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.

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