Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Beale Park to Pangbourne

Geoff's face sums up his view of being on the Thames
Geoff has only come onto the Thames because he knew how much I wanted to return which I have to admit is very chivalrous of him.  However he does grump a lot whenever he sees a No Mooring sign!
Notwithstanding we have not had a problem so far and have had some very congenial moorings.  Admittedly we have had to pay £5 a night in some places......although those administered by The Thames Mooring authority let you have one night free.  Other places administered by local councils vary...Abingdon was 5 nights free, although we hear rumours that is to be reduced to 3, Pangbourne only one night and no option to pay for extra.

Lovely rural English countryside

Not one of the Des Res`s we have passed but obviously Ripe for Coversion!

A lot of rowing practice in this area

Boat of the Day!
Today we decided on an early start.  The plan was to go back upstream to Cleeve lock and fill up with water before heading back downstream to Pangbourne via Whitchurch Lock to empty the loo cassettes.   A good plan in part......lovely empty river and locks as we set off just before 7am and all went according to plan until we came out of Whitchurch Lock to moor up for the loos......
They are not there!!!  The lock keeper kindly informed us that they were now at Mapledurham Lock.  Since this was a necessity we had to carry on and then about turn yet again to get back to Pangbourne.  We had Giles and Zan coming to supper and it was a convenient place for them.

There were several places empty so we chose a nice one and duly moored.  As we tied up a small gin palace tried to squeeze in front of us which he was able to do as we moved a bit further back towards the bushes.  We were then thanked by a gentleman with a radio who said he was trying to find room for 8/9 boats all coming up from Windsor.   They must have blessed us as they could have put a couple more in our space.  Still we were not moving!

A most enjoyable supper in the evening, it was lovely to be just the four of us for a change.   Not that the grandchildren are not wonderful but we were able to have an uninterrupted chat.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Goring Weekend

Mooring on the Thames moorings here are 24 hours free and £5 a day for up to two extra days.  You have to phone up to announce your arrival and then you pay on the phone.   It also says there are cameras so you cannot escape.....but I couldn`t see any cameras!!  The moorings were mostly full during our stay but plenty of movement so you would be unlucky not to obtain a space.

Church at St Marys in Streatley this morning where we had a tremendous welcome.   So many people came up and said hello as we walked in and the church warden came up and introduced himself.
Large choir but small congregation.......apparently one of the congregation has an annual garden party and this was the day!!

No Sunday Lunch out today as the service was 11.15 and the Men`s tennis finals started at 2.......

Later I was collected by Susannah to babysit the grandchildren

This is part of their menagerie......there are two black ducks with a surrogate hen mother
who doesn`t understand the ducklings liking for swimming!
This morning we had a gentle cruise down as far as Beale Park where we found ourselves a secluded corner.   As we tied up the fuel barge came along to another boat so we took advantage.  We still had half a tank but it was a good opportunity and we could declare our own split!  though it was 89P
Schools out for the day for the geese
A large family for this pair of swans

Not a breath of wind this evening and the river is like glass

Saturday, 15 July 2017

and so to Goring

Moved on sadly from Wallingford on has been a most pleasant stay.  It is not often we can moor right alongside a swimming pool.  Sadly the last two days were not conducive to going in but I managed three visits and very welcome it was in the hot weather.  We had no particular destination in mind this morning so when we saw a nice secluded spot where the bank looked favourable we decided to have a recce.

Those Canada Geese again!

A meadow all to ourselves.  
We were not completely isolated as we were right alongside the Thames Path and saw quite a few walkers during the day.   We also enjoyed watching a group of boys swimming and climbing high into the branches of the trees opposite and jumping in.  I was going to put up a picture but my younger daughter told me I should not be putting up pictures of strange young lads...maybe she is was a good picture though!


We decided to stay over a day as we wanted to be in Goring for the weekend and it is 3 days maximum so didn't want to reach there too soon.  Geoff walked into Goring for a couple of essentials, identified our cafe for Saturday breakfast and looked in a very nice grocery shop.  However he declined to purchase anything there as it was upmarket and pricey!


Friday we had one of our really early starts....haven`t been doing many of those this year....
However I was being collected by daughter-in-law Susannah at 11.30am to go to the boys sports day.

We has certain domestic things to attend to on Petroc before we moored so set of just after 7.   Geoff walked the meadow to Cleeve Lock where we filled up with water.  This took at least 1/2 hour.  Geoff has a moan every time this happens about the amount of water we must have used.  Personally I think it is just a slow flow!  Life would be a lot simpler if our water gauge worked, however it has never functioned from day one.   It was a delightful run down to Goring as there wasn`t a soul around at that time of the morning.  No sun but no rain either and a very pleasant temperature.  We had the river completely to ourselves.  I just delight in this, but Geoff is still muttering about his preference for the canals.

There was just one space available on the Goring Lock moorings as we were so early so we squeezed in but were right under a cherry tree so it was not ideal.   It was not long before several boats departed so we were able to move to a more congenial position.

Waiting for Goring Lock looking across at the Swan Hotel which is undergoing a major refurb
It is not often we are close enough to the grandchildren to be able to participate in any of their events so today was a bonus.   Luckily they only had a Mums and a Dads race and grandmothers were spared!  The bad part of the afternoon was that my phone died and in an attempt to charge it up Giles left the ignition on in his car so that when he left to return to work...the car battery was flat!!

Back to Petroc early evening as we were having very welcome and unexpected visitors.  Three of my ex RAuxAF friends were only 35 miles away working at the Fairford Air Show so they decided to pay us a visit.   It was great to see Jane my friend from Cornwall and also Steve and Keith whom I have not seen for several years.  Drinks and starters on board and then a very good meal in the Catherine Wheel where a lot of reminiscing was done.


An excellent breakfast in the Village Cafe, we can thoroughly recommend it.  I then caught the train to Reading to replace my phone.  Just back in time to watch the Women`s finals at Wimbledon.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Busy Weekend in Wallingford.

A recce on Friday afternoon had located a suitable cafe for our weekly cooked breakfast.  This was good as it was far too hot to be cooking it on the boat.   Since we had the bonus of being moored right by the swimming pool in Riverside Park I decided to dig out my costume and go for a cooling off session.   What bliss.


Early morning visitors
Later we had visitors of the human kind.  Susannah arrived with the 3 grandchildren so that we could all go swimming.  However they arrived to late to get into the morning session as it was full.  They were able to use the splash area in the adjacent park for a while but needless to say there was a certain amount of disappointment!!   With only 3/4 of an hour of the session to go, sufficient people had left and we were able to go in....didn`t get reduced rates though!!!   This was followed by a picnic lunch on the shore before they all departed as the boys were going camping.  As they left the car park our next visitors arrived.....Sister-in-law Edith with Cosmo the standard poodle.

Cosmo decided Barnaby needed grooming and proceeded to wash him all over.
In his normal fashion Barney ignored him completely
Behind the dogs you can just see Geoffrey putting out a tray with our evening aperitif......

Edith and I spent most of the of the afternoon and the evening until just about dark sitting enjoying our surroundings and catching up with each other.   Geoff did join us briefly and we did go inside for our main course of supper.  However by the time we packed in Geoff was long since in bed and we had to tiptoe aboard.


The weather was still very hot.   Geoff took himself off to church in the morning and Edith and I took the dogs and walked along the Thames path back to Benson with the aim of stopping for coffee at the cafe there.

The path was 50% in the shade but nevertheless I found it hard going towards the end.  (Not the distance, just the heat)  Geoff had told us it was about a mile but in fact it was 1.75 miles.  However after a remedial coffee and bun and a large glass of iced water I managed the return journey.  The cafe was extremely busy but we did manage to find a table in the shade.

A quick change and we set off to meet up with Geoff for Sunday Lunch.  The Partridge had been recommended to us by Angie, the lady who collects our £5 every morning.   The recommendation was well founded as we had an excellent lunch.....what I would describe as a slightly up market Sunday lunch.  They were surprisingly quiet which we gathered later was unusual.  

Edith departed for the drive back to London and I collapsed for a short siesta.  Well we both did but mine was much more needed!

After a couple of hours Giles appeared with just the two boys this time and we repaired to the pool.
Needless to say Geoff does not join in the swimming excursions.  


Woke to a much cooler day thankfully, in fact I did not even make my intended visit to the pool.  It was quite windy and I thought I would get cold quite quickly.

After a few domestic chores I decided to do some accounts work and ended up having a very frustrating morning.  This was all due to a small software glitch which took me ages to sort out.

The big event of the day however was Geoffrey finding his lost pair of glasses.  They had been lost for several days and I know it was causing him great angst!   When he went down in the engine bay to do one of his least favourite jobs ( refilling the stern gland with grease) he found them on a ledge!
Great rejoicing.......

We are told rain is forecast for tomorrow so for the first time in days we have put the side panels in the rear pram hood.

Due to this unfavourable forecast we have decided to stay over here another day.  You can have up to 5 nights here at £5 a night so we may as well take full advantage.  There are plenty of facilities in the town and rubbish and toilets by the moorings.  No water or loo disposal but we can manage for a few more days yet.  Waitrose is the supermarket here which is not my favourite as I think they are expensive, but it seems we are in Waitrose country.

Friday, 7 July 2017

No so idyllic after all

The setting was idyllic BUT since were were here last someone has bought up a lot of the surrounding fields and fenced off around the mooring area.

This means that there is no longer access to Dorchester along public footpaths.   Geoff did manage to squeeze through a hole in the fence as we needed milk and bread, however it put us off staying an extra day.   Talking to a local lady walking her dogs she told me that all the locals were very unhappy about the state of affairs.   I had to talk to her over the fence as I had no way of getting to the path she was on

You cannot even access the lock through the field.

So onward we go past a very pretty boat house

With the house behind

Somewhat smaller boathouse but not bad for a weekend hideaway!
By now it was getting very hot and shade was desperately needed.  As we passed through Shillingford I spied a spot I thought we could creep into so I persuaded Geoff to turn around and have a go at getting it.  There was no problem with the depth of water although it was a bit exciting getting through all the branches.   Barney spied the shade and was off like a shot.  There was a convenient tree to tie the stern too and Geoff braved the nettles to get a stake in for the front.   It was blissfully cool.
I was just about to turn the engine off when a snag manifested itself.......we had wasps at the stern!

Sadly it was up sticks and carry on.  Geoff not a happy bear...neither was I as I was suffering with the heat by then.
Add caption

So it was onward to Wallingford where we were lucky enough to find a space on the bank alongside the \Riverside park.

Journey 1
Total distance:2.79 miles 
Elapsed time:1h8m38s
Average speed:2.44 mph (3.32 lock/mph

Journey 2

Total distance:2.51 miles 
Elapsed time:1h18m10s 
Average speed:1.93 mph (2.69 lock/mph)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Early start to beat the heat

Our Early Morning visitors at Clifton Lock
An early start whilst it was relatively cool with not particular destination in mind.  We thought we would see if there was space above Days Lock.  We have moored there previously and it was a wonderful setting and we could walk into Dorchester.

There were some large properties lining the banks with their wonderful sweeping lawns stretching down to the river

and their lovely little boat parks!

and some bigger boat houses
When we approached Days Lock and the possible mooring there was only one other boat so we were in luck.  We parked ourselves round the corner from them after a couple of about turns whilst we considered our best position!!  Sadly no shade today but a lovely setting.

Last time we visited here Geoff climbed the hill ahead of us but no chance today...far too hot

An evening visitor 

Total distance:2.86 miles 
Elapsed time:1h8m38s 
Average speed:2.50 mph (3.38 lock/mph) 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Hard to leave Abingdon

Barney likes it here so many good walks and lots of grass

Pimms o`clock

Prosecco o`clock
Had a lovey couple of days with Boe here in Abingdon.   We also met up with fellow bloggers, Still Rockin with Carol & George and No Problem XL with Vic and Sue, whom we haven`t seen for a while.  In fact Sue from No Problem directed me to George on Still Rockin who did a wonderful remedial job on one of our aerial connections.   We have had problems with our newly fitted aerials ever since we started this year causing a lot of mutterings from Geoffrey!!

Sadly the time had come to say goodbye to Boe and also to Abingdon.
We decided go back up through the lock to take advantage of the sani station before leaving.   By the time we set off it was already showing signs of a very hot day.  

Barney found the only bit of shade under the skips whilst we watered!

I love this sign in Abingdon Lock.  The lock keeper obviously has a good sense of humour.
We dropped Boe off just before the bridge to catch a bus to Didcot and thence to Clapham Junction before setting off on some more holidaying, France this time.

Geoff decided to walk to Culham lock with Barney.  This was quite disconcerting at times as the vegetation along the path is quite high and I couldn`t always see where he was.  Needless to say he had forgotten his phone so if either of us had problems we were on our own!!

Before reaching Culham lock it had become extremely hot and I was not doing well.  The lock keeper did say we could moor at the very end of the lock landings but I didn`t like the look of it.   We decided to continue with Geoff on the helm so I could go up front and get a bit of a breeze.  He seems to cope better in extreme heat than me.

On reaching Clifton lock there were 24 hour moorings so we decided to stop.   Some shade on the bank to start with but it became ever more blissful as the afternoon wore on.

Great spot in the shade.  

Total distance:5.58 miles 
Elapsed time:3h20m0s 
Locks:3  (Abingdon up and Abingdon down!!)
Average speed:1.67 mph (2.57 lock/mph)

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Weekend in Abingdon

Early morning visitors
A gentle day on Friday was followed by a weekend of visitors.   On Saturday Dick and Jackie Gould came a calling and we all repaired to the Nags Head for lunch.   Lovely to catch up with them after I don't know how many years.  

A fully camouflaged boat goes past...together with tattooed driver...
On Sunday we were collected by Giles to go for lunch with all the family.  The one fly in the ointment was that their big car was in for servicing and he collected us in his mid life crisis car.  This is a Audi XX  ( I think that is correct).  It is not designed for 3 large adults and a Labrador!  Initially I was put in the back with Barney but when Giles and Geoff got in the front I freaked out.  I had a severe attack of claustrophobia and had to be released!!!  Geoff bravely volunteered to go in the back..
He had to wind himself in!  Not a journey to be repeated.
The afternoon did improve

Luckily our return journey was by a pre-arranged taxi...A much smoother ride in a Toyota Hybrid.
Home about 8pm to see a gentle evening on the river.
We also brought back our lodger for a couple of days.  Boe is home from Vietnam and doing the rounds of catching up with family and her friends.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Whee Hee...on the river proper now but where has summer gone?


Cannot believe we were sweltering this time last week.  Today it was back to 3 layers and almost needed gloves!!

Osney Lock   -   Big locks now, but no hard work.

Down past Christchurch Meadows and many of the university's boat houses on the left

Iffley Lock was on self service but even that is no chore as everything is mechanised.   
We had to wait a while at Sandford Lock, not due to traffic but due to lack of water.  The lock keeper came up and asked if we would mind waiting a while as he was trying to conserve water.  We were in no rush so on went the kettle!   Apparently all the weirs are right down and there is a great lack of water.

As we travelled down Geoff said he remembered why he was not so keen on rivers....there are long stretches where he gets bored!!  He is only coming this way because he knows I have wanted to come back this way for several years.  The added attraction is that Giles and family are quite close at Goring Heath and it is possible to hop down to London to have the odd day with Emma and Dave.

Geoff and Barney also miss out on their walking along the canal towpaths at a similar pace to the boat.   No so easy on the river.

Last lock of the day was Abingdon, the intended destination.   Watered etc at the top of the lock so we are good to stay here for a few days.   It was only late lunch time so there were several empty slots on the moorings.  We moored just below the lock in sight of the weir.  A great spot with tons of walking around here for Barney,.   Unfortunately it was too cold to sit out......

Total distance:8.80 miles 
Elapsed time:4h8m17s 
Average speed:2.13 mph (3.09 lock/mph) 


A bit warmer today although not sunny so after a few household duties and a walk to town for the paper and bread I managed a fair amount of sitting outside watching the world go by.