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Archive for September 2nd, 2013

Boat Blog: Aimless meanderings (3)

Posted by indigodream on 2 September, 2013

Rewind to Thursday 8th August

Marlow (below the lock) to Reading (King’s Meadow)

Looking downstream to our "hole in the hedge mooring" - on the right - see it?

Looking downstream to our “hole in the hedge mooring” – on the right – see it?

Last night’s “desperation mooring” proved to be a very fine spot indeed – there was a little traffic noise from the nearby road bridge, but much quieter than the weir at Teddington! It was otherwise peaceful, though a few inquisitive dogs popped down from the path to check us out; the greyhounds were very tolerant, though the deck doors were firmly shut!  The mooring flanked a path which Richard extravagantly reported to be “perfect” for dog-walking  as it opened out to meadows where the hounds could have a (muzzled) run.

We set off at 10am – the river is exceedingly picturesque and I suddenly felt as if I could breath easier (mentally) for the first time in weeks. It takes a while for holidays to work their magic….

We stopped at the services above Hurley lock and filled up with water. It was a popular spot with boaters, campers and walkers alike – we had to queue! The cruiser queuing in front of us has a very yappy border collie – as I walked past, the lady of the boat said “my dog doesn’t like people” – her tone suggested that she didn’t either! I walked the greyhounds the other way, but they were immaculately behaved. Archie can be a bit dominant at times, but there’s no predicting which dogs he will think needs a bark – the collie was obviously beneath his notice.

The river was reasonably busy – we joined a substantial queue below Hambledon lock and were a little dismayed when the French Brothers trip boat was waved in before us – we thought we’d have to wait. But to our surprise, the trip boat waved us in behind them – we fitted in easily, as did the three assorted boats behind us! The Thames locks are a strange mixture – some are absolutely enormous, others very small – there’s no sense to it! We exchanged some banter with the trip boat and its passengers and were almost sorry to lose them in Henley.

This Grebe is a regular at Marlow Lock - it plays in the wash then pops through the open gate paddles to join it's family above the lock - amazing!

This Grebe is a regular at Marlow Lock – it plays in the wash then pops through the open gate paddles to join it’s family above the lock – amazing!

One big job for today was to contact Shoreline (01903 733877) to try and diagnose why our fridge was leaking water in the mornings. I’m a bit of a stickler for the food cold chain so I was worried that the fridge wasn’t running at an optimum temperature. Shoreline were extremely helpful and came up with the following advice:

  • the recent very hot ambient temperature might be affecting the fridge’s efficiency
  • we had turned the dial to max (5) to try to increase the refrigeration – apparently this is the wrong thing to do – it should work at setting 2 – 3 – if it’s not then there’s something wrong!
  • it could be that the controller has failed – they offer a free checking service – but if their other suggestions work then we can leave that until the winter as the check takes a few weeks.

Although the river was busy, there were several mooring spots available in Henley; however we were bound for one of our favourite spots above Marsh Lock. We were disappointed that last year’s prime spot opposite the island was already occupied, but we found a spot further upstream. It’s a section of fenced and gated (but public) towpath where we could let the greyhounds roam free – not that they bothered! We had a civilised lunch and Richard took Henry and Archie for a swimming lesson i.e. he waded into the water carrying a hound then let them go to swim back to shore. Both hounds swim very well! Ollie was spared this indignity – he scooted back to his bed at the first opportunity and we didn’t have the heart to drag him out….

It was far too early for us to moor up, so we left our perfect mooring spot with some regret; even as we pulled the pins, nb Chutney came upriver and waited for us to vacate the spot – it’s a prime location 🙂

Swimming lessons! The hounds think that Richard is quite mad - but at least we know they can swim!

Swimming lessons! The hounds think that Richard is quite mad – but at least we know they can swim!

We had a peaceful and pleasant cruise up – noticing in passing a large cruiser travelling with three dogs on the top deck and a large parrot on the back deck. We’d had a perfectly lovely afternoon until we reached Sonning Lock. There we met a lockie, let’s call him “Mr Nasty”, who, at best, was abrupt and unpleasant; at worst he was rude and unnecessarily aggressive. I was torn between finding out his details so I could make a complaint and making a quick getaway from his rudeness. We chose the quick getaway but I was left with a nagging feeling that I should complain – how can he improve if no-one gives him or his employers any feedback – hmmmmm – but there’s more on that in a few posts’ time…

We headed up for the King’s Meadow (Tesco) moorings in Reading with some trepidation – it was late afternoon and we feared that they might be full. We needn’t have worried – there was plenty of space back on the rough-edged path; later a few spaces opened up on the pontoons, but by then we we’d settled in and couldn’t be bothered to move. There’s a nice park adjacent for the hounds, but the path itself was a treacherous with speeding cyclists.

We did a useful shop at Tesco. Because I didn’t trust the fridge, we’d been eating some very basic meals made from unlikely ingredients from the back of the food cupboard, but now we could buy in a fine meal as well as a few DVDs. We settled down to watch the new version of “Total Recall” – it was a brainless evening’s entertainment but I couldn’t believe the ease with which they’d made a worse film than the original!

We went to bed at a reasonable time – I had an early start on Friday and I’m really out of the habit….

Photoblog:

It looked as if this couple were taking their pet cow for a walk!

It looked as if this couple were taking their pet cow for a walk!

The Thames offers some beautiful views...

The Thames offers some beautiful views…

Remember when chocolates came in boxes with padded silk lids - and this scene...

Remember when chocolates came in boxes with padded silk lids – and this scene…

We love these quiet mooring spots on the right upstream of March Lock - perfect for greyhounds :-)

We love these quiet mooring spots on the right upstream of March Lock – perfect for greyhounds 🙂

Works at Henley - we suspect it was the removal of some temporary structures post-regatta....

Works at Henley – we suspect it was the removal of some temporary structures post-regatta….

Lavish boat house in Henley...

Lavish boat house in Henley…

Big event being prepared (along with temporary pontoons for punt hire) - this was well upstream of Henley - we're not sure what the event was though....

Big event being prepared (along with temporary pontoons for punt hire) – this was well upstream of Henley – we’re not sure what the event was though….

Nice new stretch of bank on the right (looking upstream) below Sonning Bridge - mooring prohibited - which is a shame...

Nice new stretch of bank on the right (looking upstream) below Sonning Bridge – mooring prohibited – which is a shame…

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