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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Friday to Sunday... still moored up.

Friday 6th June.

The one good thing about waiting for the strong flow to calm down is the fact that we get to talk to other people and see other things.
So having woken up to yet another sunny morning. I donned my camera, put Paddy’s lead on and took off on his morning stroll. For a change I took paddy for his walk back towards Shepperton lock, to take a photo of a boat we saw when we were coming up the river. From the bow it looks like a beautiful houseboat.But the stern looks like a galleon. Someone is obvious doing a lot of work on this fabulous boat as I could hear drills and electric saws being used. A real work of art.
As we walked along the one way rode, painted in the middle of the road were yellow ducks. I wonder if the ducks know it’s a duck crossing. It’s either that or someone has a good sense of humour.The one way road has a 30mph speed limit, but not many of the cars that use it seem to stick to that limit.
Since we have been out, I have admired many different boats and have shown some of them in the diary, but this boat has a real history.You maybe looking at the photograph and thinking, what is so special about this boat?
The Silver Queen or as she is known now Fermain V was one of the Dunkirk boats. She is owned by the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust. She was built in Southampton in 1926 by Horn Brothers. The boat was towed across to Dunkirk, because she was ideal for ferrying soldiers from La Panne Beach to the larger destroyers and ships, which eventually bought them back to England. The Silver Queen is a remarkable boat and it is a credit to the Trust that she is looking so wonderful today. If she could talk what a tale she would tell. It is amazing to think that she along with over 700 other little ships helped to save over 338,000 soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. Also on our walk this morning Paddy and I found some wild honeysuckle, its scent drifting across the towpath.I love the smell of honeysuckle, especially the wild kind as its scent is so strong. This time of the year you can see a lot of wild flowers you just have to open your eyes.
The rest of our day was pretty quiet, I got a laundry wash done, Keith went down to the lock and emptied our toilet at the sanitary station. Whilst there he got chatting to the assistant lock keeper, who told him that yesterday two boats coming down with the stream crashed into the Thames barges working on the weir at Shepperton Lock, all because they could not slow down and stop due to the strong flow. That is another good reason not to move, it is not just going up with the flow that causes problems. We have seen a few boats moving today but they are cruisers with twin engines and a lot of power. The waterfowl are also finding the strong flow hard to cope with. We sat and watched a coot as it tried and failed to swim up stream, not matter how hard it tried it just could not make it, so it tried flying a little, but then found itself going backwards quicker than it had flown up the river. Eventually it gave up and flew up onto the bank, probably for a rest.
Keith and I enjoyed a coffee and a chat with John on The Dillen; John was in the Navy as a diver for a number of years and has been living on the water for 15 years in different boats. He now has NB The Dillen and has a lot of experience on and under the water. Both he and Keith have enjoyed chatting about their lives around water.
So another day moored up and a chance for me to read the rest of my book by Annie Murray. ‘Where Earth Meets Sky’. It’s a brilliant book to read, like all of her books, if you like a bit of romance, mystery and scandal. I have all of Annie Murray’s books and love reading them over and over again.

Sunday 7th June.
If only the river matched the weather, it would be perfect and we would be moving. When the weather was foul the river was perfect, but now the weather is perfect the river is foul. We cannot win it seems at the moment. It is another sunny day, with a breeze to keep the heat down.
Keith and I took a walk down to Shepperton Lock as I wanted to take some photographs. The red boards are still out and although craft are moving they do so at their own risk.The only boats we have seen moving have been ones with powerful engines, no narrowboats are moving, which is the safest way.
We were told that the river at Oxford peaked last night, so we now wait for the water to come our way. If all goes well we hope to be underway on Monday, but we shall have to play it by ear and keep watching the stream. We have seen an improvement in it today; it has begun to slow down. The problem will come if we get anymore heavy rain before then.Whilst at the lock we got chatting to a lovely couple from Atherstone, we sat and put the world to right and watched as a couple of boats came up through the lock, one being the Environment Agency boat and another being an old army boat. It does not matter how many times I walk along the river I never get bored and there is always something new to see. We spotted a Great Crested Grebe swimming up stream, it was finding it hard going.
There are a lot of people about due to it being the weekend. We spent the rest of the day chilling out on and off the boat, watching the world go by.

Sunday 8th June.

Phooooooo it’s been a hot day 26 degrees centigrade. Keith and I both sat out for a short time to top up our tans, but the heat got over powering, so we settled to being inside watching a Sunday movie. Even Marmite and Paddy have lain low today, trying to stay cool. The Thames itself is still under red boards, but it has been busy with traffic going up and down. Keith once again rang the flood line and it said as of 11 am this morning that the red board would remain up possibly until Tuesday, so it is looking more and more likely that our Thames Licence will run out, but we will cross that bridge if and when it happen. We sat and watched the F1 race from Canada. Not a good race for Lewis Hamilton, but well done to David Coulthard who earned himself and the Red Bull team a third place. So another day has passed and a new week begins tomorrow, so we shall see what it has to offer in the morning. We will ring the flood line in the morning as they update it at 11am and 4pm each day. See you next week; I hope your weekend has been a good one.


Area D said...

The boat with the galleon stern looks very much like a college barge ( link. Is this might even be the same one.

Keith & Jo said...

Hi area d. Thank you for the links. It does look very similar. I was told that they were college Barges, just after I put the photo up. I think they are fantastic. Welcome onboard.