Category Archives: History

Feed My Sheep And Filling The Bottom Drawer. 18th 19th August

Abingdon to Elvington to York to Thixendale to Abingdon

With a busy weekend ahead of us we were up early. The sound of Didcot Power Station demolition stopped us all in our tracks, the four explosions very audible at our mooring, like thunder almost overhead. As I finished off my breakfast I found footage of the towers collapsing on the internet. No sign of the wayward explosive case that flew into power cables causing an explosion, fire and some minor injuries.

The Norf, Drax Power Station

The magic food bowl was stocked up with two meals for Tilly and she was left in charge of Oleanna. Our hire car a Fiat 500 which did the job to get us up to Yorkshire and back, just a shame it wasn’t that bit bigger which might have enabled us to purchase a long plank.

Holy Trinity, Elvington

Travelling early on a Sunday morning meant there were few hold ups on the motorways and we made Elvington, just outside York, in good time.

On the pulpit

A little spruce up and a snack before we joined the Harford family at the church to celebrate the christening of Austin and George, two grandsons of Mick’s best friend. Polly (mum of the two boys) lived with us after her mother passed away fifteen years ago whilst she finished her A levels in Scarborough.

George, Polly, Austin and Simon

It was lovely to see the family again and meet George who has just recently started to walk. After they had their hair wetted by the vicar we all walked down the hill to the village hall for drinks sandwiches and cake.

Cake
The Village Hall

Elvington played quite a part in my youth this is where my bestestest friend Emma lived, her Mum being my God Mum. I sometimes would stay with them whilst Mum and Dad were away, going to the village school and certainly partaking in parties in the village hall. This has grown since I was a child and today there was no Jim Hammond playing his guitar and singing songs in the main room.

A Rhino!!

With all the celebrations over we walked up to the River Derwent to have a look at Sutton Lock. The back of Elvington Hall looked how I remembered it, but with a new addition in the garden.

Then we stopped and had to look up. The sound of an old plane. A Spitfire, had this been arranged for Austin and George, their Dad is a fighter pilot in the RAF! We suspect it was more likely to do with something at Elvington airfield, the pilot came round a few times before heading off into the clouds.

Guillotine at one end
Knackered wooden gates the other

Sutton Lock has been disused for many years, the last boat to go through it was actually NB Waterway Routes. The top gate is a guillotine the bottom gates conventional wood. These sit open, the top gate well and truly shut.

Sheep

On the off side the custodian of the lock came to keep an eye on us, a very vocal sheep, he was doing a good job of keeping the grass down on that side of the lock, the towpath side very over grown.

Proms on the Green, in front of Granny Snowden’s cottage

We paused on our way back to the car to listen to a brass band performing on the village green, right outside Emma’s Granny’s cottage.

St William’s College and the Minster

Staying at the Travel Lodge on Layerthorpe had been a good plan, not too far to walk into York for some food at Wagamamas and say hello to the Minster. Then we walked a similar distance back out of town to see an old York friend of mine Nick and his parents. Over the last few years Nick has spent much of his time in China, teaching at a University along with creating ceramic artworks. For about three years we’ve not managed to coincide with his visits home so it was very good to have a catch up and hear of his plans, moving back to Europe. He still rents a flat in Amsterdam where most of his work is exhibited, how Brexit will affect his plans he has no idea. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of him now.

A Minster view, just

Monday morning and the hunt for breakfast started, Travel Lodge didn’t have any toast that I could eat and a cooked breakfast simply has to have some form of bread to catch your egg yolk. So we checked out and headed to Morrisons to see if they could do any better and pay half the price.

Morrisons breakfast

‘Sorry’, no gluten free bread available in the cafe. As I’m not going to suffer if the same toaster is used to toast some bread for me we asked if we could provide our own bread for them to toast. Bring your own bread. This was fine as long as I realised that the kitchen wasn’t a GF zone. Marvellous, I swapped my sausages for extra bacon as they were guaranteed to be pink sausages.

Looking back over the Vale of York from the Wolds

After breakfast it was time to wave goodbye to York. Hopefully we’ll manage to come by boat next summer. Instead of heading southwards we headed towards the east and the Wolds, to Thixendale. Here is where Jennie and Adam live high up on the hills on their farm. I used to work with Jennie at the SJT but she left about ten years ago to work for the family business, Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil. Now there is also the Charlie and Ivys brand.

Kitchen envy

It’s been about three years since we’ve managed to get up to the farm to see them, my how things have changed up there. A wonderful new kitchen which is a barn conversion linking the oil business offices to the farm house. Outside the new windows works were on going with a toilet block and picnic area that will cater for when they do educational visits from schools to the farm, also useful when they have parties. A new patio would extend outside the kitchen windows.

Look, here comes the patio

Almost as soon as Jennie mentioned the patio Adam appeared with the chaps who work on the farm, laying sheets of wood over the grass. Next came a tractor with a big bucket on the front, they had come to lay the concrete for the patio! They might as well keep busy whilst waiting for the crops to be dry enough to harvest.

It was great to see them all and catch up on our respective news. If you should want a lovely outfit making for you Jennie is your woman, she’s starting to sew again amongst all the other things she does around the farm, oil business and holding the family together.

Fresh supplies

We topped up on oil and a few other bits, including a Raspberry and Beetroot dressing I fancied trying. Time to head south and leave Yorkshire behind. As we pulled out from the farm Gin the sheep dog rounded us up until we headed down the drive.

The trip back was far longer, several slowing to stand still moments, but we got back in the end. Much later than originally planned, Mick had a chat to the Lockie who said as it was nearly 6pm he’d let us stay for another night, £5 due on the morning.

A 5 litre bottle containing oil again, no longer just air

Tilly was happy to see us, her magic food bowl spotless. An hour of shore leave was extended by her into two. Our bottom drawer ( designed to hold 5L bottles of oil) is now restocked and tomorrow we’ll head onwards upstream.


Property Game

2 Bedroom Dutch Barge which could come with a mooring.

0 locks, 1 out of action, 0 miles, 4 explosions, 400 milesish by road, 2 boys with wet hair, 1 village, 1 spitfire, 1 sheep, 6 (?) boats stuck forever, 1 rhino, 1 giraffe, 1 manager only soy sauce bottle, 1 old friend, 1 bottle of wine, 1 Minster view, 2 BYO slices of bread to toast, 2 breakfasts, 1 farm, 2 sheep dogs, 5l oil, 1 lovely new kitchen, 1 bottle of dipper, 1 jar mayonnaise, 1 bottle dressing, 1 bottom drawer full again, 60th birthday party missed, Happy not quite yet Birthday Christine, hope you had a lovely day x

Yesterdays Answer

£1,250,000

Sorry Joa, I did say there was more to it, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 3 reception rooms in Reading

https://www.walmsley.co.uk/property-details/?id=9447

A Good Drying Day. 17th August

Abingdon Lock

Park run

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.

A perfect drying day

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.

Boats queuing up for the lock

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.

Contemplative Tilly

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.

First bits of 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.

The local crocodile

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.


Property Game

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!

Yesterdays Answer

£1,595,000

https://www.struttandparker.com/properties/shillingford-court

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.

Beating The Weather. 16th August

Day’s Lock to above Abingdon Lock

With wind and rain due early afternoon we wanted to be off to beat it, hoping to reach Abingdon before we got too wet. Within about ten minutes we were putting our waterproofs on, as it had started to rain, trousers were deemed necessary. The weather had arrived three hours early!

Didcot

As we cruised Didcot Power Station got closer. One boat had already staked a claim on a mooring with a pretty good view of the three cooling towers. Wonder if they will sit on their roof with mugs of coffee early Sunday morning?

Wittenham Clumps

Looking back behind us Wittenham Clumps showed itself for the first time, this is where it is suggested to view the demolition from. From this angle it looked like a very good vantage point.

Mick at the helm

Gradually the weather got wetter and so did we, not soaking but just damp. Luckily the three locks we rose up today were all manned although one wasn’t advertising the fact. Coming into Abingdon we turned the big right bend at Jubilee Junction. In 2016 as we approached the bend rowing boats zoomed past heading straight towards the weir, we hoped their brakes were good.

That’s more like it

The first stretch of housing is a bit dull, nothing to write home about, some new properties are going up behind the others and they didn’t look anything special either. But then the view of Abingdon that you’d expect arrives.

We kept a look out for suitable moorings, the first stretch with a highish wall where we’d need fat fenders to keep the cabin side from getting marked. Then alongside Rye Farm Meadow there was plenty of space where the bank is lower. All spaces noted, but we were in need of water which was above the lock.

The nice Lockie here took the bow rope and passed it round a bollard then the stern rope, chatty as he was three years ago. Up we rose, the moorings above the lock looking full with boats breasted up, but the water point was free. A refill of the tank, disposal of rubbish and a clean out of Tilly’s pooh box. Mick had walked along the moorings and seen that there was actually space for two more boats at the far end, so we made use of one then closed up the cratch and pram cover as the rain got going.

Not far to the end now

After lunch we walked across the weir and park for a recky. Then into the town to finally post my nephews birthday card, he turned 13 today, luckily they are away so his card should be waiting when they get home.

Flowers to brighten up the damp day

As it was so damp we did what we needed to and then returned to the boat to dry off. I spent the afternoon sending emails, Tilly explored the outside and Mick lit the stove. This made for a cosy evening in front of the TV where I managed to mess up four rows of knitting! I forgot to decrease, then tried to rectify it only making a bigger mess. Nothing for it but to pull out the last four rows and hope the three stitches I’d omitted to reduce were in them. This is going to take some time and patience!

At least someone was smiling

Property Game

Only part of this wonderful building is for sale. 6 bedrooms, mooring and a workshop. How much?

3 locks, 8.1 miles, 3 cooling towers, 1 wet day, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 0 rubbish, 70p for a 1st class stamp! 1 suitable postcode, 2 branches, 2 emails, 1 feline neighbour, 10 ft too short for a second narrowboat, 1 stove lit, 4 rows, 37 decreased stitches to pull out!

Yesterdays Answer

£1,150,000

https://www.struttandparker.com/properties/shooters-hill-pangbourne-reading-rg8

One of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ on Shooters Hill in Pangbourne. Built in 1896 by the shop magnate D.H. Evans. Were they built to house his mistresses or to house seven lady friends of the Prince of Wales?

A Jumper Day. 12th August

Henley to above Sonning Lock

Henley

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.

I’d like to sit on that balcony

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.

Slowly reaching the lock

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.

Twisty chimneys

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.

Test driving the new waterproofs

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.

No big queue today

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.

One legged goose

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.

A wooden chair

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.


Property Game

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.

Yesterdays Answer

£3,500,000 A Tudor Style Country residence with 50ft of water frontage. It has a garden room, indoor swimming pool and a snooker room with a baize coloured carpet!

Joa, I think the slipway along with the baize carpet added another million.

Next Time! 9th August

Windsor Racecourse Marina to the second big expensive house in Marlow

Last nights mooring

Approaching Bray Lock this morning the gates were open so we headed straight in. The jolly Lockies asked how long we were and quickly decided to close the gates behind us, we were being followed by a trip boat. I suspect they’d been expecting the larger boat and we’d got in between. We were soon up and they could drop the lock.

Bray Studios being demolished in parts

Last night we watched an episode of Tony Robinson on his walk along the Thames. He covered the stretch we are currently on and went to look at a Slipper Launch being worked on at Peter Freebody and Co.

Rolf’s house
Just look at those lines

Today we were going to see a lot of these beautifully crafted boats. They have such wonderful lines and the finish on their woodwork is more than mirror like. No wonder they take two years to make and cost around about £180,000. The bigger houses on the way into Maidenhead all seemed to have one moored up outside, including outside Rolf Harris’s house.

Maidenhead Railway Bridge

Under Maidenhead Railway Bridge, designed by Brunel with low rise arches that caused a stir at the time of it’s construction. However it’s stability is still good 180 years later.

Maidenhead Bridge

As we approached Boulter’s Lock there was another narrowboat ahead of us. We both waited for the gates to open and then we followed them in. The lock keeper enquired about NB Martha Gunn’s licence, the lady at the bow not knowing what sort it was. The licence wasn’t on show to the Lockie, but on the port side I could just make out the bottom of the V19 that had been trapped in a hopper window and then the rest of it had fallen backwards out of view.

Going round the islands towards Cliveden

After Maidenhead the river runs alongside a steep cliff, covered in trees. Soon we could see Cliveden House high up above. If the weather forecast wasn’t for strong winds tomorrow we’d have moored up and gone for a walk around the National Trust grounds. Over twenty years ago I spent a month painting new rooms and bathrooms in the stable block of this very posh hotel. This would be a perfect place for Tilly, we might never see her again. We possibly would have fitted on one of the islands in the middle of the Thames, perfect for keeping Tilly close. But the last place we want to be with 50mph gusts is around so many trees. Another Next Time!

Spring Cottage, where Queen Victoria used to have afternoon tea watching the boats

Nb Martha Gunn was a little bit slower than us and the chap at the helm had said they wouldn’t mind if we overtook. We decided to go a different way round the islands and see who got to the other end first, they just beat us. Along side the river is Spring Cottage which is part of the hotel. Here you can spend a night with a champagne cruise thrown in for just £2,055, if you want breakfast included add another £50.

Waiting our turn

Round the next bend Cookham Lock waited for us a boat coming down. On Self Service I was about to offer to press the buttons but crew from another boat who’d arrived above offered to do the honours and up we went. After the lock cut the river opens out, wide sweeping stretches of river.

Bourne End

Bourne End looked inviting in the sun with blue sky over head and this chap sat in a modest sized garden reading his book.

Enjoying the sunshine reading his book

On we continued still not as far as we wanted to reach today the wind on the wider stretches blustering away at us.

Marlow Lock

At Marlow Lock a boat was just finishing going up and a small inflatable with outboard motor was waiting on the lock pontoon to come down. The lock was on self service and they hadn’t spotted this for half an hour. The lock landing isn’t connected to dry land so they’d have had to drop someone off. I offered to do the buttons for them and dropped them down.

Marlow

A gongoozler asked if the locks were hard to operate, four buttons, that’s all, not hard. But the lock was being a little bit odd, the sluice close light flashing when it shouldn’t. It still worked, just took a while for it to acknowledge that the levels had equalised. So we were soon on our way again. We let NB Martha Gunn go ahead as they were hoping to reach Henley today, we were hoping to find a mooring in Marlow without too much tree cover.

A lovely steam boat only £1200 for two hours

A long line of cruisers sat on the moorings. Ahead were two gaps away from the masses, but these were surrounded by trees. Then at the end of the line with shorter greenery around it was an Oleanna sized hole. We pulled in, just enough depth and double pinned ourselves to this outside. Tilly was given shore leave for the rest of the day.

Thunderous rain shorlty after we moored

Time to try to use that courgette from Hampton Court Palace. I’d spotted a recipe for a beetroot, courgette and feta tart. Yesterday we’d picked up the other ingredients, so I started to slice everything up. Layering it out on the pastry I realised I had far too much of everything, twice as much courgette as required! Oh well, it can sit in the fridge until tomorrow.

Beetroot courgette and feta tart

The tart was very tasty.

Marlow at dusk. My camera did this blue all by itself

Property Game

Another smaller property. 2 bedrooms and a first floor conservatory.

This one may be hidden behind a wall but it’s rather pretty. Four bedrooms and well situated for the railway.

4 Locks, 11.26 miles, 3 locks shared, 3 pretty launches all in a row, 20 coats of varnish, 1 mooring on the Next time list, 1/2 courgette left, 1 beetroot left, 1 tasty tart, 1 mooring with lack of trees, 1 thunder storm, 3 wealthy neighbours.

Yesterdays Answer

£610,000 in Chertsey with 42ft of river frontage and a long lawn out the other side.

https://www.waterview.co.uk/property-for-sale/house-for-sale-in-laleham-reach-chertsey-kt16/5264

Sorry Debby, I’m sure if your house was in Chertsey it would be worth more than this.

Look No Key Of Power. 8th August

Laleham to Windsor Racecourse Marina ish

Lock landing

Another morning without tea in bed and we were away and into the first lock of the day by 9:30am. After a couple of miles we were in Staines-on-Thames. Here we found a mooring by the road bridge so we’d be close enough to head to Sainsburys, but first it was a trip to an Opticians to get my glasses mended and then Hobbycraft. We hoiked ourselves up the high wall and walked through town.

Lino men

Staines seemed to be full of food outlets and chain restaurants along with barbers. Here is where Linoleum was invented by Fredrick Walton, who opened a factory in 1864. The factory grew and grew and by the 1930’s it covered 45 acres. Nearby where the factory once stood are two very dynamic chaps holding a roll of linoleum.

Boots did the job of a new screw in my glasses and Hobbycraft provided me with card for my next model. Once this was dropped off at Oleanna we crossed the river to do some shopping. Four heavy bags later we had an early lunch before pushing off again.

Soon we were passing under the M25 for the last time this year and pulling in behind a couple of cruisers at Bell Weir Lock. The river isn’t really made for narrowboats, the lock landings tending to be quite high. Here Oleanna’s gunnels slipped easily underneath, and before I could do anything about it the wooden edging of the landing managed to rub a mark on the front edge of the cabin side. B****cks! It’s not huge, just a real shame, we’ll be more wary in future.

This lock was on Self Service, a chap from the front cruiser worked it, emptying and filling as needed. Most Thames locks we’ve been through tend to fill from the top gates, but every now and then one fills from the sides. It’s quite hard to keep hold as the water forces you out from the sides of the lock towards the centre, good job we weren’t too close to a cruiser.

The lock cottage

The next reach takes you past Runnymede where King John sealed the Magna Carta in 1215. Set back from the river are memorials to J.F. Kennedy and the commonwealth Airforces. I had wondered about stopping and having a look around, but time was getting on and with a couple of days horrible weather on it’s way we wanted to be further along. Next time list. I’m actually going to have to start writing this list soon!

Royal milk cows
A rather nice cottage with possible mooring

Once up Old Windsor Lock and under Albert Bridge we were skirting our way around Home Park the private park and farm land of Windsor Castle. There is no mooring here even though it’s tempting, it is a criminal offence. We could see Royal cows and a pretty Cottage that sits beside a little bridge that would just allow a narrowboat through.

Look no Key

Romney Lock was on Self Service and when we arrived we were on our own, time to push some buttons. Big signs suggested that the bollards on our starboard side had just been painted, so please use the other side. A boat was coming down, tied to the painted bollards, their ropes did look a touch darker than they should have been, so I suggested to Mick to use those on the port side.

Of course he didn’t hear me correctly, so he really didn’t understand why I wanted him to be over that side. He’d thoughtfully laid the bow rope on the starboard side roof for me to pick up and tie around a bollard and now it would be on the wrong side! A cruiser followed us in, I closed the gates and with the use of our new boat hook I was able to reach the rope and tie it.

Rising in a side filling lock

Then I was on button duty. No Key of Power required on the Thames to work locks, just fingers. I made sure I read the instructions and pressed the ‘Sluice’ light. This is all that is required until the water is level, then you have to hold the gates button. By now a trip boat had arrived above, I could see the staff running up and down trying to serve drinks before they had to be on lock duty. Mick untied and once the cruiser had gone past he pushed over to pick me up leaving the lock to the trip boat.

Windsor Bridge

Three years ago we stayed overnight in the lock cut here, but there are new signs to discourage this. My Aunt and Uncle lived in Eton during my childhood so I know Windsor quite well admittedly from the lower point of view of a child. Last time we’d walked round Eton, looked up at the flat, tried to find the fudge shop and ate mediocre fish and chips. The only thing I said I wanted to do was visit Queen Mary’s Dolls House, well I’ve had to look at lots of planes and buses recently! Checking on line later I discovered that the Dolls House is currently closed. I also discovered that it was designed by Edwin Lutyens and the garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. I think I’m likely to appreciate it more than I did when I was 8, another thing for the Next time list.

Some space on the Brocas

Windsor Bridge is where we would rush out to stand to watch Concord fly over. My cousins both older and pilots would get Andrew and myself to listen out for the sonic boom, we never heard it, even if they said they did! Past all the swans that we used to go and feed with white sliced. Here we could have pulled in to moor, but decided to carry on a bit further and save our money as Eton College charge for you to moor on the Brocas. The only thing that had to be done was take the obligatory photo.

Some palace or other

Onwards to Boveney Lock where a wide beam and a cruiser sat waiting. The locks so far would have fitted all of us, but would we all squeeze into this one. The Lockie checked our length and then asked the widebeam to move further up leaving enough room for us and the cruiser to sit side by side at the back.

Squeezing in

Now we wanted somewhere to moor for the night. The first few spaces were all full and on the 24 hr mooring there were quite a few gaps but only suitable for cruisers or gits. Our Waterways Routes map had one more place to try just around the big bend. A life boat was occupying the first stretch, but then it was vacant. We pulled in and quickly decided that we’d have a barbecue before the weather turned.

Heading into the sun

So, the crew have been quite inconsiderate of late. Last time we were in this Thames outside I was still quite new to the outside moving. Now I’m a bit of an old paw at it all. She and Tom keep playing tricks on me. They move the outside, She walks through and then the outside stops, the rumbling stops too. This usually means they have tied the outside up for the day and I can go out to explore. But oh no! The rumbling starts again she comes back through and shows me that Tom is moving the outside again. How stupid is that? Letting it go. Then they go and do it all over again! And again!!

Not a bad mooring, if only the planes would go away

At least when they finally admitted that they had tied it up for good today it was a good outside. Plenty of pouncing possibilities, trees, a lot to explore. They decided to cook outside so I got even longer still in fact I got until they were getting bored of watching the big birdies flying over to Heathrow which is when it started to rain.


Property Game

4 bedroom bungalow with gardens out the back. Cash buyers only!

How much?

5 locks, 12.13 miles, 1 mended pair of glasses, 1 sheet black foamcor, 2 boxes wine, 4 full shopping bags, 4 longer arms, 1 very big step down, 1 cabin scar, 6 nights beach airbnb booked, 0 key of power needed, 1 wave to Aunt Nancy and Uncle Peter, 1 crashed drone, 3 a tight squeeze, 4 pork and apple burgers, 4 veg and halloumi kebabs, 2 cobs of corn, 1 royal courgette still, 20 second gaps between planes, 1 Mrs Tilly Stamp of Approval.

Here’s a different angle on this house on it’s island

Yesterdays Answer

https://www.knightfrank.co.uk/properties/residential/for-sale/pharaohs-island-shepperton-surrey-tw17/wbe180079

£2,250,000 A bargain. Sorry Jennie you were over a million out.

This house is only accessible by boat as it is on Pharoah’s Island. The island was purchased by the Treasury and given to Admiral Nelson after the battle of the Nile in 1798, most of the islands 23 homes have Egyptian names. Spinx was built in 1903 and has been owned by actors Janet Munro and Ian Hendry.

More Kings And Queens. 5th August

Hampton Court Palace

Fountain Court

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.

Pistols and daggers, who needs wallpaper

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.

Possibly the first chandelier of it’s kind in the country

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.

Ginormous bed just for show
A very busy ceiling that would keep anyone awake

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.

Padded toilet on a chest. Maybe a precursor to a Kilwick

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.

The private dining room

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.

The Queens staircase

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.

What a ceiling

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.

Two jolly chaps

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.

Napkin artistry

The Public Dining Room is decorated with more impressive painting and a large table shows off a display of napkin artistry.

Wonderful costumes

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.

A bit more painting, anyone would think this was a palace!

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.

A modern addition

In 1838 Queen Victoria decided to let the public see inside the palace and opened up its doors, this proved to be very popular.

Looking back to the house from the Privy Garden

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.

Mum feeding her not so small chick

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.

Royal Medication of the chilled variety

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!

From the rose garden

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!

Royal Harry
and his mate Dwain

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.


Property Game

This one was built by it’s current owners and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.


Yesterdays Answer

https://www.tudorandco.co.uk/properties/12395356/sales

£1,295,000 no chain and it’s detached!

Sorry Ade, at least you were only a million out this time!