Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Anchor Inn

In contrast to our visit to the Kings Arms at Sandford Lock I feel the need to highlight the Anchor Inn just off the end of the bridge at Aristotle Lane on the lower end of the Oxford Canal. It was built in the 1930s by Ind Coope (are they still around?) to the same design as The Philosopher and Firkin which you will find on Cowley Road and also The Nuffield Arms actually in Cowley, and according to history was originally called Dolly's Hut.

From the outside it doesnt look much and you may be put off by that, but you will be surprised when you enter. This pub is very 30/40's but not old. It had a makeover in 2006. It is a very spacious establishment worthy of a visit. Being Guiness drinkers we can only comment on that and were happy with the pints served.

However the food is excellent and service, for us, was second to none. Those of you that know Mort will know of her many allergies. When explaining to the waiter what was required we got the feeling that he really didnt understand. After the order was taken the head chef came out to ask questions and clarify Mort's requirements. In fact he came out a number of times asking more information until he was satisfied that he was going to give Mort a 'safe' meal.

The food was top quality if a little over styled on the plate, but that is the way of things these days.

At Aristotle Lane Bridge there are 24 hour moorings which are quite safe giving easy access to the pub. Just cross the bridge and The Anchor Inn is right in front of you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Grumpy Old Man

It's always nice when you find someone has added you to their blog roll, but when that someone only has 4 links and one of them is yours it does seem rather more than nice. Grumpy Old Man added me and now I have found him I can reciprocate.

Grumpy Old Man

Monday, 28 April 2008

The Thames

Today after Mort's guests left we ventured on to the Thames again. We had a good run down to Sandford Lock and stopped for lunch at the lockside Kings Arms. I have been this way a few times and often thought to stop but was hindered by a deadline.

It woulds seem that the pub has recently changed hands, and customer relations as well. We waited an excessively long time to have our order taken then when it turned up Morts was wrong. It had potatoes on it. The beers were also late coming. I know that they are having problems, they told us so, but their problems are not my problem especially when you see the menu prices.

Mort complained and eventually wasn't charged for her meal. My meal wasn't bad, but overpriced. I don't supposed we will be going there again!

We continued on down to Abingdon where Mort moored in her usual place and I found a space on rings just below the town bridge.

Mort on open water with the wind in her hair.

At the bottom of the Oxford

Morts friends came for the weekend and Saturday saw us both taking the boats out for a trip down the Thames. Passing through Wolvercote I spotted another dead heron so I just called Mort to mention it was there.

The heron is now on her front deck! The pot in front contains the remains of the last heron I found her way back last year.

Coming off the Thames on to the Oxford again we moored up right at the bottom near Hythe Bridge where somone is building a boat. Yes I know it's will probably never get a BSC but he's happy. Note the high quality keel on the top/bottom.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

New to the blog roll

Just added DANIEL OAKLEY to the blogroll. We were moored near him at Folly Bridge last week. I didn't realise he was a blogger.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Aussies abound!

Today the weather was fine. So fine in fact that I stood in the rear hatchway enjoying the sun and reading a book, an interesting account of one mans journey from the source of the Severn to the mouth of the Thames by row boat. Just after lunch a boat came past which was unusual in that it was very slow. I was taken back to February last year when as I approached Apsley Marina I heard a voice say, "And I suppose you must be Maffi", in a broad antipodean accent.(Dereck and Dot nb Gypsy Rover) The same happened today. "I suppose you are Maffi? I'm Bill Kennedy", in an equally antipodean accent. Looking up from my book I set eyes on BK.

I had had email connections with Bill while I was in Saudi. The last heard of him was a while ago.

He said, "I have been keeping an eye out for you all down the Oxford canal". I invited him aboard Milly M but on entry we decided that with all Mort's washing about it would be more comfortable to sit on their boat. This was duly done. Bill and Mrs Bill are on their way down Old Father Thames. After a chin wag about this and that they were once again on their way to the river.

Fancy them just happening to pass by. It's kinda like meeting old friends and family along the way. I love this life I have.

The Kennedys

Bill leaving on Sir Melleaus

Thursday, 24 April 2008


Here is a nice little tug style nb called Kinver.
It doesn't display a BW licence and the EA licence is last years.

What is also noticable is the sign on the wall where he is moored says, "One hour max".
It has been here to my knowledge for 2 days.

I mention this because I am taking on water at the water point and my 25 metre hose only just reaches the tap. Were I any longer with a 25 metre hose I would be hard pressed to get water without breasting up and climbing all over him. Most annoying when past the boat in front of him there are 48 hour moorings where he could overstay without inconvienence to anyone.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


This morning I walked down to ISIS lock following four Australians on a hire boat which they were going to turn below the lock then head off up to Lower Heyford, well you have to get your entertainment somehow. On the way I was passed by Balmaha on their way up the canal.

I have passed them several times on my travels and only managed a passing 'hello'. I did tell them we were moored up along the way hoping they might stop for a while but it was not to be. Ho hum!

Carbon Monoxide

I read on John And Fiona's Blog EPIPHANY that they have had a narrow escape with the carbon monoxide in their boat being awoken early in the morning by their CO alarm. Fi says "John rushed to check the Morso, I rushed to see if I could turn the noise off . . ".

I'm not sure I would have done that myself. Had my alarm gone off I would have left the boat in the first instance because to my way of thinking my personal CO level would have been high. I would only then come back on the boat to open windows etc after I had filled my system with fresh air, but it is easy to say that from a distance.

However as Fi also says, "if you haven't got one get one".

Our lives are worth more than the cost of a CO alarm. It would be silly to lose ones life for the sake of a few pounds.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Cats are dumb!

My son Toby came to visit over the weekend. I was really pleased to see him.

At the pub on Saturday night while enjoying a pint together we overheard a funny story.

A man, Nick, was cleaning out his tropical fish tank. As he completed the task, and before he put the lid back on, his cat which had a habit of sitting on the top of the fish tank decided that it was now the right time to do just that. Nick looked around when he heard a splash to see the cat sitting on the bottom of the tank looking all confused with a stream of bubbles emanating from his mouth. The cat seemed to be making no attempt to do other than sit there looking bemused at his predicament. Nick had to grab the cat from the tank. Cats are dumb!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Awayday to Pump Out

Often it is necessary to set off in your boat to empty black water tanks fill with water etc. There are three pumpouts near Folly Bridge, one south in Abingdon £6, one north in Eynsham £6 and one in Oxford on the canal £15 so the choice was limited to cheap and a pretty route.

Eynsham was on the list so we set off there. Mort came along, she could work between locks and and give any other assistance needed. My Granddaughter Natalie was down for a few days so the pretty route would suit her.

Leaving at ten we made our way through Osney Lock and under Botley Bridge the up the Thames. Mort is something of a Jonah. Whenever she goes boating it is never simply 'boating' it's always extreme boating. The wind picked up as we passed the marina at Bessoms boatyard and by the time we got to Godstow Lock it was blowing at about 18 miles an hour. The boat, Milly M, was stuck firmly against the lock mooring being held there by the EXTREME wind that seems to accompany Mort everywhere she goes on any boat. Though I did manage to get the boat in the lock (Mort tried but failed) I decided that to proceed was a folly and came back out only to be stuck fast against the lock mooring again.

It took some time to get the stern out away from the side then across the river in order to turn around. Fortunately once across the river the stream took the bow about and pointed me in the right direction.

So now it looks like a £15 p/o on the canal much to my chagrin. Going under the bridge into Sheep Wash my bicycle was dragged off the roof by a branch and hung there by the ropes that secured it. It wasn't until Mort came up on deck that we realised the rear wheel was missing. DOH!

Then I managed to scratch the side panel on the old Rail swing bridge. DOH! again. Anyone wanna buy a boat?

After the p/o we moored up down the very bottom on the canal near Hythe Bridge ostensibly for water, but we could not get near the water point so went out to find dinner. Dinner was in the establishment known as Eumayls. It's a Chinese 'all you can eat' restaurant. Absolutely fabulous. Wonderful food and Cheap at six quid a pop.

We moved the boat back onto Sheepwash to get to a water point. I think I have said before that this area is not really good for mooring not even for going into the lock. Not to worry I managed a shower while there so I got back to Folly Bridge with a full tank.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Big Doh!

Ok right I dropped my computer and the crystal screen has broken. So in the time honoured fashion I phoned Craft Insure and tell them I want to make a claim on the contents part of my insurance. You know we are so bloody daft we often overlook stuff when we buy insurance.

So what did I overlook? Well the contents part of my insurance covers only 3% of the value of my boat. With a maximum value for a single item being £250. Err what? +plus £150 excess

The woman in the claims department said,
"We don't mind people living on their boats with this policy but the low value for a single item is to discourage people from keeping hi value personal possessions on board".

What the bloody hell has it got to do with them what I keep on board all they have to do is insure me - fairly!

She also said,
"We advise people to take out separate contents insurance to cover hi-value items".
Well they didn't tell me! And why should I pay them for contents insurance that is not up to spec and then go and buy contents insurance from someone else. Seems like a crock of do-do to me.

Their website says

"This provides a summary of the main features and limitations of the Craftinsure range of policies which are specifically designed to cover pleasure craft and protect pleasure craft owners against legal liability they may incur."

That of course is the bit I missed it says nothing about people living on boats.

Oh yes it does!

"The policies do not cover (among other things) • Use of the vessel for anything other than private pleasure."

So thats me well and truly buggered I bought something, twice, that is no bloody use to me whatsoever.

And to top it all their website has an underwater 'fart' soundbite, very annoying.

Needless to say I shall not be renewing my insurance with them at the end of the year.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Bloody cheek!

This morning at about seven I heard a clattering in the roof. I went to the rear of the boat and exited the rear hatch. Nothing untoward to be seen except the bicycle on the roof had moved. Back in bed once more a further clattering. This time as quiet as I could through the back hatch just in time to see a felon racing away down the towpath. The bike was further off the roof than it had been earlier.

What gets me is that the felon made no attempt to be quiet while trying to steal my bicycle, just blatantly tried untying it to steal it.

The bicycle is now secured out of sight from the towpth on the side of the boat.

Friday, 11 April 2008


I know I have been banging on about the APCO and I will continue to do so. What strikes me as funny is that they don't like me yet I still run ads for their members. Doh!

Stuff on the Oxford

Not something you really want to find in the washing up bowl!

Milly M in Sommerton Deep Lock

I wonder if Oxford Cruisers are members of the APCO?
Do BW know this is happening in season?
Are they bothered?

New gates at Pigeons Lock but still the old winding gear. Tut tut BW!

An interesting sign at Pigeons Lock

I kinda think BW got the measurements wrong here at Baker's Lock.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Heron on the cut.

Of all the big birds found along the canal the heron seems by far the most majestic. If he doesn't want to be where you are he will move, unlike the swan which will hiss and hoot at you. And we wont talk about Geese.


Tuesday, 8 April 2008


Well I have overstayed my welcome at ALB and moved down to the towpath opposite College Cruisers. Mort followed after she finished work. We had lunch in The Bookbinders Arms. She is now sleeping before moving off to Folly Bridge.

Martin and Diane nb Ulysees are now moored back at CC where they work.


Well I left Wolvercote Sunday after most of the snow had gone. Made my way down the canal towards Oxford, stopping for water on the way. I moored up south of Aristotle Lane Bridge. Just past Mort. We stayed around Aristotle Lane expecting to move on in the morning. Mort gave her new phone a swimming lesson. I managed to rescue it with a landing net.

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Snow snow snow!

Snow snow snow!

Snooooooooooooow loverly snow!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Back to Thrupp

For nearly 12 hours today I stood at the tiller. The end result was I am now in Thrupp again, Mort came up to meet me which was nice because I had no energy to do that last lift bridge. I had spent all day with nearly every lock set against me. Locks like Aynho Weir and Shipton Weir are real buggers to open. I dropped my 'Bunbury Pole' in twice and both times it stayed under the bridges where it was dropped making retrieval difficult. Last time I spend so long on the tiller.

Nite Puddles XXXXX

Tuesday, 1 April 2008


I set out early this morning to get to the marina at FC for a pumpout. Shame they didn't open early. The chap at the kiosk said "It will run for 20 minutes". Yeah rite! Standard 8 mins. Good job I didn't rely on him.

Along the tunnel embankment the wind started to get up and increased almost all the way to Banbury. Just after the M40 I encountered nb WYCHWOOD stern loose across the canal. nb DEBDALE had just come up the lock and together we moored the boat. Having to stop was a problem only apparent aftwards. The bank is shallow and I had to reverse back to the M40 to get a run up at the lock mooring. While doing that the lock was taken from me by a boat coming up nb The Tern.

At Cropredy I met with nb Monaco who were reluctant to admit to their error with HADAR.

I arrived in Banbury after 4. Bones made a lovely surprise visit. I was just getting in the shower. She couldn't stay long she was having dinner with her cousin.

Nite Puddles XXXXX