Misty Morning. 6th October

Shiplake to Pangbourne

The stove isn’t being kept in overnight as yet so on a chilly morning it’s hard to crawl out from under the duvet, but we succeeded this morning. Breakfasted and on our way at 8am, today would be a busy day.

Such calmness after yesterday

As we pushed our mooring away the mist on the river rose and swirled around us. It reminded me of one of my first trips out in the theatre van in Scarborough. Heading to Bempton to find props for a show we drove through my first proper experience of sea fret. The mist drifting through the transit vans cab from one window to the other right in front of our noses. Today with the low sunlight catching it at the right angle it was magical.

Still misty water

Shiplake Lock was on self service so I did the honours. The lock was empty but the bottom gates didn’t want to open, it took forever for the lock to go through the sluice cycle before the gate button would work. The still water below the lock reflected trails in the sky. Oh what a beautiful morning. I just needed to find my gloves!

The lock island here has sheds with large tents. Earlier in the year these are all occupied, but now in October there were only a couple of tents erected, the rest removed and most probably stored til spring. We pulled in to top up on water. A Kris hire boat arrived and the couple on board had difficulty with their ropes as a gentle breeze caught them and pushed the stern out across the river, so we went to help, the chap on board saying he’d rather be on a narrowboat! It turned out that they used to own a shareboat with Carefree Cruising as did we. Their boat was an earlier one and the syndicate has just sold it, each of them getting a nice return.

Hold back!

At Sonning we had to put the brakes on as a cruiser was heading downstream under the bridge. It’s easier for us to stop as we were facing the current. We paused for a second boat to come through and then made our way up to the lock which was on blue boards, self service. However there were plenty of people around the lock and one came to open the gates, a large tug and skip boat came through leaving one chap on land to work the lock for us.

Hollyhocks replaced by courgettes?

The massive display of Hollyhocks we’d seen last year are now reduced to one rogue plant still with a couple of flowers showing. Get the Lock Keeper chatting about the hollyhocks and you’ll never stop him!

New moorings

Paul from Waterway Routes had asked us to check on reports he’d been having about new moorings at Sonning Lock. The reports had been correct a new length of good edge has been added to the nearest length of moorings, add to that nice new bollards. This does however mean that there are now signs saying to see the Lock Keeper as the moorings are chargeable.

No room for us today!

Our hopes of a mooring close to Tescos were dashed for the first time. In the past there has either been just one space left that we’ve shoehorned ourselves into or someone has been about to leave. Today we tried one space, but it was far too shallow and the stump of a tree overhung it. We regrouped, stocks onboard were low, but I was certain I’d be able to rustle up three meals, we carried onwards.

Cranes and boats everywhere

Next was diesel. Could we remember which of the boat yards was known for being the cheaper one, above or below Caversham Lock? I thought it was below so we pulled onto the service pontoon. A chap who was craning boats in and out shouted to help ourselves, ‘Okay, but how much is it?’ £1.39! Yes please the cheapest we’ve paid in months and on the Thames.

Once the tank was full we headed into the shop to pay. What a curious shop! Did we want to buy a hat? A ceramic bust of Churchill, some slippers, Javanese puppets, a tin train, a model ship with rigging, a clockwork rower or a Dalek? Eventually someone came to take our money, they were having a busy day moving boats.

Reading Town Hall

Caversham Lock had a keeper on duty, we asked her if we could stop at the end of the lock landing to head to the shops. Thankfully she was fine about it. We headed to Aldi who supplied us with much of what we wanted, but there were a few annoying gaps. Mick took the majority back to the boat whilst I tried M&S in the Station, then M&S in town, then Sainsburys finally had some cereal I could eat without added slugs or flies.

I love this house, ship weather vane and a bell in the tower

On we pressed, water diesel and food stocks replenished. Would we be able to make up for time we’d lost yesterday? We passed the wonderful house with the nautical theme.

£325,000 click on the photo for details

A summer house was being shown to prospective new owners with it’s grass and 70ft mooring. Nice.

Above Mapledurham we disposed of our rubbish, then continued on to try to find a mooring. The first place we were about to pull into we were warned was too shallow by a chap chopping wood. On to Pangbourne, we’ve never managed to find a space here, but today there was room along the high bank.

Sort the woofers out!

Tilly wasn’t overly keen due to lots of footfall and woofers, but when next door came back with his dog and started to sand things she decided she’d rather be inside. At least we’d got back on track today and achieved all the chores.

4 locks, 13.2 miles, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 3 bags rubbish gone, 88.02 litres diesel, 3 bags shopping, 4 shops, 0 room for us, 1 postbox, 1 Lara, 1 last Pangbourne space, 2 hours shore leave, 1 final goodnight to Janis x


2 thoughts on “Misty Morning. 6th October

  1. Dave (Scouts)

    So the summerhouse is non residential, else it would be a lot more expensive.
    Wonder though if the mooring could be residential so for under £400,000 you could have a mooring, summerhouse and live there.

    Does your diesel have red dye in it? If not at £1.39 i’d be tempted to borrow a boat, go and fill up and then decant into the car

    1. Pip Post author

      Yep red diesel on the river and canals.
      I can’t remember if the summerhouse has sewage to it, although a separating loo would be fine and you’d have your own land to use the compost on

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