Monday, 30 April 2018

The weekend ... updated

Friday (27th April) was wet, wet, wet but our day was brightened when we heard three hoots of a horn and nb Cyan came alongside.  We knew they were coming our way and invited Jennifer and John in for a cuppa.  It's always good to meet new boaters/bloggers and we spent a lovely hour or so getting to know them a little and their lovely German Shepherd Rusty. (click on the picture to see him better).
Saying cheerio to Jennifer, John and Rusty but they didn't go far and pulled in to moor just a few hundred yards upstream of us.

Saturday started wet but cleared up a little mid morning.  The sky was cloudy and it was a very dull, quite cold day.
We spent the day indoors in front of the fire
 ... and took this picture of Clivedon House at night from the stern of Still Rockin' at 20:45.

Sunday was cold and drizzly start and we had a bit of a lie in.  
We knew that Chris, nb Merchant, fuel boat was coming through Boulters Lock sometime today and of course sod's law says that George would be in the shower when he came upstream.  You can hear Merchant long before you see her ...
... giving me time to alert George and get the canopies and keys ready for him, take Chris's middle rope as he came smoothly alongside and fasten it to Still Rockin'.  By this time George was on deck.
Diesel and two bags of coal (which we hope we won't actually use 'till at least November) on board, Chris and his lovely dog Stanley (who, if you want a friend for life, loves custard cream biscuits) came onboard for a cuppa and a chat ... but with work to do, deliveries to make ...
... he was soon on his way seemingly into the trees!  His next stop is  diesel for Jennifer and John.

The remainder of Sunday was cold but the forecast rain didn't really appear.  The forecast for very heavy rain all night and all day Monday with strong winds and very low temperatures for this time of year was a bit worrying.

Monday as I write this blog post ...
... it doesn't look good, heavy rain and winds of 28mph gusting up to 54!! {Edited - see Adam's comment below} I feel much better about that wind now!
Looks better tomorrow though at least we may have some sunshine.  Will this effect the river flow we wonder, which is still showing stream decreasing?

Friday, 27 April 2018

The best of days

With May bank holiday coming up and the dire weather forecast we decided to move on from Cookham yesterday morning and find a mooring that we could enjoy even through the rain.
 We're not going far just a mile or so and pulled into the current to wind downstream once again

 The mooring is close to the bridge which has a small channel archway for us and immediately after it's a sharp left
 ... into Cookham Lock cut where for once there's a lock keeper on duty
 ... and within a few minutes of being out of the cut

 ... we're in one of our very favourite moorings
 ... on Cliveden reach
 ... in view of the palatial Cliveden House where 350 years of power, politics, parties, and passion have taken place
 ... and downstream towards Maidenhead
 Today is the day - the only day over the weekend that the sun will shine and it won't rain ... so we set out on a walk.  
I've read online what's to see just now at Clivedon ...
 so, going up the hill ...

... that's Latin for Bluebells!
 At the top of the hill in the grounds ...
 The Rhododendrons have started to bloom in the water garden
 The carrara marble Fountain of Love originated in Rome and was purchased and brought to Cliveden by Lord Aster in 1896

The water tower was completed in 1861; the sculpture on the top is a version of the Spirit of Liberty in Paris' Place de Bastille.

In 1896 Lord Aster had constructed a Generator House to replace the gas lighting (1870's) originally by installing a steam boiler and in 1932 replacing the boiler with a 100 horsepower diesel engine to power not only the lighting but domestic items such as fridges, freezers and vacuum cleaners (just 25 horsepower more that the engine which drives Still Rockin' yet using the same system of alternators, batteries and inverters). 
Click on the photo below to expand the timelines for more information)
After mains electricity came to Cliveden House the generator house fell into disrepair and the National Trust's current project is to restore the building.

 Tulips and Primulas make colourful borders

The Parterre
 As we can see Cliveden House from Still Rockin', we can see Still Rockin' from the Parterre at Cliveden House! 

 Cliveden during WWI and WWII

At the start of the first World War, Waldorf volunteered for the army but failed the medical examination. Undaunted and wanting to support the war effort he offered the use of Cliveden as a hospital for injured British troops. This offer was turned down due to the amount of effort needed to adapt the building. However, the Canadian Red Cross accepted his offer and used the grounds for building a temporary hospital, the HRH Duchess of Connaught Hospital, in 1915. This hospital, which housed up to 600 patients, was dismantled at the end of hostilities.
Part of the hospital and within Cliveden’s grounds was established the Cliveden War Cemetery. This became the final resting place of 42 commonwealth troops (40 from WWI and 2 from WWII).
When war broke out again in 1939, the Canadian Red Cross built a second hospital in Cliveden’s grounds, the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital. This remained standing after the war and was used as a nursing school, a maternity unit and rheumatology unit until it closed in the early 1980s.

 Click on any of the pictures to enlarge

The view above right can be seen through the main gilded gate

On the way home, down the hill
 Passing another vibrant tulip and primrose border

Beautiful twists on the bark of this tree - is it a hornbeam?
 Glimpsed through the woods 
 ... and over the Berkshire countryside

 Still Rockin' from the footpath above
 Nearly home ...
A great day, great views, great walk much enjoyed.