Tuesday, 10 September, 1997|
This morning we off early and reached Wallingford before noon,where we tied up at Maidline to top off our tanks. Edgar needed some batteries, so we walked into town, Edgar got his batteries and walking back, I found a butcher who had venison, so bought a roast. We stopped at the Town Arms Hotel once again for lunch, then proceeded back to the Maid which was now ready. We set off at about 14.00 hrs for Oxford again, having little better to do, and stopped a short distance from our first nights mooring perhaps a couple of miles above Days lock and settled in for the night.
Wednesday, 10 September, 1997
Today we ran another 8 or nine miles towards Oxford through now familiar territory turning around early afternoon, mooring for the night a short distance above Iffley Lock. It was here that we decided to celebrate our successful adventure,since we knew that tomorrow we would be busy getting back to Wallingford and packing, I braised the venison and as dusk fell we sat down to a great supper which included our bottle of vintage wine.
Thursday, 11 September, 1997
We left early this morning in order to get to Wallingford the night before we were due to return the Maid. The weather had become threatening again and I suggested that we call this enough of a good thing and get ourselves packed and the boat securely moored at the marina for the next morning rather than trying to do so in the rain, which was certainly going to arrive next day.
As I slid her into the tight little berth stern first we watched the next wave of landlubbers arriving to take posesion of their boats and begin their adventure.
Friday September 12,1997
It was time to unload the Maid and head for home. As we stacked our bags along the dock waiting for the taxi to take us to town we both knew that this was a vacation to remember. The fat old MAid had provided a comfortable home for the last two weeks and brought Edgar and myself closer than I think either of us could of imagined.
The mini bus ride from Wallingford town square to Heathrow took perhaps an hour and followed much of the route that we had just covered on the Thames. It was somehow exciting and a suitable goodbye to this vacation to be able to pick out the spots where we had moored and get a look at the towns and villages by road.
Just as we entered the Heathrow Airport complex the skies darkened and a almighty squall let loose, buffeting the mini bus. As luck would have it by the time we reached the drop off point the worst had subsided luckily, as getting from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4 turned into almost an hour and a half saga.
Terminal 4 at Heathrow is probably the worst run terminal in the world, it being one long area and since it is the main departure Gateway for international flights to all points of the world there are always several hundred people milling around, why? Because one is not given their departure gate at checkin , oh no, one must wait until the flight is called, in spite of the fact that one's aircraft may have been sitting at the gate for several hours.
We checked in only to find that British Airways had once again played one of their little trick cards and that they had already allocated seats, with us sitting in different parts of the aircraft. It took a call from the Ticket Agent to her Supervisor to get us adjoining seats, which were at the very rear of the aircraft, but proved to be as good as the seats we had enjoyed coming over.
However, as bad as BA is on the ground they are superb in the air, the service is excellent good food and drinks, and surprisingly when one arrives at the seat on which one finds a blanket, pillow and a plastic bag containing a toothbrush, tooth paste, face cloth and eye shades and a pair of head phones. Edgar and I have travelled extensively over the years and have never encountered such a fine reception.
Arrival at Mirabel and clearing customs was quick and efficient. Only the hour drive home seemed to drag. Boat Cat was more than slightly pleased to have us back and we soon settled in for a good nights rest, BC curled in my arms, closer than I ever remember her remaining for that long a period.
Edgar & Robin wish to thank: