Monday 20 August 2018

Back in the saddle.

So Reader I know its been a while, I know I've been remiss in ignoring you but....  I may have fallen a touch foul of the bloggers curse, which is to get all behind like a dogs tail and not start again.  So you may think we were at home for ages but not so, only home for a couple of days, the farm is still there and everything, plus my mum is on good form too.

We arrived back on WaL after just two nights away and in the mean time Sarah and Andy had moved WaL for us from Cookham up to Reading.  They had arrived in Reading when it started raining and moored up on Christchurch Meadows I think its called.  When we arrived back to reclaim her it was a fine sunny day, a bit blowy and as soon as we figured out just how to reconnect the fridge and freezer..... we set off.  Hardly any supplies were lost, actually I think it was only some mint for Pimms that had suffered, but I think I can choke Pimms down without mint.

So loading up WaL very carefully avoiding the goose poo which is 4' deep in places here, I unpacked and we set off.  We are going to Lechlade for our last ten days on the Thames.

Our mooring, under the new footbridge.

Here's the rest of it...

Past these trip boats which do look a lot smarter than the Salters boats which operate all along the Thames

Sigh, how grand is this?

A little cluster of Terns, 

Can't remember where this was exactly, but I don't want a place where all the world and his mother can see into your bedroom and lounge, and we could.

Now do you remember several years ago there were some marvellous installations that appeared on the Thames, in ridiculous places?  One way signs and a post box on a bridge in Sonning?  Well that letterbox from Sonning bridge is now located in The Bull pub in the bar, but here's another, this was closer to Mapledurham Lock, where we had a nasty incident concerning a cruiser who behaved badly....

In the approaches to the lock he had come past us and not waved or made any eye contact, a bad sign.
As we arrived at the lock, he was moored in the middle of the lock landing, from just behind us a short narrowboat appeared and he could just get on the landing behind the cruiser so we floated and nothing happened...  The lock was on Self Service, it seemed that no one had gone forward to operate the lock.
So at length the cruiser captain came back to his boat and waved us in, now what he should have done was allowed the other narrowboat in to go along side us, tidy and out the way, but he didn't he went in second leaving the NB potentially out....  David didn't want that so we went further in and put our rope on the furthest bollard.  In fact a man with a cup in his hand  from the cafe did my rope as it was a high lock. He had a very strong Irish accent, almost indecipherable  but the last thing I heard him say was hang on its a strong one.......!
Oh my gawd it was, turns out that Mapledurham lock has high up the gate paddles and the force pushed us out as I wasn't able to hold WaL.  I was on the nose with the rope on the front dolly whereas in all previous locks I had the rope on the side dolly so I can stay in the cratch, much safer.  

Half way up the Lock Keeper appeared and came straight to me (I was pretty scared hanging on to the rope by now sat down feeling completely out of control and out of David's sight yelling for him to start the engine and get control of me but with that water force he wouldn't have heard me if he'd of been standing next to me)  

The Lock Keeper said Oh you like to live dangerously don't you....?   Well I think I possibly had a rare sense go humour failure and questioned the signage for boaters who were not regulars on the Thames, he said there is a sign that Narrowboats shouldn't go "above" the bollard I was on....  I still hold the view that I wasn't above it I was on it and why not have a sign saying NB's not to go not the top bollard?  Indeed if boats aren't to use the top bollard.....why is it there?
Well I suppose we ended up sort of in agreement, sort of.
David said I should have let go altogether but to all of you learn from this going uphill at Mapledurham, should you have a well deck then stay right BACK and hold tight.

So we left the lock first, the cruiser came past again no wave, no eye contact, I felt we were beneath his contempt.
So here we are at Whitchurch lock at Pangbourne, I had said to David all along Pangbourne Meadows to slow down let him go through the lock before we get there, but no, here he is right in the middle of the lock landing again, we went up behind him close enough to make him look twice but not touching.
Self service again, we went in behind him having already calculated that we could both fit in.  I went up to his stern and used the bollard on the opposite side to him.  David wasn't quite in and asked him to move up, "I can't move up" he said  David was determined not reverse out again so David put our stern across the lock and got in but surprise the cruiser did go forward a bit more, he did have space. 
He kept his engine on in the lock filling our cratch with blue fumes which upset me again. This is the first time this summer a cruiser has upset me.
I didn't volunteer to close the lock which I would always usually do. 

Middle of the lock landing.

Someones home but I would want more windows.

I just love these old wooden boats, I'd love to go on one too.

I like these soft curves of the older styles to the horrid pointy modern ones.

It had felt like a long way, but we arrived at Whitchurch.

So we had wanted to moor in Goring and also knew that at well gone 5pm we had little chance to finding a space at that time, so we had called ahead to the lockie and secured his only spot with leckkie.  It was above the lock, then you reverse your stern back towards the weir.  

Supper was those tasty Lamb burgers  that had been defrosted by accident.


  1. Errr sorry I think you have got the photos mixed up as I think this is in fact Whitchurch Bridge ?

    It had felt like a long way, but we arrived at Goring.

    1. Alf,
      Thank you very much, I ALWAYS welcome corrections. Yes that is the bridge immediately after the Pangbourne Meadow moorings.
      Had another look but I don't have one of the arrival at Goring.
      I'll correct it.