Tuesday 8th August and the weather for the rest of that week was forecast wet and windy. We shuffled a short way to get off the timed moorings and moored opposite the boatyard, where there were no time retraints. We had a lovely supper with Stephen the evening before. It turned out rainy all day so I made a gingerbread and also started an attempt at making a bow fender. We had heard from our friends Carol and Steve with a view to them visiting us at the end of the month; I had given them a few options and they have decided on Wallingford on the Thames. We finished our bow fender and it is a beast, just hope it fits!
Thursday 10th August and we set off with Stephen to Thatcham. Mary was still away so we got into a good rythm working the locks. We got held up at one though due to the low water levels. CrT operatives were at the lock letting water down as a boat had become grounded. We missed a photo moment in the Monkey Marsh turf lock though as 4 boats managed to squeeze in. One moored in Thatcham I walked to the co-op with Stephen and partook of some cheapies (reductions).
Friday 11th we stayed put as sunshine and showers prevailed. Saturday 12th August and we moved again to Woolhampton getting grounded along the way. Mnaged to get pulled free by Stephens boat. Mary was due back on Sunday but she made a surprise return on Saturday, so time for a glass or 2 of wine.
Sunday 13th August it was sunny so we had a couple of walks with Izzy around the fishing lakes. Blackberry picking in the afternoon and all washed and in the freezer. Home cooked roast beef with all the trimmings. Heard from Carol who informs me there is a music fest on at Wallingford on the weekend they are visiting. Argh!! thought we had it all sussed with moorings as well. May have to go back to the drawing board as to where we can moor. Monday 14th August and we had a along cruise to Theale. Still travelling with Mary and Stephen. Stopped at Abingdon for the necessary sanitary and water.
The locks are getting heavier again now we are back on the Kennet. Many of the balance beams are certainly not balanced and it takes a few people to actually move them.
Tuesday 15th August and it is my birthday. I had a walk into Theale with Mary checking out the co-op and the charity shop. Mary had invited us already for supper in the evening. This would be the last get together for a while as they are turning right on the Thames to get back onto the Oxford canal, and we are turning left to have a mooch toward Henley. We had a lovely meal of chilli and rice with lemon tart and blackberry sauce for desert. All washed down with red wine. Mary surprised me with a small birthday cake with candles but the wind wouldn’t allow them to stay lit for long.
I shared the cake with everyone, and Mary and I went blackberrying again.
Wednesday we set off early (07.30) to get onto the Thames. We had a fair way to travel and a few more heavy locks to negotiate.
At Reading we turned into the loop where the abbey ruins and gaol are, hoping to stay if we could. One boat already there moved off shortly after we arrived. Lovely moorings that would have been handy to explore Reading, but on the notice in the small print stated it was £9.50 per day, so we had a quick cuppa and moved on. If it had been 24hrs free then pay we would have stayed; think the council should rethink their payment policy as it might encourage more boats to stay there.
Through Blakes lock then waved goodbye to Mary and Stephen. It will be strange not being with them after almost 3months.
We cruised to the first lock at Sonning (arriving at 12.30) which is free for 24hrs then £5 per night (max 2 nights); so I phoned up the TVM (Thames visitor moorings), hotline and booked us in for 2 nights. Lovely spot in the sun watching all the boats going up and down.