Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Hey everyone. Sorry for the delay in updates. We had to wait for a few days before we got any more internet bandwidth. Things have been fine with us. We've just been bumbling up and down, without any stress or worry. The river has been unusually calm and languid for this time of year. And there has been plenty of sunshine and an absence of rainfall for us to enjoy, too.

Magna Carta Monument ~ American Style

Magna Carta Monument ~ English Style

Disgraceful, really. Generous philanthropic man buys land around Runnymede. After his death, his American born widow (and two sons) donate it to 'the national trust'. So that it won't be built on, and will be kept safe for future generations. His 1929 understated monument is tucked away behind the gift shop, circled by barbed wire, so that you can't even see it properly. The Broughton family name also doesn't appear on any promotional literature for the site.

On a more positive note, some investment at Runnymede *has* been beneficial. A new zebra crossing has been installed. Which means you can now safely cross the busy road without risking your life every time you do so. It's needed that here for many years. And I'm glad to see that they've finally gotten around to doing it.

This is a contender for the worst sculpture I have ever seen. It looks like Princess Margeret. It is too large. and out of place. It also looks like it is made of Chocolate. The Royal Academy seem to have let their standards slip, somewhat. Check out those "man hands". Sigh...

Utterly Pointless
And don't get me started on this piece of crap. Yes, yes, I can see the intention of the artist..... "World events between the signing of the Magna carta and the present day". But it is plonked in the middle of the meadow, incongrously. You need a three page tryptic leaflet to understand what it is going on about. To say that I was underwhelmed and disappointed with it would be a major understatement. I would quite like to say the waste of money made me angry. but that would give some credence to this 'art installation', that it clearly doesnt warrant. It says nothing about "The Magna Carta". and precious little about the English people at all (one chair for the Suffragette movement). You are also requested not to sit on them.

Myself? I would have opted for STONE. Some form of sculpture, that evokes the past, and looks like it could stand for another 800 years. Those chairs are lost in the landscape.
Bit of Buffing

Bryn at Runnymede

Paul Hollywood's less than expertly seeded rolls

Naughty Olly
Olly's lost his puppy pass. Some woman bellowed at me to "GET YOUR 'KIN DOG UNDER CONTROL" (in a most unlady like fashion), when he ran off and jumped up at her in Cliveden woods. No use explaining that he was just a puppy to such an ogre.

Friday, 9 October 2015


We were lucky enough to be holed up at Shiplake college while the heavy rain dumped itself down. Heaved it. Solidly. for 48 hours. Result: 3 inches of water needed hoovering out of the bilge. But, apart from that, we were fine. Tucked up, toasting our toes, with the stove lit.

As I've tried to express previously, the Thames has an entirely different and much more peaceful character at this time of year. We saw three boats moving yesterday, and everything is done at a leisurely bimbling pace. Which is why we bought a narrowboat in the first place. It's unusual to be out in a t-shirt at this time of year, too. Thermal underpants remain stowed. Quite a few locks on self service now. But we don't mind... it's all a part of the journey.

The river to ourselves

Taking on water at Shiplake

Gave us a cheery wave!
We've spotted Paul Daniels at home several times before. But this time, he was standing at his front door, taking a phone call. Very nice of him to smile and give us a wave. Hope he doesn't get flooded out this year. I have time for Paul Daniels. He realises his days in the spotlight are over, and doesn't seem to be unduly hung up about it. Unlike that plonker who lives at Sonning.

Followed us all the way down Medmenham reach
There are a couple of new 'bizarre' sculptures on the large estate here. They're about 40ft tall. I guess one would call them 'modern'. Because they seem to make no sense at all. Not entirely visible from the river. Just enough to make you go "WTF?".

Are we there yet?
The chaps have been pretty well behaved. Though Olly still takes great delight at jumping up at people he hasn't seen before. Yesterday he frightened two old folks. The words "hip replacement" flashed through my mind, but thankfully, he came back with two toots on the whistle.

Currently tucked up at Marlow, while Sheena investigates the shops. We're heading down for an overnight at Bourne End marina tonight. Our 'under the crane' mooring has been let out until the end of October, so we won't be stopping there long. The weather and river conditions are still fine, and we hope to make the most of it, until the lock closures on November 2nd.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Olly's Half Birthday

The best thing in Reading

Six month old Olly

Today, Olly picked some late blooming blackberries. Played with a Styrofoam cup. and chased Bryn.

Reading Tesco Moorings

No more "Shop and Go" ??

These signs appeared on the railings today.

No mention of 24 hours free.
Or of any "grace period".


Friday, 2 October 2015

October? Already?

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ― John Lubbock ~ The Use Of Life


Sheena took these. With her super snazzy phone.

After filling up with water at Cleeve lock, we stopped off at Goring, for a visit to the excellent vets there. Thankfully, we have a front fender, because I bounced off of the waterpoint coming in too fast downstream. I redeemed myself however, by doing a seemingly impossible left hand turn, around a "le boat" hireboat. Which left it's crew of holidaying Islraeli gentlemen, gobsmacked. They were all lined up, semi-panicing and ready to fend off. I cherish their look of open mouthed astonishment as I pulled it off.

Anyway, we needed to stop in Goring, because Bryn's got itchy feet. We think it's possibly due to a long grass allergy and we wanted to get him sorted and comfortable. 2 hours later and 130 English pounds lighter, we maximum revved our way down to Beale Park (a massive 3.5 miles an hour!). Passed George and Carol on Wb Still Rockin on the way.

On the technical front, a couple of bolts on our propshaft had worked themselves loose. Took 5 minutes to tighten them with my handy spanners. The fanbelt teeth are looking a bit worn. But it's continuing to chuck 14.22v into the batteries and I'm a bit loathe to change it until it absolutely needs doing. The annoying dribble of oil from the gearbox was solved by replacing the 'O' rings on the dipstick with a harder material (the name of which I forget). Only happened at high revs, and underway, with the deckboards down it took a while to discover the reason why it was happening. Apart from that, Mr Bukh's engine is still doing us proud.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Runsford Hole

Our view last night

Just bimbling our way slowly downstream again. Making the most of the warmth and the sunshine. The only boats that seem to be moving are the big hireboats (Le Boat, and Caversham cruisers mainly). Today, it's another pootle downstream to top up with water at Cleeve lock, then on to Beale park. Did I mention that I love the peace and quiet of this time of year? So, so precious.

We both spent years of our working lives living in London. Surrounded by nonstop traffic, petrol fumes, millions of people, and the incessant shriek of emergency sirens. Now we can go for days without being bothered by one other person. And the only noise we hear at night is the occasional hooting of an owl. it is utterly fabulous.