6-am yesterday morning - a sight to behold
Just after 8 George carefully untied Still Rockin' and pulled out our mooring pins, gave a big push out on the stern to bring our bow out from behind this narrowboat that had squeezed under the tree during a heavy rain storm last night and ...
... glided in reverse quietly past No Problem
20 minutes later approaching Mapledurham Lock we see that something is happening today ... British Canoe Club racing
We slowed to tick-over and I went onto the bow for instructions from the marshalling boats.
We were asked to keep over to the left of the navigation whilst they attempted to keep all the very young canoeists on the right ... not an easy job!
Mapledurham Lock is on the right of the river so once we were safely past the canoes now lining up for the first race of the two-day event, we manoeuvred across the river to the lock which was still on self service.
That post box has now gone, I wonder who took it and where it'll appear next?
Coming into Reading and Caversham Bridge
... under the Millennium Pedestrian Bridge and Reading Road Bridge to Caversham Lock.
Once through the lock we headed for Tesco hoping for a mooring there but ready to breast up to another boat if necessary. A cruiser was just pulling away so we managed to get in there tying up to trees at both bow and stern. Shopping done we pulled out, winded and headed upstream again
... to Better Boating to take on water and a new gas bottle, it was busy as usual especially as we shared the water pressure with wide beam hire boat Geanna that the owners were preparing for its next hire.
Water tank full and gas canister installed we winded again and once again cruised past the Tesco moorings ... most of these boats are taking the p**s again, testing the system of maximum mooring of 24-hours for Tesco customers. It's happened before and it took years before 'they' (whoever who ever has responsibility for managing the moorings) got the very overstayers to move on and now there's a new lot for 'them' causing problems for shoppers who only wish to stay an hour or so.
Reading doesn't have a good reputation for visiting boats as there are very few short term moorings available on this whole stretch of river. Surely it would be sensible for the authorities to manage the situation better, opening up the moorings by the festival park (currently displaying 'No Mooring' signs) and employing a mooring warden to collect fees (we'd pay) from visiting boats. We used to stay quite often on these moorings in the past and walk into Reading for a spot of retail therapy but can no longer count on getting any sort of mooring here these days. Rant over ... for now!
Whilst we Tesco shopped Sue and Vic passed us and we caught up with them above Sonning Lock, but the area behind and in front of them was too shallow for us to moor safely
... so we headed back upstream to better space - looking (oops
Since first thing this morning the weather has been undecided, warm but damp and it wasn't long after we were moored up that the rain came and boy did it come down, it rained well into the early hours of this morning and we now wonder if the river conditions will change to 'Stream Increasing' and cruising will become a little more challenging.