Sunday, 22 April 2018

On a hot day ...

Friday (20th April) we decided a walk was in order, a circular walk along a permissive route towards Mill End, Hambleden and back via the Thames path (towpath)
 The chestnut trees are coming into bud and the chandeliers standing proud
 Culham Chapel stands in the ground of Culham Court over the river
 More giant snowdrops
 Pretend we're in France and these are sunflowers!
The current house (Culham Court) was built around 1770 for London lawyer Richard Mitchell after the original house was burned down "due to the carelessness of workmen" during repairs.  The house has had many owners since then and in 2007 Urz Schwarzenback, a Swiss banker, purchased it for £35million.
 This house looks straight off Grand Designs. I love the rusty metal gates but not sure of the rusty buildings.
 We can see Hambleden Marina in the distance and decide to pay a visit to see what it looks like without its winter mooring boats
 It all looks very different!
 That was our space just in front of the last boat on the left of the mill stream
 Houseboat Gypsy Willow in her summer mooring spot and lots of small cruisers over on the island pontoons
 Marc Director/Manager of the marina was having problems with the crane, so we didn't disturb him, it looks as if he's got enough on his plate.
 On the way back to Medmenham we pass Hambleden Place a cluster of beautiful properties (this one has dragons) and can be seen from the Thames as we cruise
 Very early bluebells
 Great views over Hambleden Valley to the Chilterns
 The gate is at the entrance to Medmenham meadows 
... and just beyond is a 'beach' where we used to bring Molly for a paddle and to cool off.  The smaller pictures are of Molly with Floyd and Fletcher, Joe and Lesley's (nb Yarwood) labs at this beach, when we spent some time with them on the Thames in September 2015.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Night sky and sunset

This was the night sky just after 8pm on Wednesday 18th April before we left the marina the following morning.  
The photo on the right we think is Venus (click on the link to the Jodrell Bank Centre Night Sky for April).

Looking west after sunset on the 19th and given a very low western horizon, one might be able to spot Venus lying below a very thin crescent Moon, just two days after new.


This was the view looking in the same direction at 05:30 on the 19th and wonder if this could be Hyades - any astrologers out there?
 One last photo of Still Rockin' in her winter mooring.


We were amazed once we'd moored up on Medmenham meadow how busy the river was especially as for the past 10 days the river was on red boards (do not navigate) for 7 locks above this reach and 6 locks below which meant that the only reach navigable was actually this one!
 Our walk in the afternoon (both of us wearing t-shirt and shorts) was a new found one heading towards Marlow

 ... but we turned back at this gate and it was just a bit too gloopy!
 A Song Thrush egg George found on the verge
 View through the window from inside Still Rockin'!!!
An absolutely glorious sunset ... 
this is what I've missed most whilst in the marina because the 
out-of-the-water cruisers blocked the view.
Perfect!

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Freedom!

Our bid for freedom started at 08:30 this morning
 ... as we reversed away from our home pontoon
 George expertly steered us, still in reverse through the narrow stream past the cruisers and through the weir stream where the craning in of the small cruisers is just about to commence.
 ... and here we go heading downstream, the current is still lively but the turns have been ok
 Approaching Culham Court
 ... and its wonderful display of daffodils and narcissi 
 It all looks very calm!
 That's our space and it's not quite 9am yet!
 George doing is 'happy to be here' dance!
 ... and by 10:15 we've got our feet up in the sunshine
 ... with fantastic views
 We went for a walk this afternoon, there are some stunning houses here
And this is what he's waited for since the end of October

Cheers!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Did we, or didn't we?


The river level has dropped by about 6" since yesterday





... but red boards are still displayed on Hambleden Lock for the reach above














This is the EA's report at 12:30 today ... the only plus point is that Hambleden to Hurley is the direction we want to go and on that reach the stream is decreasing ... but is that enough?






What else has been going on whilst we decide whether to go or stay?
Houseboat Gypsy Willow has been moved to her summer mooring pontoon

 ... and Marc and Richard have been moving other boats

 to their permanent moorings.

 Ben came with spaniel Finley to say cheerio
and George took a walk to see what the main stream was doing to help us make the decision on what we should do. 

This afternoon I was 'tagged' in a facebook post from the Harbour-master of the non-tidal Thames who had visited Hambleden lock today ... he says ... 
"With improved weather, levels and flow continuing to fall. Red warnings gradually being replaced by yellows. Flow at Maidenhead now 85 cubic metres (85,000 litres) per second. River still lively - as you can see from this slo-mo clip Hambleden Weir tip gates doing their thing. Stay in touch with latest river conditions here: http://riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/"
Along with his comments, the EA's update at 5:30 and our own observations, we've made the decision to stay tonight and leave early in the morning.  We're only going about half a mile and we're hoping that the water will be a little less lively then.  Wish us luck!