Saturday, 31 August 2013

Henley (nearly)

31st August 2013
Yesterday I  went into Maidenhead for a look around. It's a small town, seems quite compact, with narrow pedestrianized streets. A good mix shops, I particularly wanted a Wilkinson's because they do D water at a fair price. The other day I was in a Halfords, and they wanted  nearly £2 for a litre of the stuff. Wilco do it for 79p. As usual I ended up buying all they had on the shelf, 5 litres.
This morning we had to reverse from our mooring because the channel was too narrow for us to wind. It's Saturday so the locks are very busy, we had to wait at a couple of locks for 2 cycles before we could get in.
The day was bright, but overnight a front had moved through and the wind was very cold. By the afternoon the wind had abated, and it was glorious.
We had planned to moor up before Hambledon Lock, but all the mooring that we could use was taken (it was a fine Saturday and all the weekend boats were out). After the lock we managed to find a spot on Henley Reach. It's chargeable mooring, £8.00, but a lovely spot, and at least an effort has been made to provide something to moor to. Many places don't bother, but still charge just for the privilege of being there.
Some pics from today's travels. I don't have location data for some of them because I can't remember exactly where I snapped them.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Lyra to the rescue

Friday 30th August 2013
We got up this morning to bright sunshine. Our mooring was on a channel which spurred off from the river. It looked as if we might be able to go straight ahead to get back onto the river. There were signs warning of shallow water and a low bridge, but it did look as if there was a large boat moored up facing as if he had come down that way. I considered chancing it, but in the end I wimped out and reversed from the spur.
We were moored on the other side of this island.

On our way to the first lock we were overflown by a squadron of swans.
 At Boveney Lock we stopped for the services. Annoyingly, the water is on one side of the river, the can dump and rubbish on the other.
As is usual on the Thames, the lock is well decorated.

Once again there are some stunning buildings along the river's shore. This is Oakley Court.

Buildings aren't the only scenery around here. This is the queue for Bray Lock.

In Bray Lock.

More lovely houses along the river.

Maidenhead bridge. It carries the the A4 Bath Road.

And now for an explanation of the post title.
Just out of Boveney Lock, we rounded a corner and there, drifting in the middle of the river was a GRP boat with smoke pouring from it. We pulled alongside to see if we could be of assistance.
The owner had managed to put the fire out, but it was still smoking a bit. He asked for another fire extinguisher just in case.
We then took him in tow, and delivered him back to his marina, which was at Windsor Racecourse. he directed us down a long inlet off the river, which seems to wind on and on, but finally opens out into Windsor Yacht Basin.   He didn't need our extinguisher, thankfully. Having seen him safely tied up, we continued our journey.
Looking at Google Maps, it seems the basin is on the other end of that the inlet that we moored in last night, but it certainly isn't a navigable channel between the two.
Here's the captain, doing his hero bit. I couldn't claim salvage because the owner stayed on board!
Tonight we're moored up at Maidenhead. In a narrow channel, which means that when boats come past at the speeds they do on the river, we get tossed about a bit.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

On to Windsor

Thursday 29th August 2013
Last night there was a small party of young folk having a slightly noisy time on the steps near our mooring. It slightly bothered Cath, but as long as they weren't doing any harm, let them enjoy life. It was all over by about 11.00.
This morning though there was a huge amount of detritus left from their revelry. Bottles, tins, and snack packets.
A lovely lazy start today, we didn't get out of bed until about 8.40. Once again the weather has been kind, and the sun shone brightly on us as we plodded along.
As ever there are some interesting things to be seen on and by the river.
This was a lovely fountain very near to our mooring.

Also this sculpture in the same park. That's the old town hall in the background, it's up for rent or lease.

An unusual riverside house near Staines.
 There are some unusual boats around here. That's the M25 in the distance.

Another trip boat taking tourists around Runnymede.

This is a lovely craft.

Ready to sail the seas.

Albert Bridge, near Datchet.

Romney Lock has a lovely show of flowers.

When we reached Windsor we moored up on the town side, in  little bywater. Signs say there is a charge for mooring, I'm sure someone will be along to extort money from us soon.

Windsor has this memorial to Sir Sydney Camm, designer of the Hurricane, the Hunter, and the Harrier.

Of course when in Windsor you can't miss this.
Cath and I took a wander around the park area where we're moored, very pretty. Of course the prices for ice cream etc. are almost unbelievable, but heck, it's Windsor.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Farewell to the Wey

Wednesday 28th August 2013
Time to say goodbye to this lovely river. We would have liked to give it more time, but on balance felt that it was time to move on.
Last evening a boat had come along and moored in front of us, and it looked as if they were preparing to move at about the same time this morning as we were. A quick conversation confirmed it and we paired up for the trip onto the Thames.
At about 8.30 we set off through Town Lock, heading for Thames Lock, which opens at 09.00.
We arrived about 10 minutes early, and found that the lock mooring was full. Luckily, with no wind and almost no current it was easy to hang around in mid stream waiting for our turn.
At about 09.10 the lock gates opened and we sat there waiting for the boats on the moorings to make a move. And we waited, and waited. After about 5 minutes we nodded each other and went for it. It seemed that the boats on the lock moorings didn't want to go anywhere!
Once out on the Thames we turned west, while our pair went east.
Straight into Shepperton Lock, where we had to part with more money, this time for a full two week Thames licence. There isn't any price break for two weeks, basically there are 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month licences, so we had to buy two 1 week licences.
Up here, on the non tidal Thames, life is easy. It's big and wide, the scenery is mostly of very expensive houses and lots of plastic fantastic boats.

 There are some interesting houseboats though.

 We passed through Chertsey Lock
 And Penton Hook Lock

We have finally moored for the night at Staines. There is a visitor mooring here, and Sainsury's isn't too far. We did a big restock of the larder. I also found a Halfords, and got some antifreeze to top up the heating system. I have to put about 1 ltr. in it every few months, but can find no evidence of a leak anywhere.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Weybridge again

Tuesday 27th August 2013
This morning was a real sign that summer was drawing to a close. One of those misty, damp mornings, that make for atmospheric pictures
We were soon on our way. It wasn't too cold, but definitely jumper weather.
At Newark Lock Cath jumped off and started winding.

These are the gate paddles which make these locks both fast and fierce. The paddle raises fully, and, as can be seen they are not baffled at all.

Once we arrived back at Weybridge I went into town with the camera.
I spotted this one last time we were here, but didn't get a reasonable picture, this time I think I caught it. I love the name, it just works.

The parish church of St. Nicholas is quite pretty, both outside,

and in.

This evening we went out to a bistro. Sullivan's, it's not far from our mooring, and the food was very good. Simple stuff, but properly cooked, and didn't come from a 3663 van. Of course I loved it, the puddings are huge.
Back on the boat we've had a coffee and will soon retire to bed.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Back the way we came

Monday 26th August 2013
It's Bank Holiday Monday, and all the idiots seem to be out.
After turning around, we headed back towards Guildford. Arriving at Millmead Lock, Cath started to fill it ready for our entry. Not long after that another boat came along and moored behind us. Having sat for a while, the woman on the front rope asked if we were going down alone.. Strange question! Nobody else about, they looked like they wanted to go down, so I said "not any more". "We'll join you then" she said, but didn't appear to do anything except hold the boat. "Well", I said, "Cath could do with some help with the lock". "Oh, I'll send one of the kids up" she said.
Young, light kid = not a lot of use, but she tried.
Once in the lock, and that seemed to take them an age to maneuver their huge 35 ft. of narrowboat, they roped it up like it was the QEII.
We had planned to stop at Dapdune wharf, just the other side of the town to get water and throw a can and rubbish, so I very sillily told him to go ahead of us out of the lock because we were stopping at the wharf. Mistake! It wasn't too far to the wharf, luckily, because they were so slow that I had to keep taking Lyra out of gear to stop us running into the back of them all the way along to the wharf.
After doing the necessary we were soon on our way again. At Stoke Lock we were joined by a very small, open boat with a tiny outboard motor. I have not seen such a comedy act in a long time. Two middle aged blokes and a woman. She got in the boat, and they pulled it into the lock using the ropes.
By this time I was a bit anxious about having them in a lock with us. Anyway I got off and held our rope to keep us away from them as the lock was emptying. When the gates opened I had to wait while they got out of the lock first (for those who don't know, for safety, the fragile craft should always leave first. Once again there is a pantomime. For some reason the woman can't or won't drive the boat, so the men have to pull it out with the ropes, they were obviously not happy to climb down the ladder, get in the boat and drive it out. This was hilarious, because there is a bridge over the tail of the lock, and they couldn't get the rope under it, what a giggle.
All this left us, of course, behind them, but we soon caught up and thankfully, they waved us through.
Soon though, we caught up with the ones we had shared the first lock with. This is despite the fact that we had stopped for the services, and waited to take on water.
We both arrived at the next lock, Bowers Lock, together, and found that someone was just entering the bottom. Cath took the handle and walked up to help. The boat in the lock had about 5 people on board. One woman and a child got off. With the bottom gates shut, Cath, and the girl from our paired boat started to lift the paddles, gently, because they are fierce. the woman from the boat started shouting she didn't want them up, even that little bit. Cath had to walk away before she said something rude!
The woman continued to give instructions to the girl who remained,"just a bit, that's enough, just a bit more" and so on. Not once did she actually do anything. She finally sent the kid that came with their boat to lift the paddle that Cath had abandoned.
By this time the tiny outboard had arrived, and we all squeezed into the lock together. The other narrowboat told us to go first as we were obviously much faster than them, which was a relief.
Next was Triggs Lock. someone was already rising in it as we got there. Two narrowboats, once again these were trickle filling the lock, it must have taken them about 15 minutes to fill it. No-one had caught us up by the time we went in and descended.
Next came Papercourt Lock, it was in our favour so we floated in and as Cath started shutting one of the gates a chap arrived from a boat wanting to come up. He shut the other top gate, but couldn't help with the paddles because he hadn't brought a windlass handle with him ?????. Oh well, it is Bank Holiday Monday! Having finally dropped in the lock, Cath lowered the paddle on one gate and was crossing the bridge to get the other when one of the blokes from the other boat open that side gate. Now this presents Cath with a problem. She can't climb because of her dodgy knees, so she asked the guy to close it again. He got very antsy about it, but finally acceded. There were now 4 blokes from the boat up on the lock, and still they didn't have a handle between them!
They were all out today, and I think we got them all.
We've now moored up in a lovely spot by a meadow.

 Approaching Guildford from the south

More of the lovely water meadow

Strange looking craft, I wonder how it drives

Sunday, 25 August 2013

To Guildford

Sunday 25th August 2013
Yesterday we just stayed put! for once the weathermen was spot on. They predicted heavy rain all day, and that's just about what we got.
On the strength of that forecast we had decided not to bother moving, because we didn't have to. We got a bit of cleaning done, I managed to get into the little cubby where our toilet cassette is kept and give it a bit of a birthday. We saw several boats travelling in the awful conditions and were really glad we didn't have to.
This morning we set off to continue our exploration of the navigation. The weather still hadn't completely cleared up, and it did start a very light drizzle for a while. It had stopped by the time we reached Newark Lock, the first of the day.
Cath worked this one, while I held the boat in the lock, as I've said before, these locks can be fierce.
Not long after this lock the river comes out of the trees and we are given a fine view over the water meadows
At Papercourt Lock we were joined by a GRP craft, they seldom will share a lock with a steel boat for fear of being crushed, and with these locks being turbulent I thought him very brave to get in with us.
There was already a narrowboat in the next lock, Triggs, so he joined them and we lost our pairing.

However, we caught up with the narrowboat before getting to Bowers Lock, the GRP craft had gone ahead on its own.
This is a tricky lock to enter, right on a sharp corner, but we both got in OK.
Once through we forged on ahead, again by ourselves because the other boat decided to stop for lunch.
The next stop was Dapdune Wharf, where there is a Nation Trust Office, also services are here. We needed to chuck a can, so we stopped briefly. We had hoped to moor up, but there was no room.
We continued on into Guildford, where there is mooring, but the book recommends not leaving the boat unattended here. It is a bit claustrophobic there, and doesn't look a good place to stay. We stopped for a short time while I went into town for a bit of shopping.
Guildford is quite small, built on the side of the river valley. the walk up High Street is steep. Luckily the walk back with shopping is down hill.
We then moved off, just a bit further, through Millmead Lock to the meadow, where we have stopped for the night.,-0.572941&spn=0.001824,0.005284&t=h&z=18