Saturday, 20 May 2017

Timed just right

We've done all we had to do at the visitor moorings below Marlow Lock.   A couple of years ago mooring here was quiet, boats cruised sedately towards the lock, after all there's a pair of huge heavy wooden gates ahead of them and no need for rushing.  The last three times here have been very different with boats including narrowboats going hell for leather (where does that saying come from?) and bashing the moored boats against the pontoons.
So we decided yesterday morning to make an early start and were up and out by 07:20, I walked ahead to set the lock to find this boat on the lock landing with no intention of using the lock, it had obviously been there all night.  George is hovering in midstream until the gates are open.
 Still Rockin' is in Marlow Lock and I've pushed the button to open the sluices and let the water in to raise the boat.
 Visitor moorings available above the lock this morning and if we hadn't been desperate for water we would have stayed another day.
 Looking back it's still a pretty picture even on a dull, damp morning

 It's a pity we're not staying as it's Pub-in-the-Park time, it's a shame though that the weather today is the same as the last few days, rain, rain and more rain.
 The rowers don't mind getting wet though

These are for Vallypee who I discovered from her latest travelogue Faring to France in a Shoe ...
 did a barge handling course here at Bisham Abbey in I think 2001.
 Temple Lock next
 They've got their hands full there!
Passing Harleyford Manor and marina

 ... and beautiful steam boat Alaska next to this incongruous restaurant boat

 As we prepare for the left turn into Hurley Lock we see this burnt-out cruiser has been retrieved from the river
I've set Hurley Lock and opened the gates and walked back on the towpath to take these pictures ... Peter Freebody & Co have been building beautiful wooden boats for over 500 years - very impressive. Click on the link above for some delightful videos of the boatyard, their lovely boats and surroundings.

 Staff at the boatyard appear to be preparing trip boat Genevieve possibly to take to Marlow for the Pub-in-the-Park event
From Hurley Lock I could see this widebeam moored on the water point and just knew he'd been there all night, the owners were up and about and getting ready to move off, probably a bit earlier than they would have if we'd not been waiting for the space.
While the tank was filling ...  a happy, noisy group of children ready for a day of fun on the river
 ... a coot sitting on eggs
 ... and a damp campsite - and I wondered if those children were staying there

This canoeist was in the weir stream white water getting a ducking under the open sluices and bobbing up again
 ... and going in again for more - he must be mad!
 I spotted about six Mandarin ducks walking up the towpath as we cruised on
 A pretty setting on the river
 and a familiar sight for Thames boaters - click here and here for more information
 ... onto one of our favourite River Thames moorings
 ... on the open meadow at Medmenham (pronounced Medenam according to Wikipedia)
 ... where we're only disturbed by the sounds of sheep and geese (more disturbing are the mounds of poo they leave at every opportunity)

Believe it or not, these are the first lambs we've seen this year.  This one was very lame and I rang the moorings warder to ask him to let the farmer know who soon came to find the poor thing.
We were safely moored up by 11:15 having cruised 3.5 miles through 3 locks all unmanned because we did them all before 9am. 

It was good because I've cricked my back again and although it's much better I couldn't have coped with trying to get ropes onto lock bollards from deep in the lock so we put the bow ropes of the roof from where I could lift them with my special boat hook to secure them on the lock side as I operate the gates and sluices ... no pressure from lockies and other boaters.

We managed the cruise without getting wet but the forecasted rain soon arrived once again.
 Just after 2 the rain dried up and the sun appeared
 ... chasing away those pesky clouds, and we spent a very relaxing afternoon watching a couple of films on Netflix.


Vallypee said...

Ooh, Carol! I'm catching up with your posts and just read this one...thanks for thinking of me! Yes! I was at Bisham Abbey in 2001! I did a lovely course on a narrowboat, not that it helped me much with the waterways here, but I really enjoyed it! I love your picture posts. England is so glorious in the spring.

Carol said...

Glad that you're enjoying the posts Val (Vally?). I'm better with pictures than words.x