Monday, 24 June 2019

A weekend of surprise visitors ...

We're still at our favourite, peaceful mooring and guess what ...
 it was bbq time (Thursday 21st) of course and summer solstice too!

A couple of hours afterwards as the bbq was cooling down ...
 we had our first visitors ... they're very curious ...

 This one actually licked the top and jumped away, startling the others ... the bbq fell over and George managed to retrieve it and persuade the cows to be on their way.
 The sun going down behind the trees 9 o'clock
George is playing with some coloured LED lights on the rear deck so that we can stay up there in the evenings but the lights don't quite reach the back of the deck where we would be sitting and they are also blinding if you looked directly at them ... time for a rethink.
We first walked into Sutton Courtenay back in 2017 when we saw this beautiful house being re-thatched
  and today (Saturday 22nd)  it was looking spectacular!
 It's a walk of about two miles each way through some lovely countryside.
 Just after 8pm the calves made a return visit ... they're a mixture of bulls and heifers ...
 and they just loved being petted ...
 so much so that ...
 they were reluctant to leave and once again had to be persuaded!
 Yesterday's dawn (Sunday) was very peaceful and calm, not a breath of wind.

We were having a 'clean-up' day and I had the vacuum cleaner out when I noticed through the window that a boat was coming alongside ... what the ** I thought ... who would do that without being invited ...

It was nb Milly M ... Maffi and the lovely Susan and not forgetting Molly too.  The vacuum cleaner was soon moved away and they were invited in for a cuppa and we had a lovely catchup too.  
They were on a mission and couldn't stay long but it was so good to see Maffi and the slimline Molly again and to meet Susan for the first time of hopefully many more.

Once they'd cruised away the clean-up continued and was soon accomplished and the remainder of Sunday was spent relaxing in the now very humid heat ... there are thunderstorms forecast over the next few days ... 

but for today (it's now Monday the 24th June) we shall be on the move again ourselves.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

A dawn start and a tranquil journey

Looking upstream from Wallingford visitor moorings at 5am on Thursday (20th June) as I make our morning cuppa ...
and downstream at 6:15 as we're preparing to leave

The River Thames has been fast flowing for the last couple of weeks due to heavy rain and approaching locks past fast running weirs is always a little tricky particularly here at Benson where a wide berth has to be taken and there is no solid barrier against the strong weir flow.
Once through Benson Lock we pass Benson Marine, base of Le Boat hire cruisers. 

MerlinV, a cruiser funded by The Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown.
Shillingford Bridge ...
and the obligatory photo of the imposing Shillingford Court where part of the property has recently been sold, subject to contract HERE
Where the River Thame converges with the River Thames
Waiting below Days Lock

First time for a couple of years that we've seen boats moored on the meadows above Days Lock ... Sue mentions that the 'new' owner of this land has put it up for sale ... let's hope that the next 'new' owner  continues to allow moorings, even paid ones, and also allows access to the moorers to access the beautiful village of Dorchester, another location for the TV series Midsomer Murders.
Clifton Hampden Bridge with its six Gothic Arches built circa 1864
Sharp right here ... the Le Boat has come from the opposite direction and has turned in front of us ... not sure if we can both fit into Clifton Hampden Lock ...

we did ... just!

I asked the crew of the Le Boat if they'd been to  the Plough pub, they had, and also stayed overnight there.  It's something we've not done ... so next time we're this way ... perhaps.
The forecast is rain about midday (it's now 9:50)
Over to our left we can see the Grade II listed Church of St Peter and St Paul in the village of Appleford on Thames.

Approaching Culham Lock we can see part of Old Culham Bridge on our left ...
whilst we travel under the same bridge into the lock cut to the right which is actually Swift Ditch. The stone bridge which was built circa 1418 played a key role in the English Civil War in 1645 known as The Battle of Culham Bridge ... read more HERE
Beautiful poppies in the grass verge above Culham Lock ...
and a pair of Pheasants as we moor up near Sutton Courtenay at 10:45 ... mission accomplished ... without getting wet!

Nice views too as we sat on the deck revelling in the peace and quiet of this mooring ...

until the rowers came ... or more importantly the noisy coach in his noisy motor boat!

We shall stay here over the weekend.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

To Wallingford

 Friday we treated ourselves to a meal out at the John Barleycorn in Goring ... salmon wellington for me and pork chops for George - both very tasty.
 Sunset on Sunday (16th June) below Goring Lock
 8 o'clock Monday morning George cast off from Goring visitor moorings while I walked up to operate the lock where I found the top gates and sluices open ... a naughty boater!
Goring has lovely lock garden borders ... lots of plants for bees and pollinators.
 Goring weirs
 Even this early there are boats on the move
 Mrs Grebe and her chicks in the choppy water ... it's a bit windy today!
 Cleve Lock next just ¼ mile upstream of Goring ... and these gates have been left open too ... who just came through there then?  The blue hire boat Ambassador!
We've had foamy suds like these skimming past Still Rockin' all the while we've been moored at Goring!
 This made both of us laugh out loud ... the cormorant in the middle looks like a penguin!
 The Greylag family

 We had a lovely time last year at this mooring visiting North and South Stoke.
 Approaching Wallingford Bridge ... our destination ... and I can see a familiar boat through the arch ...
 it's Helen and Andy Tidy on Wandering Bark ... and the Jam Butty. We popped by to say hello on our way back from shopping, but unfortunately they'd left.
Wallingford Town Centre ... home of Agatha Christie and the town of Causton in Midsomer Murders
St Peter's, a redundant Anglican church now used as a music centre stands in a narrow lane near Wallingford Bridge