Saturday, 28 July 2018

Windy trip to Windsor

Some rain overnight and until about 6.30 or so but dry by the time we set off for Windsor.   In some ways we were sorry to leave as it had been an ideal mooring........but all good things come to an end...
The rain had certainly cleared the air and it was a much more acceptable temperature.  However what it had left behind was a pretty stiff much so that extra layers of clothes were required...Hooray!!!!

This is but one example of the lovely houses lining the river on this stretch
The breeze certainly made the trip interesting in places.  We needed to water etc at Boveney Lock and inconveniently the watering point is a 180 degree turn as you come out of the lock back towards the weir.   Not difficult normally but challenging in a strong blustery wind as you come alongside.   Luckily there was no one there so we didn't have to hang around.  Then to empty the loo it is back on the other side on the approach to the lock...another interesting mooring exercise

However all achieved without mishap although I do prefer a quieter life!

That was the last lock before Windsor and so we now began to wonder what space would be available.

Our luck was in and there was a space more than big enough for us on the island and whats more it was in the shade and in a nice secluded spot.  So, once the washing was put out, it was chairs and table on the shore and settling down for the quiet life............except I had itchy feet after lunch and decided to have a wander up to the town.   Over lunch we had a phone call from friends Mike and Mary to see if we were free for a meet up for lunch tomorrow, so that gave me incentive to go on a recce for a good place to eat.   Mike had met us here last year so I looked up on my blog to see where we had eaten and discovered that it was the Watermans Arms on the Eton side of the river and that we had not though much of the lunch somewhere new had to be found.

The town was just a seething mass of tourists and in parts just walking on the pavement was almost impossible.   I looked inside several likely looking places but were hot and noisy and not what I was looking for.   I decided I would have go across the bridge and try the Eton side but luckily just before the bridge I found a more promising looking place so fingers crossed.........

Total distance:9.32 miles Elapsed time:4h12m52s
Average speed:2.21 mph (3.16 lock/mph) 

Friday, 27 July 2018

Hot, hot, hot at Cookham

A great mooring place in the intense heat we have been having.   As we were able to move back a bit after the first night, Petroc was mostly in the shade.  We spent most of our days sitting under the numerous trees on the shore. We did have to venture out but tried to restrict it to early morning or later in the afternoon.  Barney was not that keen on the heat so he and Geoff did the walk to the shop in the morning for the paper and any other essentials.  Cookham seems to be a lovely village full of pubs and speciality shops but if you take a slightly longer  walk towards the station there is a store.

We must have the only non swimming Labrador.....this is as deep as he will go!
On Thursday we had Anne & Keith to visit and they joined us in keeping out of the heat.  They did kindly take me to do a shop at a nearby Tescos which was necessary but could have done done without it in this weather.  I needed provisions as we were due to be joined by Giles and tribe for the run down to Windsor on Friday.  However events overtook us.  The forecast said Friday was going to be hotter than Thursday and then Giles household had a sad day as the vet had to come to put a much beloved Parga to his final sleep.

We also visited the Ferryman pub in the evening which is the closest to the moorings and the only one of the village pubs to have riverside seating.   It was still very warm outside so we elected to sit upstairs in the air conditioning.  A good meal so can recommend.

So we stayed put for Friday.   Forecast is for rain...Hooray!!!!   We did have a little apology for a thunderstorm later in the afternoon and some rain....but it didn't try very hard.

During the afternoon we had EA officials visiting the moorings handing out an information sheet on water levels etc.   They obviously had the big boss (4 stripes) with them as they were all very smartly dressed in uniform and obligatory life jackets.  We had a long chat with the deputy....only 2 stripes....

Onward to Windsor tomorrow

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Early departure from Henley for ???

Another marathon journey for me down to see the latest addition to the clan.   The journey is potentially OK from Henley but could be better.  Henley is on a branch line so you have to change at Twyford to get anywhere.  That then took me through to Clapham Junction, but then I was met with the notices saying that due to engineering works the District and Circle lines were not running....should have checked.   Ended up with a 3 hr 20 min journey instead of 2.5 hours....
Still it was worth it.  
Early Riser over Henley
These swans have a family of 12 so told Emma she was lucky to only have one to feed

 Early departure from Henley on Monday morning. once again to beat the heat.  We weren`t certain where we would reach, one of those `off the cuff ` days

Good bye Henley, see you on the way back.

One of these would suit me nicely!

Further down river we passed Danesfield House
In another life (approx 36 years ago!) the sailing club at the bottom was where we launched our 12 foot catamaran that Geoff (aided and abetted by friend Crint) built.

Mr Whippy anyone??

There was mooring space at Marlow above the lock but no shade so we gave it the big swerve
Had a look at the visitor mooring below the lock but still not much shade so decided to press on to Cookhan where we remembered nice moorings and shade......

These dogs have the right idea, sadly we cannot persuade Barney to go into the river
when we rounded the corner and saw the Cookham moorings it looked as though we would be unlucky.   However there was just one space at the end.  Sadly not yet in the shade but the big trees showed promise later on.

Lots of space to sit out under the trees.   Today the two boats behind departed so we have moved back to almost complete shade, and here we stay for a few days, it is just too hot to go anywhere or do anything much.  Its £6 a night but well worth it.

Total distance:11.61 miles Elapsed time:3h59m36s Locks:Bridges:5 
Average speed:2.91 mph (3.91 lock/mph) 

Friday, 20 July 2018

Henley and a few drops of rain!

We crept out of Sonning at 7am, no one else on the move.

Sonning Lock was busy yesterday.
It has a profusion of flowers and exudes a great air of friendliness.
It even has a coffee shop which we didnt take advantage of.   The towpath here is also busy with walkers.

Shortly after the lock on the right hand bank we saw that there was now a long stretch of Thames Visitors Moorings as are the moorings above the lock.  1 day free and up to two more days at £5 a night.  We are pretty certain that when we came through here last year there moorings had big NO MOORING signs up.   This morning they were full.

Stopped to water etc above Shiplake lock.. As we finished and pulled away for the lock a cruiser went just ahead of us.   We locked down together and since he had been ahead and was likely to go faster than us we let him go out first.  What a mistake.  He proceeded to go all the way to Henley at snails pace, slower than canal pace!  No point in overtaking him as courtesy would demand that we wait for him at the next lock.......

We took the first mooring space we say at Henley which was right at the far end of the moorings.

Probably a good job as when we walked down to the town later there were no spaces.   It is the Thames Historic Boat Rally this weekend which nearly put us off coming but there is no sign of it down this end.

A pretty little steam launch chugged by at quite a rate
This afternoon I took myself off to the cinema to see the new MamaMia film, very good it was too.  That`s two days on the trot for singing and dancing and pretty costumes. 

Whilst I was out Geoff reported that there had been a brief shower.......not much to write home about but enough for him to rush to get the washing in, only to have it stop as soon as he had done so.  

Skies looking ominous tonight but no further rain as yet.

We shall stay here for the weekend then continue further downstream to who knows where.

Total distance:5.72 miles Elapsed time:2h50m35s Locks:Bridges:2 
Average speed:2.01 mph (3.07 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Swan Upping at Reading

Swan Upping

We watched the swan upper boats gathering together.  Getting close to a swan is not enticing as Geoff will attest to.  One poked its head through our swan doors yesterday and bit his finger!   Is that why we call them swan doors I wonder.

Thursday we carried on down to Sonning and moored just above the lock.

en route we passed a load of children learning to paddle a dragon boat.
There were a crowd on the shore awaiting their turn
What great fun for them all
I was collected later by Giles to go and see a performance that Finley (9) was in.  What a fantastic show.  I had visions of an amateur production and nothing could have been further from the truth.  It was held in the theatre in Didcot and was a fantastic performance and extremely professional.
We did manage to spot Fin in his two scenes.  The costumes and the choreography were wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it.   Later Giles dropped me back at Petroc which involved a short walk down the towpath in the dark.. Luckily he walked down with me and saw me safely on the boat.  Geoff had obligingly left the front flap of the cratch up but no lights on and both he and Barney were fast asleep and neither would have known if I hadn`t made it back safely or not!!

Total distance:2.60 miles Elapsed time:0h55m23s
Average speed:2.82 mph (3.90 lock/mph) 
Onward to Henley tomorrow for the weekend.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Reading after a hectic few days to herald a new arrival

It was difficult to prise Geoff away from our lovely shaded mooring at Wallingford but I returned from London on Thursday evening leaving Emma in hospital awaiting imminent birth..or so we thought.  I took me 3 hours to get back by train and bus, as Wallingford inconveniently does not have a railway station.  I needed to be closer to return on Saturday so Goring was the destination.

This worked well as we arrived at Goring mid morning and had a choice of places.. Later on it was all full.
Moorings are nicely in the shade in the mornings
I departed after lunch (and after our Saturday cooked breakfast at the Chocolate Cafe!!)
Kensa Ava weighing 7lb 7oz was eventually born at 8.25 on Sunday evening.  Boe and I treated ourselves to a night in a hotel to recover from our ordeal.........and preparatory to going to the hospital to take it in turns to be with Emma until Dave`s arrival somewhat later in the day.  

We didn`t even have to miss the tennis at Wimbledon......unlike a few years ago when you couldn`t switch your phone on......nowadays anything goes.   Good wifi, so with ipads at the ready Wimbledon was on as we lent encouragement to Emma.

Meanwhile back at the ranch......
Geoff has been well looked after as he was collected by Giles for a BBQ on Saturday and collected again on the Sunday for leftovers and football.  On Monday he had a go at washing the roof.  With all this dry weather it is just full of dust.

I returned later on Monday, ready for departure on Tuesday.   The moorings are free for 1 day and then £5 a night but maximum 3 nights.

Once again difficult to persuade Geoff to move.......but Goring still takes at least 1.5 hours to Emmas. 

Off reasonably early for the short trip to Pangbourne.   Our timing was good again as we found a mooring easily but in a couple of hours it was full.

We have seen a variety of animals carried on boats but Chickens!!!
Those orange crates on the top were full of them.
Moving again today.  The aim was Henley for the weekend but have just seen that it is the Thames Historic Boats gathering so may have to have a rethink.

In the meantime we have moored in Reading so Geoff can have a wander up to town and get his urban fix.

A while ago a big grass cutting machine came by...  The grass, if it can be called that, alongside Petroc was not very long but he went all down the side and we are now covered in dust!!!

No shade, but thankfully today, as was yesterday, is a bit cooler and there is plenty of cloud around.
However it is forecast to heat up again tomorrow.
Total distance:6.18 miles Elapsed time:2h9m9s
Average speed:2.87 mph (3.33 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

No room at Wallingford

Abingdon continued to try and melt us away......I managed a session in the pool again on Saturday but was unlucky on Sunday.   I went online too late and it was all booked up.  Saturday evening we had a lovely respite as friend Dick and Jackie cam to pick us up and take us to their house for a BBQ.  It was great to catch up and also to sit in their cool east facing garden.

Sunday I spent most of the day under the nearby trees.  Geoff made it to church but I couldn`t even face the walk there.

So Monday was yet another early start for a very
pleasant run down the river to Wallingford.  
En route we could only ogle all the lovely house which are way out of our price band......

At Benson lock Geoff had a very interesting conversation with a lady who was on a small plastic boat.  She informed him, for no apparent reason, that all people on narrowboaters were arrogant and that they should stay on the canals where they belonged!   This seemed somewhat harsh as we had squeezed up so that a bigger plastic boat could just get himself in.   Ah well...guess it takes all sorts......

On reaching Wallingford we were initially disappointed.  My hopes of mooring by the swimming pool faded rapidly when we saw that the whole place was full.  We tried a bit further downstream but any little holes were already taken.   However a swift about turn and not too far upstream we found a suitable spot under the trees.  It is actually much better than the moorings as it is in the shade mostly and whats more it is free!!  The moorings have gone up to £7 a night.  We have also heard that the mooring outside Tescos in Reading are now being charged at £9.50 per day even if you only stop to shop.......

mostly in the shade this will do for a few days.
We are close to the tow path and it is not far into town.   In fact if it were not for positioning ourselves by a station ready for the birth of the LoveGomm offspring we would probably stay here a bit longer.  D day is only 5 days away!!

TV reception good so after shopping and dog walking on Tuesday we were able to watch the RAF 100 celebrations.    This was a bonus on top of Wimbledon......I wont even mention the which I have zero interest.

Later we were invaded by the grandchildren which was lovely.   Giles and Finley immediately stripped off and were in the river.   We obviously haven`t a lot of water under Petroc as Finley who is 9 could stand up alongside!  Oscar at 7 is not as keen on the water but spent his time climbing over and around the boat........I have forgotten how lively boys are at that age.   Giles reminded me that Finley is the age he was when we spent 3 years living on our catamaran.  Both he and Emma were the same and he used to shin up the mast with no problem amongst other the memory fades.....


In my attempt to feed into my facebook I somehow managed to lose the whole thing late last night.  My original method was via networked blogs.  However that has been discontinued and the replacement SYMPHONY is a paying service.  So I am now frustrated and I cant seem to find a simple way of linking the two.....

Total distance:13.13miles Elapsed time:4h13m59s Locks:4 Bridges:10
Average speed:3.22 mph (4.31 lock/mph) 

Friday, 6 July 2018

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Just opposite our mooring, the pictures of the proposed  Jerico redevelopment are still there with no sign of any activity. 

But now time to leave the canal for the mighty River Thames, much against Geoffrey's desire!!   Only the disappointment of his elder daughter, if were were not withing easy train distance for the arrival of the Lovegrove/Gomm offspring, is luring him down this far!

The weather is still far too hot for our liking and so it was a very early start today.
Down ISIS lock.....goodbye canals

No lock keepers on duty at this time of the morning (7am)
But easy work for Geoff
We reached Abingdon lock before the worst of the heat of the day but then had a long wait to water.

The hunt was then on for a mooring with some sort of shade.  Initially we went through the bridge where we knew there were a few trees but we were unlucky.   I did manage to squeeze into a possible slot but it was extremely tight and the gin palace in front was clearly worried about his paint work.  I retrospect he did have room to move himself up a ring but no such offer!
So back through the bridge and settled for the sun.  At least there are trees nearby to which I can retreat.

Directly opposite us is the newly refurbished outdoor swimming pool/
However to get to it is a 10 minute walk!   A little bit of google investigation allowed me to book a session for this afternoon online.   A great way to while away 2 hours on a scorching hot afternoon.
Pre booking was essential as they were turning away people who hadn`t had such foresight!  I have already booked for tomorrow.......

This evening we were treated to this colourful sight
Total distance:9.74 miles Elapsed time:4h26m40s (Prolonged wait to water )
Average speed:2.19 mph (3.32 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Lingering in Oxford

Last lock on the Oxford before the Thames
We have moved further down to the end of the canal.  This is very convenient for the station.  We have been taking it in turns to hop on a train to meet up with family.  Boe has arrived home from Moscow and Emma is getting very close to producing the next Lovegrove offspring.

It was Geoff’s turn yesterday which meant Barney spent almost the entire day sitting by the boat watching for him to return.  He wouldn’t even come aboard for his biscuit and a drink after his morning walk.

Thankfully we are in a shady spot as the hot weather continues.

Meanwhile Geoff enjoyed himself with his two daughters

Barney and I observed some of the local inhabitants on our morning walk

Mum with her baby

Parents + 3...Geoff is convinced there were 5 yesterday

Total distance:0.63 miles Elapsed time:0h24m51s Locks:0Bridges:Average speed:1.51 mph (1.51 lock/mph) 

Monday, 2 July 2018

Hot, Hot, Hot in Thrupp and a longer than planned trip down to Oxford.

A great mooring place in our favourite spot which would have been wonderful apart from the excessive heat.

Unlike most Labradors, Barney only paddles!
We did manage some socialising despite the heat, firstly with Maffi and Susan and on Sunday Hugh and Ann came to visit us and we had a good lunch in the Boat Inn.  We also managed a cooked breakfast at Annies on Saturday.

In between times there was a lot of sitting in the shade and desperately trying to keep cool.........

Love this notice at the entrance to the nearby woods
This morning we left at 7am to beat the heat but it turned out to be longer than we thought as we stopped to water at yet another slow tap and it was gone 11 by the time we moored at Aristotle Bridge moorings.  By this time I was feeling the heat and had recourse to the umbrella as a sunshade.......quite difficult to manoeuvre when going under low hanging trees!!!

Once settled Barney and I took ourselves off to the small park adjacent to the moorings and sat most of the rest of the day in the shade.   Geoff of course had his normal siesta!

Total distance:5.75 miles Elapsed time:4h12m32s Locks:Bridges:24 
Average speed:1.37 mph (2.32 lock/mph)