It's the time of year for getting out whenever you can because it may be months before an opportunity recurs, so last weekend the five members of the Home Built Boat Rally who could drop everything, hook the boat on the car and head for the water at a moments notice went to Bablock Hythe.
Bablock where? It's a hamlet on the Thames upstream of Oxford, consisting of the Ferryman Inn and a bunch of mobile homes. Not a place that features in those Glories of England picture postcards but which has the three elements required for a successful river cruise in small boats, viz:
2) Slipway, and
There was the usual eclectic mix of boats. Richard Rooth brought his new kayak built to a Paul Fisher design and painted a vivid scarlet. Graham Neil brought Katie Beardie, built to a design by Chris Waite. Paul Hadley brought Millibee, a Paul Fisher Lynx micro-yacht.
Tim O'Connor brought two canoes from his vast collection, a Cheseapeake Light Craft kit kayak and a collapsible canoe made by a Swedish firm (amazingly, not IKEA) that he assembled from a pile of aluminium tubes and a huge plastic sheet. Once up, it looked rather good but went sloooowly...
And I took Snarleyow Too (natch...she is a Thames girl).
On Sunday we went downstream almost to Eynsham Bridge via Pinkhill Lock (pictured above) and had a picnic.
All in all, a fabulous weekend. But waking on Sunday morning the view from the campsite was beautiful but chillingly autumnal. I don't think we will be getting away again this year.