Sun 18th May Hazel’s Birthday
BBC to Weybridge Wall
Another late start after a tiring day yesterday. Hazel saw the mouse that Hugo had brought in yesterday, so we had a bit of a hunt before catching it and releasing it. There were also the remains of another to add to the tally.
We had planned to take the boat to Town Lock and come back by bus to collect the car, but instead, James drove to New Haw lock while Hazel took the boat. A boat was just coming up which was handy, setting the lock for us.
Car and boat again to Coxes lock, where two boats were coming up. A third was waiting so James was able to get on Gabriel and go to the water point where the car was. After filling the water tank, Hazel drove to the Town Lock Car Park, while James took the boat and moored just above the lock.
We drove to church where people were surprised to see us. We had brought cake as it was Hazel’s birthday. Then we drove to Portmore Quays for the last time, where we assembled all the items to do with the car. We went to number 7 for a lovely lunchtime send off from the neighbours.
Portmore Quays send off party
Tricia and Suzanne
Sid, Trevor, Christine
Paul and Rosie
James in the shade
Dave and Caryl came to collect the car and we completed the paperwork.
Boats were getting stuck on the sandbank in the middle, and this caused a bit of a lock queue. Fortunately when we finally brought Gabriel through we avoided an undignified grounding, and departed with much hooting of horns and brandishing of football rattles.
Boats getting stuck on the sandbank
At Town Lock we handed in our Wey Licence for a pro-rata refund, and moored on the Weybridge Wall. We noticed quite a strong flow.
5 locks, 4 miles, 2 mice
Mon 19th May
Weybridge to Staines-upon-Thames
We cruised over to Shepperton Lock where we discovered some maintenance work still continuing, so there was a wait for the lock. We emptied a cassette, and disposed of the rubbish and bought a 2 week licence (£139) for the Thames
When we finally got going, we headed up through Chertsey Meads, where we noticed a high water mark on the information boards, left over from the winter flooding. We could see similar marks on the walls of some of the houses as we passed.
We visited Penton Hook Marina for fuel, where we had to wait while a diesel tanker made a delivery. We moored alongside a Dutch barge Laura-Jo, owned by Lynne and Dave. They had brought this boat through the Kennett and Avon Canal. They said they would never do that again. They had had to get the steam pumps working at Crofton to raise them off the bottom. They gave us a coffee. Lovely hospitable people, unofficially resident in the marina, who don’t allow liveaboards.
Being friendly in Penton Hook Marina
We went also to the chandlery, but they were closed. James left a cheque for the invoice he had received. We have decided that the estimate of £700 to fix the Webasto is outrageously expensive, so we will try to find an alternative engineer, who returns phone calls and emails.
Penton Hook Lock was on self service – this gave us time for an ice cream as it was very hot and sunny.
We cruised up through Staines to our usual Lammas Lands mooring. The river levels were fluctuating, causing the boat to list at one point, so we slackened the ropes.
Our Lammas Lands mooring in Staines-upon-Thames
We had a phone call from Mick regarding the solar panel regulator and the Webasto heater. The Webasto is to be done under warranty which is good news, but it needs to be sorted out by Stephen, the engineer at Chertsey Marine. This could mean delaying a bit more, which is a bit of a shame as we were hoping to get to Lechlade and back with our 2 week licence. We will call them in the morning. The new regulator is to be sent to us by Mick for me to fit. We are gradually getting things sorted out.
We sat in the shade under the trees in our comfy chairs. Later we walked to the folk club in “the Bells” We sang “A long way down”, “Well well well”, and “Miles and miles of poly”. Mary Sibley came. A good evening.
Tue 20th May
A day in Staines.
Cruised to mooring behind town hall. Going downstream much easier than going upstream. Phoned Chertsey Marine. Stephen not in yet. Left message for him to call.
Bought bible study book at Canaan. Bought Hazel’s earrings, and some food supplies.
Phoned Chertsey Marine. Stephen replied. James explained our timing schedule, trying to get to Lechlade and back to Oxford on our 2 week licence. Stephen promised to take the old one away this afternoon for cleaning and testing.
Had buffet lunch at Pizza Hut. Back to boat for zzzzzzzz.
Stephen phoned to say change of plan: he will install the new burner as he takes out the old one, probably on Thursday in Windsor area.
Heavy rain shower around 8pm.
0 locks, 1 mile, 0hr10
Wed 21st May
Staines to Dorney
Shopping first. BHS / Debenhams etc for a throw to cover our dinette cushions. The one we have now is marginally too small. No success. Market day. Bacon roll at Greggs – not v good.
Then cruise to the Sainsbury’s mooring and a visit to Homebase. No turn buttons. Bought a doormat.
Then cruised through Bell Weir Lock. We saw some Dunkirk Little Ships travelling downstream near Runnymede.
Through Old Windsor, Romney and Boveney, mooring at PG point by the Dorney rowing lake. Lots of long grass for Hugo. It is not marked as PG Point on any maps that I have seen. Someone has painted the name on the piling. Perhaps the initials PG are the guy who installed the piling? No idea.
Dunkirk Little Ships at Runnymede
A yellow amphibian vessel in Windsor
Flourishing rape plants on the Thames Path at Dorney
Walked back to the EA mooring to check car park arrangements for Webasto engineer – looks possible for him to park fairly close to the boat.
4 locks, 10 miles, 3hr50
Thu 22nd May
Two boats left from the EA mooring, so we left PG point and cruised 10 minutes back to moor up more conveniently for access by Webasto engineer.
Heavy rain for most of the day, so we caught up with some changes of address correspondence.
Chris and Diana on Ultreya came downstream and paused for a chat, dripping in their wet gear, standing under our canopy at the stern. It was good to see them. They are on their way to Little Venice / Paddington.
0 locks, 0 miles, 0hr10
Fri 23rd May
Dorney to Marlow
Cloudy threatening skies, intermingled with odd spots of sunshine.
At Bray Lock we found Louis doing his relief lockkeeper job.
At Boulters Lock, we shared with a narrowboat called Roundabout, and they asked for a BCF leaflet. Rob the Christian lockkeeper there, prayed for a lady in the bows for healing for her arm.
We passed the islands in Cliveden Reach without stopping, and only spotted one boat moored.
We filled up water at the excellent powerful water point at Cookham Lock, while Roundabout went on ahead. We passed them again at the mooring near the Spade Oak pub.
We continued to the EA mooring at Marlow. It was just starting to rain as we moored up. Good timing.
Stephen rang to say he had the Webasto part and would come this evening.
The rain stopped in the evening and we walked into the town to buy milk and other bits from Sainsbury’s local.
Stephen rang to say he would run out of daylight if he came this evening, so he will be with us first thing tomorrow morning.
3 locks, 10 miles, 3hr35
Sat 24th May
Marlow to Henley
Heavy rain from 5am onwards. Our wedding anniversary.
Stephen, the Webasto engineer, arrived at 0830 to sort out the heater and replace the burner. Thankfully, with the canopy, he could work under cover, although the gutters at the stern had blocked and water was dripping into the bilges. We cleared the pipe with a wire coat hanger and the dripping stopped.
Norman Woolley on Bruin went past, shouting something like: “Can’t stop, I’m heading for Liverpool to do the Mersey!”
When the Webasto was finally installed and working, and Stephen had left, we set off through Marlow Lock at 1115.
At Temple Lock we were swept sideways by the current which was making a large circular movement caused by the flow from the weir. At Hurley we used the facilities – loo, rubbish, water.
When we arrived at Hambleden Lock, we saw a yellow warning board displayed. These apparently apply now from Shiplake down to Boveney.
Red Kite at Hambleden
We made good progress round to Temple Island and we followed alongside the regatta course and under Henley Bridge.
As it was our anniversary, we had decided to moor in Henley despite the £9 mooring fee, and go for a nice meal out.
We moored and put up our canopy just as the rain was starting. A widebeam called Moonshine pulled in behind and James helped them with their ropes. They recently met John and Barbara Froggatt at Newbury.
We looked online and made a booking at “The Square”, a Portuguese restaurant specialising in sea food.
When the rain paused we went shopping and checked out restaurants and pubs. We decided we had made the right choice with The Square.
After a brief zzzz back on the boat we went for our meal. Fresh grilled sardines, plus prawns wrapped in bacon, followed by grilled lobster. The house white, which had been recommended on Trip Advisor, was excellent.
The rain had returned by the time we left, so we appreciated our brollies for the half mile walk back to the boat.
Plans for Henley Baptist Church tomorrow, then cruise to Reading. Folk club in the evening.