Friday, 25 May 2007

Another milestone.

7 Locks, 15 miles, now moored near the village of Lechlade.
Total of 322 locks and 431½ miles and 16 Tunnels and 6 lift bridges since 5th Nov 2006

Wednesday we marked off another milestone when we reached Lechlade. The navigable waterway goes for another half mile from where we are moored but we will complete that leg when we leave to return to Oxford.
The Thames locks are a credit to the lock keepers in the way they create the gardens and in one case a bush that has been clipped to look like a giant frog.

The final lock, St Johns lock also boasts the statue of old Father Thames and a couple of stone built miniature houses.

We moored by the paddock just below Ha’penny bridge and the farmer had recently cut the grass and was in the process of picking it up and carting it away to a silage pit.
We wandered into town and found several antique/second hand shop where Dot found a shelving unit that will complete and improve our storage space problem. After buying a few bits and bobs at the Londis shop we called into the Crown Inn for a thirst quencher. This pub is truly 16th century with its open beams, bare wooden floor and low ceiling. The land lord also had a pair of Chipmunks living in the public bar, caged of course.

Bus Trip (Tiki Tour)

Thursday morning and we were off up to the village to catch the Tesco’s free bus to Cirenchester. We had been told that the bus trip was worth the ride. Now Cirenchester is only about 7 or 8 miles away but we must have travelled at least 20 miles around all the little villages. To some of the locals it was the highlight of their week as they greeted each other on boarding the bus. They were all quick to notice that there were 6 strangers on the bus but we still got a cordial greeting from them all which included one gentleman of 92 who didn’t look a day over 65.
We passed through villages like Whelford, Marston Meysey or Meysey Hampton and out past the Royal Air Force base at Fairford. The American air force is also based there. The whole trip took an hour driving around all the narrow country lanes.
Upon arrival at Tesco’s we were told that the return trip would be in 2 hours time so we had plenty of time to shop and have lunch in the cafeteria. The bus driver then picked up the passengers he had bought in on an earlier trip from other outlying villages to take them home.
We did a bit of shopping as a contribution towards the free bus and had beef lasagna and macaroni cheese with coffees for the princely sum of £9. The meals were not skimpy either as we were quite full afterwards.
The time came to rejoin the bus and on the inward journey we had noticed that the first 3 seats had had the seating removed leaving the bare framework. When we got back on the bus we found out why; the bus driver puts all the passengers’ wheelie trolleys in there out of the way. On the way back we bypassed one village as we had not picked up anybody there. As we got to each village the passengers told the driver where they lived and he virtually dropped them at their gate. At one village an Indian lady had about 6 or 8 bags of shopping and when she went to get off the bus where she had boarded it the driver asked her how far she had to go and then told her to sit down and said he would drop her closer to home which turned out to be about a ½ mile further on.
The whole journey had been a fantastic sight seeing tour through some of the oldest and prettiest villages and countryside in Gloucestershire and is well worth the cost of a few groceries bought. It runs every Monday and Thursday leaving Lechlade by the library at 10.30am.
Once we had returned to the boat and stowed the groceries we pulled the pins and set off up river to the head of the navigation by the round house. We winded the boat taking advantage of the river flow swinging the bow around and then started back down river.
As we passed our overnight mooring Iain & Myra Powell on n/b Martlet moved off ahead of us and we went down St Johns and Buscot locks together before finding a mooring near the village of Kelmscott. After mooring we broke out the chairs and had some afternoon drinks (5zzz’s for those in NZ). After tea Myra took Bunty and I into Kelmscott village for look around and to see what wild fruit might be growing and we actually came across a pair of pheasants in a field that were no more than 10 feet from us which were quite unperturbed by our presence as they didn’t fly away. I suspect they may have been hand reared birds that had no fear of humans.
The village has its own manor house which is open to the public and was the country home of a William Morris, poet, craftsman and socialist who lived there from 1871 to 1896. Morris described the village as heaven on earth and I’m inclined to agree with him.

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