Never disappointed. 7th October

Pangbourne Meadow to Lake Field, Day’s Lock

A cuppa in bed before breakfast, followed by a zoom meeting with Amy and Penny from Dark Horse Theatre Company. They have been successful in being awarded funding to take #unit21, the show I worked on last February, on tour next year. Lots to talk about and things to put into motion. There will be two new cast members, so some costume bits to do. New props for Act 2 and an upgrade to the set if we can afford neon lights. All very exciting.


Not a sight you expect to see on the Thames, a large boat sitting in the middle of the river. I wondered why they’d dropped anchor there, then realised their anchor had not been dropped and was still nestled on the bow. Wild swimmers passed as we approached saying that the boat was grounded, inside silhouettes of passengers could be seen one holding binoculars. Mick considered asking if we could help, but such a big boat and such a small narrowboat!

Whitchurch Lock

At  Whitchurch Lock the Lockie was surprised that the Captain had taken such a line on the river, but The Amazon Queen had been stuck since last night and they were trying to get hold of a tug to get them afloat again. I had a look at their itinerary, last night they should have been at Mapledurham, this morning a hearty breakfast before setting sail to Sonning to enjoy dinner and a show at The Mill, we doubt they’d make it in time now!

Past Shooters Hill and the Seven Deadly Sins. Shooters Hill is supposed to have been named in the C17th after an artillery station was positioned there in the Civil War to guard the Thames crossing, cannon balls were dug up when the Great Western Railway was being built.

It feels like some serious pruning has taken place in front of the Sins as I’m sure one of them used to hide away. They still are wonderful houses, we tried to decide which one we liked the best, maybe the last one.

Goring Weir

The railway moves away for a while as the river passes through Beale Park, only one boat on the moorings there today, a chap just checking the signs £10 for 24hrs, maximum 48hrs pay at the café, same as last year.

Goring Lock

The white board at Goring Lock changed to Blue as we approached, the Lock Keeper was heading off to check out reports of a tree down over the towpath, he’d started to empty the lock for us. Boat hook at hand and bow rope on the roof are now the standard set up on the Thames.

A short distance on was Cleeve Lock also full. Despite its shallow rise the water comes in with quite a force. I was glad that the control panels were not on the other side as  I’d have been bombarded with acorns dropping in the wind which was increasing in strength. Last year we’d watched as people got showered by the new tap at the water point. This year someone has provided a suitable length of hose attached to the tap to avoid such occurrences.

If only the staircase was a helter skelter

Our schedule had us stopping in the next reach of the river. We had a choice, moor below Cleeve Lock, not enough cruising hours. Carry on and try opposite Sheridan Marine, last year the mooring was very awkward with a high uneven bank. Continue to Wallingford and see if there was space for us, or get a day ahead of ourselves and reach Day’s Lock and one of our favourite moorings on the Thames.

Serious stuff

Lunch was had on the move, we slowed down for a big pontoon to be moved and have it’s supports dropped to the river bed to steady it ready for more pile driving on a new stretch of bank.

Hello Fran

Wallingford Bridge, not much spare room for us, maybe one mooring but we wondered if that space was reserved for a trip boat, maybe the African Queen, well she’d not be needing it today! As we passed the last couple of boats we spotted NB Atropos whom we’d spent the really hot days with on the Great Ouse. We beeped the horn and called out to say hello, but Fran was busy exploring the Castle. Maybe next year our paths will cross again.

Benson Lock, quite deep and the start of Lavender at the locks was on self service. Above is one of the bases for the big Le Boat Hire boats. Today they were four deep, not a spare space on the moorings. A couple of boats were being loaded with bags and shopping, one boat just returning from having a test drive with this weeks holiday makers.

Whittham Clumps comes into view, a hill with a clump of trees on the top, one day we’ll take a walk up there, but today we just wanted to moor up before it started to rain. The Lock Keeper saw us up through Day’s Lock, then it was time to find a mooring.

New looking signs and music at the farm on Sundays

New signs along the bank, both here and below the lock there is now a mooring charge. Below the Lock (Thames Path £7) with a very high bank and plenty of friendly cover an awkward mooring. Close to the Lock (Day’s Lock £10) some parts a touch too shallow for us, but a reasonable step off your narrowboat and one or two straight lengths. Then where we were heading (Lake Field £7) in between the trees maybe a touch uneven bank, but a feeling like you are the only one moored on the field. Basically today we would be the only boat here.

Tilly and I had a walk up and down just before the heavens opened. Would this be our first time here without a good sunset? The rain didn’t deter Tilly and she looked round for friends. I put a bolognaise sauce on to cook and Mick waited for the rain to stop so that he could chop up some kindling and light the fire.


Then as the sun was dipping down towards the horizon the sky cleared. To the west we had a sunset, to the east a rainbow. Day’s Lock never disappoints!


5 locks, 15.7 miles, 1 grounded boat, 1 Tilly fan, 7 sins, 2 days into 1, 1 blustery day, 2 hire boats, 1 short hose,1 favourite mooring, 1 downpour, at least 1 friend, 1 bag kindling, £7, 1 sunset plus rainbow.