Saturday, 28 November 2020

Still Rockin' for sale ...

It seems like a long time since we left our lovely floating home of the past 6 years at Kennet and Thames Marina on the 4th August and a lot has been going on in our lives since then which I'll blog about over the next few weeks.

Unfortunately for us and due to Covid and all the vagaries that the pandemic has caused Still Rockin' is still for sale.

For more information and video please click this link (will open in a new window)    Thames and Kennet Marina, Reading.  So please, dear reader, spread the word - help us to find Still Rockin a new owner.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Ne'er a backward glance!

Tuesday (4th August) our last day aboard Still Rockin' ...
 5:45 and it was already very warm ... it will be a long day today.

Last minute things that we've needed over the last few days since the boat was virtually emptied into the removal van ... bedding, clothes, towels, tools, etc., ensuring that every drawer, cupboard and storage place was empty (you'd be surprised how much we found there too!).  
 It was 12:40 by the time we were ready to cast off for the last time
 and reversed from our secluded mooring at Wargrave, winded and continued upstream.

Whilst George steered, starting from the bow and between locks, I was on my hands and knees washing the floor of each room.
 Just two to do today ... Shiplake where we took on water and disposed of the rubbish and the pretty Sonning Bridge with it's low and narrow span needs a careful approach from which ever direction you're heading.
4pm and we're heading into Thames and Kennet Marina with only a vague idea of where we needed to go.
We pulled onto the service pontoon and rang Guy (sales) who met us and ... asked George to back off from this pontoon, do a 180° turn, continue forwards until the bow is nearly under the trees and then reverse onto the other side of the same pontoon squeezing Still Rockin's stern into a space of about 11'10" (SR is 11'6" wide). This manoeuvre was executed perfectly by George whilst Guy took photos ready for the sales brochure.
 There was the bow of another boat less than 6" away from the gate of Still Rockin' on the left above and he never touched it.

A perfect last manoeuvre of our lovely floating home for the past six years.
Once moored up I of course needed photos ... here looking over the marina from the end of the pontoon ... does anything look familiar to any of my readers ... look closely about the middle of those boats opposite ... 
 I couldn't quite believe my eyes ... talk about coming full circle ... there is Rock 'n' Roll the first boat we had built for us way back in 2007 ... we were happy to leave Still Rockin' here with her sister boat.

Time now to move all the remaining 'stuff' from here to the car and again quart and pint pot came to mind.  I'm good at packing though and was able to fit it all into our small car and still allow George to use the rearview mirror, so all was good.

And the ne'er a backward glance?  I was at the car loading with George making several journeys with our belongings in a trolley and once all packed we picked up a take-a-way tea from the marina bar and set off on our two hour drive home.  So focussed were we that it was ten minutes or so later that we realised that we'ed never even looked back at Still Rockin' ... another adventure awaits us.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

I thought I'd lost it for good ...

 but found it again ...
Google disowned me!  It didn't recognise me as the author of my blog. Each time I clicked on the 'B' blogger sign on the blog's front page it gave me a reading list but no access to update or post a new blog.  I tried every which way and I'm not sure what I did but there it was ... I was in!  I still can't access my blog from the front page but that may be the new 'Blogger' format ... I'm a happy bunny now that I can tell you what's going on in life beyond Still Rockin' ... on the original blogger format!  

Our daughter suggested that a new blog should be started ... 'Rockin' On' ... what do you think? 

But before I get ahead of myself ... we were moored at Bourne End when we spoke last (here) ...
We finished all our packing ... 
I shall miss all the different early morning views ...
and the wide open skies.
Hopefully, we'll still see some wonderful moons ...
from wherever we decide to put down some roots.

On Friday (July 31st) our son and grandson arrived with a Luton van to collect all our boxes and furniture and loaded them up ...  quart into a pint pot came to mind!  It was a very hot day and the AC in the van was not working which made the journeys for them very uncomfortable indeed.  

George and I followed in the car arriving at the bungalow about lunchtime ... first thing was fish and chips from the Chinese round the corner ... delicious!  The van was quickly unloaded mainly into the small second bedroom and Mark and Ed set off to return the van and go home.  From the bungalow it's only a 45 minute drive to their home ... fab!

George and I stayed behind to unpack a few things and then went for a meal to George's sister's home ... just a 5 minute drive away ... another fab! It was then the two and a half hour drive back to Bourne End arriving about 9:30 absolutely shattered!

We spent another two days sorting out the last bits and pieces and doing the last few jobs  and we were ready to leave for the marina ...
7 am on Monday (3rd August) as quietly as we could we untied the ropes and pulled away from the visitor moorings at Bourne End and ...
this happened ... a flock (if that's the right word) of cormorants flew alongside us ...
A month or so ago during our time at Medmenham meadows early one morning I counted 46 cormorants fly past the boat upstream, I told George about it but didn't post on here as I thought no one would believe me!  A few weeks later George also saw the same event but not quite so many birds.
Vic came out to say a last cheerio as we cruised alongside, we'd said our cheerios to them both last evening ... we know that Sue isn't an early riser!
Looking downstream ...
as we made the turn in the river to head upstream ...
when we saw this lone black swan ... not seen him on the river before, only on the Little Briton Lake nearby.
The cormorants were diving and popping up all over the place!
We wondered if they were from the area between the meadow and Hurley Lock where we saw a nest of young cormorants being fed by a parent (see blog post here and photo here).
We were soon approaching Marlow Lock ...
George is about to untie the bow rope in nearly full lock as I operate the buttons.
At Temple Lock I helped this lady who was single handing her widebeam for the first time, she was lovely and very grateful for the help and advice I was able to offer her.
Passing Medmenham Abbey ... a view that will always remain in my memory ...
and 'our' now empty mooring on the meadow.
Past Hambleden Marina our winter home for the past five years ... we shall miss the staff here ... Marc, Director and day to day manager and Richard, Peter (owner) and Karin ... and we wish them well for the future.
My 'last' photo of the beautiful Hambleden Mill from the river is photo bombed by this passing cruiser as we approach the lock ...
where seven boats waited to descend as we exited.
Although the photo doesn't show it, the lavender on Temple Island was vivid in the morning sunshine.
Henley on Thames ...
with it's fabulous waterfront ...
bridge and buildings ...
and Friday Street with it's fascinatingly wonderful old buildings ...
as we approach our last lock of the day, Marsh Lock.

We moored at Wargrave for the night and moved on the following day  .... but that's for the next post!

Thursday, 30 July 2020

So ... what next?

Sunday (26th) was a great day for us ... our first visitor onboard since lockdown ... our son Mark came to visit and stay overnight ... it was wonderful!

The following morning ...

we took down the windbreak, pulled the mooring pins and left our mooring of three months at Medmenham Meadow, turning to head downstream ...

First lock since the end of October 2019 at Hurley where Mark is waiting to open sluices to let us down ...
There's another boat waiting to use the lock so we don't need to close the sluices and gates.

Arriving at Temple Lock where a single-hander is in the lock and I see him through and set the lock for us ...

Lucky again ... here comes another boat so we hop back on board leaving the gates open
Cruising through Bisham.  I phoned ahead to see what the situation was with the moorings at our destination and had been told by Sue, No Problem that the moorings at Bourne End were full ... oh nooo!
and approaching Marlow church and bridge ... I love this scene!

We pull in at the lock landing and although the self service sign was showing there appeared to be someone operating the locks, he turned out to be an EA (Environment Agency) worker, not the lock keeper.
Waiting at Marsh Lock Marlow
There were two cruisers coming towards us so using the zoom on my camera I had a look to see what was going on at our proposed mooring and could see that there was just one boat there now but right in the middle.  Fortunately a few minutes after pulling along- side No Problem the boat left and we were able to moor up.
I would love to live here.

Later in the day I could see something that appeared to be stopped in mid-channel ... not sure what it is but it certainly wouldn't go through a lock like that!
Noisy geese, I hope they don't hang about for long!

So, what next for George and me?  

We're currently packing up Still Rockin' and will move all our belongings to our little bungalow in Loggerheads tomorrow (Friday 31st July).  We will return here afterwards to clean through the boat and do some last minute little jobs and on Tuesday 4th August will take Still Rockin' to Tingdene's Thames and Kennet Marina in Reading to be put into brokerage so that we can get on with our new adventure.
So, what is our new adventure I hear you ask?

We're going to retire!

When we decided to retire from paid employment way back in 2006 we wanted to 'get out of the rat race' and do something different ... to go boating ... and what a wonderful time we've had over the years both on our narrowboat Rock 'n' Roll and widebeam Still Rockin'.

So now ... we want to experience retirement from the land.

We've purchased a car and rented a property, and when Still Rockin' has sold will buy a property hopefully somewhere in the Midlands not too far from a canal so that we can meet up with some of our blogging/ boating friends and maybe help them through a few locks.  

Having a car will enable us to explore the countryside, visit National Trust properties and non-blogging/boating relatives and friends (we both come from Stoke-on-Trent).  We'll be able to visit the likes of York and other cities for long weekends without worrying about finding a safe mooring to leave Still Rockin' and do whatever, and go wherever we want.  

That's the plan!  So all you boaters our there ... contact me via the blog if you're going to be on the Shroppie, Caldon, Staffs and Worc, Trent and Mersey so that we might meet up, help through locks and have a boating fix ... have no doubts ... we will surely miss boating ... but are now ready to try something different ... for us.

We shall continue to read the blogs and I'll update mine from to time, so it's not goodbye ... just cheerio for now!