Friday, 28 December 2012


Peter has kindly lent me a pair of waders, so I can get ashore without getting my legs wet twice a day. I have a new set on order, but knowing my luck, they will not get here until the flood waters have receded.

They've closed the Thames Barrier, and the water level has risen so much now, that it would swamp a pair of wellington boots. Yesterday the boarding plank came adrift, and I had to jump over the side to rescue it, before it floated away and we got marooned. Unfortunately, I slipped on the wet wood, and ended up getting soaked. Sloshing about with waders full of freezing cold water certainly put a new perspective on the day.

Thankfully, I had a fire going, which dried everything out fairly quickly. Not an experience I am in a hurry to repeat though. Brrr... :)

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


Happy Xmas Everybody.

I managed to get up early, and hoist Sumo up and over the ramp in the twenty minutes of this morning that it wasn't actually raining. Quite chuffed with myself. I've got plenty of dry kindling, logs and coal. So I'm going to stoke up the fire, and put my feet up for the rest of the day.

It took him less than 5 minutes to rip the face off of 'Pastel Plush Tigger'. Poor Tigger.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Ba Ba Ba Bom

Normally, I don't mind "a bit of Bing". Especially at this time of year. But, if I hear "Let it Snow" one more time in the Co-Op. I think I will explode.

Jumped off of the boat into a foot of water this morning.

Swamped my Wuff-wear wellies. And even the plastic bags I'd wrapped around my feet, failed to halt the inrush of water. Levels are well up again now. Flooded the bank everywhere. The EA says it won't rise above the previous flood levels, but it came on so fast and strong, everybody is taking that pronouncement with a pinch of salt. Spirits are fine, around the marina. Everybody is their normally happy selves. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the village, where the stressed city folk have brought their rude pushing, shoving, barging ways home with them.

Mattie and Rich built us the ramp again.
Cheers guys...

Monday, 17 December 2012


Here we go again..

I had hoped to be able to move down to the Cliveden islands, where I could try and ignore Christmas, until it had all gone away. But, the river is rising quite rapidly, and threatening to spill out over the bank again.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Witch Hunt

I received this comment this morning...
Your post here about Jimmy Page is being repeated elsewhere as fact. If not true not very kind to perpetuate unkind stories. Love your blog though. It appears you have a lot of fun boating and blogging. Beautiful area to explore Take Care.
In the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, I'm concerned my use of the word "young" has been miscontrued, or twisted by somebody with an agenda. The young lady in question was in her early twenties. Sheena says "30", but I think she was younger than that. She appeared to know exactly what she was doing, was in full control of her mental faculties, and under no duress at all.

At first I thought she was his daughter, until Sheena told me "Don't be so silly... You don't kiss your daughter like that". They both appeared happy, strolling along the riverbank, arm in arm, on a beautiful sunny afternoon, without a care in the world.

Unlike Uri Geller, Jimmy Page isn't scared to wander along the towpath and engage in conversation with boaters. I have the greatest respect for him as a guitarist. Maybe the best this country has ever produced. And I would love to chat with him one day, about what he found when he bought 'Boleskine House'.

If my flippant words have caused him any stress or anxiety, I apologise unreservedly. But it is most definitely true, as the event described in the blog occured right outside our boat.

Thanks for bringing the matter to our attention, Anonymous.
I hope this post will help to clarify.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Still Red

The majority of the river is still on red boards. Nobody is moving anywhere. Looks like it will be another week or so before it slows down. Mixed feelings. It would be nice to potter about. But it's also good that Sheena can enjoy a much deserved rest.

I had the batteries out yesterday. I forgot how heavy they are. A few of the cells were noticably lower than last year. So I topped them up with some ionised water, and they're now recharging.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


We've been lucky enough to have a Kingfisher fishing off our back deck for the last few days. We often see them whizzing up and down the riverbank, but this one has been up close and personal. Not more then 3ft away, and none too worried about our proximity. Sadly, I've never had the camera to hand when it's around.

(picture pinched from google images).


It took longer than we would have liked, but things are slowly returning to their normal levels now. The sun is out. It's a bit chilly, but we can't have everything.

Happy to see wood, not water, when we look out of the back door. Sumo is a lot happier, now that he can just step off, rather than being hoisted up onto planks.

Not too bad, really.

Friday, 30 November 2012

No Change

Things are pretty much the same here. The river level has stopped rising, but it's not going down much, either. The temperature drops below freezing at night, so I'm having to use the heat gun to get the hatch shut. But, apart from that, everything else is fine.

Now he's used to it, Sumo seems quite at home, scuttling up and down our "it's a knockout" obstacle course to get on and off the boat. Let's hope Sheena feels the same way. :)

Yesterday, she said "it doesn't look very deep". But when you're suspended over it, negotiating the planks, things look very different indeed.

Here's mister, making the most of the king seat. Neither of us get a look-in, when Sheena's onboard.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Even more water

Level still rising.. It's come up another few inches overnight.

Richie built us this bridge, so that I wouldn't get soaked every time I went out. Sumo was a bit unsure of it all, at first. But I think the urgent need for a pee overrode that. I still have to hoist him on and off it, but that's what his carry harness is for. So far today, I have dry feet. Which is a definite bonus. Thanks Rich!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


No rain today. All windows and doors can be opened, to get some ventilation through the boat. Sheena is due back on friday, with a pair of wellies for herself, and some dry socks for me.

We've risen another couple of inches overnight, though our rate of ascent does seem to have slowed down now.

Henley looks pretty much the same, though the levels at Abingdon are allegedly dropping.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

More Water

Yep, It's rained all day again. Not in big chunks, but a chilly windblown unremitting pizzle, which is quite miserable and demoralising to be out in. So we stayed put, and bunged another log on the fire. The river level has risen overnight, and from reports of the weather upstream, it'll continue to rise even further than this. The speed of the stream is currently "whizzing along". I guess, about 12 knots. Maybe faster. Impressive in it's ferocity and relentlessness.

Sumo has to jump off the end of the gangplank, and then swim for it. Thankfully, he seems to enjoy it. Though it's not such a barrel of laughs, when a dripping soaked dog is standing in the saloon, shaking himself. We can't go out for our usual walks, because the riverside paths are all flooded over (and i don't have any waders). But we are coping well enough. A big stash of wood and coal has definitely helped.

Not a very good day to be pulling out the leisure batteries to examine their electrolyte levels. They're settling at 12.74v now (down from 12.85v in the summer). Hoping for a dry day for that, sometime soon. Ha!

This was the situation in Henley, at 9:32am this morning..


Full Flood

It's official. The Thames is now in 'Full Flood'. Looking out of the back door told me that, as it's come up another couple of feet today. But at least I know now that it's going to get a lot worse, before it gets any better.

Here's a picture of Abingdon meadows, from the bridge..

And that little lot is all coming our way... soon...
"Oh Dear, Oh Dear", as Roger the lock keeper says.

(pic courtesy of Tim Lewis via the CWDF).

Monday, 26 November 2012

Could be worse..

Still rising. According to the towpath telegraph, the meadows at Abingdon are completely submerged now, so I'm glad we're not stuck up there again. Things could be a lot worse than they currently are. There's not much of a bright side at the moment, but I'm continuing to look for it.

The lads at the marina knocked us up this nifty plank, so that mister can still get on and off the boat, without being hoisted in his harness. Cheers guys..

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Still Rising

There was a look of complete doggy surprise when we went out this morning. Normally, we have to step down to get onto the boat. As there's only a couple of inches left to go, before the river breaches the edge, I'm hoping we can move to the service jetty tomorrow. It's a floating pontoon, and we'll be safer there.

Friday, 23 November 2012


The mists started rising around 2.15pm, when the sun realised it had no chance at all of burning anything off..

Last night, it blew a gale. And then heaved it down with rain until 3am. So, now everywhere is even more wet, completely sodden and throughly drenched, than it was before.

Inside the boat, we are warm and dry though. The river is running very fast, and has risen more than a foot overnight, but doesn't look like it will flood. Sympathies go out to people who have had their lives made miserable by the recent bad weather.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Stormy Weather

Battered by nature, today.

Did not move further than the fireside. It whipped the river up into a raging torrent, heaved it down with rain, and bobbed us about for most of the day. But, then everything went all calm, serene and orange for 10 minutes, before turning grey, overcast and sullen again. Very strange.

Unfortunately, all the trains are cancelled now.
So Sheena is still stuck down there in Devon.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

I never knew...

Back with another 15gb. In the downtime, I've been reading this interesting book that Sheena got me for our anniversary.

Louis Bleriot

Owner of a large riverside property, “New York Lodge”, later renamed “Riversdale House” at Bourne End from 1916.

Unfortunately, a major fire destroyed the property in 1926.

Rebuilt. Naff interior. Yours for.... 3.7 million!
Riversdale house @ Sothebys.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Agg Lake

Panoramic view of the manmade aggregate lake..

Just downwind of the sewage treatment plant. A pleasant enough walk, which isn't as bad (or as whiffy) as it sounds.

Here's mister, enjoying some exercise. He didn't roll in fox poo, or launch himself into the river today. Good boy!

I appear to have caned this month's internet allowance, on checking out the current state of free PC game engines. So, no more posts for seven days, or I will get spanked with 3's extortionate excess charges. Sorry about that. We're fine though. Missing Sheena, who'll hopefully be able to rejoin us again soon. But, otherwise, OK.

Also, as it's Rememberance Sunday, here is a link I've been meaning to post for a while.. Eyewitness accounts of WW1

We will remember them.

Monday, 5 November 2012


Not exactly shorts and T-shirt weather, but it was nice and sunny this morning. Didn't last long into the afternoon, but it made a nice change from the howling wind whistling down the river.

Our supply of winter fuel also came today. Ten bags of the excellent 'Supertherm' smokeless coal, and some more dried and seasoned logs. Which should see us through. We got a good deal from Harringtons Bottled Gas Co. (a small family business who are competitively priced and 100% hassle free to order from). No more lugging it back from the village, a bag at a time. Wehey! We are happy puppies.

You may have spotted that our roof was already full of wood. Well, yes. But, a lot of that is diseased, and only really fit for kindling. The disease makes the grain go all fibrous and spongy. So, when you try to burn it as 'logs', it just goes "pfffftt", and dissapears in under 5 minutes! Even a roof full of good wood can vanish surprisingly quickly, as we often get through 3 or 4 in an evening when it's cold.

Bourne End Reach, taken from the Upper Thames Sailing Club.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Red boards everywhere!

I'm counting my blessings. The latest deluge of rainfall has had a detrimental effect on river conditions, and there are red boards everywhere. Thank goodness I had the foresight to set off, before I got stuck on the other side of Henley and Marlow.

Here is mister, taking a rare break from his tea, to let me know he's not at all bothered by the fireworks...

Cookham sailing club put on a fine display again this year. Oooooooh!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Winter is Here

Bisham Abbey
Arrived safely at Bourne End Marina this lunchtime. No dramas today. Not for me, anyway. I felt sorry for the female sculler who overbalanced and fell in. I turned around, and offered assistance, but she didn't want any. A long soggy row back to the scout base at Longridge. Told her to get warm and dry as soon as possible, then raced the angry black clouds down the Bourne End reach, before I got rained on.

Boatwise, things went well today. It was very windy, and getting the bow out into the stream first thing this morning was a bit tricky. But, I managed it. Slowly made my way down through Marlow, checking the temperature gauge all the way. Everything fine there. Tied up on the Marlow lock layby, while a hireboat made it's way through. Did not get sucked into the weir. And I got into the lock and out, without ramming anything. Good news all round, really.

It's currently heaving with rain, and the wind is whistling around like the inside of Captain Scott's tent. But I am glad to be here. I don't have to travel anywhere tomorrow. Or do anything at all. Which is quite a relaxing feeling. :)

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


This was Henley at 10am this morning.

The day started off well enough. It was a bit chilly, but the sun was out and the wind wasn't excessive. Enjoyed a nice leisurely cruise down to Hambledon lock. Again, the lock keeper saw me coming, and kept the gates open. Wehey! Tieing up on that windy layby is normally a nightmare. But, thankfully, I didn't have to do it today.

Got through the lock OK, noticed that the weir stream was a bit fierce, and then things went a bit pear shaped. There was a 6ft high fountain of anti-freeze and water jetting out of the header tank! Glanced down at the engine temperature gauge, and saw that it was reading over 100. *GULP*. Which meant that the fanbelt must have snapped and the wheel for the water circulation pump wasn't spinning anymore. It took me 3 attempts to ram myself into the bushes. Eventually managed to tie the stern up to a twig, so that I could turn the engine off and put a new belt on. Each time I tried, the current pushed the bow out into the stream. Big worry was that the engine would seize, and I'd end up being carried away downsteam sideways. But, thankfully, that didn't happen today, either.

The handy bush (near Medmenham).

I got there in the end and made the repair. Chuffed.

As it was only lunchtime, I was able to do a tickover speed cruise downriver, and still be at the Temple lock moorings in plenty of time before nightfall. I kept checking and rechecking the temperature gauge all of the way down. But everything seems fine again now.

Currently tied up safely for the night.