Just As I’d Imagined The Thames To Be!

After John and Rusty had been for their walk, I made for the Pangbourne shops. It was a little complicated finding the shops as I had to ask no less than three people the way; for some reason I kept getting lost! The route didn’t appear to be as simple as ‘Google Street View’ made out!

The little ‘high street’ had just the shops I was looking for, including a charity shop (Age Concern). I’m trying to find cheap ‘everyday’ glasses to replace those that was smashed when Cyan tilted a couple of weeks ago. Sadly I wasn’t successful, which means we’re still using our best crystal glasses for everyday use.

There is a ‘Cheese Shop’, where I just had to visit, and buy half kilo of extremely strong cheddar cheese. I could have bought other varieties, except I’m worried our fridge is already overloaded. I popped into the CoOp for fresh strawberries. Then the ‘old fashioned iron mongers’ had to be visited (just love mooching around those places), and I bought a tube of ‘grate blacking’, and a pot of ‘Stain Devil’ for those oil stains. The butchers was next, and 8 fat ‘old fashioned recipe’ sausages was bought, together with two very thick pork chops (a request from John). I could easily have visited the very tempting bakery, except we’re not eating bread at this time.

The last shop was the chemist. My heart went out to a painfully shy redheaded lad of about 12 or 13. He was in the chemist with his dad, who was explaining all the different types of razors, aftershave etc. Poor lad was growing up, and he looked so self conscious.

John’s GP had previously prescribed ‘prescription only’ painkillers for his knees that worked really well. We’ve discovered this ‘drug’ can be bought over the counter, branded as ‘Feminax’. Feminax is sold mainly for ‘women’s troubles’, but the package states it’s also suitable for rheumatic, and nerve pain. So we’re trialling Feminax to see if John gets some relief. Obviously, we laughingly went through all the corny jokes, like what size bra John would be needing… 🙂 With breakfast he took a couple of Feminax pills as instructed on the packet, and so far so good!

When I got back to Cyan, breakfast was cooked and eaten, and Cyan was soon pushing off from our mooring.

Pushing off from our mooring

The view from our mooring

View across the way from our mooring

We’re moored on the banks of Beale Park, a great place to moor especially for children.

Our mooring is idyllic! Today has been just what we’d hoped it would be on the Thames.

We’ve got the deck chairs out, and we’re looking forward to chilling this evening on the bank.

Within a couple of hours today’s wash-load was dried and put away.

Today we’ve travelled 1.5 miles, and one lock.

A Long Yet Enjoyable Day!

We didn’t realise how near we were to the ‘action’ at Henley. Even in the dark rowers were training hard, and again as the dawn chorus sang.

This gorgeous boat was moored opposite us last night, it looks good in the daylight, but in the dark it was prettily illuminated

We were also moored quite near to ‘Temple Island’, the other side of the island is the starting point for  regatta races. 

The Temple on ‘Temple Island’

During the days of the regatta (4th – 8th July) you can hire the ‘island’ to entertain up to 40 guests, where they will scrumptiously wine and dine!

Posts mark out the channel for the races to take place.

‘Post painters’ taking a break from painting the posts

A boat with a huge ‘thumping thingy’ for ‘thumping in’ the posts

Suspect this is where races finish

Phylis Court, famous hotel and venue for corporate hospitality during Regatta week

Henley ‘High Street’

Could be a des res for someone!

I’ve come to the conclusion; swans like to be around us. There are many places for them to build secluded nests, but they do appear to prefer being around humans

Reading Bridge

Cables support the new Christchurch pedestrian and cycle bridge at Reading

When we set off on this trip back in February, we’d planned to cruise the Kennet & Avon. Now we’re heading to Lechlade, and back down to join the Oxford Canal.

Entrance to the River Kennet, leading to the Kennet & Avon Canal

At our first lock of the day, Marsh Lock, the Lock Keeper mentioned that the ‘problem’ boats, moored on the Tesco mooring at Reading were being moved on. He said it was about time as one of the boats had been moored there for four years! Many boater have complained these boats are stopping boaters from shopping.

It’s good to see the moorings are being refurbished (or are they being extended?).

Opposite the moorings is this boat.

Trying to think of something ‘positive’

An Egyptian goose (which we thought was a duck) flew in front of us, and dived onto a female mallard duck which had about a dozen little ducklings with her. There was such a fight, eventually the goose swam off, while the mother duck herded her little duckling between a boat and the bank, out of harms way.

What on earth possessed the goose to attack the female mallard and her brood? I thought these geese were cute, but not anymore! See more info

It’s been a brilliant day! We’re now moored at Pangbourne, before Whitchurch Lock. Tomorrow, before we push off, I’ll be visiting the ‘famous’ butcher (Greens), and visit Lloyds pharmacy (I forgot to tell Mr Tesco to bring John’s toothpaste, he’s had to use my brand).

Today we’ve cruised 18 miles, and 6 locks.

Cruising Through Rowing Country!

Tesco delivered yesterday, it was rather a relief as we were running short of fresh fruit and veg.

The Tesco man was great! “How are you going to cook your belly pork joint?”, he asked. Then he continued to talk me through a great recipe. The driver’s skills are definitely ‘wasted’ in his job, he should be in (what I’d call) Tesco’s ‘home economics’ department, providing shoppers with inspiration. It turns out he’s a chef, and used to manage the Spade Oak Inn. I took his name, and said I’m going to write to Tesco’s Head Office to congratulate them on the ‘talents’ of their driver.

The weather was rather miserable yesterday, changing from one minute to the next. The spates of heavy rain must have registered on the water level, as last evening, the part of the Thames we’re on was on ‘yellow boards’ again with “Caution Stream Increasing”. Being newbies on the river, we sticking firmly to the rules, and the ‘rules’ on riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/ advises:

“CAUTION STREAM INCREASING – We advise users of all unpowered boats not to navigate and users of powered boats to find a safe mooring. This is because river flows are likely to strengthen and red boards could be displayed very soon and without warning.

John phoned the Lock Keeper at Marlow Lock for travelling advice, the Lockie said the yellow board was on the cusp, and that we’d be fine to cruise. So at 11:00 we said ‘so long’ to Jill and Graham who are boat-sitting ‘No Problem XL’, and we pushed off. Our mooring on Spade Oak Wharf was £5 a night, with money going towards ‘Thameside Preservation Trust’, it was a good mooring with a rubbish bin provided, mooring rings, and a decent wharf to moor.

Our first lock of the day was Marlow, where we had ideas to moor just after the lock.

Mooring fees here was £7 a night, with no mooring rings/posts, and no wharf, but the real reason we didn’t bother mooring here was because of the sheep. There’d be no fence between the sheep and the boat. While Rusty hasn’t shown any interest in sheep, nevertheless, his instinct is to herd. We didn’t think it was a good idea having him in such close quarters with them, just in case he thought it would be a good idea to ’round them up’.

Above Marlow Lock, there’s the historic ‘Marlow Bridge‘, it’s the only suspension bridge on the Thames. Built by Tierney Clark, whom it’s said used the model of Marlow Bridge to build Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest:

“The Budapest bridge is known as the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and is named after Count István Széchenyi who, in 1839, invited Tierney Clark to design and build a bridge across the Danube. It was the first permanent bridge across the Danube below Vienna since Roman times. Destroyed in World War II, it has since been faithfully reconstructed. The main span is 666 feet long; for a time the longest in the world. A plaque (unveiled in May 1998) on the Széchenyi Chain Bridge commemorates the link with Marlow Suspension Bridge.”

The  famous Marlow weir was in spectacular high flow as we navigated carefully by.

One of the many beautiful properties that called out to our camera

Obviously an ‘Englishman’s home’

There are so many red kites in this part of the world, John’s in his element!

It’s not very clear, but on top of the post is a cormorant drying its wings

Below is Medmenham Abbey, it was on the market in 2015 for £10 million. Medmenham Abbey was the home of ‘The Hell Fire Club’, where naughty things happened – see the link for more information.

We moored along the bank of a park, which is great for Rusty! The charge for mooring here is £10, which was collected by a ‘man in a boat’!

We can certainly tell we’re in ‘Henley country’, rowing is serious business in these parts. The weather’s promising to be glorious over the weekend, and John wants to cruise on tomorrow, leaving Henley behind for enthusiasts over the holiday weekend.

Today we’ve travelled 8.5 miles, and 4 locks.

Meeting A ‘Famous’ Boat

Pleased to say the yellow weather alert for rain didn’t materialise yesterday, if we’d had the month’s worth of rain in one day the Met Office were predicting, I think we’d have had to stay safely on our mooring until ‘the flood’ had subsided.

Last evening’s sunset

A brilliant sunny morning greeted us when we woke this morning, and we soon had Cyan ready for today’s journey.

Since Friday, this has been our lovely and peaceful mooring.

We were moored within National Trust property, and near Clivedon House where Lady Astor had her home. Cliveden House is now an ultra expensive special hotel. We thought Cliveden was pronounced ‘clive-den’, but we were corrected by a local who pronounced it as ‘cleev-den’ (which sounded rather like ‘clifdon’).

I believe the house below is called ‘Spring Cottage’, starting from £2,000 you can stay here for time, it’s just simply gorgeous…see here.

A glimpse of an opulent age.

Cookham Lock, our first and only lock of the day was manned. As soon as we left the lock we temporarily moored for sanny, rubbish and filling water tank duties.

Leaving Cookham Lock

What a fine beach tree!

Chocolate box houses

We knew we were close to where ‘No Problem XL’ was moored, and we thought we’d missed it – just when we resigned ourselves to not seeing her, she came into view.  Just behind her, we managed to moor Cyan.

We’ve been following Sue and Vic’s blog; blogging their ‘continuous’ journey on both of their ‘No Problem’ boats for several years, as we did with other boat bloggers. I believe we can categorically say: it’s because of Sue and Vic’s blog we joined the community of many continuous cruisers. We can only thank Sue and Vic, and the many other boater’s blogs that kept our ‘dream’ alive until we could make it a reality. To all boat bloggers; thank you!

Sue and Vic are not at ‘home’ presently, but it was a pleasure to meet Jill and Graham who are ‘boat sitting’ ‘No Problem XL’. I’m sure we’ll meet up with Sue and Vic before long, and then we’ll be able to thank them in person for their informative blog.

A pleasant lady from ‘Thames Preservation Trust’ knocked on our boat to collect mooring fees; we’ll be here for two days as a delivery from Tesco has been ordered. Mooring here is £5 per day, and Mr Tesco delivers tomorrow.

Today we’ve travelled 2.5 miles, and one lock!