The reason for stopping here was to visit Kelmscott Manor, the rural retreat of William Morris, he of the arts and craft movement. At 11am, we braved it, donning our waterproofs we made the short walk in. No rain yet, but the bleary sky did not bode well. Fortunately, the worst of the day held off. We sauntered around the gardens and had a coffee in the café, then entered the house.
hard to believe this was found lining a dog basket
Thanks to the Friends of, this has been held almost in aspic, to the extent that the great man would in all likelihood recognise his abode. A lot of time effort and money has been expended to achieve this, but well worth it. The house is timeless. Simply furnished, but in keeping with the Morris ethos. A beautiful place, well worth the effort and support if you happen to be in this area. The on site shop also managed to relieve us of some cash, so all good for the Friends.
When the time came to depart, the weather held. So we walked the village and visited the rather understated last resting place of the main man. Then, it was fitting that we raised a glass in the local, The Plough and also enjoyed a bite to eat. I say enjoyed. It was busy. One table seemed intent on drowning out all others as only a certain class of southern folk can. But hey ho...
We managed to get back to the boat before the deluge and the wicked winds, battened down and sat it out.
Sunday was not unpleasant, but the wind persisted. We had not planned on an early start, but circumstances dictated that we got a move on! For some reason, the local hire base in these parts, operated by Anglo Welsh, a national hire company, seem to give some perverse instructions to its clients. We, along with many, started our experience hiring boats. We are not anti hirer's by any means, far from it. But...
Why does this base instruct all hirers to travel at full throttle. To run engines untill well gone midnight and that it is possible to turn a 70ft boat on a section of river that is 55ft!
That was what got us up, dressed and ready... It was hard to explain that their intended manoeuvre was a physical impossibility, but after much revving and white water, concerned cows and disturbed ducks, they gave in and proceeded up river to a more suitable spot to wind. At least it got us up!
So, now wide awake, we began the journey down river once again. We did not travel that far, as the wind remained viscous and moored up just past Radcot bridge. A great mooring, but a dodgy pub, so we missed Sunday lunch and enjoyed provisions bought at Lechlade. The problem with this section is lack of re victualing stops! By Monday,we were running low on supplies, so just had to stop at the Rose Revived at New bridge for a meal. Twas ok...
Tuesday dawned fine. And got hotter and hotter. For the second day running, we started with a wash cycle, then continued down river. Somewhat twisty here abouts, but the locks have a plentiful water supply to replenish that used. We even just missed being TV stars, as at North moor lock, Jeremy Paxman was filming for a new series on rivers. No time for a photo though. He was somewhat stymied though, as the EA should have provided a launch for filming a cruise. It broke down!
So on went we. The temperature and humidity ever rising. My hirsuteness was by this time almost painful. When we stopped just below Kings lock, enough was enough, so out with the beard trimmer. Now I have not used this much of late, so was somewhat surprised when the first sweep left me baby faced! Ali had to finish me off and tidy up!
So if you find a grey beard, tis mine!
The trauma meant that we had to walk to The Trout at Wolvercote for a meal. A busy, but delightful stop, I am not sure Morse would approve though. It was extremely busy. That said, the staff were very helpful and we really enjoyed our meal.
Dawn on the Thames
So after securing the mooring and a spot of brunch, we shopped. Time now to chill. Had to make sure we had a good TV signal though, because Bake Off starts again!
We are going to make our way down to Abingdon, again... Hopefully, Jane &Paul will come to visit on Friday. We really must get back on the muddy waters again soon. But the Thames has been once again a joy.
9 large locks.