Sunday, 24 July 2016

Slow and then Go !

Sunday 17th July to Saturday 23rd July 2016

Well the moorings here are free for the first 24 hours and thereafter it is £5 per day – we had been here for two days, no-one had appeared to collect the money, so we thought we should make a quick slow run for it.
We didn’t make it very far, just 1 lock and 1 mile before we decided that the moorings at Chertsey Meads looked pretty good – so we stopped – barely an hour’s running time on the engine (half of which was just battery charging).

Diane had work inside the boat to do – she had started ripping off the wallpaper and the the underlying insulated wallpaper in favour of painting it all.
The bedroom has been done and now her attentions turned to the rest of walls.
Whilst all of this mess and mayhem was happening, I decided that I would be best served outside the boat and so the mushrooms were targeted – bare in mind we have had the boat for 6 years and not once touched them – they would now be polished – or at least remove the lacquer layer and the tarnishing.
It was a satifysing 3 hours work for both of us and the effects were noticeable.
Here are two panels that were done earlier, the light blue walls
are cleaner now and a bit brighter too..

...and match the rest of the decor

As I have mentioned a few times previously, some of our cruising agendas have revolved around being at certain places to take advantage of some specials from certain eateries.
Monday being a popular one with Diane and with a Slug and Lettice just up the river at Staines we were heading there – just 5 miles and 2 locks – but we came foul of it all!
Apparently at certain selected locations (Staines included) they were not having the 50% off food special – Diane found out after ordering and paying – we still stayed and enjoyed the food a lot (well 50% less)

We managed to catch up with the annual Swan Upping, which is conducted along the Thames between Sunbury Lock and Abingdon Bridge.
Not the main Swan Marker, but notice the feather sticking out of his cap

Still not the main man... he is, the Swan Marker, David Berber

The stop for lunch - there seemed to be about a dozen boats in the extended
flotilla for all of this - most seemed satisfied with the journey for the
free lunch

The weather has just been too fabulous lately and with an increase in temperatures again, the heat was starting to get to Diane (and to me – a bit). Inspired by Julie and Tony (nb Damper Van) and Dave (nb Cockney Sparra II) who all cooled off with a dip in the Thames (a fair way further upstream than we were), Diane got her kit off (but put her swimmers on in place) and took to the water(s).
Cooling off in the river - now to get out of there...

The mooring place in Staines was new and a bit higher out of the water than normal.
Only after getting in and cooling off, enjoying the water, did the thought then turn to getting out – a suggested use of a mooring rope with a loop in it did not work as expected; trying to simply lift did not work either; but we had spyed an old shopping trolley (already in the water) at the end of the moorings and with the help of a couple of young girls we managed to get Diane out – still she was a lot cooler than before she went into the water. trolley to the rescue - gotta be thankful for
the yobs who put it there

Tuesday arrived and today we out did ourselves with the shortness of the cruising – just 45 minutes total engine time – including a lock – and made it all the way to Egham.
Again the sun was out in it’s glory and we headed off into town for a few things and came back to the boat to cool off – just get out of the sun.
Later on we did hang our legs over the side and splashed around in the water with our feet.

Sunsets always seem a bit nicer along the river

We had no definite plans about exactly where we wanted to be or go at any stage – just to further explore the Thames and moor in places where we had not moored previously; so on Wednesday we made it to Windsor and caught up with Dave and Sue (Cockney Sparra II) as well as Tony and Julie (nb Damper Van).

We caught Sue and Julie at the pub, but we didn't tell Dave and Tony about it
We eventually moored on the island and had a very peaceful day and night there.

Diane received a text from her cousin asking if we were around anywhere local to them (Watford area) and would we be able to look after their house whilst they were away – things need attending to on a regular basis; as they had very kindly looked after our boat whilst we were away (in Mojacar) for a month, it is only fair to return the favour – “when are you going?” – answer “in 10 days time”.

No problem – so it was quick turnaround time and head back the way from whence we had come – on Thursday we made it to Weybridge to moor up as we had before – a return journey of one day to replace the four leisurely days to get to Windsor.
We contacted Brentford and Teddington Locks regarding passage times and booking the boat in – all sorted for Friday.

Friday was a long day but a bit of a break in between.
Approaching Kingston bridge

We made it to Teddington in short time, but with a 5pm locking-out, we had a bit of a wait, which was not bad at all – a leisurely lunch was involved and I got some work done as well.
Come the time and engines were started all around – 5 boats in the lock and drop down the 30cm or so and we were out – just a few minutes to get through.
None of us had done the journey this way – closest were ourselves who at least had gone into Brentford lock – so we knew where we had to go.

It seemed that the tide was on the very high side - we saw many places along the way where the river had flowed over to some of the normal pedestrian areas and in one place it was around parked cars.

the river was up a bit - here at Richmond...

...and here as well - fortunately by this stage it was on the way down

It was a fine and very uneventful trip; sunny skies with intermittent cloud; we got to see a few things that we had missed out on the trip up to Teddington last year.

Approaching towards Richmond with these lovely buildings looking down upon us

And Richmond itself

Not sure of this building but liked the look of it

But then came the time to do the turn across the outgoing tide, then back into the flow of water, followed by the final part making it into the channel.

At last the entrance, as highlighted by the "silver" sculpture
 - take the channel on the extreme left

And we made it safely

On this scale we had not experienced anything like this – in the end the “fears” of any danger were dispelled – sure the tide did take us along a bit, but we simply upped the revs on the engine and made it across, around and into the channel safely and with no problems at all.
Even the increased revs (up to 1700) were low compared with the maximum of 2300 rpm that we have done on the Ribble Link during that crossing.

(I now feel ready to tackle Teddington to Limehouse, which we would like to do sometime this year – it time permits!).

Brentford were ready for us and we locked through in a single minute (levels were about the same) – the lockie only needed to record our numbers and we were done.

We teamed up with nb Mill-Girl (Eric and Charlotte) for the Gauging Lock.
They are both from Manchester way (connected with the Worseley CC) and haven’t been down here before – we suggested a couple of more locks and a couple of miles where the moorings are usually good and there is a good pub – The Fox at the bottom of the Hanwell flight).
They accepted our suggestion and so we moored as planned – headed for the pub – they were planning to eat but we simply had a drink in mind, so when their meals arrived and our drinks were gone we let them get on with their meals and we explored a bit more of the area – not having had the chance on other visits.

We were planning to head to Yiewsley and Eric and Charlotte were going into London – so naturally, in the morning, we hit the locks “running” and had cleared all 8 locks in just over the hour – we bid them farewell at Bulls Bridge where a Tesco shop was their concern and ours was simply to get a few more miles under the stern.

A farewell to nb Mill-Girl and also to Eric and Charlotte - thanks for the journey
They are a very nice couple and easy to talk to with the loveliness that we have found so clearly present in most people from the north of England. We wish them well for their time and travels in London.

We made it to our planned stop and moored up, safe in the knowledge that our goal for later in the week would easily be met.

It would be nice if the excess in the daily heat could be toned down a bit and get back to something like a normal English summer – I miss a bit of rain and cold – but I know that millions of Brits rely on this current spell for their yearly dose of Vitamin D, sunburn and BBQ’s.

51 Miles, 27 Locks
YTD:  471 Miles (758 km) , 300 Locks, 4 Tunnels, 14 Lift Bridges, 3 Swing Bridges

Total: 4256 Miles (6865 km), 2999 Locks, 116 Tunnels, 59 Lift Bridges, 170 Swing Bridges

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