Osney, 0 miles, 0 locks
Today was to be a day of doing jobs and getting ready for setting off tomorrow. It was sunny again and I had scrambled eggs for breakfast, then set off for Maplin's, so I could get a fuse holder and some fuses in case I finally finished wiring up the Solar Regulator so that the starter and leisure batteries were considered to be separate banks and also to take back the power consumption meter that I'd bought a while ago and where some segments of the display didn't work. Of course I hadn't remembered to take the receipt for it, however I figured that they'd just swap it once they saw that it was faulty. Not so: their procedures insist on a till receipt and as I didn't have one, they wouldn't swap it. In the end, I bought another one, then immediately handed the sales chap the faulty one and said that it didn't work and could I have a refund please? As I had a receipt, there was no problem with that, and their books were square and I had a working meter, but it did seem a bit of a rigmarole.
On the way back from Maplin's I popped into the Army surplus place. I wanted some waterproof gloves, because I was bored with having cold wet hands when it rains, and I also wanted an axe because a fence post had washed up at the rear of the boat yesterday and I figured that I could cut it down to make kindling. The glove-part was easy: they're made from three layers, with merino wool on the inside to keep the fingers warm, some kind of breathable Goretex-like material in the middle, and a man-made fibre seamlessly knitted outer with rubbery bits for extra grip. The seamless outer is amazing and I've no idea how they actually make it. I was asked why I needed an axe and when I said 'kindling' I was told that I probably wanted a hatchet really (I didn't know the difference). They had one left and it looked the part, with a hickory handle and a nice feel, so I took it.
I had a look at the cratch when I got back to the boat and apart from needing new screws to hold it together, the wire to my tunnel light has been severed so that will need replacing. Intending to do this later, I got my granny trolley and headed for Sainsbury's in the middle of town. On the way, I passed what seemed to be a Tiki bar, which excited me a lot. I'd gotten quite into the Tiki thing thanks to Tiki Bar TV which is a video podcast on iTunes. I excitedly txt'd Laurance about it.
Lunch was in the Croissanterie: a baguette with mozzarella, pesto and salad.
Sainsbury's was its usual self, made more interesting by me having a trolley and a granny trolley in tow. Whereas Aldi has quite a bit of room for trolleys, Sainsbury's doesn't and I was usually in everyone's way. Still I got through it okay and had a wander around Oxford. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood because of the weather. I got a few strange looks because of the trolley, especially when I went into Waterstones and got the lift up to Costa Coffee for a gingerbread latte and a Lintz biscuit, but I didn't care.
Back at the boat as it was getting dark and Laurance txt'd to ask whether we were going to the Tiki place and what time to arrive. We settled on 7:30 although he arrived a little early, and we headed off for it. Turned out to be more of a nightclub than a bar, so we went to the nearby Las Iguanas Latin American restaurant. The service was brisk and we were soon seated. Their two-for-one cocktail happy hour had, technically, finished at 7:30, but they extended the offer to us. I ordered Long Island Iced Tea and Laurance ordered something made with Tia Maria, Kahlua, Baileys and cream! For a starter I ordered something that turned out to be fishcakes—but spherical—followed by their chicken fajitas. Now I don't know whether it's because I'd had a lot to eat the day before or whether the fishcakes were very filling, but by the time I started my first fajita I was full. However I persevered, slowly, and managed another two. Laurance was teasing me about the last bit of "wafer thin" chicken still on the platter and how I couldn't leave it, so against my better judgement I ate it, which was probably a mistake.
A little while later I started to feel quite ill and very similar to the queasy feelings I'd had after I'd overeaten on Saturday. We paid the bill and left, but the fresh air seemed to make things worse and we returned to the boat. Just as I got there, I needed to go over the side and bring up a lot of my dinner. Laurance, sensing that this was not going to be pretty, made his farewells and scarpered. I meanwhile, had terrible diarrhoea and frequent feelings that I was going to be sick. This continued throughout the night, with me often up to rush to the loo, or lying in bed shivering and having unpleasant dreams when I could sleep.