Gravy And Stewed Cabbage. 6th August

Desborough Island to Boveney Lock Landing

Last nights mooring this morning

A saunter around the island, of course we noticed that there were spaces at the next mooring where we’d have let Tilly go ashore. That mooring is added to the ‘next time’ list. As we’re in transit we won’t be touching on the ‘next time’ list, we’ll just be adding to it.

A metal warrior stood guard over a garden, whilst a severe fencing kept people off off a lawn. A rather lovely roof line caught our eye, the room at the top of that fire escape would have fitted my teenage dream.

Joining back onto the main channel there was a sign in the middle, the river would be closed for a regatta today, good job there’s the alternate route. We arrived at Shepperton Lock before any Lock Keeper would be on duty, the blue Self Service sign displayed. No need for a Key of Power on the Thames, just patience as they can be slow to fill and empty.

Extra fencing has been added around locks to dissuade people from gathering too close. Signs ask for crew to stay on their boats and if a lock is on self service then only one crew member should go to operate it.

Pharaoh Island

At Pharaoh Island the house on the end looks to have new owners, it was on the market two years ago. A boat is moored round the back and a kids trampoline stands in the garden so that you can gongoozle at the passing boats whilst bouncing.

Chertsey Lock

At Chertsey Lock we were joined by a cruiser, the strong wind making it hard for them to manoeuvre. Oleanna has weight to her so she hunkers down on windy river days, so long as her speed has purpose she is fine. By now we’d remembered how to do the ropes on the Thames if I was acting as Lock Keeper. Positioning the bow rope on the roof and taking the boat hook with me I could then wrap the rope round a bollard to keep the bow in whilst heading away to press buttons, popping back to adjust it if needs be as the lock filled.

Today we spotted a couple of cruisers that have a different line from the usual. They have a hint of a barge to them, quite a pleasing shape and with colour to the cabin sides we decided we quite liked them.

More shapes and sizes as we cruised along.

Approaching Staines on Thames there are new static caravans being built with a difference. Some have roof terraces, others extensions that take them away from the standard oblong design, however the cheapest one will set you back £499,999! We preferred the older more characterful houses. Does anyone know what this tree is please, with fleshy leaves and large white flowers?

Just before Bell Weir Lock we ducked under the M25 for the last time.

Runnymede is already on our list for next time so no need to add it. Today we’d have found a nice mooring, although the road would be a touch too close for Tilly to go off exploring. Only one of the French Brothers trip boats was cruising today. Banners boasted of a refurbishment to Pink Champagne, but the pandemic looks to have put paid to that happening and the fake steamer sat below trees filled with chairs collecting tree sap and bird droppings.

Day boats increased in number the closer we got to Datchet as we skirted round Windsor Royal Park all immaculate as normal. The Queen won’t be short of mistletoe this Christmas, they just need a big cherry picker. Just through Victoria Bridge there are ground works going on. Big boulders and a crane was being put together. Maybe this will be a new rock garden for the Queen!

A side filler

At Romney Lock we were joined by a trip boat as we waited for the lock to empty. Two Lock Keepers attended to the button pushing whilst we inhaled the smell of gravy and stewed cabbage that was to be lunch on the trip boat for the OAPs. We wondered at what age does stewed cabbage become appealing?

I failed to throw my rope over a bollard and a Lockie came to assist. I requested he passed it round a second time which he didn’t seem too keen to do, but as it was a side filling lock he relented after I’d mentioned my failing grip. A second turn means less clinging on for dear life even in the gentler filling locks.

Out of the cut we popped out the view of Windsor Bridge where Eton meets Windsor and where as a child staying with my Aunt and Uncle we used to stand to hear Concord fly overhead, I’m sure we never heard the sonic boom but Uncle Peter swore he did!

Just how many swans! A fayre was set up on the Brocas, we decided we’d carry on, hoping the mooring we’d stayed at above Boveney Lock would be available. Liz wasn’t at home anyway for a cuppa, I suspect she doesn’t want visitors whilst the builders are about!

Only part of the queue

Blimey was that the queue for Boveney Lock ahead?! The full length of lock landing filled with boats. People were stood about, although not quite enough for it to be a queue. Two more things didn’t seem right. NB Zenith was one of the moored boats, the other thing was the narrowboat in front of them was just hanging up their washing on a whirligig. We pulled up closer and heard the news, the lock was broken!

That gate shouldn’t be at that angle!

The story goes that yesterday the Lock Keeper had reported one of the top gates was making an awful noise. By the end of the day the collar had broken and the gate sat at an odd angle. No-one would be going anywhere today other than in the opposite direction.

During the afternoon more boats arrived. The lock island already had boats moored on the other side and by the end of the day they were four abreast behind us.

It’s broken

The Lock Keepers came down to keep us informed. A crane was being brought in by road tomorrow morning, hopefully it was just a case of lifting the gate back into position and replacing the collar, which shouldn’t take too long. If they couldn’t mend it on Saturday it would be Monday. Fingers crossed for the morning.

The choice for what to have to eat this evening was somewhat taken out of my hands as a camembert cheese was starting to plot world domination from the fridge, it needed stopping.

This evenings mooring

PS Selby Swing Bridge is now open to boat traffic and through a Facebook fishing page on the Aire and Calder I have heard reports that the Eastern side of the cofferdam at the breach site has just about been removed. Fingers crossed for everyone still in Goole.

6 locks, 15.43 miles, 1 regatta, 2 self service locks, 0 Liz at home, 1 rock garden, M25, 10 portions stewed cabbage and gravy, 15 waiting below, 10 above, 1 part time boat cat, 1 smoked salmon and camembert quinoa crust quiche, 1 world saved by our tea.

3 thoughts on “Gravy And Stewed Cabbage. 6th August

    1. Pip Post author

      I think now it may have been a Magnolia Grandiflora. I’d discounted it as a Magnolia as the one at my Dad’s flowered in April/may.

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