Category Archives: River Wey

Back To The Thames. 4th August

Byfleet Cruising Club to Hampton Court Palace, River Thames

The Basingstoke, we’ll see you next time

The fast people on the M25 didn’t relent all night, at least this meant it lulled us to sleep with it’s repetitiveness. A lady was sat out on her tug deck in front of us as we came to pull out, she gave me a few pointers of things to do whilst on the Thames, along with suggesting that I might want to dunk the bow rope as a dog had just relieved itself on it.

Back within the M25

We met boats at each of the locks on the Wey today, there seemed to be a constant stream of boats heading upstream. Maybe it’s because we’re on a river that people don’t look to see if anyone is coming when a lock is set against them, we had another couple turned in front of us today.

Coxes Lock

An elderly couple worked their cruiser up at Coxes Lock as plenty of gongoozlers watched on, one young chap helped the lady out with gates and paddles which she was very grateful for.

At Town Lock, the last we’d work ourselves, crew from an upstream boat appeared and helped with the gates. It was their first trip up the Wey in about ten years. The lady wondered why she’d been given a long handled windlass, give me a fulcrum and a lever,that is until she started to try to lift a bottom paddle with her normal windlass. I asked if they’d been told about the yellow posts, they had but didn’t see why. I explained that it was a very good method and it had worked well for us. Later on I found out that they like you to do it because the National Trust don’t board their top gates, so recesses can catch your bow and a lot of damage can be done to both boat and gates. She asked if we needed one gate or two, two please, them’s the rules!

Back up
and swap over

Her boat was eager and already turning the sharp bend to enter the lock, not having realised we were in the lock and in his way. He soon spotted us and reversed back to give us space.

Just a touch too white

We pulled in where we’d stopped on our first night opposite the very posh houses for a bite to eat and to let the Lock Keepers at Thames Lock have their break too. Then we waved our posh neighbours goodbye and cruised the half mile to the lock.

Ian at Thames Lock Cottage

Ian and a volunteer were seeing a cruiser into the bottom pound/chamber. Water was let down to give them enough depth to get over the cill. We’d not been on their list of boats for today, our licence still valid for a few more days. I handed back our windlass and we watched as the cruiser came up the lock. We weren’t the only ones, three benches face the lock and every space was occupied.

The last lock on the Wey

Ropes round bollards and the chaps let the water out into the lower pound for us, there’d be more than enough depth for us. We paused to top up with water in the bottom pound as the level was dropped for us down to River Thames level.

Bye bye

It felt like we’ve been on the Wey for at least a month, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time and would highly recommend it. We look forward to returning to hopefully do the Basingstoke earlier in a year when they have more water, plans are already being talked about.

Wide water again

From the narrow quiet river we came out to the wide Thames, masses of ways we could go, numerous boats of all shapes and sizes everywhere. Blimey it’s busy!

We headed down stream, first overtaking a paddle boarder, then being overtaken ourselves by a trip boat who then proceeded to wind in front of us. Plenty of traffic out and about, lots of people finishing off a Sunday cruise.

At Sunbury Locks the lock gates were open and waiting for us, several other boats were already with their bow and stern lines round bollards. Mick mentioned to the Lockie as we entered that we’d be needing a licence, he was told to tie up the stern loosely and go to the hut to settle up. A volunteer set the lock in motion all the time keeping an eye on our stern rope whilst Mick paid for a months licence.

A mini pirate galleon

On we pootled down stream keeping an eye out for moorings, not many available but we were hoping for a space further on. Molesey Lock was waiting for us again, several boats waiting patiently. Five boats in these locks is no where near a tight squeeze. Under the first bridge and a short distance on we saw a possible gap just where we’d hoped. Mick winded Oleanna and brought her round to the gap. It would be a tight squeeze but the chaps from the boats either side popped out to see if they could help. The one in front pulled forward a few feet and in we slid. We’re on a bit of a bend, so neither our bow or stern are into the side, but it will do us, just where we wanted.

Tilly for some reason had got herself into a Tilly Tizzy, shouting at the back doors as if we’d come through a tunnel. No chance of her going out in such a state, especially as she clambered so much to get out that she managed to give me quite a scratch. After a few minutes she calmed down, but the decision had been made, she’d be staying in today and having her flee treatment. Bast**ds!!!!

Property Game

Back on the Thames. A three bedroom chalet. How much is it on the market for? It has moorings both front and back!

6, maybe 7 locks, 10.72 miles, 2 rivers, 1 right, 4 days early, 31 days licence, 1 galleon, 1 last space, 1 Tilly Tizzy, 1 roast chicken.

Twice As Big As The One On EasyJet. 3rd August

Pyrford Marina to Byfleet Cruising Club

The voice of Houdini woke us this morning, we were breakfasted and cruising far earlier than normal. Not far to go by boat this morning, just over a mile which brought us very close to the M25 and it’s constant rumble. We pulled in just after the Byfleet Cruising Club moorings on what we thought were visitor moorings. Our pack of info from the National Trust had suggested here as a mooring, but it seems that we might have pulled in on space meant for the cruising club. One chap asked if we were staying long and if it would be okay if we got breasted up to, (which it was as) another tried to make them sound a touch more friendly by inviting us to use all their facilities. We made sure that they knew we’d been pointed to the mooring by the NT.

Far away plane

We walked up to the busy main road which crosses the canal and then very soon afterwards the M25. Here we caught a 436 bus to Tescos. The route took us around the houses before it reached the huge store, another couple of stops and we thought we’d reached our destination. However we still had quite a walk, it did mean that we had chance to watch people zooming along a race track and on skid pans in shiny cars at Mercededs Benz World. All a bit too fast for us.

We were at Brooklands. The worlds first purpose built motor racing circuit which opened it’s 2.75 mile track in 1907. It is also the site of one of Britain’s first airfields which also became Britain’s largest aircraft manufacturing centre by 1918. Here they produced military aircraft such as the Wellington and civil airliners like the Viscount and VC-10. The first British Grand Prix was held here in 1926.

Part of the race track

The race track banks up around the site, roads now cut their way through it, Tescos at one end and Brooklands Museum at the other. In 1987 a trust was set up and a 30 acre site was ear marked for the museum where the heritage of Brooklands could be celebrated. The finishing straight of the race track is on the site and the northern half of the runway was still used occasionally until 2003, in 2004 it was sold off and is now Mercedes Benz World.

Brooklands clubhouse

Brooklands hosts collections of racing cars, motorbikes, aeroplanes and the London Bus Museum. We’d been warned that there was far too much to do in just one day so we decided to concentrate on the planes and buses.

Concord

Mick’s Dad flew with the RAF during WW2 and then with BEA on civil airliners. Because of this we headed straight out to see the planes. The first production Concorde sits in central position, you can pay extra to go on board, but we decided just to look from the outside. Her total flying hours 1,282hrs 9 minutes lags somewhat behind Oleannas 2,540hrs. It would have been nice to look inside the narrow plane, but we had far more important planes to look at.

Stepping down from the Sultan of Oman s VC-10

There are plenty of volunteers on hand, they range from men who know everything about how a plane worked and tell you all about it (so much so we could most probably service a VC10 now), to ones who tell you how the planes were used, to ones interested in your own connections to the planes,

Us reluctantly having our photo taken, I’ve had to zoom in quite a long way!

to one who insisted on taking our photo in front of a Hawker Harrier (it was easier just to let him do it), to one who was far more interested in hearing about our life on a narrowboat than telling us anything about the cockpit we manged to get sat in.

Twice as big
Toilet and bidet with ten times more space

There are two VC-10’s, one without wings or a tail. A family were looking round in front of us ‘That toilet’s twice as big as the ones on EasyJet!’ They were most probably right, I’d hate to have heard what they had to say about the toilet on the Sultan of Oman’s plane, it was half the size of Oleanna! There were also double beds with seat belts and everything covered in chrome green velour.

Seat belts on your bed

These planes are really quite big when you take all the seats out of them. The smell of the fixtures and fittings along with years of cigarette smoke that worked it’s way in behind all the panels was quite evocative.

Viscount

Mick’s Dad flew Vicker’s Viscounts and Vanguards and here we got chance to go on board. The Viscount was most probably the first plane Mick ever went on with it’s big oval windows.

Plenty of controls

On the Vanguard a team of old chaps who had been ground engineers at Heathrow chatted away to Mick. These fellows had most probably known his Dad, Mick found an old photo on his phone of him in uniform, but it was badly lit so hard to see his face properly. This plane had been used for cargo, all the windows covered up, horses had been transported to the Olympics in Barcelona. Up front we could sit in the cockpit, Mick taking the Captains seat, was this a seat his Dad had actually sat in? We’ll have to check with those who hold Peter’s log book.

Mick sat in a seat his Dad almost certainly sat in

Unfortunately the chap who was going to tell us all about the flight deck was more interested in our life and gave us absolutely no information even though we kept trying, he was also a touch deaf. What will happen in such places when all the old chaps who volunteer have passed away?

The best design

There are new modern exhibitions in the Aircraft Factory where Mick managed to design a plane suitable to carry cargo using a runway of 1km.

The Stratosphere Chamber door rolled out of the way

There’s also a Stratosphere Chamber where Barnes Wallis carried out experiments to do with temperature and pressure. There are rooms laid out as if in the 20’s when the circuit and airfield were busy.

Horse Drawn

After a sit down and some lunch we looked around the London Bus Museum. Here the collection starts with a horse bus built around 1890 and the collection of rescued vehicles brings you almost up to date. The plaque saying that the Routemaster was the last vehicle designed for London Transport is a bit out of date as the Boris bus now drives round London.

The displays and information boards are huge, matching the size of the buses a shame a few of them are hidden behind the buses.

Winding the blind

You can wind a destination blind and go on board a couple of the latter buses where turnstiles would allow you to buy your own ticket. I don’t remember these, maybe they didn’t exist in York.

Conductor
Our tickets

The opportunity to ride on an RT was not to be missed, sadly we didn’t get the front seat, but it was still good. Mick used to get these to school in Ealing and the conductor today took our £1 coins and turned the handle on his ticket machine to produce our tickets. The amount of windows you could open are far better than on a Boris bus, but the suspension could have been better.

No 65
Twin Rover a bit early to have been one of Mick’s

A hunt round the displays and we found the Bus 65 time table, an often used route and a Child’s Twin Rover ticket. Mick and his mate Tony Silver used to get these when they’d saved up enough pocket money to spend a Saturday on the buses, going from one end of a route to the other and then getting on the next bus and seeing where that got them.

A quick look at some of the cars before we left and walked our way down where the runway had been towards Tescos. A few items were purchased before we caught the bus back to Oleanna.

Advert on a bus

Tilly had had a busy day keeping an eye on our new neighbour. What a composed fluffy ginger cat. For a while we wondered if it was alive, then eventually it did a considered slow blink.

What a stare
Slow blink

0 locks, 1.31 miles, 3 buses, 4 tickets, 6 planes, 2 cockpits, 1 seat sat in, 18,300 planes built, 1st Grand Prix, 5s twin rover, 65, 165, 2 jacket potatoes, 1 bored cat, 1 confupuss neighbour, M25 to rock us to sleep just 200ft away.

With the sound turned up!

Four In The Lock, And The Little One Said.. 2nd August

Papercourt Meadows to Pyrford Marina

Ornate roof for work boat

We woke with that sloaping feeling. The slight list we’d achieved when mooring yesterday had increased overnight, whether this was down to river levels changing we don’t know as things looked the same. Tilly was allowed out as we were in no rush to get anywhere today and we sat having breakfast thankfully our cereal staying in our bowls, but it is a touch unnerving sitting at an angle.

Time came to push off. Most times pushing the back out and engaging reverse does the job. However today Oleanna would move a touch but she always returned to where she’d started off, we seemed to have got behind a mound of silt that wasn’t going to let her free without a tussle. The barge pole was deployed, a push, then a bigger push, followed by an even bigger push, the stern was free and was pushed as far as the pole would reach out into the channel. A good blast of reverse got us clear and the bow out from where she’d settled and we could carry on downstream.

Waterway Routes back at the stern

Last night Mick had spent ages trying to get Memory Map working on the new tablet for the stern, all that was left to do this morning was decide which case it should go in, red or blue. Red won of course. It’s nice to be able to see where we’re going again on a bigger screen than that of a phone. We just need a longer lead for it as the power socket is on the opposite side to the old one.

Newark Priory

Not far to Newark Lock which sits close to the ruins of Newark Priory. There were plenty of people around the lock, as I walked up I could see why. There were four boats in the lock, two day boats and two short boats. The day boats were discussing that maybe the order to which they had entered the lock should be altered next time to afford a bit more space, the two longer boats were one in front of the other. This all suggested that it was a big group outing, maybe for someones birthday.

Four in the lock

As the day boats pulled out from the lock it then became apparent that the other boats had just happened upon them. ‘Hold back! We’ll stay here for a while, let them get ahead. Don’t want to be with them all day!’ The last boat to leave the lock a sea otter had quite a crew, ten on board in total. Quiet now returned to the river and we carried on down by ourselves.

Entering the flood lock, turf on either side

There was more time to look at Walsham Flood Gates today, the telephone bells having been noted on our way upstream. This is the last of the turf locks on the River Wey. Stone ends to the lock where the gates are positioned, in between there is just earth and vegetation which slopes away, we’ll come across a few more of these this summer.

Someone has vanished!

At Pryford Lock a boat was ascending and a group of young lads helped with the gates, they helped as we descended. It actually looked like they were set in for the day with a picnic blanket laid out alongside the lock.

A busy pub

The Anchor pub was heaving and the smell of chips was enticing but we held off, turning into Pryford Marina onto the service mooring.

I can see now

A fill up of diesel before we hit the Thames and an opportunity to wash the port side windows, Tilly appreciated her better view. Then we reversed back out onto the river and found a suitable mooring so that Tilly could have the remainder of the day out and about in the trees. Here is just far enough away from the M25, tomorrow we’ll end up mooring almost alongside it, for a time anyway. The afternoon was spent listening to the test match and I baked Mick a loaf of bread, it’s the first time I’ve had to knead bread in quite sometime.

2 locks, 2.1 miles, 1 left, 1 pole, 1 roof on a boat, 1 pair of specs, 2 personless shoes, 4 in a lock, 10 on one boat, 0 space to swing a cat, 83.66 litres, 4 clean windows, 8 hours shore leave, 0 rude woofers, 1 multi seeded loaf.

Down The Wey. 1st August

Dapdune Wharf to Papercourt Meadows

Earth, Wind, Fire and Water were the order of the day at Dapdune and young visitors arrived early for a day of fun. Around the site you could paddleboard, make mud pies, learn how to make a fire or partake in lots of fun activities all around the place. We opted to just look round the buildings we’d not seen yesterday.

The barge building shed has a great photo at one end of the structure that makes up a Wey Barge and the walls are decorated with Carpenters Porn. Planes of every size and use, drills and one of the biggest vices I’ve seen.

The paintwork was almost alive on the doors

Next the Gunpowder Store that last night was filled with paddle boards. Here we learnt that transporting gunpowder by water was the safest means and it continued until the 1920’s. The kegs of powder would be stored in this room until they set off for London. The paint on the doors was all bubbled and blistered, as though numerous fires had taken place in the room.

Knotty situation

The main display was about ropes, knots and pulleys. Here you could spend hours learning how to tie all manner of knots and then forget them for when they are most needed.

Set up for lunch in the cabin

Reliance was open to have a look around. The boarded over hold very low, necessitated bending over to reach the cabin at the stern. Here the cabin was laid out with a table set up flipped out from the cupboards, dishes on the long stove ready to cook a meal on. Panels which looked like doors made up the seat backs, these would hinge down and make up beds for the crew, far more space than on a narrowboat.

Look at those Frank

A wander around the island and a chance to taste our first Blackberries of the year, mine despite being picked easily was still face shrivellingly sour. Everywhere you looked there were games laid out. An orienteering course, archery and loads more and the site was filled with kids.

Mick had topped up the water before the Wharf had opened this morning so we were now good to go. Not far until we pulled in, a nearby B&Q called us on the hunt for a longer plank. They had none. but a nearby Argos provided Mick with a cheap tablet which he’s hoping to run Waterway Routes on at the stern as we cruise, replacing one that died a few months ago.

Approaching Stoke Lock we could see people milling about. The gates were open, but they proceeded to close them. A stripey person looked at us, turned away from the gate then did a Frank Matthews double take at us , then continued to walk down to the bottom gates. We could see that the lock was being emptied, Oh well! Good job we weren’t in a rush.

We pulled in and I walked down, normally I’d offer a helping hand, but everything was being taken care of, so instead I said Good morning to see what was said back. Nothing other than a ‘morning’. I took the opportunity to walk over the footbridge and take a photo of the lock cottage with the hire boat in front of it.

Plenty of crew taking it in turns to do things, one at a time

The lock emptied, the gates opened and they took their time. A jumper needed rearranging around someones middle then the boat was tied to tightly so couldn’t be undone. With at least five crew everything took time, a lot of it. I suggested that maybe we should have some lunch whilst we waited, there’d almost have been enough time.

Eventually they made their way up and the lock was now ours. I was just about to close a gate when I saw a boat following us, so we waited to be joined, a nice couple on a Sea Otter (a small aluminium narrowboat). We had a short pause for lunch before carrying on to Bowers Lock. Ahead we could see a boat had just entered the lock to go down, we tooted our horn, someone looked but the gates still closed. We tooted again, another look, maybe they didn’t know that they could share locks on this stretch. Oh well we’d be doing this one on our own too.

Filling Bowers Lock

At the moment there is work being done on the weir, there’s lots of noise. Due to this the lock landing is a temporary pontoon quite a distance away, so by the time I reached the lock they were halfway down. I asked how much further they planned on going today, they weren’t sure. One chap stayed and helped me close the very low bottom gates which was the bit I’d not been looking forward to as my back has just about sorted itself from when we came up this lock.

Triggs Lock

We passed them a while later, they’d almost pulled in at a mooring we’d tried to get into on our way up, glasses of wine were already being consumed, it was the last night of their holiday. We offered to share the next lock, but they must have settled for the evening.

How many paddles?

Triggs Lock has way more than it’s fare share of paddles on the bottom gates, three each. The top gates can be chained back and then the lock used as a sluice/weir when the river is in flood. I only got to wind the outer set of paddles today. Winding them back down could be done from land, but anyone a touch shorter than me would have difficulty in reaching with a long handled windlass.

Git Gaps a gogo

By the pub two cruisers were mooring up. The full length of mooring and they chose to take the easy option of tying to a bollard each, leaving only enough space for one narrowboat and two big git gaps! Good job we didn’t want to stop.

Papercourt Lock wasn’t quite so picturesque today the blue sky hiding by now behind clouds. From here I could see that there was only one boat moored up on the meadows below, so there should be somewhere for us to pull up too.

A meadow mooring

Standing at the bow keeping a watch out we tried one spot. No hard or straight edge here, would it be deep enough for us? The bow came in well, we pulled forward so that Mick didn’t have to jump off into nettles. Goose pooh hop scotch was needed as we tied up, we were on a slight list but this would do nicely. Tilly on the other hand wasn’t too sure, most probably due to the lack of trees.

What’s happenedto the trees?!

During the evening we’ve watched reports of the Toddbrook Reservoir that feeds the Peak Forest at Whaley Bridge. I so hope the spillway can be made safe to allow people to go home, the repair will take some time. Boaters have been told to take ‘every precaution’. I think we’d try to get as far away as possible, past Marple towards Poynton in a different valley.

4 locks, 7.23 miles, 1 full water tank, 0 rubbish, 1 clean pooh box, 1 lock stolen, 1 shared, 6 pairs of deaf ears, 2 very low lock beams, 6 paddles, 1 snake, 1 meadow mooring, 19.75 digits and 4 paws crossed for Whaley Bridge.

Dapdune 31st July

Guildford Willow Meadows to Dapdune Wharf

The Guildford Scholar

Having put off till tomorrow, due to the rain, we needed to go into town. There was the bank to visit, the new security measures being brought in for online banking had meant that I’d managed to lock myself out of my account! We also needed new vacuum bags to store things in under the bed. In the past we’ve had various types and gradually they have all failed, so this time we’ve gone for robust and protected ones with their own tote bags. We couldn’t remember off hand how big the storage area is under the bed and they don’t come in ‘about this by that and that’ sizes! So we will have to have a measure before we open any of the packaging up and I have a note of the different sized bags that are available.

Tying to a tree, always good practice!

A top up on food and we headed back to Oleanna, hopping over the ropes from a day boat, we know they are given spikes as yesterdays boaters gave up hammering them in to also use the trees!

Yumm

As we’d had a good breakfast today no lunch was required. We pushed off and made our way back into town, dropped down Millmead Lock with two swans who were quite impatient for the gates to open and then wound our way under all the roads.

Inviting themselves
Plenty of room for everyone

Our hope had been to get a mooring at Dapdune Wharf so that we could have a look around before carrying on our way. Coming round the last bend the wharf lay empty, not one boat moored there, just a mass of paddle boarders. Instructions were shouted to all the wobbly people and space was made for us to come into the side.

Dapdune wharf

The view one way was good, lots of people admiring me. But on the other side I wasn’t impressed! A high wall which gave tantalising views of people walking past and what looked like an interesting roof line. She said I wouldn’t like it, so instead of letting me out they went off and had a look round.

Paddleboarders

Dapdune Wharf was used for goods transshipment and latterly for barge building and maintenance. The site is now the National Trusts administrative offices for the navigation along with a visitor centre. After we’d had a cuppa watching the next batch of novice paddle boarders getting their confidence (or just getting wet!) we had our membership cards scanned and started to have a look round.

Reliance a Wey Barge

For over 150 years the Stevens family played an important role in the development of the navigation, first as Lock Keepers then onto management of a substantial transport business along the navigation. By 1902 the Stevens brothers gained full ownership of the navigation. The Edwards family was brought in and Wey Barges were built at Dapdune. The boats kept transporting goods into the 60’s and the navigation was finally handed over to the National Trust in 1964.

The Smithy

Here you can see the smithy, originally the nail store, given away by there not being a chimney. Repair sheds (now used to house the electric trip boats). A gunpowder store, building shed, a carpenters shed, a steam chest (where timber was steam so that it could be bent into shape for the hulls). And Reliance an original Wey Barge built in 1931-32 which is no longer water tight so sits on a frame above the graving dock.

Boys! They never grow up

There are displays with 3D maps and Mick spent quite a bit of time playing with a model that demonstrates how locks work. Well if the water pressure had been enough he wouldn’t have been able to level the two pounds and the lock meaning both ends of the lock could be opened at the same time!

Printed fabric and paper
Giant teapot

Around the site there were a few pieces of art from Farnham College of Art. A couple made from fabric and paper were vaguely interesting, one a sheet and some rope was just taking up space, but the best one was a giant cottage teapot on a trolley, the smithy had been filled with such teapots also. My photo makes the trolley look like it’s been made in miniature.

Medication, twice in one week

Still with a few more sheds to check out as they were closing, we decided to stay for the night. A nice mooring apart from the trains going over the bridge close by, they are so noisy! But as the sun vanished out of sight numerous bats swooped, ducked and dived past Oleanna enjoying a major feast. They were so busy Mick decided to close the hatch in case they decided to swoop in.

1 lock, 1.25 miles, 4 digits changed, 1 pointless phone call, 3 nights food, 2 big bags, 5 veg bags, 2 trip hazards, 1 Liza, 2 swans, 8 boards, 1 nervous lad blossoming into a smiley goon, 2 chilled medications, 1 resigned cat, 3 hyperactive bats at least, 01:15 the last noisy train tonight!

The mystery plant I believe is Dipsacus fullonum, more commonly known as a Teasle. Coming across one on the path made it very obvious. Thank you Debby for your suggestion.

Dripping. 30th July

Guildford Big Willows Meadow

Ahh the smell of Willow

I’d had chance to explore this outside yesterday evening in the lovely sunshine. Fantastic willow trees with long sideways branches, brilliant for running along, I made sure that they were all mine.

Today the outside turned wet, then wetter still. It didn’t put off the people in the long zoomy boats or me. She and Tom were quite happy for me to be outside, out of the way, they were trying to put things away. She says they’ve got too much stuff again and need to get rid of things, I thought it best to keep out of arms reach just in case I was classed as stuff.

Rain never really bothers me, I quite like how it makes my fur glisten but today it played a trick on me. There I was wanting to gain some height for a better vantage point. I did my calculations and prepared my potential energy, converted it to kinetic energy leaping up. All had gone well and my landing position was looking suitable, no split second alterations of trajectory for landing. Paws set for landing only to discover the grab rail, named for it’s normal grabability, was the slipperiest thing in the world!

Instead of landing with grace, I all of a sudden, had to dig more kinetic energy out of my back legs and launch myself back onto dry land! ‘Tilly’s gone in!’ But I was out already! Tom opened the back door for me. My then chosen position on the sofa to dry off not a popular one. ‘Good job you’ve got lots of towels Tilly’ as I was She handled into the bathroom and unceremoniously rubbed down whilst trying to get back under the bathroom door. 

By the time I had stopped dripping everywhere it was someone elses turn. There was a knock on the slippy roof, it was Tom Adam. He wasn’t quite as soaked as I’d been but he’d made a good go of it, maybe he was too big to fall down the gap between Oleanna and this outside.

Me (just), Tom Adam, Tom and She

Tom Adam sometimes lives on a boat called NB Briar Rose and sometimes lives in a house, he also works for the BBC in that there busy London outside. I let them all sit around for ages chatting boats before I came through to say hello. How come he wasn’t told off for making the dinette soggy, wrapped in a towel and then dragged into the bathroom?!

Three new flavours, Yumm

Tom Adam was the reason I got on the cover of Canal Boat Magazine. Once he’d dried off too I was given lots of Pocket Pillows, three different flavours! Was this my fee for the cover? Or just a present? I don’t mind which, he can visit us again.

The rain stopped for a while so we all went outside to say goodbye, I made sure I showed him the best branches to climb should he and Tom Adrian tie up this outside in future. Really hope he got back to his car before it started to rain again. What a drippy day!

Yesterdays sunny opposite to today

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 tidy boat, 1 soggy moggy, 1 soaked sofa, 1 cat towel, 1 hour drying, 1 damp Adam, 2 hours drying, 3 cups of tea, 1 packet biscuits, 3 packets pocket pillows, 4 chin rubs, 1 nice Tom, 1 sprint up the willows, 1 sour dough pizza, 1 head mended, 2 pockets ( not edible) added to my cardigan.

All ready for the pockets

Pink And Yellow. 28th, 29th July

Godalming Wharf to Quarry Hill Footbridge Meadows

Being close to a water point meant a day of chores before we pushed off. Oleanna hasn’t had a wash down in months, so it was about time. Mick even used the word ‘we’ in relation to the job. On NB Winding Down, our share boat, we would have to leave her spotless after each trip, which meant a grumpy last day on board. I enjoy returning the roof to it’s original colour, where as Mick follows instructions and any suggestion that he’s not quite doing it right is followed by his cloth being slapped back into the bucket. As you can understand we don’t spend our lives washing Oleanna down as some boat owners do.

Mick with a cloth in hand!

A boat had beaten us to the water point, so the washing machine went on instead. Once they had moved away we pushed over. The hose was set to refill our tank, then a couple of buckets were made ready. Everything was removed from the roof, it was swept down and we set to work. This of course coincided with another boat pulling up! They breasted up and headed off to do some shopping whilst our tank filled and we washed the roof. Blimey it was filthy!

On their return our tank had not long since filled, a boat tucked into the corner had left, so we suggested that we slip out and take that space. They could do their necessaries and when the time came for them to wind we would return back to the service mooring leaving the winding hole totally clear.

Alizee ready to go to work

The tap is a slow one! As they filled their tank a horse box arrived with Alizee, the packet boat was made ready for a trip out, a coach arrived, passengers climbed onboard Iona, Alizee was walked around to the towpath, the health and safety talk was given, Alizee was toggled up to the rope and off the trip boat went, all the time we washed Oleanna, moving down to the starboard cabin side. At last their tank was full so we swapped positions so that they could wind with ease.

Alizee on her way back

As we returned all the poles and brushes to the roof a friendly Australian couple came for a chat. There was lots to talk about with them and we were glad, Mick more than me, for a break from the washing! I’d wanted to get the stern and well deck looking nice today too before we headed back towards Guildford, but it wasn’t to be. Not the Australians fault but a blank spot in my vision, the start of another migraine!

Sunday evenings view

So we returned to the mooring by the winding hole and Mick tucked us in tightly whilst I retired below with some pills. No more washing and no going anywhere.

The meadows by Cattershall Lock

Monday morning and I certainly wasn’t going to be rushing around for anyone. We took our time, ran the washing machine again and then moved back to the water point to top the tank up. With this done we slowly made our way down stream. Catteshall Lock needed resetting, the two of us operating paddles and gates as plenty of gongoozlers looked on.

About to jump in again behind us

Trowers Footbridge was busy, two lads jumping into the river, had they seen us coming? A short toot of our horns and they knew we were there. We pulled in at the pub mooring for some food and then decided to carry on.

Blue blue skies

The sun was out and so was everyone. Approaching Unstead Lock we could see that we were following someone who was already on their way down. A dozen or so young people stood around the lock, music in the back ground, all a touch damp around the edges. As we approached, the bottom gates were being closed by them, brilliant we could fill the lock. They helped with the gates and watched patiently as we dropped down the lock. As soon as we were out of the way the gates were closed again and a figure at the top gates could be seen winding the paddles up. They’d been waiting to get their swimming pool back again. Each of them harmless, wanting to have fun, we just hope they understand the dangers of locks.

Waiting for us to go

At Broadford Bridge I waited in the bow with tape measure in hand. Mick slowed Oleanna right down so that the gap between our horns and the underside of the bridge could be measured. The gap was between 5 and 6 inches from this and the height board from the bridge I could work out our height above the water. We’ve had a height given to us before, but today with a full water tank and a half diesel tank we could do our own maths. 6ft 2ish, give or take half an inch, well if the river level board was correct.

2 meters minus 6 inches

6ft 2inches is the maximum height of Standedge Tunnel. Before the chimney was trimmed it sat at a similar height to the top of the horns, it being off centre had always worried us, hence it having been trimmed. We now know that when the time comes we’ll need to remove the horns from their bracket, giving us around 4 to 5 inches leeway.

Waiting for the lock to be set

St Catherines Lock basked in the sunshine again and then we were down in the reach of the river we planned on mooring in. My head and I could now take it easy. More swimmers and bridge jumpers were expected and they didn’t disappoint.

Rather a lovely mooring

We pulled in opposite the big posh houses/flats on the off side by the meadows. Further to walk into town from here but far more pleasant for Tilly, just so long as she keepst her tail down away from the electric fence!

Willow trees are great

3 locks, 600ft back and forth, 3.57 miles, 1 clean roof and side, 1 left, 2 pink pills, 4 none yellow yellow pills, 2nd horse, 14 swimmers, 6ft 2, 1 clean kettle, 1 sour dough woken up, 250 grams mince in the bin, 1 head on the mend.


Yesterdays Property

£379,000 for two bedrooms with painted floorboards and wonky walls.

https://www.hamptons.co.uk/buy/property/2-bedroom-semi-detached-house-in-surrey,gu7-ref-4822884/