Sunday, September 30, 2012

Am I on a promise ?

Ann is back with me after going south to see the grand children and family. I have cleaned the pad and now look forward to a real roast dinner on Sunday.

While at Banbury I got John the engineer to check over our fuel system. He cleaned the water trap, changed the fuel filter, tightened up the greasy gland and changed the alternator belt. The fuel system was clean this time. The belt had been squeeking a bit despite being tight enough. Must be at least 2 years ago since we had a 110 amp alternator fitted and a new belt then.

We have now moved up a few locks to Cropredy with Rock n Roll not far behind. A new marina has just started to be dug out here, to be open early next year. On Sunday the site is open for inspection and we may go to see what it is like. Boater's facilities will be available including diesel. At least private enterprise is still trying to improve our lot on the canals.

It is such a shame that so much government money (taxes from us) has gone down the weirs into the pockets of 'fat cats' in government employ. Now that a charity is 'in control' they are appealing to the public to help pay for damage caused in the main from lack of maintenance. Do the public care? Why be a friend if you are still not sure where the funds are going.

As boaters I am sure that our costs will rise, hopefully to pay for more maintenance. It is in our own interest that we pay a bit more. Perhaps boaters should pay for damage caused by them. After all we are obliged to have insurance to cover any claim.

It is quite noticeable how much damage boaters going too fast have done. The canal banks are falling in and bridges damaged. The 'Health n Safety' brigade will have a fit if they walked the Oxford canal towpath.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Moore pictures

I have uploaded more pictures to Picasa.  They are 800 x 500 so are bigger than those on our Blog.  See our website for slide show pictures of the Thames and Middle levels.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

River Wey pictures

I have just added pictures of the river Wey to our collection in Moore 2 Life website.  Go to the River section and click on Wey.  I have put the pictures in Picasa so that they are presented in a slide show. Captions to be added.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stopping for a while

We have arrived at Banbury so that Ann can head of on the train for her medicals and another chance to stay with the grand kids. The fridge is full of ready meals for me. I can do some cooking so have plenty of fresh veg to add. I must not forget to feed Molly and she will be taking me out for walks!

TV reception has failed us here since we have lost our sat dish in the Thames. Most boaters here have difficulty because there are so many trees. Our spiky aerial has been pointed in all directions and the TV retuned several times without success.
Ann is off for a walk with Molly

I have plenty to do updating the contents of our web site with the new pictures taken while on the Thames and Wey. I can listen to my music and watch a few DVD's again.

Our journey back on the southern Oxford Canal has reminded us how bad it has got. There is just too much vegetation that blocks the view ahead. It will take a lot of effort for Canal And River Trust to CART it all away! They know that the weather conditions have caused rapid growth so why not get on and cut it back. More donations and volunteers please. Most locks at this end of the canal have huge single bottom gates that are heavy to open. Luckily some willing walkers helped Ann open them.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A review

A look back over the last few months that have been so different compared to our usual travels on canals. We were so grateful to Carol and George for showing us the way down river and enabling us to visit both Hampton Court and Windsor Castle, for they had looked after Molly. We have also enjoyed the company of Del an Al as well on this journey of discovery down the Thames and Wey.
Hampton Court

Windsor Castle

We have seen houses

and houseboats.

We have seen big boats,

steam boats,

and trip boats.

This is a typical Thames Conservancy lock keepers house.

A few clever boat names were spotted. ‘Nauty Lass’ and ‘Shelfish Beach’ to name only two.

Oh such haste now to get off the wide river because we are on a mission. In a way we shall miss the river scene but must admit to feeling more comfortable back on the canal system. Back to the narrows and shallows.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Moving every day

Yes, including a Sunday, all of September since leaving our friends behind. The Tesco mooring was not a place to stay long. Travelling about 3 to 4 hours maximum is as much as we like.

The busy Thames gets quite dynamic with boats moving up and down. Guiding our heavy boat into locks with other boats inside is done slowly and with care. Ann usually throws a loop over a bollard at the front or the lock keeper catches it. At the back I sometimes use a hook to get the rope round a bollard that I can see. If not, the lock keeper gets my rope as well. The other boaters seem to manage with their taller boats. Once secure the engine is stopped.

There is more traffic at weekends. We got to Beale Park only to find most spaces taken and had to drift on looking for a suitable edge. Got the front in with the back out, stuck the pins in and had lunch. Tried to get a TV signal with no success. BBC channels were not available here so we reluctantly decided to move on. Two more locks at Goring and Cleeve to pass through.
Between Goring and Cleeve hundreds of canoes were heading towards us and nowhere for us to stop. There was the promise of moorings with a £4 charge above Cleeve. As we came out of that lock we saw a busy scene. Sailing boats all over the place racing up and down and still nowhere to stop! Just had to keep moving slowly on the left away from the sailing course. Soft sandy edges made it impossible to moor despite the invitation.
Finally there was a hard edge just for us and we put the pins in. “Well at least the TV found BBC here!”

We got to Day’s lock near Dorchester after a few more locks and long stretches of nothing but wide river and trees. We have seen many Red Kites flying, those with feathers rather than strings! Clouds and dampness made us realize how lucky we have been during August. Next day the destination was Abingdon. With just us and another small cruiser for company in the locks.

How wonderful it has been to enjoy the Olympic events this year. It is all over now but with the expectation of more support and participation in sport. Murray did well in the USA. The locks at either end of Dorney Lake have had their control boxes painted gold. I had wondered about the proportion of medals won to the size of the teams. According to Boris Johnston we have done better than most.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Boats, locks, trees & bridges

We have had to leave our friends on Rock n Roll and Derwent6 behind. Our plan is to get to Banbury so Ann can get home on the train. We did go south to get diesel at Sheperton marina where it is apparently ‘Non Bio’. It is something to ask for next time. Note to Sue for her Diesel survey perhaps.

The weather is brilliant and the Thames calm n quiet. With only two or three boats joining us in locks and so far plenty of room at the moorings. “Space for four, room for one does not seem to apply now.” In the past the ‘Plastics’ were a different breed but now they all wave back as they shoot past.

Between Runnymede and Windsor the aircraft were flying low over our heads almost every five minutes. We could see them in the distance one behind the other. With another runway on the ground the air could get very crowded. While moored at Windsor the trip boats are running to and fro between the castle and the racecourse creating waves. Causing a tsunami to head our way every time to rock our boat. So much so that the water in our tank sloshes about noisily. Sue’s blog reminds us the canals are very busy with many boats joining queues at the locks.
Bourne End mooring

We continued our journey to Bourne End and then to Henley. Still in glorious sunshine making the views bright and colourful.
This is the concrete corner that stopped our boat going down in August at Marlow Lock.

At Hurley lock we got the water tank filled, while being entertained by a person strumming his guitar in that sunshine. Molly is not so happy cos she is missing her walk along a towpath.
Any one for an ice cream.


Next day we passed slowly through Henley reach and under the bridge. Boats of all shapes and sizes approached from every direction. There are quite a few islands in the middle of the river and some times we are not sure which side to go. “If there are no arrows perhaps it does not matter”. 
Shiplake Lock

 As we approached Sonning Bridge the lock must have let a bunch of boats go. We saw some through the bridge. Two boats with people walking about on the roof being jolly merry. Then a small cruiser followed through as we hovered, the lady warned us about yet another ‘Steamer’. We were obliged to give way as we were going up stream but by now were committed to go under the bridge. Thankfully the huge Passenger boat had seen us and waited.

It had been another hot cruising day as we approached Reading. The moorings opposite the marina looked promising but proved to be shallow. Then we were lucky to get a space under the trees just before the Tesco moorings. “Guess what, we decided to go shopping and stay the night as it was nice and cool!”

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A medical emergency

On the way at Newark lock we were joined by another boat. They set off first and it was just before Pigeon Bridge where we saw a lady on the ground with a man making a phone call. The poor lady could not get up. We both stopped to help. Ann got off with a blanket to keep the patient warm on the ground. While the crew of the other boat stayed to comfort the lady the man went off to guide the paramedics the quarter mile to the scene from Pyrford lock. I was able to ask cyclists to get off and people to put their dogs on leads as they pass. Ann got to help with the gas & air and was massaging the ladies hand. It was thought that the poor lady had dislocated her arm when she tripped and fell. Eventually she was able to get up and they all got a ride on the other boat to the lock where the ambulance was waiting.

We have continued our journey and arrived at Runnymede on the Thames. We were very lucky to get our boat in to a good mooring, our National Trust Season Ticket worth paying for.

A new month and more visitors

September arrived and so did the grand children with their dad. They bought their blow up boat and bed. The boat soon got inflated and they were off rowing up river. Many ducks wanted feeding so after a sandwich lunch the crusty bits were thrown to them. Later we all went to The Boatman for dinner.

The two boys used up some paper making many drawings and cartoons to keep them occupied. The Pink Panther cartoons on DVD also kept them quiet for a while.
There are many different types of boat in use here. Kayaks, skiffs, canoes, rowing boats and trip boats to name a few. Many were out and about before breakfast. Our skipper and crew set off again this time with a black plastic bag. They collected enough plastic bottles and rubbish to fill it.  All too soon they were off the boat and heading for home.

Next day we set off and got water at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford. We passed Rock n Roll after Triggs Lock. A fishing match prevented us mooring at our chosen spot so we continued to Pyrford.