It was very windy yesterday morning (Dec 30) but strangely warm as I set off for a circular walk across the Thames. The River is high and the pontoon on which we're moored has risen about 10". We're floating freely on long(ish) ropes for when the water decreases so that hopefully we don't settle at a disagreeable angle.
George has gone off to collect our visitor for over the New Year and today I'm on my own catching up with houseboat work and preparing a meal for when they return this evening.
All four sluices are open here and the water flowing furiously - compare the rush of water with how it was on December 18th when the stream was decreasing (orange boards)
The two sluices nearest the lock were both open too. I've never seen all six open at the same time before. You can see in the top left-hand corner that there is a 'red board' on the lock side which advises boaters not to navigate because the strong flow is dangerous.
Taken above the two sluices you can see where this flow meets the water cascading from the four below
Debris caught in the sluice gate
The lower part of Hambleden Lock landing is submerged too.
I really enjoyed my walk that morning becoming very warm indeed inside my long 'down' coat eventually opening the whole of the zip and letting it fly open. I do enjoy walking in the wind!
Thursday 14th December was my birthday and I had the usual phone call from my daughter to sing happy birthday to me and went on to tell me that unfortunately she'd inadvertently put my birthday present into the parcel of Christmas presents sent to my brother where George and I will be spending Christmas this year and I have to admit I was disappointed. I had a lovely day though with long phone calls from the grand children catching up with lots of their gossip and busy lives.
In the evening George and I went to Cote Brasserie in Marlow for a meal. That was eventful because a few minutes after starting to eat I spilt a whole glass of very expensive wine onto my plate! OMG. The manager was passing the table as it happened and immediately went into action taking away the spoilt meal and arranging for another to be cooked and served and for the potato covered wine glass to be removed and renewed - with wine! He mentioned wine jus but the amount on the plate he thought a bit excessive! After that calamity we had a very relaxed evening and took a taxi home.
Friday was gym as usual and time taken to write Christmas cards and get my daughter's family Christmas present ready to post on the morrow. We also had a Tesco delivery in the afternoon. I'd ordered a meal deal and that was in the oven cooking when the was a load knocking on the boat. It was dark and as I reached the stern I could see three faces beyond that I did not expect to see at all. My daughter, my eldest grand daughter and her boyfriend on a surprise visit! Oh, how wonderful! Rob and Louise went off to get some food and I turned the oven off 'till they returned. Once cooked we sat and ate our meals and had a lovely evening together. They were staying in High Wycombe until Sunday so we had the whole weekend together. Fantastic!
Saturday morning Louise and Rob renewed the bird feeders whilst I cooked breakfast for everyone
... before Robert drove us Marlow for a look at the shops and a walk along the river and then on to Henley for pretty much the same but stopping for a quick bite to eat before returning to Still Rockin' with take-aways from Waitrose. We spent a really enjoyable evening with food and wine and lots of laughter.
This morning (Sunday) we were collected and driven to Henley once again this time to The Catherine Wheel (Whetherspoons) for breakfast. Not done that before but will definitely do it again! Rob kindly dropped us back at the marina at about 11 am before starting the long journey home.
When we got back to the boat I found an envelope left by my daughter with a very nice voucher inside for my currently favourite shop - can't wait now to spend it! So all in all a brilliant birthday.
And last but certainly not least - thanks to the many family members and facebook friends who sent birthday wishes via fb, much appreciated!