Monday, 31 July 2017

Weekend in Henley

It is just too nice here to leave!!!  We should have had foresight and paid for a week when we arrived...£55 for the week instead of £10 a day.   

Lots of green park area alongside us, good for Barney and if the weather would improve it would be good for me sitting out.  Lots of activity to watch on the water and expensive pads to ogle on the other bank......just sooooooooooo pleasant......

Hazel and James from NB Gabriel
Friday saw the arrival of Gabriel and they joined us later in the afternoon to go and watch Dunkirk.
A mixed reaction to that.....I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I nearly jumped out of my seat several times and I was mentally and physically exhausted at the end of it.......Geoff on the other hand did not think much of it and thought it was an over-rated and under-budgeted film.   Horses for courses!

We were spoilt for choice for our cooked Saturday breakfast but eventually settled on the Chocolate Cafe as it was the closest.  It is the same management as the Village Cafe in Goring which we had sampled so it was a good recommendation.  It did not disappoint although it was slightly more are a lot of things in Henley!   After breakfast we decided to stroll downstream and see what was going on at the Henley Town Regatta........not to be confused with Henley Royal Regatta which has not long finished.    We would not have been mooring here then as the £55 for a week goes up to £200.   Whilst in Reading we moored near a boat who had been for the Regatta and as they said, if you wanted to be here for all the fun, £200 was a small price to pay.

We watched some of the rowing and managed to the the ladies RAF team come first in their race.  However after a bright start to the day, (so we had left without waterproofs or umbrellas) the clouds were getting darker by now and we were not sufficiently enthusiastic to take a chance on getting soaked.    As it was we had to do a dirty dart into the Angel on the bridge for a quick drink to shelter from the rain.  

We are pleased we don`t need fuel at the moment.
On Sunday we visited St Marys for Sung Eucharist.  We decided against Sunday lunch out here as a £10 meal deal from Waitrose seemed a much better bet.......and we dined well for that.   Excellent Steaks.

Now we are just pottering and plan to leave on Thursday to make our way to Marlow for next weekend.  Visitors expected tomorrow.....all the way from Australia.........its a hard life.....

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Well!!! Words fail me

Sadly they did not fail me at the time........

The day started well today, we were away by 8 as we wanted to be in Henley to meet Giles at lunch time.  Not a soul around, although a lady was awake on a boat in front of us and commented on how quiet we were....

into the pretty lock, camera in one hand,
Geoff at the upper control panel with Barney in attendance
Lock keeper not on duty until 9am
Once I was in Geoff closed the gates and walked forward to the forward control panel to start the descent process.   As he was about to start I looked behind and another boat had appeared.  He was not visible as I went into the lock as there is a bend just before the lock and he had not thought to give a hoot to signal his arrival.  I signalled madly to Geoff  and he stopped what he was doing and walked back to the upper gates to go through the process of opening them.  This takes a good few minutes as it goes through some sort of cycle before opening them.   I moved over to the right to let him in.....he was too fat to fit alongside us.

As he was on the side of the control panels and he had a larger crew Geoff climbed back on board with Barney and went below and the skipper of the other boat went forward to the control panel.  At this stage I did not think anything was amiss, so my day was still going well.......

After he had started us on our descent this gentleman (!) walked over the gates and all the way down to me and proceeded to tell me about our POOR ETIQUETTE!!   He obviously thought we had deliberately shut the gates on him but, despite my telling him that we genuinely hadn't seen (or heard) him, he continued to harangue me and accuse us of not wanting to share a lock with a hire boat. Since he was now in the lock with us that seems somewhat inaccurate.   He would not be mollified and continued to rant at me and said he hoped I had learnt my lesson!!!!   By this time, sadly, I had had a sense of humour failure, I did venture to ask his wife who was on the front of their boat if he was always this rude.  My adrenalin was running now and I think my blood pressure must have been raised...and needless to say the day had taken a nose dive in enjoyment.

This is him overtaking us after we had left the lock
He then decided to go at a very slow pace!!!

Back to more pleasant doings...........there was a lovely notice on the bank not long after leaving the lock.   Amongst the NO MOORING signs there was another notice which read THIS IS A PRIVATE NOTICE, PLEASE DO NOT READ. I failed to get close enough for a picture.

We stopped at the facilities at Shiplake lock, had to wait a while for the water point (guess who was on it??)  We then took an age to fill up.....sometimes I think the water must be going out of the boat!

Onward then and had a pleasant run past some beautiful houses.

This one will do for me.

We also passed the Thames Visitor Moorings at Wargrave.  We had originally thought we would stay over a night but a lunch date with Giles had changed that plan.   

This is what was on offer for £5 a night
Having said that we stayed at their moorings in Goring and they were fine.  They are mainly one night free and £5 a night for up to two more days.   We don't have too much of a problem with that. Wargrave did not appear very inviting though.

So once through Marsh Lock we were at the Henley moorings which looked quite full.  We took the first available space but after a recce forward found a more open one and moved along.  The intention was only to stay one night as here the moorings are local council and £10 a night.  However it is so pleasant here we have decided to bite the financial bullet and stay over the weekend.   The moorings are free between 10am and 3pm and surprisingly we saw quite a few boats departing around 3pm!

A good lunch at the Angel with Giles and a quick visit to his office here to collect load of invoices....yes I am still doing his accounts....

As we walked into Henley to meet Giles, Guess who was moored a few boats along!   In the spirit of entente cordiale Geoff went up to the man and shook his hands and apologised for the morning incident, although I am not sure we had anything to apologise for.....I think I might have forgiven him if he had been gracious about it but he kept banging on about how he knew we boaters didn't like sharing with hire boats!  Ah well tomorrow is another day and I guess life is too short.

So here we stay for a few days.  Church sussed out for Sunday and cafe for Saturday cooked breakfast.  The local cinema is showing Dunkirk so we have booked for tomorrow afternoon.   We may give Sunday lunch out a big swerve though.......don't like the prices round here!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Onward to Sonning

On leaving Reading on Tuesday we had a minor hiccup when the 240 power failed.  We went straight over to the boatyard on the island but they did not have an engineer of the correct ilk......we decided to carry on and try Better Boating a little way down the river.  Meanwhile Geoffrey had a fiddle with switches and Viola!   I still had the urge to call in at Better Boating as it seems to me we have a disconnected wire that I can see but Geoff was more inclined to let sleeping dogs (wires) lie... Anyway when I called them whilst we were shopping at Tescos their engineer was out on a job......

As for shopping at Tescos, well we managed to squeeze into a space among the trees along from the somewhat pathetic staging they provide for shoppers.  The majority of those spaces were taken up with what looked like longer term moorers.   Luckily the notices that said my trolley would stop beyond a certain point could be circumvented and I could wriggle myself right up to Petroc...and NO I did not then dump my trolley in the river.....after all I needed my £1 back!!

So onward to Sonning where we found very acceptable moorings just above Sonning Lock so decided to stay a couple of nights.   No facilities in the pretty little village but there is a pub and a church.   The lock itself is one of the prettiest we have seen.  It even boasts toilets and a tea room. We might have sampled the tea room if the weather had been kinder.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Layover in Reading

As we approach Reading we spy a lovely bank which looks ripe for mooring.....
Not So!    No Mooring signs abound.
Further along in fron of some apartments there are more No Mooring signs although we wonder how official they are.
These signs just add fuel to Geoffey`s grumping about being on the Thames....

However we found the town moorings just before Reading bridge and there was space so we have a nice convenient spot.
Just after we arrived we saw the boats who were swan upping.
Note the new pedestrian bridge over the river which is very convenient.

with Her Majesty`s banner

There are 2 relatively new boats moored a little way behind us with these strange notices on...
One of the boats is a wide beam and the other a barge type, both nice enough looking boats and I must admit to a certain curiosity about the notices.

The African Queen
Note the ripples on the water....the wind was blowing very strongly Thursday and Friday

An extra large swan guarding the gave me a filthy look as I took the photo...
I managed a night out in London with Emma and Dave...the excuse was to collect our prescription.....good meal out at Cote for their early bird menu......and a trip to their local greasy spoon for brunch on Saturday.   Later Emma and I got on the scales in Boots.........maybe that was a mistake!   The new bridge makes it extremely convenient to reach the station from here.
The sun has shone for part of our stay here but we have also had a lot of wind and rain.
Sunday was the day I walked too much!   The church Geoff wanted to go to was a good half hours walk, then shopping in Aldi followed by another fair stretch for Sunday lunch in the Toby Carvery Geoff had found........not one of our better decisions.....
The service was poor and the queue for the carvery was horrendous.....right up Geoff`s street!  In addition there was a family with a screaming child......however in its favour the cost of the carvery does not seem to have increased since our last visit which must be a couple of years ago at least.

So onward we go tomorrow, probably as far as Sonning if we can find a mooring.   First of all I have to go to town to fill our prescriptions and we hope to stop at Tescos for a stock up.   Geoff walked over whilst I was away and thought there seemed to be a lot of long term moorers there so hope  we can squeeze in somewhere......otherwise he'll be grumping again.....

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Beale Park to Pangbourne

Geoff's face sums up his view of being on the Thames
Geoff has only come onto the Thames because he knew how much I wanted to return which I have to admit is very chivalrous of him.  However he does grump a lot whenever he sees a No Mooring sign!
Notwithstanding we have not had a problem so far and have had some very congenial moorings.  Admittedly we have had to pay £5 a night in some places......although those administered by The Thames Mooring authority let you have one night free.  Other places administered by local councils vary...Abingdon was 5 nights free, although we hear rumours that is to be reduced to 3, Pangbourne only one night and no option to pay for extra.

Lovely rural English countryside

Not one of the Des Res`s we have passed but obviously Ripe for Coversion!

A lot of rowing practice in this area

Boat of the Day!
Today we decided on an early start.  The plan was to go back upstream to Cleeve lock and fill up with water before heading back downstream to Pangbourne via Whitchurch Lock to empty the loo cassettes.   A good plan in part......lovely empty river and locks as we set off just before 7am and all went according to plan until we came out of Whitchurch Lock to moor up for the loos......
They are not there!!!  The lock keeper kindly informed us that they were now at Mapledurham Lock.  Since this was a necessity we had to carry on and then about turn yet again to get back to Pangbourne.  We had Giles and Zan coming to supper and it was a convenient place for them.

There were several places empty so we chose a nice one and duly moored.  As we tied up a small gin palace tried to squeeze in front of us which he was able to do as we moved a bit further back towards the bushes.  We were then thanked by a gentleman with a radio who said he was trying to find room for 8/9 boats all coming up from Windsor.   They must have blessed us as they could have put a couple more in our space.  Still we were not moving!

A most enjoyable supper in the evening, it was lovely to be just the four of us for a change.   Not that the grandchildren are not wonderful but we were able to have an uninterrupted chat.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Goring Weekend

Mooring on the Thames moorings here are 24 hours free and £5 a day for up to two extra days.  You have to phone up to announce your arrival and then you pay on the phone.   It also says there are cameras so you cannot escape.....but I couldn`t see any cameras!!  The moorings were mostly full during our stay but plenty of movement so you would be unlucky not to obtain a space.

Church at St Marys in Streatley this morning where we had a tremendous welcome.   So many people came up and said hello as we walked in and the church warden came up and introduced himself.
Large choir but small congregation.......apparently one of the congregation has an annual garden party and this was the day!!

No Sunday Lunch out today as the service was 11.15 and the Men`s tennis finals started at 2.......

Later I was collected by Susannah to babysit the grandchildren

This is part of their menagerie......there are two black ducks with a surrogate hen mother
who doesn`t understand the ducklings liking for swimming!
This morning we had a gentle cruise down as far as Beale Park where we found ourselves a secluded corner.   As we tied up the fuel barge came along to another boat so we took advantage.  We still had half a tank but it was a good opportunity and we could declare our own split!  though it was 89P
Schools out for the day for the geese
A large family for this pair of swans

Not a breath of wind this evening and the river is like glass

Saturday, 15 July 2017

and so to Goring

Moved on sadly from Wallingford on has been a most pleasant stay.  It is not often we can moor right alongside a swimming pool.  Sadly the last two days were not conducive to going in but I managed three visits and very welcome it was in the hot weather.  We had no particular destination in mind this morning so when we saw a nice secluded spot where the bank looked favourable we decided to have a recce.

Those Canada Geese again!

A meadow all to ourselves.  
We were not completely isolated as we were right alongside the Thames Path and saw quite a few walkers during the day.   We also enjoyed watching a group of boys swimming and climbing high into the branches of the trees opposite and jumping in.  I was going to put up a picture but my younger daughter told me I should not be putting up pictures of strange young lads...maybe she is was a good picture though!


We decided to stay over a day as we wanted to be in Goring for the weekend and it is 3 days maximum so didn't want to reach there too soon.  Geoff walked into Goring for a couple of essentials, identified our cafe for Saturday breakfast and looked in a very nice grocery shop.  However he declined to purchase anything there as it was upmarket and pricey!


Friday we had one of our really early starts....haven`t been doing many of those this year....
However I was being collected by daughter-in-law Susannah at 11.30am to go to the boys sports day.

We has certain domestic things to attend to on Petroc before we moored so set of just after 7.   Geoff walked the meadow to Cleeve Lock where we filled up with water.  This took at least 1/2 hour.  Geoff has a moan every time this happens about the amount of water we must have used.  Personally I think it is just a slow flow!  Life would be a lot simpler if our water gauge worked, however it has never functioned from day one.   It was a delightful run down to Goring as there wasn`t a soul around at that time of the morning.  No sun but no rain either and a very pleasant temperature.  We had the river completely to ourselves.  I just delight in this, but Geoff is still muttering about his preference for the canals.

There was just one space available on the Goring Lock moorings as we were so early so we squeezed in but were right under a cherry tree so it was not ideal.   It was not long before several boats departed so we were able to move to a more congenial position.

Waiting for Goring Lock looking across at the Swan Hotel which is undergoing a major refurb
It is not often we are close enough to the grandchildren to be able to participate in any of their events so today was a bonus.   Luckily they only had a Mums and a Dads race and grandmothers were spared!  The bad part of the afternoon was that my phone died and in an attempt to charge it up Giles left the ignition on in his car so that when he left to return to work...the car battery was flat!!

Back to Petroc early evening as we were having very welcome and unexpected visitors.  Three of my ex RAuxAF friends were only 35 miles away working at the Fairford Air Show so they decided to pay us a visit.   It was great to see Jane my friend from Cornwall and also Steve and Keith whom I have not seen for several years.  Drinks and starters on board and then a very good meal in the Catherine Wheel where a lot of reminiscing was done.


An excellent breakfast in the Village Cafe, we can thoroughly recommend it.  I then caught the train to Reading to replace my phone.  Just back in time to watch the Women`s finals at Wimbledon.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Busy Weekend in Wallingford.

A recce on Friday afternoon had located a suitable cafe for our weekly cooked breakfast.  This was good as it was far too hot to be cooking it on the boat.   Since we had the bonus of being moored right by the swimming pool in Riverside Park I decided to dig out my costume and go for a cooling off session.   What bliss.


Early morning visitors
Later we had visitors of the human kind.  Susannah arrived with the 3 grandchildren so that we could all go swimming.  However they arrived to late to get into the morning session as it was full.  They were able to use the splash area in the adjacent park for a while but needless to say there was a certain amount of disappointment!!   With only 3/4 of an hour of the session to go, sufficient people had left and we were able to go in....didn`t get reduced rates though!!!   This was followed by a picnic lunch on the shore before they all departed as the boys were going camping.  As they left the car park our next visitors arrived.....Sister-in-law Edith with Cosmo the standard poodle.

Cosmo decided Barnaby needed grooming and proceeded to wash him all over.
In his normal fashion Barney ignored him completely
Behind the dogs you can just see Geoffrey putting out a tray with our evening aperitif......

Edith and I spent most of the of the afternoon and the evening until just about dark sitting enjoying our surroundings and catching up with each other.   Geoff did join us briefly and we did go inside for our main course of supper.  However by the time we packed in Geoff was long since in bed and we had to tiptoe aboard.


The weather was still very hot.   Geoff took himself off to church in the morning and Edith and I took the dogs and walked along the Thames path back to Benson with the aim of stopping for coffee at the cafe there.

The path was 50% in the shade but nevertheless I found it hard going towards the end.  (Not the distance, just the heat)  Geoff had told us it was about a mile but in fact it was 1.75 miles.  However after a remedial coffee and bun and a large glass of iced water I managed the return journey.  The cafe was extremely busy but we did manage to find a table in the shade.

A quick change and we set off to meet up with Geoff for Sunday Lunch.  The Partridge had been recommended to us by Angie, the lady who collects our £5 every morning.   The recommendation was well founded as we had an excellent lunch.....what I would describe as a slightly up market Sunday lunch.  They were surprisingly quiet which we gathered later was unusual.  

Edith departed for the drive back to London and I collapsed for a short siesta.  Well we both did but mine was much more needed!

After a couple of hours Giles appeared with just the two boys this time and we repaired to the pool.
Needless to say Geoff does not join in the swimming excursions.  


Woke to a much cooler day thankfully, in fact I did not even make my intended visit to the pool.  It was quite windy and I thought I would get cold quite quickly.

After a few domestic chores I decided to do some accounts work and ended up having a very frustrating morning.  This was all due to a small software glitch which took me ages to sort out.

The big event of the day however was Geoffrey finding his lost pair of glasses.  They had been lost for several days and I know it was causing him great angst!   When he went down in the engine bay to do one of his least favourite jobs ( refilling the stern gland with grease) he found them on a ledge!
Great rejoicing.......

We are told rain is forecast for tomorrow so for the first time in days we have put the side panels in the rear pram hood.

Due to this unfavourable forecast we have decided to stay over here another day.  You can have up to 5 nights here at £5 a night so we may as well take full advantage.  There are plenty of facilities in the town and rubbish and toilets by the moorings.  No water or loo disposal but we can manage for a few more days yet.  Waitrose is the supermarket here which is not my favourite as I think they are expensive, but it seems we are in Waitrose country.

Friday, 7 July 2017

No so idyllic after all

The setting was idyllic BUT since were were here last someone has bought up a lot of the surrounding fields and fenced off around the mooring area.

This means that there is no longer access to Dorchester along public footpaths.   Geoff did manage to squeeze through a hole in the fence as we needed milk and bread, however it put us off staying an extra day.   Talking to a local lady walking her dogs she told me that all the locals were very unhappy about the state of affairs.   I had to talk to her over the fence as I had no way of getting to the path she was on

You cannot even access the lock through the field.

So onward we go past a very pretty boat house

With the house behind

Somewhat smaller boathouse but not bad for a weekend hideaway!
By now it was getting very hot and shade was desperately needed.  As we passed through Shillingford I spied a spot I thought we could creep into so I persuaded Geoff to turn around and have a go at getting it.  There was no problem with the depth of water although it was a bit exciting getting through all the branches.   Barney spied the shade and was off like a shot.  There was a convenient tree to tie the stern too and Geoff braved the nettles to get a stake in for the front.   It was blissfully cool.
I was just about to turn the engine off when a snag manifested itself.......we had wasps at the stern!

Sadly it was up sticks and carry on.  Geoff not a happy bear...neither was I as I was suffering with the heat by then.
Add caption

So it was onward to Wallingford where we were lucky enough to find a space on the bank alongside the \Riverside park.

Journey 1
Total distance:2.79 miles 
Elapsed time:1h8m38s
Average speed:2.44 mph (3.32 lock/mph

Journey 2

Total distance:2.51 miles 
Elapsed time:1h18m10s 
Average speed:1.93 mph (2.69 lock/mph)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Early start to beat the heat

Our Early Morning visitors at Clifton Lock
An early start whilst it was relatively cool with not particular destination in mind.  We thought we would see if there was space above Days Lock.  We have moored there previously and it was a wonderful setting and we could walk into Dorchester.

There were some large properties lining the banks with their wonderful sweeping lawns stretching down to the river

and their lovely little boat parks!

and some bigger boat houses
When we approached Days Lock and the possible mooring there was only one other boat so we were in luck.  We parked ourselves round the corner from them after a couple of about turns whilst we considered our best position!!  Sadly no shade today but a lovely setting.

Last time we visited here Geoff climbed the hill ahead of us but no chance today...far too hot

An evening visitor 

Total distance:2.86 miles 
Elapsed time:1h8m38s 
Average speed:2.50 mph (3.38 lock/mph)