Thursday, 23 October 2014

Long, busy and expensive!

 It was barely above freezing when we got up yesterday morning
 ... but the sun was brilliant as we left our mooring in Reading just after 9.
The winds on Tuesday didn’t trouble us too much as it was blowing straight down the Thames; our ropes were fairly loose and so Still Rockin’ was quite gently pushed forwards and back without bashing us about as we would have been if the gusts had been broadside. 
 At least we were moving this morning!
 Looking back at Caversham Bridge in the bright sunlight

 Pair of Black Swans on the River Thames near the junction with the Kennet and Avon Canal.

I took these pictures after I’d done a humungous shop at Tesco’s to refill the cupboards and freezer (over £250).  we then winded (turned around) and went to Better Boating for fuel and gas (over £220).  So glad this doesn’t happen often.  It was about 1pm by the time we’d winded once more and started on our way again downstream.

 Passing Uri Geller’s small pile

 We stopped to take on water and use the facilities at Shiplake Lock  but as we set off again it was clear that the propeller was fouled - I think that’s the remains of a boaters flag which George is pulling from the prop.

There are some beautiful houses downstream of Shiplake Lock ...

 I love the chimneys on this one.

By the time we’d reached our destination for tonight at Wargrave opposite Poplar Eyot (island) it was just after 5pm, a very long day for us. We had then still got to put away all the shopping and sort out the wash loads that I’d done after we’d collected water.  I was so glad I’d picked up a ‘ready meal’ from Tesco which just needed heating up and very welcome it was.

We’re getting a ‘bit of a shift on’ at the moment, the lock stoppages start on the Thames on 3rd November so we need to be at Teddington before then.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Still here!

 ’Twas a bit blustery yesterday but warm; this was the temperature on the roof of Still Rockin'
 ... and this was the view.  We didn’t get the wind that boaters were experiencing further north though.
 6:45 this morning - the little lights you can see are ...
... rowers!
Lots to do today, I’ve an opticians appointment this morning and George has one this afternoon.  We were going to get a move on tomorrow but that hurricane is heading this way so we’ll stay where we are and put in some extra mooring pins!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Goring to Reading

We left our Goring mooring Friday morning
The weather couldn’t make up its mind all day

Approaching Whitchurch lock just under an hour later
Just below the lock youngsters were out in canoes and inevitably one boat decided to try to cross our bow, waiting until the last moment before making their move, fortunately the guy in the left-hand boat acted quickly and used his canoe to ward them away whilst George had Still Rockin’ in hard reverse! You’ll notice also that the new Whitchurch Bridge is now open to traffic.
 Hardwick Stud Farm in a lovely setting
 ... and Hardwick House - very nice too!
 Approaching Mapledurham Lock where we always treat ourselves to a bacon and mushroom bap from the cafe on the lock side

 These two pictures were taken just half an hour apart as we purchased and ate our lunch; the weather was still very mixed!
We arrived at our destination (Reading’s north moorings) just after midday.  The wind made it difficult for us to put in the pins and tie up but with a lot of effort we sorted it, then a short time later I felt that we were slightly ’tipped’ and when George went out to investigate the stern was stuck very, very firmly on ’something’; the river must have dropped a couple of inches.  We tried everything to get us off whatever it was to no avail and eventually gave up, we just loosened the ropes so that when the water levels changed we’d be ok, which we were when we woke up yesterday morning so all is now well.  We shall stay here for the weekend and I feel a bit of retail therapy coming on!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Who’s that?

 I finally got the picture I’ve been after - young adolescent swans running on the water strengthening their wings!
If you look closely at the photo you’ll see someone you might recognise at the controls of Goring Lock.
 You may even recognise the boat emerging from the lock ...
 ... you should certainly know by now!
After a couple of hours of catch-up over lunch on our ‘feckin fat boat’ Maffi continues down-stream and enjoying his winter cruising.
It was good to see you again Maffi and look forward to next summer.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Waiting ...

... for post but it’s not a problem, it’s quiet here and the view from the bow is lovely.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

And so to Goring

 After George returned from the dentist after a repair to a broken tooth we set off from Wallingford in the drizzle

Even in the rain the views of the distant Chilterns are spectacular

Arriving in the historic village of Goring
 ... with it’s huge weir controlling the river flow ...
 ... and very pretty boat houses - I love this one!
 The village of Goring has some rather handsome ...
.... buildings, some dating from the 11th century

St Thomas of Canterbury Church appears to be a real mix of juxtaposition  of buildings (in my opinion).  A Norman tower, a curved Apse and what looks like some sort of fortification too.

 Although I thought the interior was also unusual I did like the alter area.

 We thoroughly enjoyed our walk round Goring turning onto a narrow footpath back to the River Thames and Still Rockin’.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Smoking le boat

Leaving our Day’s mooring this morning in the mist ...

... and we’re not the only boat wandering about in the murk!

No boats moored at all just above the lock.
 Not long after leaving the services at Days we could see this hire boat surrounded by smoke, those aboard didn’t appear to be worried at all though ...

... but as we approached this bend we could see that they were pulling over ...

... we came over to them to ensure that they were okay and to ask if there was anything we could do.  I think they were Germans but they made it clear that it was alright and that they were going to ‘phone’ ...
Just in case they had difficulties explaining to the hire company, I tried to contact Le Boat in Benson but got no answer, so we hoped that they’d got an emergency number on the boat.

This stunning boathouse is a little upstream of Shillingford, just look at that wonderful, clever brickwork - a real art form.

Benson Lock was unmanned today but fortunately boats were waiting to come up so I didn’t have to operate the gates and sluices

It wasn’t long before we arrived back in Wallingford. We’ve had to moor on the high town-side moorings as there’s an angling competition going on on the other side.
After lunch we walked into town and I took a seat on the Market Place whilst waiting for George (he’s buying and cooking dinner today) ...
 ... the seat was in front of this information board - just a few fascinating facts stated here : - 
  • In 1290 there were 9 butchers, 16 bakers, 24 shoemakers, 11 smiths and many brewers (most of them women)!
  • In 1911 there were 13 fully licences houses, 10 beer house licences and 4 grocers’ licences - a total of 27 premises where alcohol could be bought!
  • The Curfew Bell first ordered to be sounded in 1066 by William the Conquerer at 9pm is still sounded every day today!
  • Wallingford is the original ‘Causton’ in Midsummer Murders!
... and our eldest grandson (21 this year) was born in Wallingford hospital!

Good News - later this afternoon the two Le Boats came by and waved - no smoke now - and they were giving us the thumbs up - so all was well - good!