Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Becoming accustomed to life in Wallingford

There haven’t been any posts to this blog for a while primarily because we are still marooned at Wallingford by the river conditions.  For landlubbers this may be difficult to understand, so allow me to explain.  The River Thames, in its navigable stretches, normally flows at a speed somewhere between zero and perhaps a mile or two an hour.  A narrowboat has a speed of perhaps 6 mph when it is in deep water.  So normally upstream we would be making around 5 mph.  At present by contrast the river is flowing at perhaps 5 mph downstream so our maximum speed relative to the bank is 1 mph if we are lucky.  Add to that the increase in flow at bridges where the river is narrowed and at weirs where the flow sometimes strikes the boat sideways and you can see that the Environment Agency’s present red warnings probably do make some sense.  As a cautionary reminder here is what can happen when the flood waters recede:

 So what have we been up to in order to alleviate the ‘cabin fever’ which has surfaced some of the time?  We had a day going by bus to Oxford and Helen and I went on a guided walk around the colleges and the other sights.

Bodleian Library, Oxford
Old Building in Oxford

We also had a day when 3 of us used our folding bikes to cycle about 12 miles each way to Abingdon to visit a chandler’s there.  This enabled us also to assess the river conditions upstream – pretty scary in places.  Here is a photo of Helen and David cycling back. 

 This ride also enabled us to climb up to the Wittenham Clumps where there are fine views.

 And we have welcomed the MacFarlane family for a visit when we managed to get 8 people around the new dining table in Leo.  Thanks to Mick Wilson who made and fitted our dinette.  We have truly used it to the full now!

 After lunch we managed a walk but some had to be carried, not having brought any wellingtons.

David carrying Sue
 So we remain in good spirits, but would dearly love to return our floating holiday cottages back to their proper function as boats meant for travelling the country.  Maybe this will happen by June?

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