Upstream of Godstow is familiar to us, and passing through KIngs Lock was relaxed. On a Friday evenings, I have learnt, there are often fresh crews taking narrow boats from the Anglo Welsh hire centre at Eynsham. It is a good idea to keep ones distance from these narrow boats with their early learner helmsman! This seemed particularly prudent at Eynsham lock, where an Anglo Welsh narrow boat came out of the lock, weaving from port to starboard and back. I stood by with the aim of fending off if needed. Luckily the novice helmsman, seemed to get the hang of the tiller (yes, you push it the opposite way to the direction you want to go) in the nick of time!
I took a refreshing swim in the river (the temperature took my breath away), and struggled to return to the boat. The replacement boarding ladder ( rope and plastic) is less successful the than the recently broken solid one.
Supper over, time to be tucked with a good book. Fresh air always makes me sleepy, and before too long the lights were out and I was asleep. Not for long!
At around 10.30, the most awful sound assaulted the still air. It was a rave, going on near to the Cassington river bank way downstream of the Eynsham lock. How can this be? I can’t deny people their partying, but this throbbing bass and shouting (by the dj I guess), was an insult to anyone’s ears. This went on until way past 1am.
So, what is the lesson learnt? Don’t expect a peaceful summer’s night between Wytham and Eynsham on Fridays or Saturdays. Maybe the Environment Agency can do something?
Next day, bleary eyed and breakfasted, Aviva took a short trip to Oxford Cruisers to fill up with diesel. Since I was almost empty, I can now surmise that my tank holds 20 litres.
Going back downstream, homebound, the passage was a smooth one apart from one rather shocking observation. After a visit to the sanitary station at Eynsham lock, I came upon an Anglo Welsh narrowboat (at least 60feet), and at the helm a young boy who was probably on 11 or 12 years old. No adult in sight! He was weaving from side to side and throttling hard and back alternately. In other words, he was having a fun time with his new ‘toy’! Naturally enough, I held back, until eventually, ‘dad’ came up from the galley, and took over the helm. By this time the narrowboat was across the river, bow in the trees. I passed with a cheery wave; throttled up to put some distance between myself and them.