Sunday, 24 June 2018

The Uninvited Guest ...

Yesterday soon after we'd moored up at Sonning we walked into the village
and spied this mummy Mallard with her eight babies.
When were approaching Sonning Lock this morning George had to slow right down as the lock keeper was opening the lock gates to allow this family to exit the lock!  Good to see that they're safe.
Our destination?  The Bull where we had a lovely lunch
Love the wisteria and moss on the old roof

and then we called into St Andrew's Church
For a bit of its history click here
and then walked over the bridge to the Mill Theatre where we'll watch a show tomorrow.

The gates on the left would lead us to Aberlash House, home of George Clooney and family ... if we were invited that is, and the gates were open!

We went inside the Mill to have a look around, ... it really is amazing inside The Mill at Sonning, this is the bar on the ground floor ...
and the pretty outdoor seating area overlooking the mill stream.

Thursday (21st) was spent quietly
The blue narrowboat is Inca which until recently belonged to Gary and Carolyn passed us this morning with its new owners.

The Mill offers a great dining and theatre experience and this is what we did on Thursday evening.
First we partook of a lovely buffet style meal in the Restaurant at the Mill which is on two floors within the mill, the River Room and the Sonning Room upstairs
After dinner we made our way into the theatre and what a place it is!

Small and intimate, people in the front row of seats acually have their feet on the 'stage'! The production we saw was Agatha Christie's An Unexpected Guest directed by Brian Blessed.  I can't tell you how the play ended of course, you'll have to visit yourself for that, but I can tell you it was a brilliant performance.

Drinks in the bar after the show

There has been a Mill at Sonning Eye for centuries and is mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086.  The double-wheeled mill would have ground both corn and malt and was a prosperous business being in production with various owners until 1969 when it closed.    The mill remained empty until 1977 when the current owners converted into the building we visited today ... The Mill at Sonning opened its theatre doors for the first time in July 1982.

One of the double mill wheels is now a static display in the bar ...
and the other wheel (video above) still turns in the millrace which a little further upstream was, in the 17/18th century, narrowed to force more water through the wheels.  This would have been the reason why George had a little bit of bother passing the end of the mill stream yesterday.  

Since July 2005 when the Mill launched the first hydro scheme on the River Thames with an 18.5 kw turbine, this wheel has generated enough power for the whole building's lighting including the theatre area and backstage, restaurants, kitchens including the ovens, workshops and offices.

We have really enjoyed our stay in Sonning but must move on in the morning ...


Herbie Neil said...

What a pity we are away when you are at Sonning. We sometimes walk from Reading Thames Valley Park to the Bull for a pint, we could have met up. Let us know ahead of time when you are due to be there next.
Kath (no Herbie)

Silvia said...

Hello Both, I loved your report on Sonning. Looks a lovely place indeed. We're under offer again, and this time we think it's going to go through, as the buyer has great plans with our house and garden :) So, we'll join you on the river this year, hopefully in August. We always remember your kindness, showing us your boat and giving us tons of good advice. Have unfortunately lost the boat we wanted. So, looking on on Apollo Duck.... Wish us luck :) All the best to you both.

Carol said...

We'll do that Kath on the way back upstream later in the year. Regards to you both.

Carol said...

Wishing you both good luck with the house sale and purchase of a suitable boat. Looking forward to seeing you on the Thames.