Feet starting stomping past Oleanna as we were sitting down for breakfast, the local park run. People just kept coming and coming delaying Tillys shore leave, she wasn’t happy!
Mick popped back to the lock to chat to the Lock Keeper. With the recent rain fall we’d been wondering how the river would react, further north rivers have been in flood and we were wanting to leave the boat for a couple of days. He was fairly certain that nothing much would happen to the levels, but allowed us to stay moored above the lock where Oleanna was on posts rather than spikes. For £10 he gave us a mooring permit to cover us.
Being close to a water point and the sun having come back out the washing machine was put to use. The first load hung out on the whirligig and with the breeze it was dry by the end of the day. Another load filled the airer which was put in the cratch.
By mid morning the river was very busy. Boats were queuing to use the water point, others for the lock. At one point boats were backing into the offside vegetation and moving away with extra greenery. We were quite glad we’d turned up on a damp Friday lunchtime.
Mick headed off to be picked up by Enterprise to collect a hire car, so with him and Tilly out of the way I got on with some model making for Houdini. Yesterday I’d sent off my sketches to the director, but thought I’d be alright getting on with some pieces that were certainties before I heard back. About an hour after my scalpel had started to cut up bits of card I got an email through from Josh giving me the thumbs up, I can now crack on with the white card model.
By mid afternoon I’d reached a point where either I carried on for another five hours or stopped for the day. We needed a bit of shopping so we headed to Waitrose. The Lockie had said that we could leave the car near the lock for the night, but we decided to park it on the other side of the weir eliminating any possibility of it being locked in, we were needing to make an early start in the morning to head north.
This evening I’ve pulled out four rows of knitting, hoping I’ve all the stitches I need to re-knit what I’d got wrong. A quick count up of stitches before I start will be needed to see if I’ve picked every stitch back up. Fingers crossed.
There’s a bit more to this one than first meets the eye. How much?
0 locks, 0 miles, 137 pairs of running legs, £10 mooring, 2 loads washing, 4 boats treading water and collecting greenery, Fiat 500, 4 hours work, 1 cabinet, 7 hours shore leave, 4 rows gone, 307 stitches remaining, I hope!
Joa I think you need to leave Open Reach and start valuing properties. £5 k off today.
This one is wonderful. The Drawing/Dining Room are great with the huge wide fireplace which has windows either side. Then there is the reception hall, the staircase and galleried landing, well … … wow! Personally I’d also want the boat house too.
All the original features come with history. Built in 1898 for Frederick William Mortimer who was tailor to the Prince of Wales. It is said that the Prince visited the house on several times with his mistress Lillie Langtry. The house was split into it’s current form quite early on, this portion being the largest. The Prince of Wales must have had a lot of suits.
Awake long before the alarm was due to go off, we were up and on the move before 9am. A mile and a half ahead was Reading, the junction with the Kennet and Avon Canal and the Tescos mooring. We wanted to stop for some shopping so prepared to pull in.
The moorings outside Tesco were free to stop at three years ago, but since then we’ve heard all sorts. Limited mooring times, having to pay even for four hours and any part there of, the enforcement company no longer operating, who knows. We decided to checked our map. That’s funny, my phone said Tescos was a pay mooring, but the new tablet said it was free? Somehow we must have two versions of Waterway Routes on the go.
At first we decided to pull in just before the K&A junction, but there was a suitable sized gap up ahead outside Tescos, so we moved up to check it out.
Opposite the junction is this wooden boat that is gradually being reclaimed by nature. Some would think it an eyesore, but I found it fascinating. Next to it under cover was what looked like an artists studio with a couple of paintings on easels.
A bit of rope was needed to be able to tie up the bow to a missing ring. There were no obvious signs by the mooring about charges, so we chanced it. We didn’t want to be long so headed off, pausing at the archway from the towpath to read a sign high up with SO much writing on it. This suggested that we should pay £4 for 4 hours mooring, but was this the company no longer looking after the moorings? We didn’t want to be long anyway so decided to chance the £100 fine!
No first class stamps anywhere in Tescos, poor Josh will have to wait for his birthday cards. We swept through the store at breakneck speed picking up enough supplies to see us to the weekend. As we got back to Oleanna another boat was seeing if they would fit into one of the git gaps behind us. No chance. ‘Give us five minutes and you can have this spot’. They circled a couple of times whilst they waited for us to push off.
Onwards to Caversham Lock, all the time having the feeling we were being followed. The lady volunteer at the lock asked how long we were and asked us to use the end bollard in the lock, the one nearest the top gates, a cruiser was following in behind us. We pulled up all the way and did our ropes. The gates had recesses in them which may or may not trap our bow fender. As locks fill Oleanna tends to be first swept backwards and then forwards, I put an extra turn around the bollard just in case.
The lock started to fill. The lady checked I was alright, I was just so long as my fender was okay. With the extra turn on the bollard I couldn’t pull the rope in, but it also couldn’t slip to a longer length. Slowly we rose. Mick managed to pull us back from the top gates a touch and I was able to tighten the rope to keep us at a safer distance from the gate. The lady then opened up the paddles more. I thanked her for taking her time and checking we were okay. Quite often the Lockies press the button at one end of the lock to set things in motion, walk to the other end, press the button there to lift the sluices more and then walk off to do something completely different until the chamber is almost full.
Normally as we cruise we have an old tablet running, our trip computer which maps where we are. The battery on this is past it’s best so it will only run for a short while without being plugged in. This morning I had unknowingly set the timer on our cloaking device. We pootled along, making note that the diesel in Reading was currently cheaper below the lock than above. We overtook a rib with a great name and were overtaken by a trip boat and cruiser. All the time that feeling of being followed with us.
Our cloaking device had engaged when we were at Tescos, so that was where we were, except it wasn’t. From some three quarters of an hour behind us we got a message asking where we were. Now we actually knew where they were, three quarters of an hour behind, following us! The trip computer had the power turned back on, was rebooted, but didn’t have enough power to sort itself out, this had to wait for another lock.
After Mapledurham Lock I could see a field of Alpacas. Quite a few, then another field and another and another. We were alongside the biggest Alpaca farm in the country. Wish I could have clipped a bit off each colour as we went past.
We’d hoped to be able to moor here just before Pangbourne. The two boats in front of us found spaces, a wide beam that had been at Tescos had a space. Then sat right in the middle of a space made for two narrowboats was a boat that had come past us whilst we were shopping. Tied to a bollard at one end and a spike the other with two bollards at either end! Of course when they pulled in there may have been a cruiser moored at one end, but it certainly didn’t feel that way!
So we carried on, up Whitchurch Lock and started to look for a mooring, we were hungry by now. One space appeared, but Mick couldn’t get off the back. We continued, spaces showing themselves, except each one had a fisherman slap bang in the middle! After four such gaps we spotted an empty one, but would it be long enough for us? At around 59ft it was perfect.
Lunchtime and our tracking devise could be turned off, however we kept an eye on the boat following us getting closer and closer all the time. Just about three quarters of an hour after we’d moored up we could see a narrowboat heading upstream, side fenders being put down ready to breast up.
She called me back from what I was doing. This outside must be quite troublesome as another boat was needed to tie it up. I watched from the roof as this other boat caught us. It was all quite puzzling.
Paul and Christine on NB Waterway Routes are on the Thames checking map data at the moment. They have just finished filming on the Lee and Stort for a new DVD and had left Limehouse on Sunday and have gradually been gaining on us.
A stop for a cuppa and a catch up had been arranged and it was good that we’d reached a mooring so Tilly wouldn’t be sat inside longing to be out. Those trees at the Tesco outside had looked very good! She did show her face at the hatch to say hello to Paul,He looks after my Mrs Tilly stamps of approval. She Paul seemed nice too, I’ve not met her before. I was polite and took time out of being busy to say hello, then carried on with the important task of pouncing.
With Paul being on board we got an update to our cruising maps. Waterway Routes are updated every month with any changes that have happened on the network, we’d fallen a bit behind with our version, last updated in October! So it was high time we got up to date again.
Still with more map checking to do today before they could moor up they pushed off to make the most of the dry weather.
This afternoon Mick has updated all our phones and laptops to ensure we are all up to date with the maps and on the same version. I’ve been looking at Panto props lists and adding extra ideas that have come from John the Director one based on a Peter Gabriel video. Tilly, well she’s just been far too busy finding friends and murdering them.
2 bedroom boat house with mooring. How much?
3 locks, 1 not planned, 10.12 miles, 1 straight on, 0 boxes wine, 0 1st class stamps, 13th birthday about to go by, £4 or not, 1 cloaking device engaged, 1 Humber Keel, I sunset, 1 boat hot on our stern, 2 many fishermen, 1 updated map, 3 foam ducks, 1 extending cord, 1 vat of smash, 7 deadly sins, 2 tasty friends, 2 sleeves.
The first rower went past before 7am today, no need for an alarm clock. At least it must have been a scull as all we heard was the slide going back and forth and the oars sweeping through the water and not the instructions that are normally shouted out in pairs, fours or eights, some of these rowers do like the sound of their own voices.
Just after breakfast it started to rain, not inviting but our hope that it would clear up was granted and we set off in the dry. Today is the first day we’ve worn an extra layer for what feels like months, the temperature having dropped to a little below 20 C.
Some of the boat houses in Henley have accommodation above them and some are as pretty as the wooden boats that are moored up outside.
We’d just missed going up with two other narrowboats at Marsh Lock so waited our turn to rise to the next reach of river.
Numerous islands give you the choice of which way to go, so we decided to have a nosy at some of the houses. The bigger ones sit back with large lawns, these houses have views across the river. The smaller ones, more modern, face wooded islands which stop their views short.
It started to rain so waterproofs were donned as we wound round the big bend past Wargrave to Shiplake Lock. Back in 2016 as we arrived at this lock there was a queue, a big one that wasn’t moving, all it did was grown. Boats held back but in the end had to pull in down towards the weir as a hydraulic pipe had burst on one of the gates. After two hours wait the queue started to move again. Today we’d just missed the two narrowboats ahead again so waited our turn.
We pulled in at the services to empty the yellow water, top up the water which took all of five minutes. Between here and the lock were large tents the sort you see on American films, both ends open and a large fly sheet spanning right across the top. Each tent had wooden beds in them and then what looked like a garden shed. The island was purchased in 1891 by the City of London Corporation for camping and bathing. In 1914 the island was let to the Thames Conservancy and divided into 18 plots, the wooden huts were built by the tents for cooking. At the time no women were allowed to sleep on the island, it was men only. Sadly today it was raining too much to have my camera out as we went past.
The rain now stayed with us all the way to Sonning Lock where we rose up (a little too quickly for my liking) and then found a suitable place to moor. Tilly wouldn’t like it here in the slightest!
Now this more than made up for the lack of trees yesterday. 6 hours! I’d only just started to survey today’s outside when another stupid woofer came to spoil my concentration. This one even ran up to me! Woofing and woofing. I stood my ground, arched my back and my tail nearly took off, that stopped it in it’s tracks! Stupid rude woofer. Once it had shut up I could get back to what I’d only just started.
After a couple of hours I had to be reminded that I was meant to show my face every now and then, so from then on I bobbed back to say hello every now and then. One time She wasn’t too pleased to see me and my friend, even though She thought it might be a mushroom I had in my mouth. The hatch was closed in my face, so I just had to turn back round towards the trees with it. If She didn’t want to me to share it with her then that was her loss.
Now this one is in Marlow. How much?
3 locks, 7.34 miles, 2 jumpers, 2 waterproof coats, 0 blue t-shirt, 3 lock keepers, 1 a bit heavy on the buttons, 10 year old hollyhocks, 6 hours,1 mushroom, 2 work emails, 1 useful buoy.
The Palace isn’t just Tudor, it was a Palace for other Kings and Queens too. When William III took the throne in 1689 he asked Christopher Wren to design a new Baroque palace . Originally the Tudor Palace was to be demolished, but the cost was to be too much for the Royal purse. Instead a third of the palace was replaced.
A grand staircase with small steps and huge painting takes you up to William’s state apartments. This was and still is an impressive way to enter. As with Henry VIII, visitors were vetted before being let through to the following rooms. The guard chamber is almost encrusted with weaponry showing Williams hunger for war. These were not just for show, but could be used by the army should the need arise.
Next follows a succession of chambers each with a throne and canopy. The further on you got the less fancy the canopy, but the chair beneath got comfier. Large paintings cover the walls and other than the throne there is little furniture in the rooms, instead they would have been filled with beautifully dressed courtiers. By the time you reach the Privy Chamber the chair is fluffed up and plump the canopy has disappeared, a wonderful crystal chandelier hangs in the centre of the room which lines up wonderfully with the Privy Garden outside.
A huge bed sits in the Great Bedchamber, this is where the King was dressed in view public, an incredible painted ceiling above faces the on looker not the king. This was all for show, which the King would rather have lived without.
Below the grand rooms are the more private apartments where the King really lived his life. Here his collections of favourite paintings hang on ropes, many of them night time scenes now hard to distinguish their content. The Orangery houses the orange and bay trees during the winter months, gives a great view down the Privy Garden.
These are less flamboyant rooms, cosy and homely. In his private dining room he surrounded himself with full length portraits of the Hampton Court Beauties. The serving area could be closed off after the meal leaving the king and his guests in peace.
Queen Anne followed doing a touch of remodelling herself. The Royal Chapel which had stained glass and a fantastic blue and gold ceiling from Henry VIII’s time was altered. The window frames left in place, but the glass depicting Henry, Katherine and Wolsey are long since gone. Much of the lower walls are now wood, vertical parquet covers the wall behind the alter and huge wooden columns attempt to hold up the Tudor ceiling. Sadly you’re not allowed to take photos here, the ceiling is great.
Then came the Georgians. George I built a set of rooms for his son in which he and his wife entertained lavishly. A new kitchen was also built which you can now stay in as it is one of the Landmark Trust properties, The Georgian House.
When George II succeeded his father in 1727 the palace entered it’s last phase as a royal residence. The Queens staircase had a make over by the architect William Kent with Roman niches and trompe l’oeil panels below another great painted ceiling.
The Queens Guard Chamber has quite a fireplace. Two men, possibly Yeomen of the Guard have the huge mantle piece resting on their hats. Here as else where in the Palace visitors would be vetted before being let further into the rooms.
The Public Dining Room is decorated with more impressive painting and a large table shows off a display of napkin artistry.
Stood in the room are white costumes made from fibrous paper, these represent members of the court and have a small resume on their bodices or cuffs.
The period detail sewn into them is wonderful. There is a more sociable feel to these rooms than those of earlier periods. Courtiers would play games, gambling, loosing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
By 1737 George II no longer wanted to use Hampton Court as a royal palace so it was filled with grace and favour residents. The accommodation not the best, some residents didn’t have access to hot water. Many residents were widows who’s husbands had worked for the monarch. This continued until the 1960’s and there are still a couple of elderly residents still living in the Palace.
In 1838 Queen Victoria decided to let the public see inside the palace and opened up its doors, this proved to be very popular.
The Privy Garden needed a closer look, especially as there was a nice boat moored just outside the Tijou Screen (a shame they still haven’t finished painting it!). After a fire damaged the palace in 1986 the decision was taken to restore the privy garden back to how it had been in William III’s time. The trees were kept clipped at 7 to 8 ft high and a view of the Thames was possible. This in later years had been left to grow and had got quite out of hand, no longer could the palace be seen from the river.
During August there is plenty happening. The King Henry VIII’s sporting academy is taking place throughout the gardens. Real Tennis is played on the indoor court, there is fencing and sword fighting, wrestling, crossbow and falconry displays.
After quite a busy day we deserved some chilled medication and a good job we got it when we did as the stand closed soon afterwards. Mick had Chocolate Brownie and I had a very good Raspberry Sorbet, no gluten free cones today though!
Other areas of the grounds are open to the public. The Rose and Kitchen garden were worth a wander around, plenty growing in the vegetable beds, they even had some Royal Blackberries!
Even though we’d been a touch reluctant to buy two full price tickets to the palace we were amazed at what we got for our money. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, so much to see and do. We didn’t quite manage to see everything so we may come back another time to look at the galleries and go round the maze, however, we’ll try to time that with a two for one offer.
This one was built by it’s current owners and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Last night we spent some time deciding on what to do. We’d planned on using a two for one days out to go to the Palace today, making it far more acceptable to our pockets. But this is not available during the school holidays! We’d have to pay full price, even Mick wouldn’t get Old Git’s Rate.
In the end reason saw through our Yorkshire pockets and we purchased tickets on line, which saved us something. Paying more than £20 each we had to make the most of the day so planned on being at the gates as they opened for the day. This of course didn’t quite happen as we kept forgetting things like a coat should it rain again and a water bottle.
Our mooring and advance tickets meant we could gain entrance through a side gate and head straight to the main doors where our tickets were scanned and we were pointed in the right direction for an audio guide. These are well worth getting, plenty of interesting information as you walk round. With maps and guide where should we start? Henry VIII ‘s kitchens.
The courtyards have atmospheric noises, reminiscent of those at Bletchely Park and footage of Tudor gents plays over bench backs, discussing purchases for the kitchens. The kitchens here didn’t only cater for Henry, his court and guests, but on a daily basis there were 400 people to cater for. Henry not only wanted the best of English, roast beef was always on the menu, but also spices from far afield. The staff would have one meal and the Royals would have another of two courses, but this had many different plates.
The kitchens are huge with high ceilings, at least six fires were used for cooking. Chopping boards line one bench, if you put your hands on the board hands and knives are projected chopping and grinding ingredients.
One fire was lit today with a chap wearing heavy woolen clothing turning a spit. Here two large joints, by modern standards, of beef were roasting. The kitchen each year would use 1.3 million logs to cook the palaces food. The logs piled up were each bigger than our stove on Oleanna.
Rooms of pewter and linen headed off to the sides of the serving corridor and then a vaulted wine cellar big enough to house several families. The Tudors liked their wine and beer, but they still drank water, it’s not mentioned as much in records, because once the lead pipes were in the water was free. The water for the Palace came from a spring three miles away.
We refrained from buying anything from the Kitchen shop and headed on to Henry VIII’s Apartments.
Walking into the Great Hall you could hear everyone’s gasps of awe at the sight. Such a wonderful ceiling, which now is tame in colour to what it would have been. Large stained glass windows, wooden carved deer heads and tapestries measuring 5m by 8m, my photos don’t do it justice.
Tables are laid up with cloths for you to sit at, it was good manners to undo ones’ belt as you sat down rather than when it became necessary during a meal. Here banquets would be held with all the trimmings for such a fine room, but on normal days this was actually the staff canteen and Henry was more likely to eat in his private rooms.
The great Watching Chamber follows with it’s wonderful gilt ceiling. Here Yeomen of the Guard would stand watch controlling access to the state rooms, only high ranking visitors were permitted beyond this room. Through the next few rooms the visitors were filtered, only those of very high rank would make it to the final room and meet the King.
Cardinal Wolsey first acquired Hampton Court in 1514 and transformed it from a manor house into a Palace for Henry. He collected tapestries and treasures for the palace, but lost them all to the King when in 1529 he fell from power. The King loved to show off and Hampton Court was just the place to do that.
The Young Henry VIII’s story is just that, the story of his earlier years as King. Rooms are laid out with large backed oak chairs telling his story. He was the first king in 100 years to inherit the throne peacefully from his father. Once king he soon married Katherine of Aragon, she had been briefly married to his brother before he died. Katherine produced children, three boys all of whom died soon after birth or were still born, only Princess Mary survived past the age of seven weeks. Was the Kings marriage a cursed one, him having married his brothers wife?
Anne Boleyn came on the scene, the King fell in love and secretly married her in 1532, still married to Katherine whom he managed to divorce a year later. This is where the saying Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived started from. As a child I never learnt this, but Mick did. However he did today add that the one who survived Henry, she’s now dead!
Still having our tickets meant that we didn’t have to folk out £20 plus for lunch and could return home instead. We handed back our audio tour and had a comfortable sit down back at Oleanna.
5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms with river moorings.
0 locks, 0 miles, 2 cheap internet tickets, 2 4 1 not available in school holidays, 2 days mooring booked, 2 audio tours, 400 mouths to feed, 6 fires, 1.3 million logs, 6 wives, too many wonderful chimneys to count.
Godalming Museum is small but crammed full of information. Quite often such places are all about face, information here and there all jumbled up. Others consist of someones collection of bits and bobs and not much else, these range from mildly interesting to far far too much eagerly collected information that over powers you and to appreciate them fully you’d need a year or two of concerted effort. Godalming Museum is very well thought out, packed with information should you choose to look it up.
There is a room dedicated to two locals, Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. Lutyens was a famous architect who adapted traditional architectural styles to the needs of his times, designing numerous country houses in the Arts and Crafts style, the Cenotaph in London and much of New Dehli, India.
He was commissioned by Gertrude Jekyll to design Munstead Wood, a house for her and this was a start of their professional partnership. Gertrude would design the gardens that went long with Edwin’s houses, quite a package, if you could afford them.
The room is filled with sketches, cartoons and a scale model of what would have been a wonderful statue of Gertrude had it been made.
Upstairs are rooms about the history of Godalming. Shallow places on the River Wey encouraged the Saxons to settle in the area. The river also became a natural barrier for King Alfred holding back the Vikings and in WW2 pill boxes were built along it’s length. Mills played a large part in Godalmings history, with corn, fulling, paper, gunpowder mills and tanneries. In 1881 the River Wey powered the worlds first public electricity supply, but sadly due to flooding and technical difficulties the town returned to gas lighting three years later.
From the 17th Century Godalming became the centre of the framework knitting industry. Framework knitters worked long hours producing stockings in wool, silk and by the 1760’s cotton. Several framework machines are on display far more complicated than my knitting machine back in Scarborough. How I would love a sock knitting machine, giant french knitting for grown ups!
A wall of magnetised photographs of local people ‘The Peoples Gallery’, all collated as Artists, Heroes, Writers, Booksellers etc caught our eye. Just browsing through the photos you want to know why they were important. A computer and large lever arch files hold a lot of information about everyone. From Jack Philips the junior wireless operator on the Titanic, who learnt his skills at Godalming Post Office. To Galton and Simpson who wrote Hancocks Half Hour and Steptoe and Son. To Chennell and Chalcraft who were hung on 14th August 1818, on the Lammas Lands for murder and parricide. To Mary Tofts who gave birth to rabbits!
Mick managed to find details of Charterhouse School, where his Great Uncle Norman taught mathematics from 1909 to 1945. Sadly he wasn’t famous enough to manage to get on the People’s Gallery.
At 15:58 we stopped what we were doing and waited and watched as the clock mechanism from the old Town Hall wound itself up to chime 4 pm. Chains, whirling things and of course a bell sounded the hour.
A large map adorned a wall of one of the archive rooms. This showed the layout of the town with illustrations of the buildings to be found there. On leaving the museum we decided to have a look at a couple of the streets that had looked interesting, so we walked down Mill Lane towards the station.
Pretty house after pretty house. The roses on the house at the end of Mint Street such a picture.
Further down one skewed property made me want to get a sketch book out to record it’s uniqueness, my photograph doesn’t do it justice, the lense removing the gingerbread quality it had.
A semi, it possibly floods every now and then.
An old mill sits by a mill stream, maybe this was where electricity was generated. The station sits proudly on the other side of the narrow valley, a KX telephone box from the 80’s spoiling the view along with modern ticket machines outside.
Plenty more properties delighted our eyes as we made our way back into the main shopping area. A sweet shop with chilled medication naturally drew us inside. Over the last few hot days we have had a distinct lack of chilled medication, so it was time to make up for it. Both opting for Salted Caramel cones, mine a gluten free one, the first I’ve tried. Despite the usual shrinking factor that tends to come with the lack of gluten and an extra 50p (!) it was just as crispy and tasty as a standard waffle cone.
0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trips into town, 2 hours at the museum, 8p short! 2 many knitting needles to count, 1 caseless clock, 15th century buildings, 2 many famous people, 1 very pretty town, 1 museum well worth a visit, 3rd shore leave in one day, 1 packet boat back on it’s mooring, 1 pram cover re-erected.