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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 38 – River Thames

Posted by indigodream on 19 August, 2016

Rewind to Saturday 16th July

Staines to Marlow

The Beanz at the Magna Carta memorial - does it have a clause enrusing the sausage rights of greyhounds?

The Beanz at the Magna Carta memorial – does it have a clause ensuring the sausage rights of greyhounds?

As always, Steve was first up and was whittling some wood when the rest of us emerged – we’ve decided that teenager Alfie is an honorary greyhound as his commitment to 24-hour a day snoozing is legendary!

The day was set fair, so we set off in good spirits – Helen wanted to stop and have a look at the Magna Carta monument in Runnymeade. It wasn’t far upriver and we got a mooring very close to the footpath to the monument. We were pleasantly surprised by the mooring – we’ve never stopped there before as it’s so close to the road, but the abundant vegetation made the mooring seem pleasant and private.

It was only 9am when we moored up and we hastened to walk to the monument before it got too hot. We took all the dogs with us – once you cross the busy A30, the fields beyond are pleasant and there are quite a few things to be seen. The Magna Carte monument is, well, monumental – donated by the Americans it doesn’t really capture the spirit of such an English event. However, it is surrounded by wonderful mature oak trees which provided welcome shade. After that we walked up to the Kennedy memorial, which is an anticlimax, though the stairway through the woods is marvelous. Other visitors told us to walk over to the “jurors”, an art installation of 12 bronze chairs in the meadow below the Kennedy Memorial. I’m sure it’s all very worthy, and the bronze chairs were beautiful, but I was underwhelmed – there was a leaflet that explained the imagery on the front and back of each chair, but they weren’t intuitive and I lost patience with reading the descriptions, but without them, they were just 12 chairs incongruously planted in the middle of a field!

Herbie digging up an ancient oak tree - maybe he thought there elves to be caught under there...

Herbie digging up an ancient oak tree – maybe he thought there elves to be caught under there…

I know, I’m an art heathen, but the sun was already high and I was already way too warm – time to get back on the water!

It took a while to get upriver, but we were soon moored in Windsor, which was heaving – we’d stopped briefly to pick up a new Indigo Dreamer, greyhound Skye and her mum Karen. We had though to stop for lunch, but in five minutes we were already being treated like a tourist attraction – time to move on!

While the rest of us relaxed and enjoyed the river views, Helen had work to do. She has recently been ordained as a priest and had a sermon to write for Sunday. She sat on the front deck and allowed the river’s ambience to inspire her πŸ™‚ Steve didn’t miss her – he was busy on the helm and chatting about greyhound health, or lack thereof – poor Skye has a horrible brain infection picked up from poor conditions in Ireland where she was bred and races – she’s only four years old and the infection has left her unsteady on her feet. However she immediately settled on board – first on the deck sheepies, then later on the sofa – bliss! Skye enjoyed her cruise, but there was one priceless moment when she stood up on deck and suddenly realised that there were things to see – wow, who knew?!

Skye - another natural Indigo Dreamer :-)

Skye – another natural Indigo Dreamer πŸ™‚

The other priceless moment of the day belonged to spaniel Molly. Right from the start she knew exactly what there was to look at and we’d been very careful to keep hold of her as she strained to jump over to join the ducks. Later in the afternoon she started to show signs of calming down – she settled on the front deck with Steve and Helen – peace reigned until we got the call “dog overboard” – and there was Molly paddling along behind us! We soon recovered her – I think she’d realised quite quickly that jumping off might have been a mistake and very sensibly swam to the boat rather than the shore. Luckily she was very small and easily hoicked out of the water.

We had initially planned to moor in Cookham, but when we arrived, the moorings were full. Except they weren’t – the big tupperware had occupied the space by leaving themselves a lot of personal space but not enough to usefully fit in a narroboat. If everyone had shuffled up, there would have been room for at least 5 narrowboats on the moorings. We know that narrowboats are not popular among the cruisers, but we were taken aback when our polite question “could you move up a little so that we can moor” was answered with a curt “we’re not moving”…

Inspiration for a sermon :-)

Inspiration for a sermon πŸ™‚

We couldn’t be bothered with their selfishness, so we moved on to Marlow, which was also jam-packed. By now it was getting late in the day, so we dropped Steve and family off, our guests off and cruised around to look for a mooring. There was nothing – so we asked a friendly narrowboater whether we could brest up – they agreed and, at first, we thought we wouldn’t fit, but a really obliging cruiser made up for the rudeness at Cookham and offered to move the few feet that we needed in order to get our stern aligned with the bankside narrowboat so that the hounds could get on/off.

It had been quite a busy day, and we were too weary to explore Marlow, settling for grazing from the extensive supplies in the fridge and watching one of our on-board box sets – “Tru Calling” which is just engaging enough to keep us awake but not complex enough to tax our tired brains!

Photoblog:

A grand day for grand events on the river...

A grand day for grand events on the river…

Spot the giraffe....

Spot the giraffe….

Historic ship Lindsey - a 1945 RAF refueller which carried huge volumes of fuel to RAF Sunderland and Catalins Flyingboats...

Historic ship Lindsey – a 1945 RAF refueller which carried huge volumes of fuel to RAF Sunderland and Catalins Flyingboats…

Jazz on the Georgian - the boat was almost empty yet he carried on playing...

Jazz on the Georgian – the boat was almost empty yet he carried on playing…

Alain Roux's Waterside Inn - I was treated to lunch there for my 50th - it was the best food and service ever!

Alain Roux’s Waterside Inn – I was treated to lunch there for my 50th – it was the best food and service ever!

Brunel's brick arch - the widest and flattest in the world apparently :-)

Brunel’s brick arch – the widest and flattest in the world apparently πŸ™‚

Oh no, run Archie, run, that's a V-E-T you'r cuddling up to!

Oh no, run Archie, run, that’s a V-E-T you’r cuddling up to!

You get all sorts on the river :-)

You get all sorts on the river πŸ™‚

Alfie's got a talent for sketching - he was inspired to draw Archie :-)

Alfie’s got a talent for sketching – he was inspired to draw Archie πŸ™‚

2 Responses to “Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 38 – River Thames”

  1. I rather agree with you about Runnymede. Probably a bit early to see the hottug in action https://www.runnymedehotel.com/boats/hottug/

    I hope days 36 and 37 are not lost for ever ….

    Simon

  2. indigodream said

    Well spotted!

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