Monday, June 20, 2016

Time for a catch-up!

I hadn’t realised that it had been so long since I wrote a post. This socialising can be a time-consuming business…
We sneaked an extra day on the Shelford moorings. They weren’t busy anyway and we were waiting for a diesel top-up.

Chris on Merchant moving up to fill Still Rockin’
He’d done Rock’n’Roll, it was our turn next.

So, on Thursday we headed off upstream, destination Runnymede. IMG_0322

Houseboats come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they!
I wonder how they black the hull…?

Chertsey Bridge, just before the first lock of the day.

One for you here, Paul. Either side of the bridge, on the left (west) bank, are 24 hour visitor moorings.

We all needed to top up water tanks. R’n’R had left 20 minutes ahead of us to fill and clear the water point before we arrived. You can moor two boats there but not three.

Taking on water at Chertsey Lock, R’n’R on the end of the lock landing behind.IMG_0329

In Chertsey Lock, with no lockie on duty Ann is doing the honours.IMG_0332

Overhauling SR at the M3 bridge


Remember what I said about houseboats?
Someone’s (pipe) dream…

A fine pair of Dutch bottoms…

Penton Hook Lock came…

…and went.
Quicker this one, with a duty lock keeper on hand.

We pulled in on the moorings in Staines for shopping and for me to collect a service kit for the Eberspacher water heater that I’d ordered from an ebay supplier. It came for collection to the local Argos store, a very useful service.

Moored in Staines, outside the Slug and Lettuce

We didn’t have much further to go after leaving Staines. The grumpy lockie at Bell Weir Lock was at lunch, so once again Ann took control of the buttons. We had another couple of boats in the lock for company, too.

We managed to secure good moorings at Runnymede, a good spot to stay for the weekend.IMG_0365

Kevin and Ann are on a one-boat sized mooring a few yards behind us.

We had a great weekend, topped off by a superb Sunday lunch on the back deck of Still Rockin’. We even managed to fit in a walk to see the Magna Carta monument and JFK’s memorial.

Memorial to President John F Kennedy

A new exhibit since we were last here is The Jurors. 20160618_123706 
Twelve bronze chairs, arranged as for a conference, are “decorated with images and symbols relating to past and ongoing struggles for freedom, rule of law and equal rights.” The artwork is by Hew Locke. 

Another job was the removal, servicing and re-installation of the water heater. I took the opportunity to paint the uxter plate where it fits while it was out of the way.

It started OK after connecting it up, but, although it’s better, it’s still not 100%. It’s sometimes unreliable on start-up, smoky and taking a couple of attempts to get going. I think it needs a new glow pin…
Ah well, there’s always something, isn’t there. B.O.A.T. – Bring Out Another Thousand.

We’ve had mixed weather, some sunny spells but also heavy thundery showers. Although a lot of CRT’s rivers are closed to navigation through strong stream or high water levels, the Thames is managed to prevent flooding by sluices at each lock. So the water came up and went down, and the flow increased a bit, but it was all very civilised.

Today we intended to move up to Windsor, but woke to heavy rain which looked set for the day. Kevin and Ann, hardy souls that they are, clad themselves in waterproofs and set off at shortly after nine. It turns out it was a good move…
After lunch the weather improved, the sun came out and the rain stopped. The decision was made; we follow R’n’R to Windsor.

The Lucy Fisher, operated by French Brothers, was built in 1982 for the film Greystoke.IMG_0384
A replica steam stern wheeler, she runs out of Runnymede Boathouse.

Ah, our first Thames kingfisher!
Sorry, not a good picture.

Through Old Windsor, it may not look much now…
I bet it’ll be nearly six figures when it’s finished!

Heathrow isn’t far away…

Old Windsor Lock

Sluices above Old Windsor Lock

Leaving Old Windsor the river makes a wide loop around Windsor Home Park.

After passing under Albert Bridge you start to get glimpses of Windsor Castle through the trees…
The Queen’s favourite Royal Residence, the castle is the oldest castle in the world still in continuous occupation.

The wheels came off at Romney Lock. We pulled onto the lock landing, and, although I saw the lockie moving about on the lock side, nothing seemed to be happening. I could see that the lock was full, but it didn’t seem to be emptying.
I walked up to find out what was happening and found the lockie winding the top gates shut by hand. It seems that the electro-hydraulic functions had conked out around lunchtime, so we were back to the old manual operations. And, believe me, it’s hard work! With George, myself, the lockie and the crew from the other three boats that had arrived behind us, we got the top gates and paddles closed, the bottom paddles and gates open then refilled the lock.

George takes at turn at winding the handle.
The gates inch open with agonising slowness…
Finally, after over an hour, we left the lock in the hands of a party of New Yorkers on a hire boat. Apparently, before they were mechanised, each manual lock had four lock-keepers to cope with a busy day of winding!

Heading into Windsor, one for the album, Carol.

Windsor’s Bath Island moorings were busy, but we found a spot under some trees with a fine view of the castle. IMG_0421

I walked around to find the others, and spotted a better mooring just past the channel behind the island. So we moved around. It’s sunny here.

Both cruises – Locks 5, miles 17

1 comment:

Carol said...

Great photo Geoff, don't forget to email me a copy! Great to see you both again wish it could have been for longer and hoping that all our 'iff's' come together for your 150th birthday celebrations in August. Love to you both xx