Rewind to Sunday 25th August
Runnymeade to Teddington
We had a late start this morning after a disturbed night’s sleep. Although the dog in the house nearby was mercifully silent overnight, Archie did launch a stealth attack and got up on the bed without our noticing. At one point I woke up feeling uncomfortable – my feet were burning up – mainly because Archie was lying on them 🙂
We set out at at 11am – we weren’t worried – we just needed a gentle bimble down to Teddington, where we’d spend the night before going down the tideway in the early morning on Monday. As we’d spend two nights on the Runnymeade moorings, we offered to pay the lock-keeper at Bell Weir – he kindly let us off as we hadn’t been at the mooring when he walked up to collect the fees the night before.
We were so relaxed we actually stopped for lunch at one of our new favourite moorings round the back of Desborough Island. The moorings were full – even along the stretch where it says “no moorings”. We popped into the only gap available – joining the other miscreants on the “no mooring” stretch. Two pompous teenagers on the towpath told us we’d get into big trouble for mooring where it said “no mooring” – I scowled at them and said “I’ve broken worse rules than this…”, contriving to sound utterly wicked – they scarpered 🙂
A cold, wet morning turned into a gloriously sunny afternoon – Richard took the dogs for a rummage while I cooked lunch, but they didn’t go very far – the hounds were almost catatonic after yesterday’s adventures! Poor Bertie was very stiff and sore today, though I had put him on a course of houndie anti-inflammatories – he was wearing some protective booties (which, from experience, are an essential part of the boat’s first aid kit) so he just went off the boat for the essentials then went back to his bed to recuperate.
The river became increasingly busy as we cruised downstream, peaking at Sunbury lock, which was jam-packed with very random little hire boats. The lock-keeper at Sunbury did the most amazing bit of sardine packing – large trip boat “The Georgian” went in first, then a narrowboat pulled alongside, then a whole fleet of little hire boats and bigger cruisers lined the lock either side. We didn’t think we’d get in, but the lockie called us forward and wedged us in the middle – the rather tough filling in a sandwich of soft white boats! Some of the cruisers weren’t too impressed at being squashed in with a narrowboat, but the locking soon took on a party air as crews exchanged banter.
The lock-keeper did us a huge favour – because of the way he’d packed us in, we became the third boat out of the lock – this allowed us to head downstream apace and avoid getting tangled with the little hire boats!
We moored at Teddington in the early evening and we were soon joined by Sarah and Andy – they’d had a fab weekend in Liverpool and would be joining us for the trip down the tideway in the morning. The moorings were as sociable as ever as caught up with a few narrowboating friends who were also waiting for the tide. The high spring tide peaked just before 6pm and we suddenly experienced the silence of the weir as the tidewater overtopped the weir and flooded upstream – amazing! The lock-keepers just opened the lock and boats were able to pass straight onto the tideway – what a great experience that must be.
We had another lovely evening in Teddington – for simplicity’s sake we ate at the nearest pub – the mega-popular Anglers – just across the river. The garden was full of screaming children, but we found the calm oasis of the child-free area and had a good meal. We fessed up to Bertie’s adventure and Sarah was supremely magnanimous in forgiving us, though Archie is grounded forever as being the main perpetrator!
We were soon back at the boat and in our beds – we were worn out and had good night’s sleep – maybe because the weir was so quiet – until low tide at midnight!