We've been thinking hard about what we should do after the missives from both the Environment Agency (EA) and Hambleden Marina a week ago. Wherever we decide to go there are a few problems we have to try to overcome first - food deliveries, post (especially Pharmacy2you) which we both use on our travels and that we need somewhere we can stay (in our own isolation) for an extended period and when to leave. EA guidance states that live-aboard boaters can only move if essential which our move would be and if we didn't need to use a lock we could leave as soon as we had sorted everything out.
Where to go? - we had already made provisional arrangements to stay at Medmenham meadow (SRB Moorings) when it was uncertain as to the date we'd have to leave the mill stream but cancelled the arrangement when we were told that we could stay at the marina until the river reopened, hence the move into the weir stream. We could see if Steve (SRB) would be willing to provide us with a temporary mooring and is there a space for us?
We need first though to solve food and post.
Food - getting over my initial
panic anxiety that if we were on the meadow we couldn't get a food delivery (and after a face to face call with daughter Sharon, thanks sweetheart), I realised that the situation really is no different from when we're normally cruising.
There are houses in Ferry Lane at Medmenham ('our' meadow mooring would be just to the left of where the lane reaches the River Thames on this map). I could use the postcode of one of the houses as the address for my order and put direction instructions from there to the slipway at the end of the lane from where we could transport our order in rucksacks and shopping trolley the quarter mile to our mooring. Fingers crossed that this works ok ... it normally does.
Post - is there a 'community' for Hambleden Village? Lovely daughter Sharon helped with this one too by finding a facebook community via the Dog and Badger (top of Ferry Lane) but didn't get a reply from her message to them. Anyway, yesterday morning I rang the pub ... no reply, so went into another of their fb pages and a chat window opened so I explained our predicament and asked if they could help. Result! I was given a telephone number for a lady who lives nearby who has very kindly offered to take any post for us and will leave it in a safe place so that we can collect it without personal contact. I am so grateful to her for her kindness.
George checked with SRB moorings and we were told that we would be welcome at the meadow mooring until initially, the end of July ... great news!
Our original idea was to wait until May 29th after a Tesco delivery to us at the marina but having spoken to Peter (owner) of our plans he offered to pick up the order (if we wanted to move sooner) and bring it round to us by boat! Another result from another very kind person.
So ... yesterday it was all systems go ... water tank filled, nasties emptied, mains electricity cable removed, people informed of what we're doing, lunch taken and at 2:20 we let our mooring ropes go. George bow-thrusted Still Rockin' out of her space and into the weir stream, a turn of 360° through lines of plastic cruisers.
Looking back as we cruise through the weir stream ... there's no water at all coming over the weir ... we've never seen that before!
Looking back again and forward as we reach the open channel and turn left downstream. We're only going about half a mile ...
Canada Geese and their nursery of goslings
Lots of people enjoying the sunshine and water
Another first ... a narrow boat moored on the Flower Pot hotel pontoon.
canoeists on one side of Still Rockin' and paddle boarders on the other ... they're all out today
Approaching and passing Culham Court ...
we arrive at the lower end of the meadow
That's 'our' mooring ... we winded (turned) in the channel and moored up ... the whole journey took just 35 minutes!
Windbreak out to deter passers-by from ignoring social distancing ...
and our views up and down the meadow.
Not sure that the title is quite how I feel. George says we've escaped but I feel rather that we've just moved from one isolation to another ... apart from the view ... nothing has changed ... I hope that it stays that way for us now and for the foreseeable.