To date : 483 miles, 277 locks
I know there's photo overload at the moment but I have the blog printed into books each year. I don't want to forget a moment of this grand adventure and on the Thames there's been so much new to see that I can't bare to leave some of these photos out! It's looking like this year will have to be printed into two books of six months each.
Over canasta last night I managed to pursuade Barry to get up early so we could leave at 9am. A whole lot of grizzling ensued but he did it. Honestly.... they miss the best part of the day. Early mornings are often so pretty in the soft light.
9am arrived and there was Barry, cheerful as ever, and ready to head off. A minor miracle! We planned on a big day of cruising so we could stay a little longer if we found somewhere we liked during the week.
We set the washing machine to work and headed for our first lock of the day : Shiplake Lock. This one has a hose for filling your water tank. A lot of them only allow filling of containers so we make the most of it when we're coming to one with a hose. When we got to the top of the lock and rounded the corner to the water point we passed a lovely little camping ground. It's like nothing we have back in Australia. The tents were quite large and on wooden platform bases. They were obviously left up over the Summer at least. It was lush and green and very pretty.
At Sonning Lock the lock keeper said they were having a problem with one of the lock gates.... we could go in but they couldn't promise we'd be able to get out. We were separated from nb Winton's Folly as they couldn't fit in the lock with us so agreed we'd meet up with them at Tesco further along. We got out of the lock ok and off we went.
There was a rowing regatta at Dreadnought Reach. Three quarters of the river was sectioned off with buoys so boats going in both directions had to use the narrow section left over. Much to our dismay this section was also used by the rowers to move down the start line. It isn't so easy to move a narrowboat out of the way of a small boat like that! We'd slow right down, trying to avoid the trees, and hope that they'd row away from us.
We passed the junction with the Kennet & Avon Canal. There was a cluster of boats around the junction.
Tesco had great moorings right out the front so we did a good stock up. We bumped into Barry as we were heading back to the boat. They'd breasted up to us as the moorings were full when they arrived. They'd been held up while the lock gate was re-greased or whatever the problem was. They'd also had a little incident on their way through the regatta. One boat full of rowers didn't even see them and turned straight into their path and crashed into them. Barry said half the crew managed to get their oars out the way but the other half ended up with smashed oars. The officials apologised profusely but no harm done to Winton's Folly... shame about the oars!
At Tesco we looked for flyspray to deal with the insects inside the boat. We do have a can that we bought the week we arrived in the UK but it's almost finished. I took a photo of the insect spray range available... and this is a mega Tesco... not just a small one! If someone back home would take a photo for me of the flyspray aisle in their local supermarket I'll put it on the blog for comparison.
We passed a funfair.... some bathing cows.... and a row boat in training for some challange that we now can't recall. There was a property with several paddocks of alpaca and we saw half a dozen birds of prey lurking around those paddocks. I wonder what they were after? It was a huge day with lots of miles and locks. The sun came out in the afternoon and it was just glorious. Another fantastic day.
We looked for moorings before Whitchurch Lock but no luck. We decided we'd try Beale Park... by which time it was 5pm. There was one spot among all the moored boats and Mick yelled out to Barry to go in first. As soon as he said it and we'd drifted away ready to breast up we realized we should have gone in first. When we moor on the left we can't open our side hatch if we're breasted up with them. Being quite a warm afternoon we thought that wouldn't be a good thing. We saw that Sue had written in our book that there were moorings on a meadow less than half a mile further so we said we'd go and check it out. We moored up there with bow tied to a tree and the stern out too far to get off the boat at that end but it's a lovely peaceful spot with a stunning outlook.