Sunday, 30 October 2011


The weather forecast lied, as it's been grey and pizzly.

Goos Poo Island ~ ClivedenYesterday, we cruised down to the Cliveden estate to give Sumo a nice run around. The autumn colours of the trees were spectaular in the late afternoon sunshine. Then, we spent the night on 'Goose Poo Island', because we can get good satellite reception TV there. Shame about the goose poo. But a free mooring is a free mooring.

This morning, on our way down through Maidenhead, Boulter's lock was on 'Self Service'. So Sheena operated it, while an expensive cruiser with 4 posh and grumpy gits onboard, didn't even bother to say thankyou.

We noticed that a lot of overstaying boats had been moved on. And were saddened to see the dissapearance of the EA 24 free moorings, which have been replaced with a lot of new white signs saying the local council want £8 for you to moor there (or anywhere else in Maidenhead). Even the awful moorings, by the main road. £8 ?!!

Whether this is as a result of the council's greed, and their need to squeeze somebody to make up their deficit, or the overstaying boaters scuzzing up the place, and causing a nuisance, we don't know. But we do know that we won't be bothering to stop in Maidenhead ever again, if that is their attitude.

The rest of today's journey went fine. No problems going through Bray lock, and there was very little traffic on the river. Mostly hireboats again, or large plastic cruisers fully buttoned up inside their canopies.

Dorney Reach MooringWe've stopped at a nice spot, just before Dorney lake. The towpath has recently been strimmed back, and is closed off to the general public, so we'll most likely have a nice peaceful night. Probably off down to Windsor, tomorrow.

Dorney Reach Sunset

Friday, 28 October 2011

Spade Oak

"You did well to get down here, like that."

Off to MarlowIn a marked contrast to yesterday, our cruise downriver was in beautiful sunshine. Everything that got wet yesterday had dried out by the time we surfaced, which made for a much more pleasurable boating experience.

Traversed Marlow lock safely, by crawling in and out extra slowly, so no big bursts of reverse were called for.

SortedThe 'flap' on the lever arm, turned out to be a grub screw that had vibrated loose. So that's now been tightened up. Amazing how such a small thing, can cause such a large problem.

Spade Oak ~ Downstream to Bourne EndNo room at the Inn, in Bourne End. So tonight we are tied up at the Spade Oak moorings, before heading off downstream for a few more days. The weather forecast for the weekend is "lovely", so we're going to make the most of it.

Spade Oak ~ Upstream

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Temple Lock

So, we waved goodbye to Sonning, and set off for Shiplake, to give Sumo an offlead run around. But, sadly, it was stuffed with boats, and we had to keep going. Passed down through Henley, which, apart from a couple of widebeams, was almost completely empty. Hardly anything else was moving. A few narrowboats, but predominantly LeBoat and Caversham hireboats.

Passing through HenleyTotal distance covered today was 13.04 miles, and we've come down through 5 locks.

Shiplake, Marsh, Hambledon, Hurley, Temple.

The last two, in the dark and pizzling rain. Hurley was the hardest, it was pitch black, and the chains for canoeists snagged one of our fenders. Temple was much easier to negotiate, because it was well lit.

At Hambledon lock, something inside the control column failed. There is a lot of slippage before the gearbox engages. So we had minimal reverse for the last couple of hours. Wanted to moor at Remenham, but it was so overgrown with weeds and rushes, we couldn't get near to the bank, or see where the shallows were. Very surprised it's that bad, because in the height of summer it was full of boats and trimmed right back. It looks abandoned now.

Same thing happened at Medmenham. Too shallow for us to get anywhere near to the bank. Figure that may be the bags of coal on the roof, dropping us down a couple of inches.

Up early tomorrow, to see if I can fix the control column. No locks between us and Marlow, so we may limp down there and get some supplies. Still a few days to go before the lock closures, so no worries.

Long old day, though.

Monday, 24 October 2011

New Hobby

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. We've been enjoying the tranquility, and spectacular sunsets of the Sonning to Shiplake reach; where unfortunately, our modem and phone signal is very weak.

Overstayed slightly on moorings belonging to The French Horn Inn, but the owner was sympathetic when he discovered we had Sumo to hoist off the boat. And he was quite relieved to hear that we wouldn't be stuck on his mooring all winter. So he didn't come out and hassle us again. Thanks for that, Mr. French Horn. Appreciated.

We've also got ourselves a new hobby.
Peering down holes...

Hole of the PumpUnbeknown to us, the seal on our circulation pump had failed, and dumped gallons upon gallons of water into our bilge. The first we knew about it, was when we started listing slightly, and the floorboards started curling up at the edges. Oh Dear. Chas helped me fix the pump, because the first time I tried to put it back together, the leak was worse. All it needed was a new rubber O-ring, which thankfully, we had onboard.

Hole of ExtractionOnce we'd stopped the water piddling onto the underfloor lining (cheap chipboard), mushing it up, and dribbling down through the length of boat, we needed to drill a small hole to see what was going on and extract the water. There was about three inches sloshing about down there. I forget how much we removed with Chas's siphon pump, and our wet/dry hoover. But it was a lot.

Now we are ventilating the boat. And waging war on mold, with bleach. Thankfully, it has hardly rained at all, and we are well on the way to becoming dry again. The floorboards are also returning to their original shape. Flat. Which is a relief.

On our way back down the river again, soon. Because we have to be behind Marlow lock, for the 30th of October, when the lock closure and mainatainence program starts.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


I forgot to mention, that we had to dial 999, ahd call an ambulance out the other day. A cyclist (called 'Gordon') fell off his bike, into the river. He was wedged between Chas's boat, and the concrete of the bank, and just laying there stunned. He'd hit his head on the way down, and when we fished him out, he drifted in and out of consciousness.

When they arrived, the paramedics opened his bag to look for ID, and we all noticed a very nearly consumed bottle of famous Grouse whiskey, which we surmised was the reason why he'd taken a tumble in the first place. Hope he's OK. But he's not been back for his bike, yet.

Thanks to Andy & Zoe (Nb 'Vigorina') for helping.
Hope you are OK, Gordon.

Sonning Triangle

We've stayed on the Shiplake reach much longer than we'd anticipated, because it's so nice, quiet and peaceful here.

Goodyear Blimp at ReadingThe unseasonally warm blob of late summer weather and clear blue skies was nice, though it had the unfortunate side-effect of bringing all the massively massive plastic cruisers out of their marinas for one last jolly before the boating season ends for another year. Busier than at the height of summer, there was a boat queue every few hundred yards. And all of them racing to get to the next lock first. Which wouldn't have made for a very a relaxing experience at all, so we stayed put. And have enjoyed some leisurely bimbling down to Shiplake meadows, so that Sumo can run around like an idiot. And up to Reading for supplies.

Blue Sky at ReadingIt was our 29th wedding anniversary yesterday. Our furniture anniversary, apparently. Sheena tempted me with the crispy leeks and jumbo sausages at the Bull inn. But in the end, we stayed in and enjoyed a quiet evening.

Finished reading Jerome K Jerome's "Three Men on a boat", and was surprised at how funny it was.