Saturday 28th August 2010
Brian of Harnser asks in an e-mail why I don't go back to where the first prop disappeared and find that one. Well, I did trawl the long boat hook behind me as we passed that part of the river on our way back downstream, but holding the pole vertically down I could barely touch the river bed. It must be about 12 feet deep there, so, short of filling my pockets with lead weights and getting an extra length snorkel, there's no way I could feel for it with my feet.
To carry on with the cruising log, such as it is now that it's over a week out of date, we were now on a mission to get to the IWA Festival before it finished. I mentioned a couple of days ago that the Festival was 50 miles and 18 locks downstream of where we were on the Saturday morning, and we left at 0915. I'd calculated that we could be at Beale Park by Sunday lunchtime, but a bonus would be to make it for the Boaters Christian Fellowship service at 1030. No unnecessary stops, then.
We couldn't leave a fellow boater in trouble though.
At Culham Lock I was asked if I had a magnet to help look for an important nut which a boater had accidentally swept off his counter. I can't resist a challenge like that, so, of course, out came my Sea Searcher, and I fished for it. He didn't know what the nut was made of - it was a cap nut from his skin tank and was possibly brass - and I spent several minutes in a fruitless search. He produced a bolt and said that it was a bit bigger than that, so I suggested he wrap some rag round it and stuff it in the hole as a temporary fix.
He evidently did that, or found another way to seal the cooling system, for we spotted him under way the next day.
I like the clouds and the farm buildings on top of the hill near Sandford lock.
I wonder if this was the site of a hill climbing event. Many years ago I took part in a hill climb. My rôle was to squeeze in the back of a Hillman Imp and bounce up and down while the car was driven as fast as possible up an impossibly steep dirt track. The bouncing was intended to give the car more grip. I don't think I've ever been more uncomfortable in a car! On second thoughts, I think it's more likely to be where a motocross meeting has been held. Most of the tyre tracks are single furrows.
That evening we tied up at Clifton Hampden at 2045 and sought out the Barley Mow pub. Maffi, for a good measure you must go there! I had a pint (of Old Hooky?) which was served with a convex meniscus. The only true pint I had all holiday. We shared a portion of sausages and mash, not because we were on an economy drive, but because we'd already eaten something while we were cruising.
34 and a half miles and 14 locks done today ... and we didn't even make an early start! The current really helps now.
Just 16 miles and four locks to go - could we get to the festival in time for the service at 1030?
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