I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Henley (River Thames) – Saturday 29th April

Bit grey today but it’s not cold thank goodness.

Since coming down through Henley two weeks ago things have moved on with the Henley Regatta.  Marquees are now up and the skeletons of seating are erected. Even yesterday a man was putting a tap in near us.

Henley was pretty empty and we chose our spot.  There was soon a beep-beep and we were joined by Doug and James on Chance.  Travelling with them are Neil and Pauline on Waterlily.  It’s a rather sad meeting as Chance is for sale and this is their last cruise.  However they don’t live far from us so hopefully we will catch up with them again when we are all at home – easier said than done though!!

We had drinks onboard Chance.  We hadn’t been onboard before and she is a lovely boat – someone somewhere will be buying a real treasure.  A fair amount of wine was drunk and James, Doug and I all slept all afternoon (Not together of course!)  Richard, however, was going to paint the roof but we were under a tree and its bits spoilt the venture!

We all went for dinner at the Angel on Henley Bridge.  We had planned on sitting outside but it is a very dog friendly place and Muffin was allowed in the dining room.  The food was OK but the company was fantastic!!

I had noticed during the afternoon that there were a lot of runners or walkers with numbers on.  It was the Thames Path 100.  The annual race, now in its 6th year, is a 100 mile continuous trail race along the Thames Path from Richmond in Surrey to the centre of Oxford.  The race started at 10am this morning and the cut off time in Oxford is 2pm tomorrow.  Henley is about half way.  As we were coming back from dinner there were still participants coming past – most with head torches on.  Henley was one of the 13 Aid Stations where drinks and hot food were being served.  Last year’s winners were Craig Holgate (men’s race) in 14 hours and 9 minutes and Samantha Amend (ladies race) in 16 hours.  The entrant limit for this year’s race – I wonder how many actually finish.

2.27 miles
0 locks

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Remenham Farm Moorings (River Thames) – Friday 28th April

I took this photo last night of Marlow Church just as we were going to bed.

We needed to walk into town this morning.  I needed a new battery for my watch, Richard needed coax connectors and I needed to go to the Post Office. 

Long story – so here goes!!  I got a new mobile phone just before we left home and discovered that it doesn’t use the same cable as my old one.  As we have charging cables all over the place I ordered some new ones.  They arrived just as we were leaving home but they were the wrong ones.  I ordered some more to be delivered to Barbara in Shepperton but, guess what, they were wrong too!!  My son, daughter-in-law and gorgeous grandson are coming to visit next week so I asked Laura if I could get some new cables sent to them from Amazon.  She said yes but get them delivered to their local Amazon locker as it is easier in case they are out.  I duly did this.  This got me thinking!!  I use a small clip-on light to read by at night so that I don’t disturb Richard but it is flickering and annoying!  So I ordered a new one from Amazon and got it delivered to the Post Office in Marlow.  Our visit to the Post Office this morning was to return three packages to Amazon and pick up the new one – this all worked perfectly.  I now have a nice new light and during the afternoon I got three emails from Amazon to say that as my packages were on their way back they were making an advanced refund!!  Great service Amazon.  I wonder if one day we will get our packages delivered by drone when we are moored up in the middle of nowhere!  Oh and we didn’t get the battery or the connectors!

We had a Costa coffee in the park and then sallied forth up the river.  Temple Lock was on self-service (of course).  Someone had left the top gates open and the sluices up – how lazy can you get .  Also, left neatly by the Lock Keepers office was a take-away coffee cup and a bag of dog poo!  I just hope the two instances were not connected. 

Hurley Lock was manned as was Hambledon Lock.

We pulled over at Remenham Farm Moorings again.  It was a lovely afternoon and Richard did more work on the roof and even I got out with a cloth to clean the gullies above the windows!

We are moored opposite Greenlands.  This is one of the campuses for the Henley Business School, part of the University of Reading.  I wouldn’t mind studying there!  Greenlands was built in the 19th century and has been a Grade II Listed Building since 1992. 

The present building was built on the site of a previous then Edward Marjoribanks a senior partner in Coutts Banks, bought the house in 1852, enlarged it and it was sold in 1868 on his death.  It was bought by William Henry Smith, son of the founder of W H Smith.  He further extended the building, though its appearance received a cool reception from Jerome K. Jerome who joked in Three Men in a Boat that it was ‘the rather uninteresting-looking river residence of my newsagent.’ On Smith’s death, his family was ennobled with the title of Viscount Hambleden. Greenlands remained their home until immediately after the Second World War.  In 1946, the 3rd Viscount rented the building to the Administrative Staff College, an initiative designed to provide management education to British men and women in all sectors of the economy and government. The Smith family moved into the village of Hambleden. Meanwhile, the Administrative Staff College opened its doors to course members in March 1948. In 1952, following the death of Viscount Hambleden, the house was bought by the College. The Administrative Staff College was renamed Henley Management College in 1991, when it received its Royal Charter. In 2008 it merged with the Business School of the University of Reading, to form the new Henley Business School.  (This is all from Wikipedia.  I was going to edit it but it all looked interesting so I have left it as it was.)

5.99 miles
3 locks

Friday, 28 April 2017

Marlow (River Thames) – Thursday 27th April

We woke up to a lovely day though still cold.  However the wind had dropped.

We left our mooring at 11.30 and headed up to the Bounty at Bourne End.  I have never been to the Bounty so a new experience for me! 

It certainly is a quirky place as I think you will see from the photos. 

It is extremely dog friendly though they do ask you not to let you dog up on the table!  We had lunch – I had a burger but I think Richard had the best deal with lasagne.

Muffin couldn’t believe his luck as he had a dish of sausage and burger for the princely sum of £2!  We did only give him half though as he is not used to such luxuries – he will have the rest tomorrow.

From the Bounty it was a short hop to Marlow.  Marlow Lock was on self-service and it is a big lock - there is a sign that says it takes 9 minutes to fill.

We moored up just beyond Higginson Park where it appears to be free.  Higginson Park is £12 a night! 

The rain started so we decided to hunker down with the fire lit – yet again!

Higginson Park has great facilities – playground, skate park, cricket pitch, bowls club and a Costa Coffee 😊  There is also a Leisure Centre in the park has a swimming pool, gym, tennis facilities and more.  In 2016 Higginson Park achieved the prestigious Green Flag for the thirteenth year running. The award recognises excellence in park management.  Higginson Park was named after General Sir George Higginson, one of Marlow’s most famous residents, a former Crimean war veteran and father of the Brigade of Guards.  There is a brick in grass maze, created by Adrian Fisher to mark the Millennium.  Adrian Fisher is a well-known maze and puzzle designer, responsible for more than 700 mazes in 35 countries since 1979.

3.72 miles
1 lock

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Cookham Meadow (River Thames) – Wednesday 26th April

I didn’t want to leave Boveney but Old Itchy Feet did so off we toddled.  It was bloomin’ freezing – well at least it was outside when I left the cabin to do the locks!

Boveney Lock Moorings

We passed Bray Film Studios.  The studios were centred around Down Place, a country estate built in 1750 by the Tonson family. It became residence of the Hartford family between 1835 and 1901. In 1951, Hammer Film Productions, in search of a base to make their budget horror films, settled on the derelict Down Place. Shooting in country houses avoided the need to build sets, and usually also meant large grounds were available for location work. As the one year lease on Down Place ran out and a union strike prevented a move to a studio, Hammer decide to build a studio in the grounds of Down Place, and name it Bray Studios, after the local town.   In 1965 Mr Ernest Oliver, owner of the adjacent Oakley Court, died, leaving the Court uninhabited. The building became an ideal setting for many Bray productions.  It was announced back in 2013 by Neville Hendricks, the then owner of Bray Studios, that the studios were no longer viable and were sold to property developers. There was a high profile local campaign supported by many past stars such as Christopher Lee and Richard O'Brian to save the studios but if failed. In July 2015, it was announced that the listed Down Place building would be restored and converted into luxury apartments and the sound stages and workshops would be demolished to make way for new houses.  I’ve been onto the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead planning page and things are moving but very slowly.  In December last year planning was approved for 8 apartments and 2 cottages in Down Place House and for the partial demolition of parts or part of the existing structure, refurbishment and change of use to residential accommodation (comprising 39 x studios, 25 x 1 bed apartments and 4 x 2 bed apartments.  I’m not too sure what that actually means!  However for Down Place House this restoration cannot come quick enough.

Monkey Island is another place looking very sorry for itself.  I can find planning applications going back to September 2015 for new staff buildings and a new footbridge.  The Island sports an interesting history involving grotesquely painted monkeys and the Duke of Marlborough.  Although painted monkeys still lurk in the pavilion, the name Monkey Island stems from the Old English Monks Eyot, i.e., Monks' Island. It was named after monks who resided at Amerden Bank, a moated site near Bray Lock, as part of the Merton Priory from 1197 until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  In 1738, Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough acquired the island from Sir Francis Englefield. Spencer had seen the property while attending the Kit-Kat Club at nearby Down Place (Kit-Kat Club members met around the time of William III’s death to ensure the defence of the House of Hanover and the protestant succession.)  The Duke enlisted Palladian architect Robert Morris to design and build both buildings at a cost of £8,756.  The Duke’s most intriguing mark was the delightful Singerie paintings of the Monkey Room. Spencer commissioned the French artist Andieu de Clermont to paint these captivating and unique scenes of monkeys doing rather humanlike activities – shooting, fishing, smoking – and it is known they were completed before 1738.  By 1840, the Pavilion had become a riverside inn. 

This is how the hotel used to look.

We had three locks to do, two of which were on self-service.  It was then up to Cookham Meadows where we more or less had the whole place to ourselves. 

It was two years ago yesterday since my Mother died and I felt very low in the afternoon.  I still miss her.  So many times I want to share things with her but she isn’t at the end of the phone anymore.

7.89 miles
3 locks

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Boveney Lock Moorings (River Thames) – Tuesday 25th April

We woke up to gorgeous sunshine though it was very cold.

Harris Boat Builders
We had a long day ahead so we got underway quite early.  Up past Michael Dennett Boat Builders who have been restoring wooden boats in Chertsey since 1988.

Michael Dennett Boat Builders
Then into Staines where I made a visit to Sainsburys to top up the fridge.  We bought a new fridge during the winter which is a larder fridge as opposed to the one we had which had a silly little freezer.  I have so much space now – it’s fantastic.

Bell Weir Lock and Old Windsor Lock and then Windsor Great Park.  I just love this gate house tucked under the bridge.

I just wanted to get past this tree before it fell on top of us.

Romney Lock and through Windsor but we weren’t stopping there today.  We dumped toilet and rubbish and filled with water at Boveney Lock and then went a short way up to the Boveney Lock moorings which were completely empty. 

I’m not sure if people know about the new system of mooring on the EA moorings on the Thames.  There is a website, Thames Visitor Moorings and if you stop at one of the designated EA moorings you are supposed to go on to the site and register your arrival.  It’s very simple and we did it for the first time yesterday and again today.  At present, it is a year’s trial.

11.85 miles
5 locks

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Laleham (River Thames) – Monday 24th April

Woke up bright and breezy but went a bit downhill as the day progressed!

We left Shepperton with Thames Court buzzing with white van men!  Lorries arriving with stuff – it was a bit like DIY SOS!  Inside Thames Court there is a lovely old staircase – one of the lorries was a staircase company from Llanelli – I only hope there is a second staircase somewhere that is being replaced.

It was then just a short hop back up to Laleham so that our trip to Windsor will be shorted tomorrow.  I really don’t like any of the moorings between here and Windsor so we normally do it in one day.

The Laleham moorings are opposite Harris Boatbuilders Ltd.  The building is looking rather sad but various boaty companies are on the site now.  The only reference I can find to Harris Boatbuilders building anything is Woodland Lily.  It would appear that they built the hull in 1972.  Woodland Lily is 41 foot 6 inches overall with a 7 foot beam.  She has a counter stern, and aft saloon with 2 berths.  She was made in carvel mahogany. Carvel planking is a method of boat building where hull planks are fastened edge to edge, gaining support from the frame and forming a smooth surface. 

Woodland Lily

Richard got on with the roof while I sat in front of the fire, watching TV and crocheting.  The good part is that I have finished one blanket now 😊

I had an email from a “close family member” this evening.  She said “What WERE you thinking of?!  Getting smashed in the first place, and then PUTTING IT ON THE INTERNET”.  So I thought I would address this as maybe some of my other readers are thinking the same.  This is a blog – a diary of what we do and where we go.  If I hadn’t put that on, then my blog wouldn’t be a true record.  I am not proud of myself but it really wasn’t ALL my fault!!

3.23 Miles
1 Lock

Monday, 24 April 2017

Thames Court, Shepperton (River Thames) – Sunday 23rd April

Oh dear – what a day   We were going to Richard’s youngest step-daughter, Ollie’s, house for lunch and her sister, Sophie, was coming too.  With four children running around aged from 18 months to    it was very hectic but great fun.  Lunch was lovely but Ollie’s husband, Charlie, is a wonderful host and kept topping my glass up without me knowing!  I know you are saying “but you didn’t need to drink it” but I did and did not feel very well.  I won’t go in to details but what I will say is that I haven’t felt that for probably 25 years! 

We had planned to see friends, Shirley and Barry, in the evening and we didn’t get back to the boat until 10 minutes before their planned arrival.  We had planned to meet them in Thames Court but they had decided to close at 4pm – they didn’t say!  Anyway to cut a long story short I collapsed on the bed and woke up about an hour later hearing voices.  Richard, Shirley and Barry chatting in the boat! Richard had explained my absence and was doing a fine job of entertaining our guests.  I joined the party feeling about 90% and it was really nice to catch up with Shirley and Barry.

So what a day!  I can’t really believe that I got myself into such a state – at my age I should know better.  I will watch Charlie in future.

I didn't take any photos so I've added one of Muffin taken last week and a collage of photos of my gorgeous grandson who I miss so much.