Sunday, 6 October 2019

This seasons cruising nearly done.

Sad to say we have worked our last lock for the year.   
Geoff had 5 days in Banbury whilst I was on granny duties and on my return yesterday, Saturday, We set off for Cropredy.

Everywhere seems very quiet.  Normally there are lots of boats moored above the Cropredy lock but we were alone last night, although tonight we have neighbours.

Petroc`s last mooring place of the year.
Tomorrow early we will go into Cropredy Marina which is to be the new winter home for Petroc.  It puts us that bit further south towards family.    It may not be a huge distance by car but by canal it is about 5 days closer at our pace!!

Saturday, 28 September 2019

end of our season creeps closer

The weather for our 3 day sojourn at Thrupp was not as kind as it has been lately.  However this was compensated for by our visitors.   On Tuesday Fran and Keith braved the traffic to visit us and sadly they were rewarded with a rather indifferent lunch at the Boat Inn.  Lots of catching up done though.

Maffi was moored a couple of boats down so on Thursday night we had a somewhat better meal at the Jolly Boatman with him and Susan.   A somewhat better meal.

Friday we continued on our way to Lower Heyford.  Despite an early departure the rain did catch up with us but it could have been a lot worse.  It is still relatively warm and the worst of the rain held off until we were snugly moored up.  After supper Bones came down for a drink and a certain amount of putting the world to rights was done.

Very early start today to get on the water point as we know it is extremely slow.   It took over an hour to fill but it was good timing as it finished about 8.30 just as the cafĂ© was opening for our cooked breakfast. 
All the cows were lying down But we didn't have rain
By the time we reached Somerton Deep lock the wind was blowing hard, but luckily there was a boat waiting to come down as we emerged from the lock so I didn't have to fight it as I picked Geoff up.

We were lucky to find a space just before the bridge at Ayno Wharf.   Tying us was more challenging than normal with the wind, especially with boats passing in the other direction.  Still all achieved before lunch.

Total distance:6.07 miles
 Elapsed time:2h48m8s
Average speed:2.17 mph (3.24 lock/mph)

Monday, 23 September 2019

back to the canals

Early morning departure from Abingdon, the mist still hanging on the water.   This was our last trip on the Thames for this year.  

Secretly I think Geoff likes the early departures as the lock keepers don't come on duty until 9am and so he gets to operate them himself!!   He has only been unlucky once this year when one of the locks was on self service AND there was no electricity......that gave him some exercise!!

We decided to stay just above Osney lock on the last bit of river.   The weather still held for us through Saturday and even Sunday morning.    The church couldn't have been closer for us. It was a 3 minute walk to St Frideswide.  

Later we met up with Giles and the grandsons for lunch and had a good Indian meal at SOJO`s.

Filming was taking place on Sunday for an episode of Endeavour just along from where we were moored.    It seemed an awful lot of effort and people and equipment for what was probably just a few minutes.   Our services were sadly not requested as extras!!

So today Monday it was another early start so we could enter Thrupp at the best time to find a mooring

It does seem very strange to be back on a narrow waterway.   The first few miles up to Dukes Cut are a bit dank and with many long term moored boats on the Agenda 21 Moorings

We arrived at Thrupp in good time for coffee and to find a space.   The rain was still holding off so after lunch I caught the bust to Sainsburys in Kidlington.    I managed to get almost all the way back before the rain caught up with us.   It could have been worse.

Tonight the moorings are full so our early rising does do well.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Peaceful 3 days in Abingdon

On Tuesday we sauntered up to Pangbourne and had no trouble finding a good mooring on the meadow.    Free mooring here BUT only for 24 hours.   I took advantage of the launderette in town to wash two of our duvets...….I do query whether it is cost effective though.  After paying for the washing and drying I think I could have bought good enough new duvets to last a season!!!!

Wednesday we had an earlyish start for Goring.   It was no good going too early as we needed to find a space at Goring and if we were too early no one would have moved!!   We were in luck and found a good spot right at the end of the moorings.   A short walk up the hill for me to catch the train to London to granddaughter...……..

The weather is being very kind to us at the moment and we are having delightful cruises each day.

On my return we had breakfast in the Village Cafe and then Giles picked us up and took us to see a boat he is considering buying to use as his office!!!    I am not sure of the practicality of the proposed venture and the boat is 50 years old...….however having said that …….it is a nice boat.....we shall see.

Friends Ronnie and Gill came to visit and we had a good lunch in the Catherine Wheel.    

Onward then to Wallingford, another good day and space to moor.   Here Geoff had to make an emergency shopping trip to find a new belt for his trousers...…….. he was lucky to find an old fashioned men's outfitters who could supply the very necessary article!!

And so to Abingdon where we have spent a lovely 3 days on the meadow in brilliant sunshine.    Unlike earlier in the year, when it was too hot, it has been a nice temperature to sit out in.  

More friends, Dick and Jackie, came for sundowners and then we all repaired to the Nags head for a meal...….an excellent one.

The film of Downton Abbey is on here in the Abbey Cinema so I had a couple of hours wallowing in all the splendour.   It is a lovely cinema, there were seats set in groups of 4 around a table, where one could order food and drink from your phone ( if one wished) .  They were swivel armchair seats......and the screen was huge so I had a ringside view.  

Onward again tomorrow heading for Oxford and the last run up the Thames.  The forecast says the weather is holding for a couple more days.....lets hope they are right.

Monday, 9 September 2019

and back to Reading......the end of the summer creeps closer

Someone is bedded in well!!!  I would love to see what it was like down below,,,,,
So goodbye Henley again after 9 days there.   I did my granny time with Kensa so was away for 3 days,   However back on Saturday and met Geoff for Brunch in Wetherspoons.

Saturday night was incredibly cold I thought we were in the middle of winter again, so Sunday night I retired with woolly socks, hot water bottle and thick jumper to bed, only to find that it back to a more normal temperature!!!

On Sunday Giles and the two boys joined us for the trip up to Sonning.  They brought their bicycles so they could return to collect the car at Henley.   We all went to the Coppa Club at Sonning and had a very good lunch/brunch.   We had not ventured in here before as we were under the impression it was a private club....wrong......highly recommended.   It was extremely busy but we managed to find a table.

And so to Reading today...Geoff needs to restock his supply of chocolate which he can only find in Aldi!!!   We also stopped at Tesco.   The moorings there are now more than half full of boats that appear to be long term......we just managed to find a space.

Total distance:3.34 miles
 Elapsed time:3h8m2s 
Locks:2 Bridges:2
Average speed:1.07 mph (1.71 lock/mph)

Those timing do include stopping to shop at Tescos and to refuel!!!!!

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Lingering again at Henley

Slowly making our way upstream.  We have survived another mini heatwave....just!!!

The planned one night in Windsor turned into two as Geoff was not well.   We went in on Bank Holiday Monday and were lucky to get a space inside the island.  The place was heaving...….but lo and behold by Tuesday morning it was almost like a ghost town...…..I am referring to the moorings not the town itself.....  What a difference a day makes.

Cookham followed for a couple of nights which was also busy.  However after some persuasion a cruiser did move to fill a gap in front of them so we could just fit in behind.   

We bypassed Marlow as the moorings below the lock were full and we didn't fancy the £14 a night moorings by Higgenson Park.   In fact they were full as well so not a difficult decision. 

We arrived at Henley in good time with several spaces to choose from and have settled in for a week+

A good place for visitors.   Boe arrived back from her holiday in Slovenia and Croatia on Friday so came out on Saturday for a couple of nights.  As she departed on Monday Anne & Keith arrived for the day.   Weather is a much better temperature now and we were able to sit on the riverbank in comfort for most of the day whilst we had a good catch up.    We dined in the Giggling Squid in the evening and had a very good meal again...…..well 3 of us did.   Geoff was the one who made the wrong choice this time, although he said his starter was very good.

Only a month left of this summer`s cruising which is very sad.    We have decided that we want to be a bit further south so have reluctantly made the decision to leave Petrocs winter home at Clifton Cruisers after nearly 13 years and instead we have taken a winter mooring at Cropredy, just north of Banbury.   As the crow flies, or even by road, its not that far from Rugby.   However by canal its at least 4 days south and at our rate of travel probably over a week!!

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Meandering gently upstream

A very short trip on Monday, just around the corner to Hampton Court moorings.   Plenty of space at our time of arrival although they were full by the evening.   Whilst they are in a very convenient place they are very uncomfortable moorings.   For a narrow boat the concrete quayside is just the wrong height. A lot of passing traffic going fast so despite the wide river here it creates a huge wash which bangs us against the side.   No amount of adjusting our warps provides any improvement.   
Barney is most unimpressed......just as he has settled himself along comes another boat jerking him awake!

Monday evening we had a very pleasant meal ashore with Gavin and Celia and Tuesday we made our first ever trip around Hampton Court Palace, thanks to Gavin.   I am not normally one for sightseeing but managed to spend most of the day there and found it fascinating.   I joined a tour of the gardens in the afternoon.  This was mainly about the history of the gardens through the reigns of the various monarchs.

Fantastic ceiling as you go up the grand staircase.

The privy Gardens

Nice cosy bed in William the thirds apartments.

Magnificient yew trees
An early start on Wednesday on a glorious sunny morning.....not many boats around at our time of the morning

Geoff working the lock as we are far too early for the lock keeper

We`ve passed a fair few floating houses but this one is rather opulent
Delightful mooring just beyond Shepperton lock for the evening followed by yet another early start.......when do I get a lie in???

The plan was to be in Staines and moor by the town Hall  so we could shop at Sainsburys and also the town.   Nothing wrong with the moorings apart from the fact that there were lots of groups of people gathering throughout the day and evening.   Unfortunately the chemist could not fill the whole of our prescriptions until the following day so we were forced into a night stop.   I was a little dubious about the situation but in fact there was no trouble much to my relief.

Another hop skip and a jump on Friday once again just round the corner to moor by a park where we have been before.   Barney in heaven here as there are lots of picnickers in the day so it is good scavenging ground!

Sadly no cafes close by serving our Saturday cooked I had to do  it myself.   

After that it was a gentle trip up one lock and looking for shade...…….we were lucky just at the start of Runnymeade.    No facilities near here but a good park, lots of walking for Barney.