Monday, 27 October 2014

Photo Blog

of the final phase of boat repatriation.

From Oundle Marina

to Blackthorn Lake Marina

took six cruising hours 

I found it much less stressful than cruising the French Waterways but an eight-hour day was taxing on both me and MWNN.

The next project towards which I'm frantically working,  is Festiwool on Sunday 2nd November.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Phase 3 of the boat repatriation is now complete

Despite a major hold-up this morning at the first lock out of Oundle Marina (Lower Barnwell), we made good time cruising upstream between Oundle Marina and Blackthorn Marina.

The two Environment Agency engineers, who responded to our call for assistance, hand-wound the lock for us because there was a power-cut in the area. They assured us that there was full power at the next lock - and so there was.

There was another slight hold up as we were kept waiting for the fuel barge that was coming downstream with Ad Lib.

The trip took us just over five hours (MWNN had planned on seven). We turned into Blackthorn Marina at about 4.30 pm and moored at our new berth.

Across the lane from the marina entrance, is the path through Stanwick Lakes.

Ron decided he like this new mooring a lot.

Phase 2 of boat renovation can now begin.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

From Hampton Wick to The Thames Barrier

Today is the last day of TheD's 184 mile run. The last phase is through London I decided that TheD  no longer needed shadowing. She had a relatively late start to  the final 34 miles.

I left my hotel in Kingston-upon-Thames just after 10.30 am and headed for home.

View from Richmond Bridge

As I approached Richmond Bridge, I decided to stop for a rest and some tea. Parking was very difficult to find. There was nowhere to sit and drink my tea overlooking the river and within easy reach of the car.

I remembered cruising this stretch of the Thames over a decade ago. Even then, the planes going in and out of Heathrow were numerous and flying low as they made their approach.

Hangar Lane Gyratory

I had a stressful journey home, especially at the Chiswick Flyover section and negotiating the Hangar Lane Gyratory system.

The North Circular was chocablock and I was cut-up many times, particularly by commercial vehicles crossing lanes as they rounded corners.

Once on the A1M, the traffic thinned and driving was more civilised.

Garmin Tracking

TheD made good time, arriving at the Thames Barrier before 5pm.

Tomorrow is a rest day, followed by a weekend of boat moving.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

From Streatley to Kingston

via Maidenhead.

Thames Hotel

When I left MWNN and The Swan yesterday, I drove to The Thames Hotel, Maidenhead.

View from bedroom

The hotel is in a lovely location, overlooking the River Thames.

I took lots of pictures of the river and boats late yesterday afternoon.

Rude narrowboat helmsman

There was one very unpleasant experience as I took a photo of a narrowboat approaching the moorings. The helmsman swore continuously and told me to stop taking photos of his home. In all my 30+ years of boating, I have never been so abused. Most boaters are pleased to have their boats photographed

River is about 3 inches below the level of the walkway

The river is very high at the moment,

Autumn leaves on the Thames

but still beautiful, as always.

The squiggles are where TheD stopped for a few minutes

This morning, as I checked the Garmin tracking after breakfast, I spotted that TheD was approaching my hotel.

Rolling the trousers

I took my camera outside and saw that TheD was removing her long trousers. The temperature was about 9 degrees C, a bit chilly for shorts in my opinion.

TheD took off again without noticing me.

and soon disappeared towards the bridge over the river

I left The Thames Hotel at about 9.30 and had a horrendous journey to my next overnight stop at The Antoinette, Kingston upon Thames. I made the mistake of setting my Garmin Satnav to avoid motorways. Instead of taking the M4, I selected the A4 route and was held up crossing Slough (to be avoided in future). On the other side of Slough, I stopped and re-set the Satnav. A short distance on the M4 was followed by a slightly longer one on the M25, then a long approach on the A308 to the hotel, on the far side of Kingston.

After a very stressful drive, I was looking forward to a cup of tea.

Unfortunately, the hotel staff is international. Tea was served - a pot of hot water + teabags. By the time I realised this, the water had gone well off the boil (if it was ever on the boil). Luckily, I'd made a flask of tea before setting off and drank that with the hotel's milk and biscuits.

I am regularly disappointed with English hotels that do not train their staff how to make tea.

About 4.5 hours later, TheD passed , Hampton Court Palace about a mile from her hotel in Hampton Wick, across the river from Kingston.and just across the river from my hotel.

Tomorrow is the final day. The 184th mile is at The Thames Barrier.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Family Birthday meal

At this time of the year, we try to get together with TheD for a joint birthday celebration. This year, she is half-way through her 184 mile Thames Path adventure.

MWNN and I have happy memories of eating at The Beetle and Wedge during our summer cruises. TheD, therefore booked in for an overnight stay, yesterday, and MWNN, SIL, and I joined her for dinner.

It was a very relaxed affair. The service was attentive and, while the food was not as we remembered it from the days Richard Smith was the Chef, we had a lovely meal.

Earlier in the day, I'd checked in at The Swan at Streatley ( a mere 2 miles from the B&W), where MWNN and Ron was to join me for the night.

We had a huge twin room with internal balcony overlooking a side stream of the Thames.

Breakfast was in the conservatory overlooking the Thames. The view from the table was inspiring.

After a very late breakfast this morning, we walked Ron around the hotel grounds. MWNN was waiting for Kevin from Autoglass to repair his windscreen which had cracked as he drove down the M1 on Monday afternoon.

TheD  passed this spot before we were even out of bed.

The Thames Path cuts across the hotel's car park.

While we waited for the Autoglass man, we had tea and scones in The Boat House Deli and Cafe.

Then it was time for MWNN to take Ron and head for home, and me to head for The Thames Hotel, Maidenhead.

I'm looking forward to an Italian meal in the The Trevi Restaurant later.

Tomorrow is the penultimate day of this ultra of all ultras. I'll be at The Antoinette in Kingston upon Thames by lunchtime. It will take TheD a bit longer to arrive at her destination.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Late Lunch

with TheD after her 37 mile run today.

Garmin tracker at Sandford Lock

The Garmin tracking lost the signal for a huge chunk of the trail, but was OK for the last few miles around Oxford.

I spotted her jogging to Sandford Lock crossing, on the opposite bank of the river from The Four Pillars Hotel.

From there it was a long walk back along the opposite side of the river to the hotel's drive.

She checked in to the hotel just after 15.30 and asked for a pint of ale and a pint of soda water with lime wedges.

We had a leisurely lunch in the bar in front of the fire.

I'd been at the hotel since 14.00 and was ready for some food. While I waited, I'd done a little knitting, checked the Garmin, and wandered the grounds.

They're very beautiful (anywhere near a river is beautiful in my opinion).

There was a wedding ceremony scheduled for 14.00 in the riverside gazebo. The Bride was a little late and it can't have been nice for the guests sitting waiting because there was a very stiff wind blowing up the river.

The Bride finally arrived and the ceremony began.

I'm looking forward to a meal at The Beetle and Wedge tomorrow evening, with TheD, SIL, and MWNN.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Day 1

shadowing TheD on her 184 mile run.

The link to Garmin tracker was in my inbox before I started breakfast at 8am.

By the time I'd finished breakfast and was back in my room, TheD had completed over 7 miles and was navigating her way through the lakes 17 miles west of Lechlade.

SIL took part in a parkrun in Oxford, and, by 11am, we were having morinng tea in The Swan Hotel.

View of Lechlade moorings, from The Thames Path

Just before TheD arrived for a late(ish) lunch, I took a walk in the Riverside Park Lechlade.

The footpath here is part of the Thames Path.

There was a gypsy caravan of the old-fashioned variety in the car park. As I crossed the fields to the footpath, I cam across this poor fellow, tethered and alone apart from a half-full water bucket.


I then set off for the next destination point on the journey, stopping briefly for a light lunch.

By the time I reached my hotel in Oxford, TheD had arrived, muddy, but safe, at the Swan.

After the game

From my hotel window, I can look directly into Oxford United's pitch.

Despite the proximity of the stadium, there was no noise in my room before, during, or after the match

I wonder why the floodlights are on?

Pity I can't see either goalpost.

Tomorrow I am on tracking-duty again. I will have to stay in the hotel as my smartphone isn't able to connect to the website without wifi for some unknown reason. (Yes, I have data-enabled)

Friday, 17 October 2014

Journey down the Thames

I booked into The New Inn, Lechlade earlier this afternoon.

The car park is accessed through the old coach entrance. My room is on the first floor above this entrance, overlooking the  car park and river.

The New Inn is an ancient coaching inn backing on to the banks of The River Thames.

Before settling into my room, I had a quick tour of the Market Place, beginning with the river bank at the rear of the hotel.

I picked up a few things from the supermarket opposite the hotel and read the information board alongside.

Then I made my way into the church tucked away behind Market Place. The alleway alongside leads to Shelley's Walk, through the churchyard.

The church of St Lawrence is lovely, both inside and out.

The church is very welcoming. I like the touch of humour in this notice.

There was an organ practice taking place inside. Judging by the comments in the visitors' book, this is a frequent occurrence.