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.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Henley Again

It rained all of last night, but the short trip down to Henley was quite pleasant in the morning sunshine. This was the view that greeted me from the back door this morning..

The keeper at Marsh lock saw me coming and opened the gates, so that I wouldn't have to tie up on the layby. Cheers! Out on the other side of the lock, the weirstream was quite fierce, and bobbed me about like I was on the North sea. But it was more entertaining, than worrying or frightening. A person with 'learning difficulties' gave me a salute as I was leaving, so I snapped to attention and gave him one back. Which made him smile.

Completely cocked up my first attempt at coming alongside on the park moorings. Dropped the center line in the water. The bow swung out in the current. And, the stern was too far out for me to jump to the shore.. Sigh... Tried a bit further along for my second attempt, and everything went much more smoothly.

Unfortunately, now I'm currently moored up opposite our least favourite person on the whole of the Thames. I guess there's nobody downriver for him to go out and fleece today.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


After being in a centrally heated house for nearly a month, waking up at 6am with chilly toes was a bit of a shock to the system. I think Sumo was cold too, because he was huddled up into a tiny ball between my legs. A bit of a gray, damp and pizzly start to the day. But, fortified by triple espressos I set off downstream..

The river wasn't flowing very fast, apart from Shiplake weir, which did it's best to try and suck us in. Bounced off the "this way to the lock" sign. But thankfully, it was made of plastic, and bent without scratching any of my paintwork. After that, getting through Shiplake lock singledhanded wasn't a problem.

The reach down to Wargrave was like a pond..

Stopped at the Wargrave moorings, so that Sumo could stretch his legs. The EA patrol boat was out checking people's licenses. Ben's purple and blue boat got a ticket for not having one. Nice to hear that they will be organising a "collection sweep" to clear up the rubbish that had been strewn about there.

Aha! Definitely saw Paul Daniels's little bald head sitting at his breakfast table! I waved at him. But he did not wave back at me. :)

This came steaming past me at Wargrave.

Tucked up safely for the night. Heading down to Henley to top up supplies, tomorrow. Saw a few boats moving today, but the river is not exactly busy.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Goodbye London

Sorry for the lack of photos and updates this month. I have had a paintbrush in my hand for most of it. Phone has remained safely in buttoned overall pocket, so that nothing unfortunate happened it. Several friends of ours have dropped them into paint tins. But no, not me.

Heading back to the boat tomorrow, and moving off down to Bourne End before the winter lock closures, and the remnants of the Atlantic hurricane batter us (or dump more rain). We have overstayed our welcome on the Great House moorings, but they have been pretty gracious about it. Nothing more than a polite note asking us to move on, stuck to the window. Bit embarrassed about taking the mick like that, but family pressures dictated that was what we had to do.

Let's hope my faith in Danish engineering isn't misplaced. Because the engine hasn't been run for a month.

Thursday, 4 October 2012


It's our 30th wedding anniversary today. We are at Mile End, E3. Refurbishing our house for some new tenants. Took Sumo for a wander along the towpath, so we could experience the sights, sounds and sniffs of a proper city canal.

Surprisingly few boats were actually licensed.


Oh, how lovely.

Hmmm... Nice.

The next time we get badgered to check out a canal with our boat, I think I will wheel out this photograph. I do appreciate they're not all like this, but for the east end of london, I find this quite sad. Understandable when it was all run down and derelict (20 or so years ago, when we lived here). But a lot of money has been spent on developing the bankside. Several office workers were eating their lunch beside this 'charming vista'. And it honked. Badly.

Mile End Lock.

The 7th century dogma has a problem with black dogs. :)