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

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Bablock Hythe (River Thames) – Tuesday 9th May

Mad women and a ferry tale.

Another short day today. Up through Pinkhill Lock where there was actually a Lock Keeper on duty. 

We moored up at Bablock Hythe – not one of favourite places but it will do for tonight.  There is a pub here, The Ferryman Inn, which has to be, sadly, the ugliest pub on the Thames.  We went in there once and the only people in there looked at us as if we had two heads – we felt very uncomfortable and haven’t been in there since!!

Richard spent the afternoon painting the roof and a bit on the rear deck while I got on doing …… in fact what did I do?  I sat at my laptop for 4 hours and have little to show for it.  I’ve done some banking, changed a few appointments, written some birthday cards and sent two via Moonpig, sorted out one or five things – those must have taken up the time!!!

I’ll let you into a secret now and maybe you will understand why I have been spending so much time on my laptop.  We are going on a big ship cruise in 12 days time 😊  We are swapping Mary H for the Celebrity Eclipse and going to the Baltic for 14 days.  We have never done a cruise before and, to me, it is quite daunting!  I have booked tours, organised a drinks package (but is it the right one!), joined a forum and a Facebook page (both of which take time to keep up with but have been very interesting and helpful), researched the ship from bow to stern (I now know where all the bars and cafes are), as well as ordered some new clothes!  We still haven’t decided on what currency to take as the ship is American, we visit three Euro countries and three that aren’t!  The taxi is booked – we sail from Southampton and we only live 25 miles away.  Have I forgotten anything?  Goodness only knows!!!!  I’m jumping ship on Friday while Richard has a “boys” week with his friend David.  I will need time at home to panic before we go!

During the afternoon I heard talking from the river.  On looking out of the window I saw these two ladies swimming.  No wet suits just swimsuits and hats – oh and fluorescent floats!  I asked them if they were mad and they said they were!

Bablock Hythe goes back a long, long way as a ferry crossing.  Historians have found records showing use of the crossing as early as 946 and it was used as a river port by the Saxons. In the 13th century it provided Benedictine monks with transport between Eynsham Abbey, Northmoor Church and Abingdon Abbey.  Ferries continued to provide a crossing service until the mid 20th century.  There was also an ancient inn, The Chequers, described by William Senior in his Royal River in the 1880s. This was rebuilt in the early 1990s and renamed The Ferry Inn and later The Ferryman.

I'm not sure of the year of this one
I found this on the internet by someone called John McCarthy.

In 1964 we took our new Hillman Minx complete with the family onboard the ferry but as we crossed it began to take on water and slowly started to sink! However we made the other side without recourse to putting women and children in the lifeboat and my wife even managed to take cine film during the crossing so I have full proof we did the passage.  I was subsequently told it was the last time it 'sailed', which was not surprising.

In 1981 the crossing was revived by Frank Bye the previous landlord of the Ferry Inn, as it was then known.  A bridge has twice been proposed at the site, in 1983 and 2003, but each time the plans were scrapped because of the cost.

I found the lovely photos of the ferry on a site called thames.me.uk

3.45 miles
2 locks

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