Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Meadows to Sonning and Sonning to a brush with death.

A bright start to the day, the sort of bright start that makes you put a tee shirt on.  Then I shot back indoors to put on a fleece and a waistcoat too.

Last nights moorings, most attractive detached moorings nicely separated by trees, handily placed to tie up to.

Loving the shining water.

This imposing house has a lawn that steeply falls down to the river.  The owners seem to dislike flowers though.

When I was a child my mother used to say "Look at that nice pony/tractor/clown/elephant to which I used to respond
"Where? where?"  Nowadays the same words are repeated back to me whenever I say to David Look, a Kingfisher!  I am not sure he has seen one yet, maybe he will now.

Could be clearer but the boat was moving and I have enlarged it.

This little day launch was dwarfed by the trees.

So elegant, so graceful, where's the loo?

We headed towards Henley.  But first we had to go through the last of the three side filling locks, I don't have the book with me here but its the lock before Henley going uphill.  I needn't have worried, a volunteer  greeted me in a most jolly manner and warned us straight away.  

He told me about a celebrity that came through on their boat the other day,  he said "Guess who?"  they are very famous!
George Clooney says I straight away, 
No says he, but he often goes to have a cup of tea with the lock keepers at Sonning.....
It turned out to be Jane Torville who had been past a few days ago with her family on her 1950's wooden built cruiser which I would have LOVED to have seen, the cruiser that is, not necessarily the lady, not that I don't admire her.

The run into Henley was very different to a couple of years ago when the Regatta was due to start in a few days time.  

Mooring was very expensive in town and on the straights crazy expensive to be surrounded by men in silly jackets.  All the marques were gone today so you can see this what I can only think was a former stable block.  Whoever chose that planting scheme should be thoroughly laughed at!!  
Looks like a long row of gappy teeth.

Not many of these about, 

A little Egret I spotted here, just the one too.  HERE  
On into Henley, with its wonderful waterfront.  I am sorry to say it was here that my camera battery died, so David's phone was called into action...

Impressive victorian waterfront properties

Henley Bridge

Not been in here.

Lots of arches on this bridge.

Very old properties, see how tiny those are on the right.

Good example of shocking planning decisions made during the 60's I should guess.

Anyone remember that episode of Grand Designs?  Here is the property.

I struggle to understand how the neighbours thought it didn't blend in with its surroundings.

We weren't stopping in Henley, although there were moorings aplenty.  I wanted to eat out tonight at The Bull in Sonning.  Limited moorings at Sonning so we wanted to get there as early as.

In the last lock of our day this little launch whizzed in behind us, hard to get a shot of it as it was so close.  A lovely young couple Josh, his girlfriend and her godmother who was being taken out for lunch at The Bull in Sonning!!  I asked them if it was the lovely old place and yes I had remembered the correct one.  The launch was built in the 1930's and owned by Josh's parents for the last fifteen years, today was its last jaunt before being put away for the winter.
Yes I can learn quite a bit about people in the few minutes it takes to complete a lock!

Personally I prefer to sit to hold ropes in a lock.

I would like one of these for weekends David, Oh and a Mini Cooper please.

So a pause after this lock to do the rubbish, here they have a mini skip on a floating deck that faces the path, it was open and it occurred to me that if they reversed it you could then do a "Drive by" and simply toss your bag in without stopping. These thoughts of rubbish are always on my mind.....
Around the last bends and into Sonning.  I am glad to say a couple of spaces left here and we moored up.  
Its dead posh here.

Bike out and David disappeared for a couple of hours while I stayed and wrote the blog for you all...  

A group of Japanese tourists came by, they took masses of photos of the boats and cheekily got onto the stern of the one in front to pose for their friends....  I was waiting for them to come onto WaL but no they clearly don't like red.

So this is The Bull at Sonning, we enjoyed an aperitif al fresco and of course, you've guessed it, it rained a hefty shower.  I was waiting to see the man Himself, Mr G Clooney, well I figured if he went and had a cuppa with the lock keepers then he'll be bound to pop into his local for a swift half....
But he was a No Show.  

Sonning is most lovely however why anyone would want to live there is beyond me.  Its made up of a small village but no shops that I saw, many posh cars, however it has a bridge across the Thames, its an old one, its single width so when David returned from his bike ride he reported that there was a queue of over a mile of cars waiting to cross the bridge at going home time.  
This would mean that if Mr C wanted a pint he would have to walk to the pub as taking the car would take 40 minutes..... Well film stars can't walk can they?

Supper for me was blade of beef in a rich red wine gravy with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli  followed by my favourite (In the absence of Tiramisu) of sticky toffee pudding with warmed toffee sauce, for the second time this week, this time served with salted caramel ice-cream and I have to say that the one at Bourne End was better.
We waddled back to the boat and bed.

The next day was an earl start to get to Reading bright and early.  We were due to be home for a fortnight as David's brother is away so David has to mind the farm, (This is another meaning of playing golf).  So up and off for the relatively short hop to Reading.

Sonning Bridge, a beauty.

Mr C's garden.

I suppose he can have some privacy, but I was hoping he would be waving.

Actually I am not a fan of his work and his music choices on Desert Island Discs were dismal.

Nothing happened on the way to Reading, well I didn't see anything happen as I was packing bags in doors.

David had booked WaL into the care of Caversham Boat Services, this company is located on Fry's Island, so yes its an island in the middle of the Thames that has no bridge. Ummmmm

So what this meant was that after obtaining prior permission of mooring on their landing on the mainland side, David naffed off on his bike with my purse to catch the train to Guildford where our car had been hiding for a fortnight.  As he peddled off I yelled CAR KEYS fairly loudly and he came back for them, so off he went again.  
I was really hoping to get sorted and then sit down with a nice cup of and finish my book of which I was at 93%, but in the blink of an eye he called to say he had arrived at Guildford  Bleedin 'ell I was behind schedule.  

I just sat down when he's tapping at he window, no book time for me but bags out of the kitchen hatch and he loaded the car.
The plan was for us to move across the river to the boat yard then pick up a pilot from the staff, park WaL, and be ferried back to shore.  Then as we got to the Island David realised that the car was on Double Yellows, so then he pulled back to the shore to move it  "Just risk it" I called from the front, so back he pulled to the island, ok then the chap calls its better to approach the moorings facing upstream so he began to turn the boat mid stream to go around the island, as the back came past the mainland....
"Lisa what is you get off here and sit in the car?"
So I grabbed the last bag, this contains the two kindles, headphones, my wee speakers, my precious laptop on which I have 7,300 plus photographs, his iPad and all the associated plugs over my arm and my handbag containing both our phones, boat keys, car keys all known credit cards and cash....  Now David didn't see this big bag on my shoulder and as I went around the tiller NOT holding on I can't tell you how close it was to him pushing me off, I gave a small scream Reader, I would have gone down and not come up again...
Finally after all the faffing Wal was moored, secured and safe, the car was not clamped, I was still speaking to him and he set about trying to break out of Reading.

Home now.  We are here for three weeks whilst farming (Golf) takes place.

Supper was beans on toast with melted cheese on the top and a poached egg nearby.

1 comment:

  1. Good man David - get as much golf in as you can. About time we had a round or two.