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Boat blog: Aimless meanderings (4)

Posted by indigodream on 3 September, 2013

Rewind to Friday 9th August

Reading (King’s Meadow) to Sonning (downstream of the bridge)

The £10 goes to charity - ring the number and they advise you to post the money, with a note, into a little flap in the fence nearby....

The £10 goes to charity – ring the number and they advise you to post the money, with a note, into a little flap in the fence nearby….

What a night – knowing I had to get up early in the morning guaranteed a poor night’s sleep – Ollie joined in by pacing and whining for most of the night. I gave in at 5am and lifted him onto the bed – he settled instantly!

The reason for my early start was another bit of vexation from last week. I’ve been fortunate enough to be offered a part-time job with the Royal Marsden Hospital’s training team – it’s such an exciting opportunity but I had hoped that the NHS paperwork would be slow and that I wouldn’t be starting until the beginning of September. As it happens, they’re so excited at the prospect of my joining them that they’ve fast-tracked the paperwork and wanted me to start this week! Some negotiation ensued and I’m now due to start after our cruising holidays at the end of August, provided I could attend the standard induction training today. I could hardly refuse but it was a shame to curtail the holiday just as I was starting to feel the benefit…..

So, yet more Indigo Dream logistics – I would get a train into Chelsea, spend the day at the training (all 8 hours of it), get the train back to Teddington, pick my car up and drive back to Sonning so that we’d have easy transport home on Saturday – with me so far?

In the meantime, Richard met an old friend at King’s Meadow – Ed and wife Sue from nb Weyward Lady. Ed had joined us for the IWA campaign cruise a few years ago.Ed proved to be a mine of information, and, on his recommendation, Richard moved the boat back down through Sonning Lock (Mr Nasty was not on duty) and moored up on the meadow moorings just downstream of the Great House pub.

Archie Beanz keeping a lookout below Sonning Bridge...

Archie Beanz keeping a lookout below Sonning Bridge…

Now, these moorings cost £10 a night, which is steep for a rough towpath mooring on the Thames (local farmers generally charge £6 a night). But according to Ed, there’s a story behind the fees – the moorings downstream of Sonning Bridge were once owned by the pub but were not properly maintained and became colonised by continuous moorers. In an attempt to improve the area, the moorings were bought by Uri Geller, who imposed the fee to disuade long-stayers. This has obviously worked and the moorings are pleasant, if a little basic. However, it’s out of character for Richard to voluntarily pay for moorings, but when I quizzed him, I got the last bit of the story – Uri Geller donates the mooring fees to charity AND he is a greyhound fan, having lost his own beloved hound recently. Hence the moorings appealed on many levels, and it was a lot quieter than King’s Meadow, with fewer mad cyclists and passing dog-walkers. They have a novel way of collecting the fee – there’s a phone number to ring and you get instructed to post your fee, with a note, into a “letterbox” in the wooden fencing that flanks the mooring.

Richard, Ed and the hounds retired to “The Bull” in the centre of Sonning and I met them there in the evening. The Bull is a popular and pleasant Fullers pub and we had a great meal there. They do their own take on a classic dessert – the “Sonning Mess” – meringue, cream, passion fruit and mango – it was magnificent – I’d visit again just for the pudding! I’m pleased to report that Henry and Archie hounds have really got the hang of pub/cafe culture and are quickly lying down on their sheepskins to receive their many admirers.

We left the car in the pub car park overnight and walked back through the village to the moorings. It was a bit of a trek but meant that we were a useful distance from the Great House Hotel/pub and its live music – a light jazz band sadly afflicted with a trumpet that sounded as if it was full of beer; or maybe the trumpeter was full of beer – it was hard to tell 🙂


We won't be the first or last to photograph this postbox - no-one seems to know why it's there or even who put it there!

We won’t be the first or last to photograph this postbox – no-one seems to know why it’s there or even who put it there!

2 Responses to “Boat blog: Aimless meanderings (4)”

  1. TMWeddle said

    But does the post get collected from there?

  2. SueNP said

    A comment from Alister on my blog with said photo…

    “From the Reading Forum

    It was 10ft up a wall of a private house near the Bull pub for a few years – the women (who is a bit eccentric) put it there for a joke, and it is only a ‘front’ no actual box

    When first put up it illicited many complaints of ‘what a stupid place to fit it’ ‘how can we use it’ and ‘it should be taken down’ and to my colleagues husband – ‘what are you going to do about it’ (the answer was nothing)

    The house ahs been decorated a while back and no-one is 100% sure if its was taken down for that or just removed as not wanted – some jokers got hold of it and then fitted to the bridge.”

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