I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Monday, 11 July 2011

Sunday 10th July

We had a rather disturbed night as we could hear music – well the bass part anyway – till 6am!! Goodness knows how the local residents coped! After the music stopped the rowers started on the water – 7am on a Sunday morning – MAD!! Richard walked into town to get some shopping for a local Tesco Express and then we set off. We shared Osney Lock with a hire boat and then hoped we would get under Osney Bridge (7ft 6ins) with the solar lights in the planters – we got under by an inch – crazy! In fact when we got to the next lock I discovered that the top of one of the lights had come off and was, fortunately, in the planter. We had decided to moor just up from Eynsham Lock and found some very nice moorings, although it did cost us £5. The owner came round at lunchtime for his money – he was a very chatty man who gave us all sorts of information on the area. After lunch we went for a walk – supposedly into Eynsham but it was too far for me to walk, especially after yesterday. We are moored just above Swinford Bridge which is one of the two remaining toll bridges that cross the Thames upstream of London, the other being Whitchurch Bridge. The bridge, a Georgian structure built of local limestone, was opened in 1769. It replaced a pre-existing ferry and its construction was funded by the Earl of Abingdon. The bridge is governed by its own Act of Parliament. It allows the bridge owner to collect tolls (at present 5p for a car!) and makes the building of bridges across the river illegal for three miles either way up or down stream from Swinford. By repute, the owners do not pay tax on the revenue from the tolls as a perquisite from King George III. You can see from the photo that the limestone is eroding away – I hope the owner has enough money to keep it repaired. The bridge fetched £1.08m at auction in December 2009 and the new owner then wanted to remain anonymous however I saw a man going into the house on the bridge which was part of the auction lot – I wonder if he is the mystery owner!!

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