Last night offered two glimpses of all the colours of the spectrum. Firstly the sun peeped out between the rain clouds and delivered a spectacular rainbow, followed by the closing of the polling stations and a night where all parties of all colour managed to lose!
For me the exit poll was enough and the detail could wait till the morning, but that's not the way Helen operates. She sat up with her headphones plugged into the digital radio till sometime after three am I think. I crawled out of bed at about 5.30, looked at my phone and noted that the predicted hung parliament was a reality and fell back asleep for another three hours kip.
Remains of folly in Abbey Gardens
We therefore made a late start at about 11.00am, dropping through Sandford Lock and engaging with a very bleary eyed lock keeper who, it turned out, had been at the local count which had seen a Lib Dem candidate win by about 900 votes. Then it was on down the river with the weather being very fickle - one minute blazing hot and the next chucking it down with a 35 mph headwind thrown in for good measure.
We used the facilities above Abingdon Lock and then settled onto a meadow side mooring opposite the Nags Head.
Abingdon is a nice little town offering a Waitrose for provisions and about a dozen hairdressers in the town centre - why? Abingdon is old, really old. It was originally an iron age settlement and is the countries oldest continuously occupied settlement, which must count for something - maybe the hair grows faster than elsewhere? In more recent times it had the sixth richest abbey built in 676 but little of it remains today save a few scattered stones in the Abbey gardens.
Abingdon church and alms houses
It also contains a huge church which has been repeatedly extended by adding more naves. It now has four and has the distinction of being wider than it is long. The church is surrounded on three sides by some quite exquisite and very ancient alms houses which are well worth a visit.
Then there is the town hall, built in the late 1600's by a student of Christopher Wren. It is absolutely massive and dominates the market place. Originally it was the County Hall built when Abingdon was the county town of Berkshire, but now it has not only lost its county town status but it has been relocated to Oxfordshire.....
Our day in Abingdon was rounded off by a visit by Helen's friend Claire who came to the boat bearing gifts of lovely fresh sour dough bread and left with jam.