Monday, 25 August 2014

Update on lack of posts

Unfortunately my shoulder is still not brilliant so I am saving it for the tiller rather than posting on the blog.  Unless it improves there are unlikely to be more posts until late September when I next visit the house (and the physiotherapist).
I have just turned onto the Kennet & Avon so my Thames trip is over for this year.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Going Home

Unfortunately, despite two visits to the physiotherapist while I was at home, my shoulder is still not 100% and composing a blog post requires a lot of mouse work. So, this is a big catch up, composed over several days, with mostly just photographs.

I ended up staying on the Thames at Reading for another 5 nights.  It really was an ideal spot.  The only drawback was quite a long walk to the shops.  I did take the trolley the 2.5 mile trip to Waitrose once, but on Tuesday 8th decide to take the boat down to Tesco, where I have been told the moorings are next to the store.
Modern buildings

One of the two bridges across the Thames at Reading

Someone lives on this but it has not moved for a long time.  I wonder what happens to the sewage?
Sure enough the moorings could not be nearer to Tesco and I stock up on heavy goods (beer. ginger beer and 6kg of sugar for my home brew etc.) as well as food.  I was undecided whether to stay the night there as there are very heavy showers about but the mooring is not brilliant (no TV, very busy and lots of trees rendering my solar panels pretty ineffective).  I use Netweather to see what the current rainfall radar shows and spot a break in the rain coming my way so decide to go back up to where I was for a couple more days as the forecast is not good (very windy).  My reason for going back is that I have been looking for a week's mooring to go back to the house.  The marinas on the Thames are £20-£25 per night but a marina not too far up the Kennet offers me a week for £56, which means turning onto the Kennet and Avon canal.  There do not seem to be many decent moorings on the K&A not too far from Reading and it is 2 weeks until my booking, so I might as well spend another few nights back at my favourite spot.

3 miles; 2 large locks

Come Saturday and a favourable forecast I decide to make an early start - so do the early birds from the rowing club.

About to leave my mooring.
After another brief stop at Tesco onto the Kennet and Avon.

The river Kennet goes right through the centre of Reading on a one-way section controlled by traffic lights as the current can be quite fast and there are some tight bends.
Lots of fun for the kids

and plenty of bars and restaurants for adults.
I spend a very pleasant and leisurely cruise for the next few days planning to arrive at the marina the following Saturday but, as the forecast for Saturday is pretty poor, I make for the marina on Friday to pick up the hire car on Sunday to get back to the house.

Saturday 12 to Friday 18

11 miles; 10 locks; 4 moveable bridges

Driving is not good for my shoulder either and I was very ready for my visit to the physio on Monday. She helped a great deal and a further treatment on Friday improved things further. She also gave me various exercises to do which help a lot.  I then spent a further week at the marina carrying out an engine service etc and installing 4 new, slightly larger and very expensive batteries to make the most of my solar panels. I finally set off to head back to the Thames on Friday 1st.
The locks and swing bridges on this section appear to be in poor repair. There were problems with one swingbridge coming up and going back passage is only permitted four times a day at Tyle Mill. This is me and three other reports waiting for the 3 PM opening.
The 4 boats work well together to work the locks and bridges and James meets his new best friend Toby from Winton's Folly NB.  They have a fantastic time.  I go with Carol and Barry from Winton's Folly and a couple from the next boat to the pub and spend a very pleasant evening, including a magnificent burger.

Friday 1 August

5 miles; 5 locks; 5 moveable bridges

After a few nights on the way back down I arrive back at my, or rather James', favourite spot on the Thames only to find that James' field has been fenced off with two 6 foot fences and a 12 foot fence – it is for the Reading festival at the end of the month.

Still plenty of room to play but not keen on the view.

Saturday 2 to Monday 4

8 miles; 8 locks

Tuesday and I finally manage to get past Reading.  The houses are getting bigger and grander by the mile!  I doubt I could even afford some of the boathouses!

Tuesday 5

8 miles; 3 large locks

On Wednesday I soon reach Henley.

The marquees etc for the regatta, held at the beginning of July, being dismantled.  Plenty of moorings but I hope to find somewhere cheaper and quieter.

Temple Island, just below Henley.  It is a delightful folly, designed by James Wyatt as a fishing lodge for Fawley Court, the Christopher Wren mansion on the Henley Reach, from which the Temple completed a charming prospect through an avenue of trees.  The Temple was built in 1771, its interior being based on designs which had just been discovered at Pompeii. This work, now beautifully restored, is the first example in England of the form of ornamentation which came to be known as the Etruscan Style.  It is available for private hire.  Prices are not published - if you need to ask you can't afford it!

And still they get bigger
 I find a very pleasant mooring just below Hurley lock - fields for James, nice walks and quiet (apart from the Canada geese).  I may well be here a few days at £5 per night.

 9 miles; 3 large locks

TOTAL:  498 miles; 277 locks (79 broad; 10 large; 15 lift bridges)