Sunday, 16 June 2019

Barley in the Breeze ...

It's Wednesday (12th June) and it's still raining at our Beale Park Mooring ... when we heard the familiar sound of ...
fuel boat Merchant with Chris and Stanley on board.  
We had been looking out for him but really didn't know that he'd be this way today so it was good for him and for us.  This photo was taken as they were leaving and Stanley's face says that he really didn't want to leave Still Rockin' the biscuits behind!
An hour later hotel boat African Queen came by in the pouring rain ... it always amazes me that the boat has to be steered from outside.

It has rained for nearly the whole three days we've been here except for a few hours on Thursday afternoon when we managed to step off SR and take a short walk through the wet meadow to blow away the cobwebs and cabin fever!
Time to move on on Friday (14th) but not too far so it was 9:45 when we pulled the pins ...
and continued upstream on yet another dull but so far dry day
Through Twyford Railway Bridge ...
where on the other side even the cows were undecided what the weather was going to do next!
Have I told you before? ...
how much I love this reach of the River Thames?

Nearly there ...
just half an hour later we're at our destination, Goring, where there are loads of mooring spaces to choose from.  It wasn't long before the heavy rain returned and all the spaces were occupied.

Saturday morning was a shopping and washing day ... it's been too wet to get washing dry so I'm hoping that today's the day ... and it was thank goodness! 
But not on Sunday morning ...
look ... a giant duck waiting for the lock and getting drenched!
It cleared up after lunch so off for a walk ...


This Blue Plaque caught my eye on the building which is now The Boathouse Dental Surgery.  Samual Saunders was a boat builder here from 1894 to 1911, was the founder of Saro Ltd of Cowes and a pioneer of air and marine craft.





The view of Samuel Saunders' boat building from the river
The Swan at Streatley still under refurbishment was supposed to open during the summer of 2018 but now it's apparently summer 2019 ... there still seems to be a lot to do though.
We walked to the top of the hill to the crossroads and turned right ...
Grade II listed 17th century ... Place Manor, Streatley
Townsend Farm first appeared on the census in 1851 ...






and we turn right into Townsend Road
Houses along here are are all different styles and sizes but the one thing they would have in common is that they'd be expensive!







We arrive at huge barley fields ... and in today's wind looks amazing ...
Wonderful!
Our walk eventually takes us down the hill and back to the River Thames ...
with Cleeve Weir on our left and ...
Goring Lock on our right
We continue our walk back towards the High Street and called in to 





... the Parish Church of St Mary's ...








There's been a church on this site since Saxon times and maybe even earlier
Back over the bridge by Goring Lock (we're moored to the right of here) we can see the late George Michael's home.

Time to move on tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

A disappointment and a usually magic mooring ...

Once again rain was forecast for late morning on Tuesday (11th) ...
 so we were up and on our way by 7:45 in an attempt to get some miles done before the heavens opened again.

 Continuing upstream as we approach Sonning Bridge with it's stationary early morning traffic I can see the tower of St Andrew's Church which we visited yesterday when I noticed that the mooring immediately before the bridge by the wooden railings is a free 24-hour space (our moorings were £10 per night which apparently goes to local charities).

 Through the narrow(ish) bridge I notice that a boat, probably a cruiser, has lost part of its canvas hood.
 As I was seeing George through Sonning Lock it started to drip with rain ...

 and 10 minutes later it was lashing down ...
 but it looks better ahead.
 Left here for the Kennet and Avon Canal ... but not for us ...
 we can see in the distance that Reading's Tesco moorings are practically empty ... the mooring charges are obviously deterring what I call 'community boats' from staying there permanently.



I probably take a picture of the above every time we come this way ... if I ignore the fact that it's a boat in the water, I could imagine it being a quaint country cottage in the woods!





 The 'community boats' are still here but thankfully not on the shopping pontoon.

 Heading for Caversham Lock landing and George drops me off to empty the lock and open the tail gates and as he comes in the lock keeper arrives for work and takes over so I get onboard and we're soon on our way again. 
 Looking back at Caversham Bridge ...
 as we approach Reading Bridge built in 1923 ...
with its two elegant arches ...
 and beautiful mouldings.
 Another steel and glass monstrosity!
 My Pinks and Lavender smell wonderful!
 Not seen Grebe's nesting before
 This is rather strange mooring, I'm assuming that the anchor is on the end of the bow rope as it wasn't moving in our wake at all.
 I'm not at all sure which way the tree is going to fall, but I think the chap holding the rope needs to take care!

 The Post Box is still there!
 Keep to the right here round the island ...

 A heron at this end and two cormorants at the other!
 Here comes the disappointment!
This is Mapledurham Lock where we were expecting and looking forward to a bacon and mushroom bap.  The lock appears to be on self service but as I walked up the lock keeper arrived to change the sign over and I thought that I'd go and order the food at the lock cafe ...


while he let these three narrowboats down ... I couldn't believe it ... the cafe was closed for refurbishment.  George was gutted!  On talking to the lockie discovered that he'd heard that when the new building opens they won't be doing hot food anymore ... just cream teas and such ... oh, I hope not!
 Cruising through Pangbourne now and it's incredible that there are only two boats moored along here ... at other times it's impossible to find a space!

 The rain comes down again as we approach Whitchurch Bridge and Lock but there was a lock keeper on duty and we were soon through.
 At Pangbourne College Boat Club a training adventure was in process.  The youngsters appeared to be dismantling home made rafts having presumably created them in the first place and racing them.  Fun, but on such a cold day? Certainly not for me!

 I love this reach, it's wide water and the wooded hill on the right ... even in the heavy rain!
 Love this little house too!
 Our destination ... just there ...

 Fortunately the rain paused whilst we put in the mooring pins ...
and it really would have been magical if it wasn't for the incessant rain!