#47 River Thames downstream – South. April 2017


Friday 14th April 2017      Following a delicious coffee & a most scrumptious hot cross bun Cap’n Barti Ddu he taken charge of the situation, commanding our delightful vessel through the latter stages of the Wonderful Watery World of the Oxford Canal. Changing tack at Dukes Junction Bart cruises on a westerly coarse along the moor than moist Dukes Cut & swims into the Grand Old Father Thames at 11.30am. It has to be noted in the log (& the blog) – Buoy is it Windy. Yes. You are correct. It is Very Windy. What Fun !!  As Black Bart departs Dukes Cut we tack a sharp left & creep into Kings Lock in a slightly (windy induced) wonky sort-of-way. A mere two & a half feet. Not sure if they be skip’s size eleven or skippet’s size 5 (or are they size 6) tootsies though. Wide, quite long but not deep. Lock keeper advises to be careful as windy-nesses are being troublesome. Lister puts the (all relative) power on & we is doing the twisties at sum rate of knots. Interesting. The river be not overly wide in these ‘ere parts eaver. Likely, just aboat wide enough. Godstow Lock is almost as deep as skippet is tall. Much bigger than both (even, all four of) our feet. Slightly moor gentle curvy watery flow below (downstream of) this large chamber. Just hold speed & course with fours & eights rowing crews flitting aboat the Port Meadow section of the River Isis that wees bees swimming. Tis not long before Bart is passing through the junction with southern ‘tip’ of the Oxford Canal, quickly followed by Osney Bridge. Then most suitable East Street moorings is right (starboard) there. Cap’n Bart calls an end to proceedings. Time for a few static-nesses. Guest on board for late coffee & cross bunny tings & chitty chatties. At aboat 6.45pm this is a sizeable metallic “BANG” & Bart lurches forward on her (luckily secure) lines. We have been Hit. Turns out to be a bunch of scally-wags in a hire boat going too fast, loosing control & ‘inadvertently’ ramming Black Bart in the aft region. Morons in the bow were having a good laugh as we exit Bart to find out what had happened. Skip has a Good Old Fashioned Rant at the ‘boaters’ (Not the correct word). NOT impressed. Never been hit like that before. Bart does not seem to be any the worse for wear. Strange term that really. Will likely see if the old girl handles as well as she normally does when we move on. Hopefully All will be OK. Fingers & toes crossed.

Saturday 15th April     Good evening yesterday. Lovely fruity brown sauce with Skipper of the Good Ship ‘Leapy’. Great foody treats at ‘The Punter’. First item upon the list this morn – a call is made to the hire boat company aboat yesterday’s ‘incident’. Skip relays the displeasure felt. The manager is most apologetic. Any apparent damage/handling problems will be dealt with if needed. He was not surprised to get our call. Other complaints had already come in about these selfish morons. We carry on fruity sauces before taking young Roxy to Port Meadow for muchly good old ball games. Wot FUN !!!  Played for ages. Back to Bart via tittle Oxford Town for a couple of ‘essentials’ & then sum lovely chilly for late lunch. Now time for relax & recovery. Deep breath.

Sunday 16th April      HAPPY EASTER SUNDAY to all you Bloggets out there.   We is ‘aving the softy boiled eggs tis morn. Toasty soldiers too. Great start to the special day. Chilling day tis. Late afternoon we is enjoying very muchly, rib eye steaks, tittle roast cubes & vegs too. Eton Mess beautifully created by Leapy & Co. finishes off the day Most Splendidly. Hope you all had a Marvellous Easter. You may think we was munching all day. Well you mayhaps be write. On the other hand (or foot) (feet, even) you hapmays be wrong. Who cares. As long as you is all OK. That be all that matters. We is All Good ‘ere in Bart World. Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!

Monday 17th April      Bank Holiday today. Don’t need to get up for work. No pressing matters to deal with too early in the day. Aft our relaxed commencement of the morns ‘ers, Black Bart is readied & the Cap’n Aaaarrrggh !!!  can make hay while the sun duth try to shine. Just a tittle. Extra crew have been roped in for the first stages of our cruise. Knot a swim to be taken lightly. Osney Lock is skilfully left behind us (aft to those in the know). We find the major rowing waters downstream from the ‘Head of the River’ are eerily quiet. We usually have to creep through rowing bedlam. Mayhem !!  An absolute pleasure today. Iffley & Sandford Locks keep our downstream journey moving through the wateriness of the River Isis. We finally approach Abingdon Lock which lowers Bart moor than six big (size eleven +) feet where mooring pins aplenty are brought into action & we is safely secured for a few ‘ers. Maybe just a tittle bit longer than that. We shall sea…   Now we do have to plan for the final roand of the roof paint works.

Tuesday 18th April      Back to Work for one & all today. We also have to do some work. Roof boxes are emptied, brushed oat & ‘jacked up’. Now time for some watery soapy scrubbings & wire brushings. Much rinsing down takes place. Needs time to dry now. Sum-tym later the moss green gloop tin is re-opened. Armed with standard issue mini rollers painting begins. This be the smallest area of roof but a mite awkward due to the roof boxes still being in-situ, even though they be in a slightly elevated position. Takes longer than expected but that be okay-doky. The hourly rate duth not matter maties. It’s a pre-agreed sum for the whole job. No hourly rates to worry aboat that way. Did-nee think of that eh ?? Clever !!  Now we be popping int’town to check a couple of tings oat. Decision made on return to Bart. Not wise to paint second coat. Will stay here in Abingdon tomorrow. Black Bart & crew like it here. Weather looks good too.

Wednesday 19th April      Tis warming up nicely. With roller & paint tin in hand second coat can be applied.


The moss green is looking mighty fine. Well, it be all right. Hopefully. Galvanised troughs (silver hammerite painted last year) are now sprayed dark green, to blend in moor with Bartyness. Plans are a-foot & toed for artistry to be administrated to said troughs. We be looking forward to the skilled fingers & toes of Skippet to be showing themselves agin soo soon. Watch this space. Well, not this space, but future spaces in this ‘ere blog. Yes bloggets watch indeed……

Thursday 20th April      Crew are up sharpish like washed dressed tea-ed breakfasted then Bart Lister & friends is readied. Chuggen starts mooring pins removed cleaned ready for re-storage. Moving we are downstream. Swimming carefully through Abingdon Bridge Lister increases revolutions to reach river cruising speed.


Ay’s Lovely !!   Please note at this point in time that Bart’s river cruising speed may not be quite sum-tuthers cruising speed but she can glide through these fine waters most splendidly. Having entered Culham lock aft’er upstream boats have arisen & exited said chamber we is ‘aving to wait for an’udder narrowboat that now be coming along. Tis OK. We take the lead to the next, Clifton Lock.  Whilst descending this water lift said boater informed skip they had to ‘take her out of gear a few times while following Bart. Struggling to go that slow.’ He be informed Bart were going quite well with her very old engine & twenty four ton+ of steel. Apparently their lovely boat swims through the water beautifully. Cap’n Bart informed tis’udder person in this conversation that our craft also swims beautifully through the water, just a tittle slower. Skip offers they depart the lock first as they be cruising faster than we bee. Off you Pop then !!!


Bart carries on in peace, reminded how lovely & how wide this Fantastic River is. And how strange sum-tyms, too. Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  guides our craft roand Dorchester via Day’s Lock. Tis knot long aft, the River Isis is joined (to our port side) by the River Thame. Tis from now our downstream swim will be in the River Thames proper. That be where it all ‘appens. Not sure how reliable this all be, but that be wot one ‘as now blogged. Keep your smart corrections to yourself maties !!  although one is always willing to learn. If one wants to at the particular time in question. Obviously.


Shillingford leads us onto Benson Lock which majestically flows craft & crew through Wallingford (surprisingly rower oblivion free)


& eventually the closely Cleeve & Goring Locks. Crew were considering mooring below Goring’s chamber but preferences agreed to flow on a tittle bit & aft’er a fair few minutes moor the final of the day Whitchurch Lock leaks (controlled) a few gallons of the wet stuff to allow nb:Black Bart to land in a most splendid of locations.


That being Pangbourne Meadow. A Fine place to berth if ever there were one. One of our top of the list if one k-no-ws wot one means. Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!    A Most Enjoyable Cruise this were indeed. Blooming Fantastic !!!   Today, Black Bart & crew have cruised for eight ‘ers swimming over twenty five miles, descended seven big (mostly lock keeper less) locks & static-ed for a water tank refuel. Wot on-earth will tomorrow bring. One duth knot-no. A moor relaxing day for the crew mayhaps….

Friday 21st April      A slightly slower crew crawl through the am. Lister is finally warming up & Cap’n Black Bart orders departure time has finally arrived. The usual pre-cruise checks & jobs be carried out. Let the propulsion begin. Narrowboat & crew swim along the Big Wide River Thames. Marvellous !!  Wot Fun !!!  Mapledurham Lock swishes Bart past Poplar Island & Appletree Eyot as we make our way to Reading where Caversham Lock lowers us into our final reaches of the Old Father Thames


for this particular river cruise. Tis knot be-fore long we see the junction steadily creeping a tittle closer at every stroke. Maybe that should be at every chug. K&A Here We Come…..

Black Bart has cruised swimmingly South to the K&A Junction from Dukes Cut, swimming aboat 42 miles of the Wide & Wonderful River Isis & River Thames, crawling through no tunnels of any description, descending 15 Big Wide lock chambers, sailing over zero strange channels (well we did-nee see any) called aqueducts & swimming under (sum big sum surprisingly small) 29 bridges.



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