I forgot that this is the time of year when annoying flying creatures hatch out of the river. The boat is infested with 1000's of the things. Though, thankfully, they are not the biting variety.
It was not nearly as nice, today. The sun was struggling to pierce through the clouds. Think I am going to head back up the river tomorrow, before the rains come again. Took Sumo for another enjoyable walk..
Bumped into a labrador owner who used to work on the estate. I commented on the new buildings that have just popped up. Three blocks of them. He said they are "eco homes for the extremely wealthy". They look like something out of Gerry Anderson to me. Or eastern europe. All blocky and square. The National trust have sold off part of the estate's land to fund development in other areas. Shame, really. These buildings do not fit into their landscape. Nor are they very sympathetic, at all. Just all blocky and square. I don't see how it is "eco friendly" to level a shed load of trees and put concrete blocks on them. I guess the money had a lot to do with sweeping aside any niggling concerns about that.
Very busy at the marina this morning. Backlog of boats being craned in and out. And a massive barge, waiting to disgorge it's 15 tonnes of "shite" that's been blasted off of the railway bridge during the refurbishment. Time to move! Took the boat down to Cliveden to squeeze the most of this long awaited fine weather, and to give mister some quality exercise and new sniffs.
Beautiful sunshine. Had the river to myself all the way down. Very nice.
It's good to be moving again, even if Sheena isn't here.
Sumo destroyed our bedding in a fit of pique. Normally he just scuffs up his blue blanket in protest and indignation, when the engine stops and he doesn't get off (such as in locks). But today, he went a little too far. When I first spotted him, it looked like he'd constructed himself a cute little dog nest. It was only when he budged, I noticed the massive rip and a big chunk of duvet fluff missing. Naughty boy.
Tucked up in the bushes. Nice mooring, just inches to spare. Mince and tatties for tea. Awesome.
The cliveden towpath. In Jerome K. Jerome's day (and in old postcards), this stretch was completely treeless all along the river edge. How lovely, that must have been for them. Those overhanging trees are a right PITA now.
Flashback to childhood, and happier, simpler times. "It's just a potato", said the
man in the veg shop. Yes, I suppose it is, if you have no imagination whatsoever.
The sewage treatment works at Marlow is currently pumping raw effluent directly into the river. Big icebergs of frothed up poo have been drifting by all day. On the
upside, it's all on it's way down to London. Which is a cheery comforting thought.
Moved back up to Bourne End, because the weather app said that midweek will have the most sunshine, and I needed to top up on supplies, if I'm going to be out for 3-4 days. The lock keeper was on duty at Cookham lock, so the entire voyage was leisurely and peaceful. There were quite a few people out and about, enjoying their boats and the pleasant travelling conditions.
Sumo, taking it easy.
Homage to Vincent Van Gogh.
Alan banged on the roof, and demanded that I go to the Black Lion pub (dog friendly) and imbibe some alcohol with him. We sneaked back through the Abbotsbrook. A gated community for paranoid rich folk. Picturesque and bucolic in aspect, with it's own babbling brook and rustic bridge. But sterile, and not the sort of place I personally would care to live in. I get the feeling that everybody hides in their million pound houses, behind their hedges and electric gates. Gates within gates. Shakin' Stevens lives in there. But he didn't see us.
The sun is out. And there are no chilling gale force winds! If you have a boat here, it's the law that you must now buff it.
Fortified by two pints of Guiness (cheers Peter), I set off down the river to spend the night on the Cliveden estate. Self service, at Cookham lock. Ack! But, kindly, another boat owner did all the button pushing for me. Cheers dude. Unfortunately, on arrival I discovered that there was a narrowboat where we normally prefer to stop, so I ended up on 'Goose Poo Island'. A handy place to give the boat a quick wash down. But Sumo wasn't impressed that his walk was exceedingly short (it's more of an eyot, than an island). Hopefully, I can make it up to him tomorrow.
Two Canada geese weren't very happy about it either. They abandoned their nests, and honked at me profusely. From the safety of the river, naturally. Thankfully, twenty minutes later, they were sat back down on their eggs again. Calm restored. I was surprised by the size of them. Massive.
Sorry for the lack of updates this year. Our plans to move and travel have been put on hold for the forseeable future, due to Sheena's mums continuing illness. In her month off, Sheena is completely shattered and needs to recuperate, before she has to go back and do it all again. The marina have very kindly allowed us to stay on for awhile, so that I don't have to solo up and down the river, while she is away. I don't mind moving the boat on my own, but I do worry about safety and the law of averages. So far, I've been lucky.
We still enjoy the occasional trip out, when we can, but it's also been the worst, most protracted, drawn out and unpleasant winter of the last 100 years. So days when we can do that, have sadly been few and far between.
Apart from that, we are in good spirits. The boat still floats, and is in good
working order. Sumo is in good health. He recently enjoyed his 9th birthday, and is still running around like an idiot.
We've burnt three times as much fuel as we would on an 'average' winter, but even though the weather has been dreadful outside, inside we are cosy.