Woke on Saturday morning, below Iffley Lock, to clear blue skies and ice on the roof of the boat. As we turned in last night we were visited by the Thames Valley Police. An officer came down to the weirs by the lock, shone his torch around, and then came to ask us if we had heard a girl scream. He was acting in response to a phone call. We hadn't heard anything. It was in fact very quite with only the sound of the weir.

The journey down river was amazing for its clear blue skies without any contrails - thanks to the Icelandic volcanic ash saga. As Maggie put it, the sky was "untroubled by vapour trails". I saw my first kingfisher of the trip just below Sandford Lock.

Clear blue sky and river like glass

We passed Nuneham Park at Nuneham Courtney. This is the scene on our blue transfer plate that links to the origin of Roses & Castle decoration. Interesting to relate the artistic view with modern reality.

Nuneham Courtney from the river

Abingdon looked great in the spring sunshine. Just south of the town we had to pause to let a strange flotilla from Abingdon Rowing Club turn in front of us. They appeared to be moving tables chairs and general paraphernalia up river on a home-built raft.


Strange Flotilla

Along the Culham reach we had red kites circling over the boat. We moored up for a picnic lunch at Clifton Hampden Bridge. There are very smart riverside houses along the reach at Burcot. I saw swans mating - very dramatic and sensual.

Riverside Picnic at Clifton Hampden

We moored up for the night by the bridge at Wallingford at the same place on the visitor moorings as in 2004 when we brought Albert back from the Kennet & Avon. We met our friends Geoff & Shirley Emmins for meal at the Avanti Italian Restaurant. The Emmins had been Morris Dancing in Oxford. Most of the restaurants in Wallingford were strangely quite, we chose the Avanti because it was nearly full. We weren't disappointed. Good real Italian food and friendly attentive service. We now know where to eat in Wallingford.

Overnight mooring at Wallingford