Last night was the first decent nights sleep I’ve managed since boarding the Riverdance II. Pity it’s also the last night’s sleep aboard the Riverdance II. Still…
I have to say I’m not going to miss the damp. I don’t think I could live on a houseboat if it gets like this. Not that I was ever thinking of living on a houseboat.
I do realise I haven’t mentioned the shower. Basically it’s the bathroom. The shower is on the wall in the middle. The floor has a hole in it which you lift up to reveal the plastic shower basin complete with plug hole. The pressure is better than I thought it would be and the temperature is lukewarm. The main thing about the shower is that everything in the room gets wet. There’s no two ways about it. Before showering, one has to empty the room of anything able to absorb water.
This also means that one’s clothes need to be outside the bathroom which really means in the rest of the boat. And the towel, naturally. So one has a shower then opens the door to dry and dress. This is all well and good when sharing with someone one knows REALLY well.
I didn’t bother showering for the two nights I shared the boat with Sophie and Tom. I don’t feel we know one another quite that well.
We sat around having breakfast while we waited for Mirinda and Bob to arrive.
We had the radio on (thank goodness Chris the Psychopath taught us how to do it) and were astounded by an interview with a woman who voted Leave when she wanted to Remain. She was quite miserable. When asked why she voted to Leave when she wanted to Remain she said that it was a (sort of) protest vote.
Apparently, back in 1975 there was a similar referendum when the country was asked if it wanted to stay or go. The stay camp received 52.1% of the vote (this time the go camp received 51.9%) and this woman being interviewed had voted to stay back then because she believed what the politicians said. Apparently (and who would have guessed this) the politicians actually lied and this woman was terribly disappointed. So this time, as a protest, she voted to Leave.
When she told her son what she’d done he told her she was mad. He said that she’d held a grudge with a government for over 40 years, a government that had changed quite a few times since then. The vote was counted as Leave and nothing else. No-one but her knew of her protest and she’d just helped Brexit along. When she realised the truth of his words she broke down and wept. She really doesn’t want to leave the EU.
These are the type of people who are deciding our fate.
But enough of that and on to today on the river, messing about in boats. Or boat in our particular case.
Our shipmates returned to us in good order and we loaded up and set off as far as the Trout at Tadpole bridge where we tied up at their mooring rather than the rental property where we’d broken down all those days ago. The mooring was a thin strip of concrete made slippery by mud. It was at the end of a steep slushy bank also a victim of the almost permanent rain of this week. Of course, by this stage, most of us were hardy and web footed. We took it in our stride. I’m ignoring Sophie in this.
We sat in the beer garden and waited for the pub to open. We were going to have lunch but they were booked out. Apparently they are the fourth most popular lunch pub in the galaxy and they’re taking bookings well into the 2030’s at the moment. The food must be good.
One of the things I’ve learned on my journey through life is that sometimes it’s okay to sit and think about something before doing it. When granted the gift of time, a bit of consideration can be very helpful. However when one is standing on the stern of a boat which is gradually floating away from the river bank and you’re told to throw the rope, thinking isn’t needed.
“Do! Don’t think!” became my cry complete with exclamation marks, as I stood and waited for Sophie to throw me the rope and she spent the next ten minutes studying it in her hand. It’s really good that she makes an excellent cup of tea.
Eventually we stopped at the Swan Inn at Radcot for lunch. A nice easy mooring along the bank opposite the pub. We have become very good at tying the boat up and operate like a well oiled machine. I think it’s all the excellent tea Sophie makes us.
The Swan Inn was nice enough though the landlord was a bit of a Mr Grumpy. They serve Timothy Taylor’s Landlord on tap so I went for that one instead. While my ham, eggs and chips was excellent, the others said their food was a bit mediocre.
After a nice break we started on our last stretch of the river up to Lechlade. I got a bit of a bollocking from the lock keeper at Grafton Lock. He was perfectly right to do so I have to admit. I was paying attention to a narrow boat and not to the keeper as we approached the lock. The narrow boat guy waved us on while the lock keeper was saying to wait. He taught me a valuable lesson.
We parted the best of friends with him telling me that he’d loved boating but had given it up to become a lock keeper for five years. It had now been 12 years and he hankered to return to the ways of the water. Poor guy. He reckons he’s going to call it a day very soon and haul his boat out of storage.
Our last lock was Buscot and then we headed up the twisty, turny final section (which was a lot easier with a few days experience under Bob’s belt) of the river as it runs up to the final Trout Inn at Lechlade.
Our mooring was there, empty and waiting for us just as we’d left it. Bob pulled over and into it with consummate ease. We tied up and unpacked the boat. Mirinda drove Sophie and Tom off to Swindon station while Bob and I cleaned up the boat a bit and I tried to contact the owners. I left a message. We then went to the pub for a pint while we waited for Mirinda’s return.
I know I might have described the week as pretty awful but it was actually a lot of fun. Everyone had a go at everything; Tom even drove for a bit and he was a dab hand at lock operation. I’d happily do it again. However, it would be a lot nicer if it didn’t rain every bloody day.