Closing Up. 30th May

Wallingford to above Sonning Lock

A calmer nights sleep last night, however the refurbishment works happening over at The Boat House kicked off at 7:45am. A couple of boats had already moved on, it used to be that the lady from the Council would come round about 8am to collect mooring fees, wonder how long it will be before people sus out which days District Enforcement come round?

Tom keeps making Oleanna growl!

Just as we were untying a chap from the cruiser in front of us came out. Yesterday evening I’d noticed that its stern was loose. Mick had gone out to check on it, the cleat the stern line was attached to had detached itself from the boat. Some creative mooring was needed involving the ladder to bring the boat back in line with the bank. I mentioned this to the chap who asked how loose the cleat had been, he then worked that out for himself as by now I’d untied and the bow of Oleanna was wanting to follow the current downstream, I hopped on board very quickly as the river turned Oleanna round for us.

Umbrella no longer required at Cleeve Lock

We zoomed along the river, sunshine, moody skies, sun again! First lock of the day, Cleeve Lock. A boat was just leaving another waiting below, a day boat from somewhere. They zig zagged into the lock. I checked to see if anyone wanted to press the buttons, they felt they should stay on board, I suggested they pass a rope around a bollard so they didn’t biff about the lock as it filled.

Approaching Goring Lock

A surprise to find a Lock Keeper at Goring Lock, first one since Osney Lock. We penned down and passed the almost empty moorings where Mick once spent some time waiting for the river to come out of flood with Carol and George from WB Still Rockin.

Beale Park on the right

More zoomy pootles passing Beale Park another stretch of river that has lost signs to do with mooring. Have they been taken down by landowners or by boaters wanting to overstay for free? A pause here would have been nice, but we have places we need to be so kept moving.

Click the photo for a nosy

Then approaching Pangbourne the Seven Deadly Sins on Shooters Hill came into view. I tried, I really did try not to take photos but really couldn’t help myself. I think my favourite is the first one heading downstream as it has a balcony tower looking upstream. The next to last one however warranted a photo as it was for sale!

Bye then !

Round now to pull in along the top of the weir for Whitchurch Lock. In the lock a widebeam. They worked their way down, opened the gates and then climbed back on board leaving the gates wide open and no boat approaching from below. Oh well I was closing gates for a narrowboat on the Oxford Canal the other day I might as well do it for these guys too!

He keeps stopping and starting. What’s a cat to think?

A couple more miles downstream to Mapledurham, here we paused to dispose of rubbish and see if the widebeam would close the gates behind them. No! On some rivers it’s acceptable to leave the gates open no matter which way you are going, but the instructions on the Thames locks ask you to close them and it isn’t as if it’s too taxing to hold a button and be picked up by your boat.

Left or right?

Down towards Caversham lunch on the move. Our plan had us stopping here for the day so we decided to go round the back of the island to see what the park moorings were like. One space available, but for obvious reasons as the bank at one end was no more than a paddling pool for the geese. As we’d had lunch we carried on descending Caversham Lock which was manned, not a surprise as this is one of the two locks after turning off the Kennet and Avon Canal to buy a licence.

A slightly more modest house

Our luck was in, there was space on the Tesco mooring. This used to be crammed with boats, then enforcement was brought in and space was available, then the enforcement signs disappeared and the moorings filled up quickly. Today I think we were just lucky in finding a space as most of the boats there seem to have moved in. Mick popped to Tesco for some cat litter, then we decided to push on that bit further, the atmosphere around the moorings not a comfortable one.

At one with it’s habitat

On past the end of the K & A and down to Sonning. Here new bollards have been added extending the moorings, we pulled in on the furthest from the lock. The doors were opened and Tilly was given a couple of hours shore leave. At Pawing last! Treeeeessss!!!! She didn’t half shout about it. Luckily she was too busy to notice me walk down to the lock to enquire about moorings and fees. First night free, the next two £6.50 each then we’d have to move on.

A walk around Sonning might have been nice, but the weather kept switching between sunshine and torrential rain, so instead I got on with catching up with the blog now we had internet again.

5 locks, 19.3 miles, 1 straight on, 10 litres cat litter, 1 clean pooh box, 1 button averse widebeam, 2 Lock keepers, 7 deadly,1 night free, 1 altered schedule, 1 booking confirmed.

PS. Thank you Julie for your comment about the department store in Wallingford. The building used to house Pettits, which was established in 1856. The big store was split up into several smaller shops housing different departments from 2015 onwards. For more history about the company which includes the Rowse family of honey fame follow the Link

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