Thursday, 31 January 2013

How Much?!

Some newly erected signs have appeared all along Bell Rope meadows (the green undeveloped space between Cookham and Bourne End). The National trust's "Ranger Team" expect to be paid £10 a night, for their muddy field with no services, badly neglected moorings, and 10 metric tonnes of cowsh*t.

This is bad news. And I suspect the reasoning behind it has something to do with the millionaires who live on the opposite bank. Those meadow moorings are so poor, that nobody ever overstayed down there anyway. They haven't been dredged in over a decade.

£10 is more expensive than Henley.

I think soon, we will have to learn to deploy the anchor whenever we want to stop. The places where we can safely overnight, without somebody popping out of the bushes and demanding money from us, appear to be dwindling year on year.

I can understand why they'd want £10 a night for stopping on the Cliveden islands. A place of rare and unspoilt natural beauty. Or Runnymede, a mega-touristic honeyspot. But those Cookham meadow moorings are, quite literally, a big pile of poo in comparison.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Flood #3

Spade Oak meadow is like a lake. And we are up and over the bank again. Waders turned out to be the best investment ever, as I can splash about in it with impunity. With wellies, you are constantly worried that the water may be too deep, and they will get swamped.

Sumo seems quite used to it now. He knows that when he puts on his red harness, that he's going to get hoisted ashore, or have to walk over some planks.

Crime came to Bourne End yesterday. Less than thirty feet away from a snoring me. Somebody stole the outboard engine from the Bounty pub boat, which is moored up behind us. Sure to inconvenience more than a few people, and a quite a lowlife thing to do.

Thursday, 24 January 2013


It's all gone now, but this is what we had to deal with last week. It looked pretty. But was not much fun for us. Sumo enjoyed it though, rolling around, and creating doggie snow angels all over the place. Nice to see him running about like a crazed puppy again.

Harringtons (of Reading) came out and did us another coal and log delivery. For which we were extremely grateful. We'd gotten down to our last bag of Supertherm nuggets. Decided to purchase 'Homefire' hexagons this time, because they were slightly cheaper on the tax front. Most taxes irk me, royally. But the VAT levied on "combustible fuels" especially so. These are not "luxury" items.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Oh, that's just great..

I won't be moving anywhere today. Our mooring ropes are frozen solid, the pumpout machine is inoperable, and the waterpoint's taps are completely useless.

Thankfully, we have enough wood and coal to keep warm.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Troglodytes Troglodytes

Sumo woke me up to tell me that there was a bird flying around inside the boat this morning.

But I didn't believe him and went back to sleep. When I finally did wake up, I noticed that it was a little Wren (troglodytes troglodytes), and it was heading straight for me. I ducked under the duvet, while it trashed about in the bathroom. It must have crawled in between the hopper windows and the frames overnight. Such a tiny gap. I wonder what made it do it? Maybe it was looking for a place to nest? Thankfully, it didn't poop everywhere in it's distress, and I was able to open up the hatch and back door, so that it could fly out.

The flood waters have finally gone down. But it took forever for them to do so. The river is still moving too fast to travel anywhere. Even if we could. Our starter motor was refusing to turn over, and has had to be removed, so that it can be sent off to Slough for refurbishment. The marina lads are going to give me a hand bow hauling us nearer to the service pontoon tomorrow, so I can do a much needed pumpout and fill our tank up with water.

With her mum becoming increasingly frail, Sheena is having to spend even longer away from the boat than last year. But, hopefully, she will be coming back for a few days tomorrow. Unless there is the 'wrong kind' of snow somewhere on the tracks.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Shiny Thing (make it all better)

Happy New Year everyone.

After probably the most stressful christmas ever, the shiny thing in the sky has returned today. Which helps to lift the spirits tremendously. Christmas itself wasn't too stressful, it had the good grace to depart quickly enough. But, every time somembody went past in a small boat, our boarding planks would fall in the water, and I'd have to go out with a torch, trying to scrabble around and retrieve them before they got washed away.

Thankfully, that is all in the past tense now, as the water level seems to have gone down considerably. As predicted, the waders I ordered will be pretty much redundant until the next time the river floods. I'm hoping that that will not be for another 3 years now.

Ever the optimist. :)