We moved out of Oxford this morning, the mooring we were on at Osney Island was only for 72 hours. The wind, which has been horrible all weekend, finally dropped over night. It was a lovely day for boating. We pulled into Abingdon Marina on the way down, to buy a life jacket. There are life jackets on the boat, one fits Howard and the other is kids size. They are needed for the tidal section of the River Thames (it’s a rule), not so much on the canals but a lot of people wear them anyway. While we were filling up with water at the lock at Abingdon I heard a cuckoo! They are becoming very rare now. A lot are being shot as they migrate over Greece – who appear to have an “if it flys – shoot it season”.
We had a bit of a scare as we were leaving Abingdon. The engine made a strange sound, and then it made lots of strange sounds and stopped working. Engine not working on a boat = no control on a boat. Fortunately we managed to get into a space on the private moorings, it was a bit of a crash and the white plastic boat we ploughed into was only shaken not sunk. It turns out the key had been knocked onto the off position – the boat will still run in off until it uses all the diesel in the lines. (There’s a position past the off position that you turn the key to, that cuts the engine, then you put it back to off, otherwise an alarm goes off. All. Night. Long.) That’s what all the funny noises were – the boat running out of diesel. Sorted that out an we were on our way again.
We were watching the weather as we were going along and a decision was made to moor up earlier than planned. And a good plan it was, there was thunder and torrential rain. But it cleared and we went for a walk into the village. Saw the most amazing Red Kite circling overhead. Really quite close to the ground. They are a big bird. And quite in the air. They’d been endangered for a long time and some breeding pairs had been released locally. I could have watched it for hours.
The other thing the air has been full of today is military helicopters. Every 30 minutes or so something new would fly over head.