Lived onboard Hadar

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shepperton to Wargrave Marsh.

Monday 9th June.

Today has been a fantastic day weather wise and in other ways. It has been 24 degrees centigrade outside and once again being moored up we have been able to enjoy the sunshine in moderation of course.
The River Thames is really dropping in height and in flow now, as the boards at Shepperton Lock showed when we walked down to see the lock keeper this morning. Whilst chatting to Steve (Lock Keeper) his assistant was taking down the red boards to go down stream, and he expects that the red boards upstream will come down either later this evening or first thing in the morning, which is excellent news. Whilst chatting to Steve we got onto the subject of us carrying coal and the toll we had to pay at Teddington, as well as the licence fee and Steve looked at us with a puzzled expression on his face asking “Why did you have to get a 15 day visitors licence as well”. Our reply was “That is what we were told by the Teddington Lock keeper”. To cut a long story short, it seems that because we are carrying cargo, we should only have paid the toll fee and nothing further, which is great news if it is true. It means that they owe us £131. So now we have to contact the Environment Agency and sort it out about whether this is the case and if it is can we please have our money back. Not only did the Teddington Lock keeper get that wrong, he also filled out our cargo ticket wrong as well, which Steve kindly put right for us. So many thanks to Steve and the section keeper Carl for all their help this morning.
John on NB The Dillen invited us aboard for a coffee and a natter. We spent a good hour putting the world to right and having a laugh as you do when you make new friends. I am sure we will catch up with John again many times over the coming years as we continue our life cruising. Like us he is hoping to set off in the morning, but he is going down stream.
The afternoon was really to hot to do much, so we just chilled out as much as we could doing very little.
As the evening drew in, we hard a lovely sunset over the Thames, with lots of moth type flies hovering over the river.I dare say it will be football on the TV tonight, or we maybe lucky and find a decent film on Film 4.

Tuesday 10th June.

Shepperton Mooring to Cliveden. 20 miles and 8 locks.

It was a cloudy start to the day, but that mattered not because we were going to set off, after being moored up for a week yayyyy.
By the time Paddy had been walked etc it was 8.45am before we left the mooring which had been home for the past week. The flow of the river was almost like a mill pond and so it was time for the off. Like us John on NB The Dillen was taking off as well, but in the other direction, so we said goodbye and wished him well as we headed off up stream and to another day of fun.
Having past a few weirs today it was clear that the river was still running moderately strong in places, and their were some yellow boards out at the locks saying that the stream was increasing, but we were making good headway throughout the day.Everywhere we go there are always beautiful houses and boats, and this pair of boats and home caught Keith’s eye.The small craft is a slipper slipper launch, we have seen a few of those on our Thames trip.
We had plenty of company along the way to share the locks with. NB Caenleon and NB Fleur de Lys we just two we shared with. There were also the cruisers or gin palaces as many people call them.All the lock keeps bar one did not ask us to turn Hadar’s engine off. I think they were worried in case it would not start again ha ha ha. She really performed well today when it came to getting out of the fast stream in places, such as through bridge holes and passing weirs. Keith would open her up and she would fly. We past by Chertsey, Staines
We also past by Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215, there is a memorial which can be seen from the river. It was then onto Old Windsor, which these days show no sign of the 9th-C village, built around the site of a Saxon royal palace. Up through Old Windsor Lock, we pass through New Cut built in 1822 creating Ham Island which is a bird sanctuary. Then we were under Albert and Victoria Bridges.This is the first time for me cruising through the crown estate and seeing the beautiful countryside and places the Queen owns.This is the closest I have ever been to Windsor Castle. The photograph is not great as the sun was too bright for the picture unfortunately. There are fantastic views across the park. Now that the river is out of flood the trip boats are back out and causing havoc as always.I even got to see Windsor racecourse, but there was no meeting on today. At Boveney Lock we pulled into the Weir stream to take on water, before entering emptying the loo and entering the lock along with other boats. Seeing so many boats moving today really made the day exciting, because everywhere you looked there were different boats. Even the Eton boys were out in their coxed fours, with their teachers either on bikes or in power boats shouting instructions, it made for good entertainment. Having skirted past Maidenhead we then did Boulters Lock the last lock of a long day in the afternoon sunshine. We found a mooring on one of the islands which is owned by the National Trust and costs you £6 for a 24 hour mooring. We have named the island Mog and Dog Island because Paddy and Marmite had their own secluded playground and oh boy did they have fun. Keith and I had tea alfresco with a well earned can of beer to wash it down. We really enjoyed the day and everything we saw.
We also caught sight of what we think was a Red Kite. I only really think it’s that because of the tail shape, it is the only one which matches my book.Other wildlife seen today.

Kingfisher.
Great Crested Grebe.
Cormorants.
North American Wood Duck and young.
Heard a Tawny Owl.

Wednesday 11th June.

Cliveden to Wargrave Marsh. 15.3 miles, 6 locks at an average speed of 3.3 mph.
Brrrr it began as a chilly morning, the sun was trying to come out, but the cloud was hiding it away. So away went the shorts and out came the long trousers again. We enjoyed a peaceful night on Mog and Dog Island, and were looking forward to a good days cruising. At 8.45am we set off along Cliveden Deep towards Cookham Lock.
It was very deserted when we arrived, no lock keeper to be seen. So we tied up and waited, it was not long before he appeared and opened the lock for us. As always we passed the time of day, he wanted to know all about the boat and her engine, which has been a huge talking point on this part of our journey. The scenery having left the lock was breath taking, you could see for miles across the valley and beyond. Cookham Dean itself is owned mostly by the National Trust and stands above steep beech woods. Winter Hill it is said has one of the best views of the Thames Valley that will be for another day. Kenneth Grahame who wrote ‘The Wind in the Willows’ lived at Mayfield between 1906-1910, and it is thought that the Quarry Wood may have been the wild wood mentioned in the story.One thing you really notice are the beautiful houses along the Thames and not all of them grand affairs, some are modest in size but have huge character.We love to admire them, but glad we do not have a house or a garden to manage anymore. It is so much nicer admiring other people’s hard work. It is clear though that some of the property along the Thames must cost millions to buy. Whilst we were on the move I put a load of washing on, so that I could hang it in the engine room to dry whilst we were underway.
Even the local cattle get to use the water for drinking and taking a dip.Totally unbothered by all the boats moving.
As I said before there are some amazing properties along the Thames, there are also so quirky ones, such as this house that looks like a castle.Keith reckons it has been there for donkeys years and yet it looks new due to the fact that it is well looked after. Someone clearly takes a lot of pride in their home. We then enjoyed a long run to Marlow Lock.Yes that’s me arriving on the bow. I do a lot of walking along the gunwales, when we arrive at locks, as I have to throw the bow rope around the bollards whilst the lock is being operated, to hold the boat fast. Leaving the lock we past Steamboat Nuneham, she is a trip boat, which moves up and down the Thames.Marlow itself is very pretty looking, it is a Georgian town with a wide tree lined High Street. A fantastic view of the weir can be seen from the suspension bridge over the river; it was built by Tierny Clarke in 1831-6 and reconstructed in 1966.
We skirted past Bisham Abbey built mainly in the 14th and 16th C and was a private house from 1540. It is now a sports centre of the Central Council of Physical Recreation.
I made lunch on the run, today it was toasted cheese sandwiches. We arrived at Temple Lock just before 1pm and the lock keep had gone to lunch, but we were in no hurry so tied up to wait till 2pm.Some minutes later a cruiser with three gentlemen turned up and they were less happy to sit and wait and wondered of we should operate the lock ourselves. Not seeming to mind either way we walked up to see how we would go about operating the lock by hand when the lock assistant arrived. But he could not work the lock for us as he had not finished his training and it was against Health and Safety, but he was happy to convey to us the instructions on how to work the buttons, as the manual wheel was not working. So Keith emptied the lock and opened the gates, at which point five boats passed Hadar moored up and entered the lock, they came from no where. So this meant Hadar would probably not fit in. However the assistant keeper was not happy with this situation as we had been the one doing the work, so he made the other boats squish up so Hadar could get in, which was very nice of him, as he was supposed to be having his lunch. The next question was “who is going to close the gates and operate the lock”?
The assistant Lock Keeper suggested that the 3 gentleman on the cruiser should elect one man to do the deed, as he wanted two crew members to stay on each boat of the boats to hold the ropes. But none of them moved from their boat. (Too much like hard work for them). So Keith tied the stern of Hadar up and worked the lock, otherwise we would have been there until 2pm, which was no problem to us we were prepared to wait anyway. What was really disappointing was the fact that only two of the boats actually thanked Keith for what he did and they were boaters we had met before. The boat with the gentlemen in a hurry on, did not say a word they just sped off at great speed. What ever happened to politeness?
We let everyone else leave the lock before we departed wishing the assistant lock keeper well.
After leaving the lock we were soon into Hurley Lock before a long stretch to Hambledon Lock and then on past a little island with the name Temple Island, it is not apparent why it is called that until you reach the other end of it.You then see that it has a building on it that looks like a temple. It is really quite beautiful.
We were then into the Henley Mile, where the Henley Royal Regatta takes place each year.Men were already putting in the posts for the race course. Keith told me that they put them in and take them out every year, once the event is over. We saw a lot of work going on putting up marques and setting for the spectators. Keith told me it is absolutely crazy on this part of the river when Henley is on. So a place to stay away from if you don’t like mayhem.
Henley-on-Thames itself looks stunning and I would love to stop and visit one day. It was described by Dickens as ‘the Mecca of the rowing man’ so well worth a visit at sometime.We cleared Marsh Lock and found ourselves a 24 hour mooring at Wargrave Marsh. Not long after having arrived, we had a visit from a Black Swan.I have not seen one for many years, and Keith had not seen one at all. An extremely beautiful bird.

Other wildlife we saw today.

Black Swan.
Red Kite.
Canada Geese and young.
Egyptian Geese and young.
Grey Lag Geese and Young.
Buzzards.
Swifts.
Housemartins.
Swallows.
Dragonflies.
Etc etc etc.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We have live in Bourne End and have ha narrow boat based at Braunston. Your experiences of Temple Lock sum up what life in general is like in this area. I would be out of here tomorrow if circumstances allowed it!

dhutch said...

Yay!
Looks like you having a great time. The Thames is lvely isnt it, and you have the time and weather to enjoy it it seams. Keep up the good work with the blod. Excellent.

Emilyanne left the marina last weekend finally, and we had an very good two days on the weaver. Starting off travelling on the lift and then down to the end and returning to moor her at Acton Bridge. See our blog for a handfull of photos.

Daniel