Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Trains, planes and parakeet's! And Boats of course.

We could quite get used to life on the Thames, but perhaps not the prices! You need plenty of dosh in this area, be it food, booze or even mooring up. That said, we have only paid once for a mooring since last posting, but that was for three days, so not cheap.

The weather has been truly glorious, the day's and the nights hot. We were surprised late on Tuesday evening by a knock on the boat. It was Sue off No Problem. They now have a wide beam (No Problem XL) and are enjoying life on the Thames, ideal waters for them. After a chat, she walked back with the dogs. Cooler for them after a dip and evening stroll.

No Problem XL & Still Rocking 
Sue is waving from Still Rocking & George from NP !
Sorry - it's not a great picture!

On Wednesday, we started early as the heat was already building and we wanted to secure a mooring early on. By mid morning we had arrived at Henley and spotted a mooring free near the park. After a walk into town, we returned to the river to watch the procession of boats leaving to complete the Swan Upping. During this, they capture the cygnets in order to ring them. Quite a colourful exercise and steeped in history.

One advantage of the river is a somewhat cooler breeze. One disadvantage is the bugs! Show a light and they are in. Ali is working on bug screens for the side hatches in order to mitigate against the little blighters.

Look how blue the water is, we can only assume its the reflection
 from the marquees

On Thursday morning we once again set off early. The day was already warm by 0800. The initial journey through the town bridge and onto the straight, showed the remnants of the Regatta, with hospitality marquees being dismantled from the gardens of some amazing properties. The river was now quiet though. This is partly because it is midweek, but also due to the time. The locals do not move before the lock keepers come on duty. Much too hard operating a lock oneself, even if that consists of pressing a button!

our lock buddies, racing away so they don't have to share
 another with a steel boat!

Cliveden House

We moved down river to Maidenhead and moored up at the extreme end of the extensive lock landing. This was because the moorings below the lock are next to the road and below a high bank. It was also more shaded and a little cooler and was for us.  We wanted to be in easy reach of Windsor, our intended destination for the weekend.

Friday saw us up and off early, dropping down the large lock alone before the keeper was on duty. After Bray lock, we set the washing machine on and both showered, prior to arriving at Boveney lock, which has the full range of services.  Once again, it was quiet traffic wise. A short hop and we were in Windsor. To our surprise, there were plenty of moorings free and so we were able to pick our spot. We managed to moor on the island on the off river side. This gives you both more privacy and some protection from the wash of passing traffic. As the island has only one foot bridge, gongoozlers are few as well. Ok, £8 a day,but worth it.

Wonder why there are no moorings?? ;-)
there is a jetty - assume the crew don't stay for dinner!

Dorney Lake (a bit quieter than when the Olympics were on)

Nobody could call Windsor quiet though. The railway crosses the river at this point and there was a large fair on the meadows on the Eton side. Then there are the planes! How her Maj tolerates the racket, I just don't know. Hope she gets a council tax rebate! We are of course nearing Heathrow. Then there are the bloody parakeet's. I am sure they suffer from insomnia! They get up even earlier than me!

So, we enjoyed the weekend in Windsor. Did the tourist thing and watched the changing of the guard, wandered around the town and the Eton side, then spent the evening sitting out and chatting to boaters, having a tipple or two of course. It remained super hot .

Antony Gormley Statue


Why don't our Health Centres look like this?

On Sunday, after a wander, we ended up on the Eton side, in a pub called The George. This is owned by the local brewery and both the food and the Ales were splendid. By the afternoon, someone turned a switch and it cooled down considerably. The end of the hot spell it seems.

This did not however deter the boat traffic. The river remained like the M1, as it had been all weekend. A veritable procession of trip boats, hire boats and posers in flash cruisers, paraded up and down. This not only confirmed our decision to stay put for the weekend madness, but also our decision to tuck ourselves in the lee of the island. The wash from some, left boats moored directly on the river, bobbing about like corks!

I've not see a blue one before - its airmail!

info here!

Monday was forecast cloudy and cooler. Got that wrong. It was sunny all day and boiling. We made an early start and initially went back up river. This allowed us to complete a wash load, then fill up below the lock once again. After this, we turned and went back down river. It turned out to be a really pleasant hot day.  We are taking our time and so moored for the day at Runnymede. If we thought her Maj was under Heathrow's flight path, the residents here are even closer. A plane takes off about every ninety seconds... So, what with them and the parakeet's, I think sleeping may be difficult!

If you are a plane spotter, get yourself a boat and moor it near Runnymede.

A big difference in boat traffic today as well. Very quiet and about 50% of those moving were narrow boats. The river cruisers having largely returned to their moorings until next weekend.

Got the priorities right - house being built his and hers boats moored up!

Not something we have spotted before a Grebe nest

One of many!

Miles 30 (large rivers)
Locks 11 large (some self serve!!)

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