Saturday, 31 March 2012

Tesco on Thames

Spotted Roy & Sue (Hb 'Baglady') yesterday. They were less than complimentary about my winter beard. "You could get a job as a Father Christmas!", shouted Roy, as they made their way off downstream. Sheena tells me that the baglady website is announcing their retirement this year. So I guess this will be their last cruising season. I hope it's a good one for them.

We set off up the river, with half of Sonning woods on our roof today. The sunken boat (mv 'Nut Shack') is still there, at the tesco moorings in Reading. It's been spilling it's fuel for three weeks, and nobody seems too bothered about it.

Stocking up on supplies, tonight. And heading off up to Beale Park, tomorrow. Bit grey, but at least it is not baking hot, or piddling it down with rain (yet).

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sonning Triangle

Yep, we're still at Sonning...

Sonning Bridge
We were only going to spend a couple of days here, but it's turned into a couple of weeks, as usual. It's that kind of place. All the work is done now. The throne cover and rotten floorboards have all been replaced, and there was plenty of wood left over to make us a cross bed (which turns our mini-double into a kingsize). Oh, and a new TV stand. The sun is out. It's glorious. And far too hot to be doing anything remotely strenuous, like cruising. We're all enjoying just sitting around and doing nothing. Another of the great joys of boating.

We bumped into Uri Geller and his bodyguard yesterday. He started making a fuss of Sumo, who jumped all over him. I was half expecting the bodyguard to leap into ju-jitsu action, but he was quite relaxed about it, thankfully.

Free Fuel
All your logs are belong to us!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Good Wood

Today, the inside of the boat resembled a lumber yard, but we made good progress. Chas has a circular saw, so it was fairly easy to cut up the new boards into the right sized chunks, which we could easily pop down into place. We've managed to rip out all of the rotten chipboard underflooring, and replaced it with good quality plywood. In the process of doing that, we discovered we have pea shingle (a gravel path) for ballast. The silicone had held on the poo tank, and it was watertight again. Hooray! But to be extra sure a split never reoccurs, we've edged all the seams with angled plastic, and strapped it up tight with ratchet straps. It's also been securely fixed in place, so that it cannot move anywhere. Ever. Tomorrow, we can reposition our throne, fix on the fascia boards, and we are good to go. I dread to think how much all of this would have cost in a boatyard.

Monday, 19 March 2012


Our throne started wobbling about, so we had to remove it for inspection. Lovely! All the securing nuts and bolts had corroded through, and the rubber seal had failed. When the toilet was off, we discovered that there was a split in the front of the tank. When we moved the tank, we discovered that the floorboards underneath it were rotten and 'whiffy'.

Thankfully, we'd just pumped out at the TK marina. And B&Q is not very far away, so procuring the new wood wasn't a problem (thanks to Chas's roofrack). Val Wyatt Marina's chandlery had a service kit for gravity discharge bogs, and plenty of black silicone. So we are sorted with all the bits we need. Screwfix's disposable latex gloves, which come in handy boxes of 100, were useful today. Really glad I had some.

Oh, well. It needed doing. Obviously hadn't been looked at in many years. It's good that we can fix it all now, rather than have this problem in the middle of summer.

Sunday, 18 March 2012


Happy Mother's day, Mum.

Enjoying a quiet weekend in Shiplake and Sonning, where Sumo can run around offlead like an idiot. There are some fallen trees on the thames path, so we're going to help our friend Chas chainsaw and log them up later. The lock keeper at Hurley kindly gave us a load of his, too. Some nice horse chestnut, which will season and burn well. I tried bowsawing some limbs we've been carrying around for a while. It was hard work, and it took forever. So we gladly jump at any opportunity for some nicely cut logs, that just need splitting.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


Hurley Lock
There was a thick fog when I woke up this morning. Couldn't even see a boat length, so we delayed setting off until visibility had improved. When the fog did get burnt off it was a really nice day. Cruised up from Temple lock to Remenham in perfect sunshine. Stopping off on the way to load up a cache of free horse chestnut logs. But, when we got to the Temple island near Henley, it turned overcast and misty again. All of the weed and rush growth has been cleared away from Remenham, so it looks good, and open for business again. Only saw a couple of other boats moving today. And I didn't ram anything. Which was good.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Grey Day in Marlow

Pulled too far forward on the entrance to Marlow lock, didn't have enough room to manoeuver, and ended up ramming the concrete entrance on the way in. BONNGGG!!! Thankfully, I was in reverse at the time, the impact was minimal, and there were no icecream eating gongoozlers around to witness my ineptitude. So, Marlow lock is definitely my least favourite lock on the whole of the river. The lock keeper didn't seem to mind very much though. Apparently, I was the second person to do it that day. Kind of him to let me know, I thought.

Stopped over at Higginson Park (Marlow), so that we can top up on supplies. Despite the promises of sunshine, there hasn't been enough heat to punch through the cloud layer, so things remain pretty grey and dismal, weatherwise. We've got plenty of coal, logs and kindling, so it's not that much of a problem. It's definitely not shorts and T-shirt weather yet though.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Test Run

Enjoyed a peaceful overnight stop at Cliveden islands, so that we could make sure everything was working properly before we set off into the wilds, tomorrow. Bit of a cold start to the day, but by lunchtime , we were bathed in brilliant spring sunshine. Not much else moving on the river, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves again. Water levels are noticeably lower. But, not so low as to cause us any problems.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Six Nations

A quiet weekend for us. Making the most of long countryside walks across wide open meadows, before we get fenced in further on up the river.

We've decided to leave on monday. We would have gone this weekend, but it's England Vs France in the six nations rugby, and I didn't want to miss the game. Probably heading down to Cliveden for a leisurely couple of days, before turning around and heading back up to Sonning, Reading, Wallingford and Abingdon. Benson lock is opening a week early, so there's no reason for us to hang around anymore. Lovely though Bourne End is, it's time to move on.

Friday, 2 March 2012


Thanks, Matthew.
Great Image.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Spring Clean

I've been enjoying the very welcome sunshine, and keeping myself busy while Sheena is down in Devon. It's not been a particularly harsh winter, but a very long drawn out one, and I'm glad to see the back of it. The river has been behaving itself. It hasn't rained for ages, so there isn't much of a flow in it at all. Looking forward to getting underway again.

One of the great joys of boating, is the everchanging reflections the moving water casts up on your ceiling.

Moved across the river, because they were craning in big boats at the marina. A nice opportunity to get some work done without being hassled. Popped out the leaky window. Had to repaint the whole of that side, because the oxidisation of the paint meant that the shades of green didn't match up. What looks like 'Racing Green' when it first goes on, dulls down and looks more subtle with age. Still, it is done now.

Scary blank space. But it's fixed the problem. Hopefully.

Engine sorted. Bilge Painted.

Roof finished. One tin was enough, thankfully, as the colour has now been discontinued by the manufacturers. Also did the handrails, while I was up there.

And when I'm not slapping paint everwhere, I'm enjoying some beautiful countryside walks with Sumo.