Next day, April 14, is sunny and the temperature will reach 22 degrees C by lunchtime. The Thames appears to hang a left and flows northeast before it drops down southeast to Oxford’s spires, a twelve-mile stretch to Godstow Bridge.
More locks, fewer bridges.
I failed to meet the boys at Northmoor lock having got stuck on a bridle path in a dark wood and having struggled free fell into the arms of a footpath with steep and scary hedges. The next planned RVP was also denied me as the road down to Badlock Hythe an ancient Roman ford, was closed to cycles and cars.
At pretty Pinkhill Lock I arrived here well before Mike and Dave. I shared our chocolate confection and a conversation with the lock keeper who welcomed a break from the last of his spring-cleaning painting.
We spoke of floods and fishing and pubs. He singled out The Trout Inn (our place of supper last night) as being once great but now not a favourite amongst Angler. I played down our wonderful evening at The Trout for fear of being viewed a ponce. Mike and Dave arrive at Pinkhill to share chocolate and we are recommended to lunch at The Talbot Inn. For me this is reached by paying a toll on Swindford Bridge, 5p.
We enjoyed sandwiches at The Talbot; each one was not so much a ‘doorstep’ more a complete flight of stairs.
I drive onto Godstow Lock and peddle back across a broad meadow to link up at Kings Lock. The three of us walk back downstream to Godstow Bridge. Now we are little over three miles from Oxford and look across the fields to the city. The hot sun has brought out more walkers and families, one couple lounge by a bend in the river, he in bathing costume, preparing for a dip.