Thames, but not on canal(?)

Today we turned off the Thames and are back on the Oxford canal heading north towards Banbury. We are moored in a very peaceful spot outside Lower Heyford.  It has been a beautiful sunny day except for a short shower when the sky clouded over for a little while. The sun has brought out the wonderful winter colours of the trees, almost autumnal like....

Aah time for bed.
13 miles, 11 locks, 3 bridges

Thursday, 26 January 2012


On Wednesday we moved down from Abingdon to Dorchester, we can't get much further as there is a stoppage at Benson lock until March.
Dorchester is about 1 mile from the river, so we walked across the fields through Bronze age burial mounds to the lovely village.
Man of the houses are thatched, with lots of footpaths weaving round and in between them. We followed one path and were a bit stumped when it seemed to come to an end in someone's garden and driveway. We retraced our steps and went another way then found the end of the path again,
The end of the drive...
with the footpath sign to confirm,

Just go through the door!  Its great!

Dorchester Abbey, a grand parish church, with cloisters,

Ancient little doorway,
Quaint old cottage amongst the gravestones

and snowdrops, lovely.

7 miles, 2 locks


Abingdon is a lovely old, historic market town.  Once centred around the Abbey, it is said to be the oldest continuously habited settlement in England.  It was once the County Town for Berkshire, but now it is part of Oxfordshire.
view from our mooring

over the bridge to the town

The magnificent County Hall in the centre is currently undergoing renovation work, so we weren't able to get a closer look, or visit the museum. The strange custom of 'bun throwing' takes place from the roof balcony to celebrate royal occasions, most recently on the wedding day of Wills and Kate.
St Nicolas Church at the Abbey gateway, was built for the servants of the Abbey.

Along East St. Helen Street toward St Helen's Church the houses are a mixture of styles and ages ranging from the 15th century.
Around St Helen's Church are three almshouses:
The Long Alley built in 1446, with scripture texts painted on the walls along the outer corridor,

and around the outside of the building too.

Then there is Twitty's, named after the benefactor, built in 1707.
And Brick Alley built in 1718.

They are all still occupied today,now administered by the Governors of Christ's Hospital.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Seeking Lost Canals

Yesterday we cruised down to Abingdon. The weather was good, bright and quite warm.  We came through the locks with other boats each time, 3 others moving same way as us. Last week we only saw one other boat moving all week!
leaving Sandford lock with dutch barge Mimosa behind

and Paringa ahead

Last night we had rain, lots of it, and this morning we laid in bed listening to the rain and not getting up! When the rain had stopped we set out to find the old route of the Wilts and Berks Canal.

The site of the old junction with the Thames, the lock onto the canal was where the stone wall across the road is now.
Using a bit of imagination you can find the line of the canal along the edge of the hedge on the left,

along the grass verge,

between the back gardens,

and across the fields.
A new junction has been made a little further downstream and a few hundred yards along a new cut has been started to link the Thames with the Kennet and Avon near Melksham through Swindon.

Could be a long while before boats can get there, but then many of our canals have been restored and re -routed by dedicated groups, working hard to achieve the system we have now. And we are grateful.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Dreaming Spires

  "And that sweet city with her dreaming spires,
She needs not June for beauty's heightening,"

Matthew Arnold: Thyrsis 1867

A collection of photos from last weekend in Oxford, we followed a walking tour guide of the city peeping in at the college quads, the castle, churches and towers. Today we have done a bit of shopping and will go to the cinema later to see the Sherlock Holmes film.