Thursday, 29 September 2016

In Memorial

We were pleased to see Chris and Stanley yesterday morning as our diesel tank was needing a fill-up.  We shall see him again for fuel before settling into our winter mooring.

Sue and Vic (No Problem XL) arrived at lunch time and in the afternoon we planned a walk up the steep steps of Coopers Hill to the Air Forces Memorial

"Address by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second at the unveiling of the Runnymede Memorial 17th October 1953.

This memorial has been built in proud memory of the men and women of the Air Forces of the British Commonwealth and Empire who lost their lives serving from bases in the United Kingdom and North-West Europe in the Second World War and have no known graves.
They were part of a glorious and far larger company who laid down their lives for freedom; and this memorial is one of many others, built wherever the battle raged, so that they may never be forgotten.  Twenty thousand four hundred and fifty-five names are recorded on these stones; and all races and communities of the British Commonwealth have here their representatives.
It is very fitting that those who rest in nameless graves should be remembered in this place.  For it was in those fields of Runnymede seven centuries ago that our forefathers first planted a seed of liberty which helped to spread across the earth the conviction that man should be free and not enslaved.  And when the life of this belief was threatened by the iron hand of tyranny, their successors came forward without hesitation to fight, and if it was demanded of them, to die for its salvation.  As only free men can, they knew the value of that for which they fought, and that the price was worth paying.
They were not alone in knowledge and sacrifice.  At this very hour a memorial porch is being unveiled in Chelmsford Cathedral to commemorate some of those American airmen who fought together with us against the same aggression.
With prophetic insight Pope wrote of this hill on which we stand:
“On Cooper’s Hill eternal wreaths shall grow
While lasts the mountain, or while Thames
shall flow”.
Indeed the heroism of each will be remembered for as long as this memorial shall stand.  But that which was done by all will, with God’s help, still be remembered when these stones have crumbled to dust.  For wherever and for as long as freedom flourishes on earth, and men and women who posses it will thank them and say that they did not die in vain.  This is their true and everlasting memorial."
Although I’ve visited the memorial several times, because I don’t do heights I’ve never climbed up the spiral staircase to the top, but yesterday I did!  It wasn’t too bad as the wall with an iron guard on top is quite high and made me feel much safer while I took photographs
 The pictures of Heathrow Airport were taken from the first landing and as we climbed further to the top I looked down on this beautiful window ...
The window is engraved with words from Psalm 139 (New International Version which is sometimes referred to as the Airman’s Psalm.  Although difficult to see in this picture the window is also engraved with angels and vapour trails taken from actual photographs of the sky during the Battle of Britain.
If I climb up into Heaven, Thou art there; 

The engraved window below is in the gallery on the top landing before stepping outside and was written by a student Paul H Scott just after the memorial was completed ...
Looking back at the entrance to the memorial where George is waiting patiently with NP’s canines Meg and Penny and of course our Molly.

A very rare picture indeed of even one of us let alone both of us together! (taken by another sightseer on the roof).
Still Rockin’ in her mooring far, far below ...
… and St Andrew’s Church in the village of Wraysbury
Looking west is the National Trust rangers building on the river side which sits opposite the memorial lodge and Magna Carta commemorative pier both designed by Edward Lutyens
… and looking east is the curve of the River Thames beside the busy A308 and London’s water supply in Wraysbury Reservoir alongside Heathrow Airport
The familiar arch at Wembley in the misty distance beyond Heathrow.
Looking south-east we can see the 100-foot drop of SAW The Ride at Thorpe Park, Chertsey
Also taken from the top of the building we can now see Meg and Molly waiting not so patiently!
Looking back as Sue and I leave the Air Forces Memorial.
The whole building with its stone walls full of the names of fallen airmen during WWII is amazing, it’s so peaceful yet so sad but beautiful.
Reunited with George and the canines we walk back down the hill via the path and across the fields to the park where we enjoy ice cream/lolly curtesy of Sue who remembered to carry some cash!
It was a good day.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

To another historic place

George returned the hire car yesterday morning and popped into Windsor for a few supplies
… before we untied from our mooring and headed for the water point
So it was 11:15 by the time we were cruising past Windsor Castle
Past the Crown Estate and through Victoria Bridge

and descending Old Windsor Lock
A couple of miles later passing the site where the Magna Carta was probably signed
… and seeing the Airforces Memorial at the top of Coopers Hill

Back up mooring is free if the pole position is not!

… and it wasn’t!  We turned upstream and moored up
We are of course moored at Runnymede and this is our view upstream
The view downstream this morning promises a sunshiny day!

Update from our vet visit on Monday - Molly has been having ‘bad’ days more frequently lately; her sight is worse on these days because of the high pressure in her eyes due to glaucoma.  This gives her a nasty headache and she usually takes herself off to sleep until she’s feeling a bit better.  The ophthalmologist advised us to use the Travatan drops if we see either or both of her eyes ‘cloudy’ and repeat after 30 minutes, this in addition to the 4 x daily Travatan drops prescribed.  This seems to be working for the time being, but as the vet always tells us, Molly will outlive her eyes.  All we can do for the moment is to fend off that time for as long as we can.  If it becomes too much for Molly the decision will have to be made to remove her eyes therefore removing all the pain but giving her quality of life albeit a blind one.  We can cope with that.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Out and about ...

Saturday morning here in Windsor
… dawned chilly but with a lovely sunrise promising another good day … summer continues down south!
A family friend came to see us and we went out for a short cruise past Windsor Castle and the Home Park to Victoria Bridge and back to our original mooring.

Saturday night we spent a couple of hours at the George Inn at Eton with Sue and Vic (No Problem XL) and on Sunday we hosted a roast lunch on the deck of Still Rockin’.

Today we had an appointment for Molly at the ophthalmologist at the Vet Specialists in Hitchen, Herts.  We’d hired a car but the appointment wasn’t until 3:30 so where could we go in the car?  I looked at the map and realised that Cowroast wasn’t very far off the route to Hitchen so I rang Jaq to ask if she and Les were up for a visit.  Yes, she said we’d love to see you!
 Dear Sir and his best beloved.  They were so pleased to see us, in fact Les said that he was dying to see us (no words are forbidden in this boat).  We weren’t their only visitors this morning either ...
 Marilyn and David are in the UK for a few weeks and had called to give Les some grief (as was expected and accepted by Les)!
We spent a lovely couple of hours with this very special, brave couple and we sincerely hope that Les will stay around long enough for us to visit him a few more times at least until his birthday next year!
It was turned 6pm when we arrived back in Windsor after a busy but very rewarding day.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

To the Castle

Friday morning 7:30 and the sun’s ray is like a laser on the river
… and in the other direction plays with the light and shade and reflection
Not an early start for us and just the one lock today at Bovney 
Immediately below the lock we turn into the weir stream for water ...
… opposite the racecourse.  
The sky is blue and it’s lovely and warm
It’s less that a mile from the lock to our destination and we can hardly believe that the whole mooring is empty!
We are of course at Windsor Castle … wonderful!

An hour or so after tying up Sue and Vic arrived behind us, it’s good to see them again and plans were made to go out for a meal on Saturday evening … another good day!