Family. Tree. 18th June

Mychett Visitor Centre

A slow start to the day. Tilly was given the rules but decided she’d rather not have any shore leave. The geese can have this outside!

What to do with ourselves? A look in guide books didn’t really bring up anything that was of interest nearby. Yes there are several museums, but they are all military and that didn’t really appeal to us. But one thing jumped out on Google maps which wasn’t too far away. Just what was Melissa’s tree?

To the east of the visitors centre is a large wooded area which has ‘Managed Access’ meaning the MOD use it for training at times and right in the middle of it was a pin for Melissa’s Tree.

Anyone lost a shoe?

At the far end of the car park there is a gate in a fence, this was open so we assumed we’d be safe going for a walk today. Thick with trees and bracken it felt like we were about to have to run for our lives ducking and diving through the friendly cover to avoid the enemy fire, hoping to cross a border in a WW2 film or The Handmaids Tale. However well trodden paths zigzag all around the woodland, but how would you know where you were?

A unique tree, if we could find it again!

A Snowman nailed to a tree would be a land mark, not ever tree would have one surely!

The fleeting glance of dogs running around trailing their ears behind them. The odd runner bouncing above the bracken. Trees. More trees. Do we go this way or that? We had google and OS maps open on our phones, should we take that path or this? Eventually the tree level dropped and we were in what might be called a clearing, although younger trees were busy growing around us, a little like a Christmas tree farm.

I think that could be it

Up ahead it was obvious which was Melissa’s tree, soaring high above the younger trees, it stood out from the crowd. Pinned to the trunk a brass plaque, some fresh flowers and a photo of Melissa. Melissa Sardina passed away in February this year. She was a graphic designer but is known locally for having fostered many dogs before they moved onto their forever homes, here is where she walked her dogs.

What a lovely memorial

Should we head to see what we could see at the locks? Too far to walk today. Instead we walked back a different route, well it could have been the same, we’d not really be able to tell to be honest. One chap walked past with his two dogs, now where am I? I know! Several dog walkers with five dogs each, some on leads others allowed to roam freely.

A large track with signs warning not to pick up anything military, a wise suggestion. We gradually made it back to the gate in the fence and the visitors centre.

We checked in at the office, was there any word as yet from the engineer? He’d been but they had no news for us yet. They’d be in touch when they heard what he had to say.

27 the troublesome lock

The back door was left open for Tilly, but she only occasionally popped her head out the back to check, Still rubbish! An afternoon of pottering and knitting. I selected yarn for pair 25 and cast on the toe. The sewing remaining to be done on pair 24 will be done in spits and spurts over the coming days.

Late afternoon Mick popped into the office to see what news there was, they were just ringing round. Today one of the boats waiting by the lock had been used as a trial boat going through the lock. It was successful, but water levels needed to be restored which would take a while. So on Friday four boats would be heading down through the lock. No-one will be allowed onboard whilst descending the lock for safety reasons, we’ve had this before at Marple, just in case the lock gate should give way. However Tilly will be allowed to stay on board.


Early evening we had our own visitor, Sam my cousin once removed. We’d not managed to meet up whilst on the Thames near Windsor, but we were still close enough. It was nice to show Sam round Oleanna and for her to meet Tilly, she was allowed to have a head rub, more than I normally allow a stranger. But she is family.


Time to find some food. We’d shortlisted a few places nearby, but having a car was handy to go a little bit further. The Kingfisher on the Quay which overlooks a fresh water lake quite close to the A331. Quirkily decorated and I suspect quite cosy in the winter with big log fires the place was heaving. Luckily there was a table by a window, although the view was masked by parasols on the terrace.

The Kingfisher

A good gluten free menu for Sam and myself, all three of us opted for a Wagyu Burger. The waitress seemed to be new, not knowing about their hand pulled beers, so we all opted for glasses of wine. The conversation didn’t stop flowing and we could have carried on for a lot longer, but the pub was wanting to close up, the kitchen had closed for puddings already!

Sam, Mick, Pip

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 woodland walk, 0 shots fired, 1 memorial tree, 1 rum tree, 1 snowman, 4 boats waiting, 2 extra days, 3 lock flights booked, 1 cousin once removed, 1 guided tour, 1 head nudge, 3 burgers, 3 glasses of wine, 3 canoe urinals, 5 water ski loos, 1 very pleasant evening, thank you Sam for visiting us.