And so to Wallingford

The evening of the 27th August was lovely so we sat outside on the bank. Whilst enjoying the weather I noticed a damsel fly perched on our flagpole, and managed to get a picture.

cheeky visitor

quiet spot on the Thames

We had been alone at this spot at the start of the day but then others had the same idea, many lighting BBQ’s for their evening meal.

one of the many Grebe we have seen

The next stage of our journey I didn’t take pictures as we were retracing our steps from earlier in the year.

August Bank Holiday and we were up with the larks again and set off early. Goring was very busy with boats, so a good job we didn’t want to stop. We shared the lock here with a cruiser who had gone past us. All was going well until Charlie missed the bollard with the stern rope, then not realising part of it had fallen in the water, which in turn meant it getting ravelled around the prop. Engine off quickly, but once the lock filled we then let the cruiser go, manually pulled Breakaway out of the lock and onto the landing so Charlie could get down the weed hatch to release the aforementioned rope. Luckily it hadn’t wrapped too many times round so he was able to get it free. Phew! We then had a lock free stretch to Wallingford. We were planning to carry on and check out the moorings further up, but as we had had a stressful morning, and there were moorings on the town council stretch we pulled in. It was immensely busy being hot, sunny and bank holiday. The swimming pool was packed, and it was noisy, but even so we decided to stay.

Angie the council representative who collects the £5 nightly mooring fee arrived at 8am, on Tuesday, and she kindly said we could stay for a week. Although it was 3miles from where our friends Carol and Steve had their B&B, it was handy for car parking.

As the weather was still set fair we decided to partake of an early morning swim. When we stayed here last time in April the pool wasn’t open, being open air, but heated. On Wednesday I also arranged a Sainsbury shop. In the afternoon more boats were arriving and we allowed a cruiser and a narrowboat to breast alongside till a space became available for them. In the afternoon I walked into Wallingford for a look round, and found The Blackadder boxed set of DVD’s in a charity shop for £4.99.

Thursday 31st August and we had another early morning swim. Carol and Steve arrived just after lunchtime, and after a sandwich we had another pootle into town. The free music festival called Bunkfest starts on Friday 1st September, and everyone arriving for it by boat says it’s very good. Steve purchased a programme of events so we can see what is going on. We then had another boat alongside for 2 nights. We don’t mind but have to warn about Izzy taking umbrage! The gentleman on the narrowboat dropped by and gave us a bottle of red wine to say thankyou for allowing him to breast up. How kind was that.

Summer has returned

The last few days have been lovely again, but the mornings are definately autumnal.

early morning mist

We stayed at Poplar Eyot on Monday and took advantage of the free mooring and did some internal housework. Don’t know how it gets so dusty inside! I also ordered a car to take us and our stuff back to Cornwall in November. It has been overcast all day, so doing housework seemed the sensible thing to do.

Tuesday 21st August and we moved back to Sonning for one night. We had to negotiate Shiplake lock along the way. As it was before 9am it was self service at the lock. All started well but as the mechanical procedure started to lift the sluices it all cut out. The only option now was to use the wheel to do the work. We had done this before at Marsh lock and it wasn’t any easier this time (and I hadn’t even had my weetabix by this point either). Two boats were coming down so between us all we shared the opening and closing of the lock gates. Sanitary station after so stopped to do the business and fill up with water. Sonning lock was manned by the time we got there so nothing for us to do except secure the lines. I had a walk along the towpath and the little tree pixie house had been virtually destroyed. The toadstools had gone, the ivy round the door had gone and the door had been damaged. Why do people do this? I really don’t understand their mentality. It was a wonder the pixie doorknocker was still there. Such a shame.

Wednesday 23rd August and we were up early again to move toward Reading. We managed to get in at the Tesco mooring and I set off with the trolley to get a few supplies until we can find somewhere suitable for a Sainsbury delivery. On my return I was greeted with “we are not stopping here”. A boat moored opposite had started it’s bongo drums music and it was only 10.30!

boats moored opposite Tesco Reading

I don’t know why but this one reminded me of the pirates of the caribbean. Room for lots of bongo drums

Off again and through Caversham lock. The moorings by the park were virtually empty and we were tempted to stop to explore Reading, but it was the weekend of the Reading music festival, where apparently 100,000 visitors were expected to attend. It was only Wednesday and things were getting busy already.

Reading festival anyone?

Queue’s already forming. Security looked busy as they were checking everyone’s bags before entry.

The area of the festival stretches all along the riverbank and even on the other side where camping was apparent. So we moved along hoping to get in at Mapledurham; but no there were many boats moored and the spaces that were available were too shallow for us and our days of leaping are over.

autumnal trees

mother and baby for my friend Amanda

We ended up at Pangbourne on their 24hr moorings. I did ring the council number to ask if longer was an option but at the moment it is under consultation. I think we surprised a cruiser crew though when we offered them to breast up; they declined the offer but said we were the first narrowboat to ever make such an offer! Well done us.  We walked into Pangbourne to the Co-op there and purchased more jars of our favourite olives so now have a small stash. The sunset in the evening was spectacular.

evening sunset at Pangbourne

Thursday 24th August and off again this time stopping at Beale park. There are signs stating 24hrs free so we moored up. There was already a dutchbarge moored further up that we had shared a lock with 2 days before so they were obviously not taking any notice of the sign. We walked Izzy along and found a place to moor further along in open farmland with no signs at all. At least our conscience will be clear.

Weather getting warmer again and sunnier, and Friday 25th August we did an early morning shuffle to our chosen mooring spot. Being B/H weekend we usually stay somewhere quiet if we can to avoid the hustle and bustle that usually occurs. We also have our friends coming on the 31st August, so wanted to hold back from the Wallingford area if we could. Lovely spot.

view from our mooring

We walked into Beale park for a look round. I had taken Izzy for a long walk in the morning and found someone’s fishing permit; so after investigating the fishing club’s website found a phone number. After speaking with a chap it was decided I could leave the aforementioned fishing permit at the reception area at the park. Good deed done for the day!!

Beale park was opened in 1956 being the inspiration of Gilbert Beale. He had a passion for peacocks and had 300 of them. They still roam the park today (maybe not the same ones though). The park covers over 300 acres and was originally farm land. It was established as a charitable trust, and the bird collection includes owls, parrots, and exotic wildfowl. It also has a collection of small mammals and it houses the National collection of model boats. It also has a kiddies swimming pool and play area so was very busy around this area. Gilbert Beale died in 1967 aged 99yrs. There is a charge for entry but it is reasonable and it gives you a short train ride on the park’s train. Some pictures follow of our visit.

meeting Buddha

lovely gardens

stone monkeys

beautiful dahlia’s


basking in the sun

mum and baby

meerkat on duty

a spitfire that had been in Cornwall till 2 years ago.

We took out a mortgage for a coffee and muffin to keep us going till we got back to the boat.

Saturday 26th August and it is our son’s birthday, so we surprised him with a video link via FB. Another sunny and hot day. I didn’t choose the right day for the oven being on, but I managed to make a cheesecake (using up some soft out of date ginger biscuits for the base, a small amount of soft cheese that I had left over, and 3 flat peaches); homemade pizza; gingerbread and a small loaf. Quite satisfying to get things done in my small oven.

Today sunny and hot, mornings are still misty.

morning mist

Decision time as to whether to move forward or back to the elsan point before our visitors arrive. We are planning a move tomorrow, but I think Charlie wants to go forward to check out moorings for next weekend.

Sonning to Henley on Thames

We are having a quiet Sunday so as I have lots of pictures since the last blog thought I would do another one.

We had a relaxing 3 days at Sonning. We had a good walk with Izzy to the outskirts of Reading in the morning of Friday 18th August, and saw this little gem on the way.

nobody was at home

Just hope this stays intact and nobody vandalises it. Chatting to some locals though it transpires that Uri Gellar left a bent spoon sculpture at Sonning before he left, but the locals didn’t like it and had it taken down.

Sonning church

dutch barges are very popular on the Thames

I had a walk at lunchtime with Izzy to the lock as the sky was looking dark and ominous. I spied a small boat flying the St Piran’s flag in the lock and called out asking where they came from. To my surprise they answered Roche! Small world. She told me to have a pasty when we got back, but I said we weren’t going back till November; but we will definately have one then.

I just got back to the boat when the heavens opened and we had a thunderstorm and heavy rain. This carried on for about an hour.

Saturday 19th August and we were on the move nice and early. The lock keepers don’t start till 9am so we did the lock on our own. Easy to do as there are instructions and they are electric.

leaving Sonning lock 

We carried on to Shiplake lock as there was a  sanitary station there and once dealt with we carried on. I was just about to turn the lock in our favour when we spied a boat coming up, so we waited for them. It was the hotel boat Tranquil Rose who we had seen before on the K&A.

Hotel boat Tranquil Rose entering the lock

and in the lock

I worked the mechanism for them. They were heading for Reading for the pump out as the one at Shiplake was broken; but they were then turning and going back toward Kingston with their guests.

Thames views

Thames houses with river frontage. Dread to think the cost and upkeep of these.

interesting boat

We decided to head for Henley and take some photos; we didn’t want to venture too far downstream as we had to get back toward Wallingford for the end of the month. The plan was to take photo’s turn round and head back. As we entered Henley I spied some moorings and told Charlie to pull in, but he carried on! We ended up on the regatta moorings. Now this weekend there was a Rewind festival of 80’s music that we had been told about but temporarily had forgotten. It was further downstream but multitudes of people were walking down the path to it, and many ferry boats were up and down all day taking people to it also. We were bumping up and down like never before. We decided to stay one night only at £10 a night. We had a brief walk into Henley for a few supplies and the town was also very busy.

entering Henley

Angel pub before Henley Bridge

another desirable “des res”

We had a quiet afternoon on the stern deck watching all the boats go up and down. Opposite us was  the Phyllis Court Club and there was a wedding going on.

I spied the bride

and the bridesmaids

the wedding venue

amphibious car

Off again early this morning. I mentioned to Charlie about stopping at the town council moorings but he had other plans. We shared Marsh lock with a cruiser, and had to work it manually as the electric had been turned off to stop the festival goers fiddling with the lock (so we were told). I managed a few more early morning shots of Henley along the way.

Henley views

18th century Henley bridge

carving of Thames

and Isis on the bridge


another smart residence after Marsh lock

We were pulled up and moored by 10am in a nice quiet spot. Sunday lunch in the oven and blog all updated with many new photo’s. May need to have a sleep this afternoon to make up for all the rocking last night!

Sunday view from the stern

our quiet spot at a place called Poplar Eylot

Newbury to the River Thames

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.

lift bridge after the lock in Abingdon

some rather smart horses in a field. many had yellow straps around their necks. I was wondering if they were security tags as the horses were certainly thoroughbreds. Maybe my friend Amanda knows.

a couple of heavy cobs in the same field reminding me of my horse Miranda

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.

moorings at Theale

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.

birthday cake

I shared the cake with everyone, and Mary and I went blackberrying again.

evening get together on my birthday

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.

Mary and Stephen leading the way off the Kennet

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.

Gaol arm in Reading

Through Blakes lock then waved goodbye to Mary and Stephen. It will be strange not being with them after almost 3months.

Kennet mouth

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.

Summer holidays

The weather is certainly school holiday weather. It has changed dramatically, but mustn’t complain as the canal certainly needs topping up. The summit pound where we had got grounded a couple of weeks ago is now closed to navigation for a while; just glad we are past there. Since my last blog we have stopped at Froxfield, Hungerford, Kintbury and now Newbury.

At Hungerford we stayed for 48hrs on two different sites. Went to the market on Wednesday and managed to get a toasting fork and a tripod for the camera. 2 things we had been searching for. Thursday 3rd August after arriving at Kintbury, we just managed to speak to our grandson in Oz for his 8th birthday, as the connection wasn’t very good. Mary and Stephen have been slightly ahead of us; as we catch them up it is time for them to move on!

We had a lovely surprise at Kintbury. They have a horse drawn trip boat here, and we were lucky enough to have it go past the boat. The following pictures show how they get the ropes over the moored boats.

starting off

lifting the ropes over the boats

man on roof also lifting the ropes

Charlie with the pole ready to help if necessary

beautiful horse

nearly through

and through the bridge

happy passengers

It was the highlight of this last week’s trip. We didn’t hear it come back in the evening, and suddenly the horse was walking past us. I had Izzy on my lap and she was shaking; she has never been that close to an animal that big before.

Saturday 5th August and we set off really early for Newbury.

an unusual storage option that we saw along our journey

We met Ozzie fuel boat in one of the locks and topped up with diesel and a new gas bottle. New experience for us filling up in the lock! We just got moored in Newbury above Newbury lock when a thunderstorm started, with thunder, lightening and torrential rain. We had managed to get the stern hood up but not the sides so got a bit wet whilst putting it all together.

On Sunday we moved down to Victoria Park moorings on a 48hr bit. We were last here 3 months ago. It doesn’t seem possible that the time has gone that quickly. Mary has returned home to see her new nephew, so Stephen joined us for pie and mash and a couple of bevvies. More sunshine and showers today. I had a walk through the park to Aldi; then we had a look in the chandlers here that is closing down, but didn’t see anything we needed. And a walk into town for a look round once more with Charlie (he didn’t look round last time). We are invited to Stephen’s for supper this evening, then we will be off again tomorrow. Shouldn’t be long now before we are back on the Thames, and then decisions as what to do next.

Moving on from Devizes

I had forgotten to mention in my last blog that I had a complete catastrophe with my contact list on my new phone. Silly us thought that the contacts were stored on the phone; but no they are stored on the Icloud thingamy; so when we were trying to sort out the old phone we hadn’t switched off the icloud on it, so the system thought the 2 phones were actually one; therefore when tidying up the old phone and clearing numbers that Charlie didn’t want, it cleared them from mine also. Panic ensued with multiple messages to my son who I could tell was despairing at us old folk tackling with technology. I have managed to get some contacts back, and emailed others, but I am sure I have lost a few forever. In Devizes I bought a small address book as back up.

Anyway after that little disaster we moved from Devizes after our 72hr stay, and headed for Horton and the Bridge Inn.

narrow canal that should be for wide beams

We had a meal there on the way through before so decided to treat ourselves again. We both had burgers and it didn’t disappoint as once again we had a lovely meal. The school holidays have arrived and so the weather has changed as usual to overcast, wet and windy. On Friday 21st July it was forecast for wet and windy weather so we shuffled along from the pub onto a rough patch and stayed there. It rained all afternoon and we noticed we still had a leak in the saloon. Saturday we took some solar lights out of the kitchen window (as that was the only difference), to see if it cured the problem.

back in the Vale of the White Horse

Sunday we moved again and wanted to stop at All Cannings, but it was full of continuous moorers and their power tools, so carried on to Honeystreet. The pub there had been closed the last time we were here, but now it was open. I checked with the landlord if it was ok to have Sainsbury deliver to their carpark and he gave the thumbs up; so I ordered my Sainsbury shop for Monday. A bit later than I usually like but the driver was 20mins early, and he helped us back to the boat with our bags. We heard from Mary and Stephen again; and they decided not to stop at All Cannings either and caught us up. We had drinks on the towpath.

cattle grazing the neolithic hill

Tuesday 25th July and we were up early and set off before Mary and Stephen. We topped up with water so I could keep up with the washing and headed for Pewsey. Although busy we managed to get moored on the end of the visitor moorings, and Mary and Stephen managed to get in behind us. We walked into Pewsey, and I investigated the Co-op for our favourite olives; success they had some so I bought all they had, now safely stored onboard. I had invited Mary and Stephen for supper and we managed to sit outside in the evening to eat. I even managed to send my food parcel to Oz (Shreddies, Doritos and monster munch);very expensive to send so won’t be doing that very often. Will have to wait and see if Oz customs allow it through. Wednesday 26th July it rained all day so stayed inside.

Thursday 27th July and we moved again. Had a short stop at Wooten Rivers (I wanted to stay, but Charlie didn’t); so headed off and got caught in heavy rain. We managed to share the locks into Crofton with a hireboat; but I wasn’t expecting to do 10 locks that day; we also got grounded on the summit pound after a widebeam boat went past as the water levels are very low. The hireboat pulled us off successfully. We got to Crofton, shortly after Mary and Stephen arrived, and we all partook of a few glasses of wine before supper! Another surprise in that an ex patient cruised past us on their hireboat; so had a brief chat with them as they had to get back to the boatyard in Aldermaston. Small world.

Friday 28th July was very wet and windy which also made it very cold. We were joined by Laura and Alison on nbLarge Marge. We had heard all about them from Mary and Stephen (they had bought their boat from them). They breasted against our two boats as no room. We had supper all together on Mary and Stephens boat, and had a lovely evening.

Saturday 29th July and Crofton pumping station was having a steaming weekend so we decided to go before moving again. They were doing a promotional video with Phil Harding from Time Team.

steaming up at the pumping station

Phil Harding not looking too happy

the dynamo’s were working

stoking up the boilers

full steam ahead

Only one of the two beam engines were working, but good to see what they could do; the water it was pumping was going back to help fill the summit pound.

Large Marge managed to get moored in front after a few boats moved; and Izzy was totally fascinated with their parrot; so much so that she didn’t want to move from their window.

2 very different boats in size

Izzy’s new friend

After our pumping station visit we headed off again in the rain through 4 locks to Great Bedwyn. Again very busy so breasted up against Mary and Stephen’s boat for the night. We are getting good at all this.

Today we managed to get moored up properly. Another showery day, so lazy Sunday. We will be off again tomorrow. This is now the part of the canal that will have locks on each journey; and so the hard work begins again. We also think we may have cured the leak so fingers crossed.

Behind again with the blogging!

The time seems to be whizzing along although we are not. We had a nice quiet weekend on our countryside mooring after the locks at Semington. The canal is reasonably quiet at the moment; a few hire boats, and others like ourselves just passing through.

On Monday 10th July we were moving again for a rendezvous with a second cousin of mine (my mother’s cousin’s daughter) and her husband; we are never quite sure what the relationship is, but have been in touch for a number of years now. Sandra and Brian live in Essex, and have a daughter that lives nearby to where we were moored; they travelled to visit us in their motorhome and combined it with a visit to their daughter. We had to get through some locks to meet them so were up early and on our way to Sells Green, managing to get moored with the bow on the very end of the visitor moorings, and the stern in the rough and way off the bank; so plank out once more. We met Sandra and Brian at The Three Magpie’s pub for lunch, and they had managed a parking slot in the nearby campsite. It was lovely to see them and catch up, but sadly didn’t take any photo’s of them this time. In the evening Izzy had a good play with Sandra’s GSD puppy and another terrier type in the campsite’s dog field. The weather has remained very warm and humid, and for these few days it remained overcast. Tuesday 11th July we said goodbye to Sandra and Brian, hopefully we see them again soon. In the afternoon we had heavy rain (the first for a while), and we noticed that we had water coming in from somewhere; summising it was probably the kitchen window, although not sure. We needed to turn the boat around to sort it out as the window was canalside and Charlie couldn’t see properly whilst hanging off the gunwales. So Wednesday 12th July we moved along a short way to Foxhangers wharf, as there was a winding hole there and we could easily turn the boat round and reverse back to the mooring spot. Charlie resealed the offending window; hoping it is going to sort the problem. We will have to wait for the rain again to see. Later in the day we walked up the locks with Izzy to Caen Hill.

Thursday 13th July and we moved up 6 locks to a rough mooring before the Caen Hill flight, and decided we would stay for the weekend as no time restriction.

our rough mooring for the weekend

our water garden from the kitchen window

We heard from our boating friends Mary and Stephen, informing us that they have left Bristol and heading for Bath. We were planning to do the 16 locks of the Caen Hill flight on Monday, but had an alert from crt that the flight was opening late (10am instead of 8am), due to a broken paddle needing fixing on one of the locks within the flight. On Saturday we were able to get onto one of the 48hr visitor mooring slots in the pound below the flight, so we decided we would move up the locks on Sunday as they open. The weekend had remained overcast but warm.

ready to do the Caen Hill flight again

and another view

Up and atom on Sunday 16th July; early breakfast and into the bottom lock as the lock keeper arrived to unlock the flight. A hire boat that had been moored behind travelled up with us. It took 2 hours and 30mins for us to do the 16 locks. Charlie did the lock wheeling and I handled the boat. I managed to get a shot of this chap overseeing the proceedings.

heron surveying the view from the lock bridge

There was no one travelling down the flight which was very unusual for a weekend; and we stopped on the 24hr moorings at the top of the flight. As we had done the whole of the 29 locks in one go on the way down; it was nice to take our time and split it up on the way up.

Another 6 locks negotiated on Monday 17th July and again another stop at Devizes Wharf, as we didn’t stop here on the way through. 72hr moorings here; and it is quiet on the towpath as it is closed for upgrading. Tuesday 18th July and we walked into Devizes for a look round.

Wadworth’s brewery building. They still deliver locally with Shire horses and dray.

Wadworths are the biggest in this area owning many pubs.

market place view

memorial fountain for a former member of parliament. Haven’t a clue who the chap is.

another memorial that has a funny story attached to it. Apparently in the 1700’s 3 women agreed to purchase a bag of wheat for a certain price. When the money was counted it was found to be a shortfall. One of the women was asked to pay the difference, but she was so adamant that she had paid her dues, she said “let me drop down dead if this is not true”; and subsequently she actually did. There is a moral there somewhere.

We purchased a couple of items, and I found another barbers for a haircut. Checked out the charity shops as always (much to Charlie’s disgust), but managed to find 2 nice shirts in them. I’m also investigating whether I can send a box of Shreddies to Oz as the grandkids cannot get them there. The post office lady said I couldn’t but so far I’ve not found anything to suggest I can’t.

Today I set off early for a haircut (£8.50 my kinda price), and had a quiet mooch around the shops on my own. Overnight we had some rain with thunder, but no further water leaks thank goodness. We will be moving again tomorrow to hopefully stop at Horton and The Bridge Inn. We had a nice meal there before so we may treat ourselves again. I also need an easy access place for Sainsbury to deliver.

Moving along slowly

Catching up with things we didn’t see on the way through. I marked all the good moorings in our canal book so we know where to moor successfully.

From Bath we stopped at Bathampton and arranged for a Sainsbury delivery at the pub carpark there.The weather has done a dramatic change since we left Bristol, and is more overcast; so our solar panels aren’t doing so well.

After our early food delivery on Friday 30th June we moved to Claverton, managing to do a clothes wash along the way as we knew we could top up with water at Dundas.

Saturday 1st July, a new month and doesn’t the time fly in retirement! It was a cloudy start but the sun did make an appearance later. We walked to Claverton pumphouse, but it was closed and only open on certain days when they have special pumping days.

Claverton pumping station is a waterwheel powered beam engine. A Grade 2 listed building built in 1813 to raise water from the River Avon to the Kennet and Avon canal. It has been restored by volunteers and is a rare surviving example of Georgian technology.

Warleigh weir is in this area and is very popular as a picnic site and many people swimming in the water.

Warleigh weir on the River Avon which runs alongside the canal in places

Next we visited the local church and to our surprise within the grounds is a Ralph Allen memorial. Apparently he was the founder of the modern post office in the 1700’s. But on his tomb it showed he started work in the post office in St Columb when he was 17. Now that was the surprise.

Ralph Allen memorial

may just be able to read his life’s work on this plaque

It’s always good to see history linking up around our travels. The village of Claverton is very select and built of the same stone as Bath and Bradford on Avon. Dread to think the cost of these.

Claverton church

Victoria gets everywhere! This was on a converted building

The view over the valley

Sunday 2nd July and we decided to stay an extra night (naughty as only 48hrs); but it was quiet and no queue’s for mooring. Sunny day again and warming up. Did some maintenance on the boat and spoke to the grandchildren in Australia via FB messenger.

Monday 3rd July and we were off early to Dundas setting the washing machine again, filling with water and doing the necessary sanitary. Noticed a boat on the 48hr moorings that was there when we passed through the first time. There seems to be alot of local boats that do this; just wish they wouldn’t overstay on the visitor moorings. Stopped at Avoncliff as we couldn’t get moored here the first trip. Another aqueduct here but it isn’t as grand as the Dundas one, but built by the same architect John Rennie.

Avoncliff aqueduct

Jazzy train

River Avon

3 arched aqueduct from ground level. Built in 1804 it suffered from casual repair work over the years by GWR; but has now been tastefully restored.

Avoncliff is a small community that started as a centre of weaving. At one time the mills here were used for flocking (mattress stuffing). The old weavers cottages and mills are now converted into dwellings. There was also a hospital here at one stage that took patients to Bradford for treatment by barge; the nurses had to stretcher the patients on and off the barge!

sign at the station

Avoncliff weir on the river

local pub

pub garden

Tuesday 4th July and we moved to Bradford on Avon. We walked into town and I checked out the co-op to see if they sold our favourite olives; but no they didn’t. Back on the boat and 2 firemen came past offering fire safety advice and they gave us 2 smoke alarms and 1 carbon monoxide detector, despite us saying we already had them fitted. Think they have their work cut out though with the state of some of the boats on this canal. Later in the afternoon a chap moored behind us and we got chatting; it transpired he came from Dartford (where I was born). Small world.

Wednesday 5th July and as I didn’t have a good signal and couldn’t update the blog we walked Izzy around Bradford Farm park, and then visited the museum in the afternoon, which was very interesting. Another very hot day.

The Shambles

looking down the Shambles

more Bradford views

Having seen all we want in Bradford and our time on the 48hr mooring was up; we set off early on Thursday morning to beat the heat. Through Bradford lock at 7am. More washing done. Water topped up above the lock. Stopped briefly at Hilperton to have breakfast and popped to Lidl for a few bottles of our favourite wine and some other goodies as well. Off again to the boatyard to fill up with diesel, and stopped at Semington, managing to squeeze into a Breakaway sized space. It is 24hrs here as I had written it on the way through, but somebody has removed the sign, and more non continuous, continuous cruisers moored here! Friday 7th July and we moved off and are now on a rough mooring just outside Semington. We can stay here for the weekend (to avoid the hire boat traffic); and we will move on Monday as we have a rendezvous with a second cousin of mine at The Three Magpie’s pub in Sells Green. As I had bought ingredients for a cream tea I made some scones. I had been seeing all the tea rooms in Bath offering them, so made my own much cheaper.

yummy, but no good for the diet!!

From Bristol to Bath

On my last blog I was very excited when I finally had it up to date with our adventures. Suddenly another week has gone by, and I find myself behind again!

Wednesday 21st June was another very hot day; we were going to visit Clifton and the bridge but decided it would be too uncomfortable so caught up on the washing and blog. Izzy had been upset by the heat as well. We invited Mary and Stephen over for lunch as in the evening we were all going onboard The Matthew for a fish and chip cruise. There was also a music festival over a five day period in Millenium Square, but we couldn’t hear it where we were moored. We went on board the Matthew at 6pm and set off for a gentle cruise along the harbour to the entrance of Cumberland basin; turned around and moored whilst we had our supper. It was quite a cool breeze going along which was very pleasant after the intense heatwave we had been experiencing.

onboard The Matthew

Beautiful evening

Thursday 22nd June and what a change in the weather. It had dropped 10 degrees overnight, and now we were feeling cold, despite this being the normal temp for the time of year. We had a few tasks to do in Bristol before leaving; new phone contract (old phone not enough storage), and visit to Primarni for a few chosen items. Mary and Stephen had invited us for supper to their boat in the evening, as we were leaving Friday and they were staying on in Bristol for another week. Hopefully we will meet up again somewhere on the K&A soon.

Friday 23rd June and we were leaving the harbour and heading back to Bath. We left early to empty cassettes before the ferry boats started; we encountered canoeists along the way to Netham Lock; and on arrival at the lock we had to wait till 9am for it to open as there had been a high tide. Another boat came along before we set off so we ended up sharing the locks along the journey. We wanted to get a mooring somewhere near to Bath city centre, as our friends Amanda and Shirley were visiting from Cornwall for the weekend. The proposed mooring was undergoing renovation and I didn’t fancy stopping there so we travelled through the first 3 Bath locks and moored along the first stretch of 48hr moorings.

Saturday 24th June and Amanda and Shirley arrived by lunchtime. This gave us time to find a place for lunch and do a bit of sightseeing. We lunched in Brown’s, and after went into the Roman Baths. This proved to be a very interesting excursion, through the vast excavations of the site. Much bigger than I had thought by looking at the outside entrance. An audio guide keeps you busy with all the history of the remains.

Roman baths. Re-incarnated in Georgian times so the gentry could partake of the spa waters

Goddess Minerva I believe

a Roman drain

channel where the thermal water flows into the pool

roman excavations

and more

Sunday 25th June and we met up by the Abbey, and walked to Royal Crescent

town houses in Royal Crescent

shame about the cars

These listed town houses were once owned by wealthy Georgians, who wanted a place to retreat to from their mansions. No 1 has been tastefully redecorated in the style, but we didn’t visit on Sunday. The one that has the tree around it’s frontage is a hotel (£1500 per night), they are not allowed to put signs up outside to show it is a hotel. Charlie decided to head on back to the boat whilst we ladies did a bit of shopping. We headed for Sally Lunn’s for elevensies but it was full, so opted for tea and a bath bun in the tea rooms opposite. When the Abbey opened at 1pm we had a peak inside.

Bath Abbey founded as a Benedictine monastery in the 8th century. The present Abbey built in 1499. Dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII. 1700’s many monuments are added to the walls. Repairs in the 20th century due to WW2 bomb damage

main stained glass window

vaulted ceiling

one of the many tombs

butterfly artwork depicting the human struggle of migration

chantry chapel for quiet contemplation

main altar

memorial to the first governor of Australia

another elaborate fan vaulted ceiling

another tomb

I was quite pleased with the photo’s as I took them on my new phone. We went back to the boat for dinner that I had already prepared, and Amanda and Shirley had purchased some dessert from a french patisserie.

waiting patiently for dinner

They left us at 7pm as they were travelling back to Cornwall early on Monday to avoid the Glastonbury traffic. Lovely to see them.

Monday 26th June and we needed to move from the 48hr mooring we were on along to the next one 3 locks up, so we could continue our Bath adventure and complete our holiday! Once moored we set off for No 1 Royal Crescent to look around the refurbished Georgian house.

No 1 Royal Crescent

breakfast room

bureau with many books from the period


dining room. tables can be taken apart and stored in alcoves if a dancefloor required after dinner

privacy screen. chamberpots were used as no toilets within the house. pots were in most of the rooms

staircase ascending 3 floors

ladies bedroom

gentlemans sitting room

housekeepers room below stairs


cooking range

dog wheel to turn the roasting spit before animal welfare was thought of


The house was owned by a wealthy gentleman and when he died all of his possessions were sold. The items in the renovated house today are of the era, but none belonged to him; even so a fascinating insight to Georgian gentry.

Afterwards we decided to see if we could get into Sally Lunn’s tea room. Legend has it that she was a french Huguenot girl that found employment with a local baker, and introduced him to french festival type cakes or bunns; these were served at afternoon teas as they were light and delicious, which soon became part of Baths tradition. The building is very old with foundations linking back to Roman times, and the museum underneath shows the excavated floor of the different era’s.

Sally Lunn’s tea room

museum below the shop

how the bunns would have been made

strange carving in the museum

the bunn served with clotted cream and jam

We did get in and had the above with a pot of tea. The bunns can be served savoury or sweet, and you either get a top or bottom, and eat it with a knife and fork.

Tuesday 27th June and I had booked us into the Thermae bath spa (Cross bath), to experience the thermal waters. The Cross bath is across the road from the main spa and is alot cheaper as no other treatments are involved. For 1.5hrs we bobbed around in lovely warm water

bobbing around

and thoroughly enjoyed the experience; also got to keep the flip flops!! Afterwards we popped into another tea room and had tea and a bath bun. We then had a walk along the riverside to Pulteney weir and bridge.

unusual shape for a weir

trip boat returning

Pulteney bridge

looking back at the weir and bridge

There was once moorings before the weir but these have been discontinued which is a shame as it is a lovely spot.

On returning to the boat felt really tired after the warm bath.

Raining today and we have to move again; only a short hop to the next lot of 48hr moorings which looks over Bath city. Think we have seen all we want to, and sampled all the delights, so we now feel our holiday is over.

More of our Bristol adventures

So much to do and so little time! And the weather improving a little bit too much for comfortable sightseeing.

Friday 16th June and another windy day although sunny, and we decided to head for the @Bristol Science centre. We had a great time although it is mainly aimed at children; it was fully interactive, and with the addition of an armband that you can scan along the way, enabling the visitor to look  back on their visit via the website.

Charlie in a large hamster wheel

undercarriage of an Airbus A320

Remember Morph? 

We also had a 30min trip around the solar system courtesy of the 3D planetarium. Quite disorientating to start with but excellent.

visiting the planets

doing a space walk!

Our visit started to coincide with school parties so we were then surrounded by large groups of them. Luckily it didn’t impact on our visit, and it was nice to see the children interested in science stuff. I had a bit of a disaster as I caught my foot on a bench leg and took a tumble (no harm done and no one watching) ; then managed to spill my coffee in the coffee shop! We completed our visit and headed back to the boat for lunch.

Saturday 17th June it was Hot Hot Hot. We went off to the M Shed which is part of the Bristol museums group of free museums (donation appreciated though). 

It is a museum of Bristol life and people through the ages; and another very interesting collection.

view from the roof of the M shed.

It had a display of skeletons from Bristol and London that had all been found in various locations during building works. Very interesting to see that even in medieval times people suffered from tooth decay and osteoarthritis.

view along the harbour from the M shed

The afternoon and evening we spent up on deck under cover when rather alot of balloons came along; I’ve selected just 2 as there were too many to post.

just had to put this one in

Sunday 18th June and it’s Father’s day. Very hot again, and off we went early for a second visit to SS Great Britain, as Charlie hadn’t seen it all on our first trip. Free to get in with our annual ticket.

more from SS Great Britain

lavatories by royal appointment

first class promenade deck

butchering a porpoise

Walking back along the harbour Charlie said he would like a trip on the fireboat Pyronaut, so we booked a ticket for 13.45, and went back to the boat for coffee and cake, and returned at the alloted time. It was lovely and cool travelling along the harbour on the boat.

The boat no longer works as a fireboat but takes trips on certain weekends along the harbour to show the water canons in action. We travelled to Cumberland basin for this.

Pyronauts deck

water canons in action. the boat was extensively used in WW2

water spouts in the sky

proper dragon racing in action

Monday 19th June and we stayed at the boat trying to keep it and us cool, and I caught up with this Bristol trip blog (or many blogs as it is turning out). I did some washing as still have electric on the meter and water nearby. In the afternoon though we had a drunken youth climb up onto the roof of the boat and jump off into the water. Not to be recommended as the depth is only 1.5m, so he sustained a rather nasty laceration to his chest, and a telling off from us. The group did apologise but I sent an e mail to the harbour masters office to make them aware. This has been the first incident since we have been moored here.

Yesterday 20th June we headed off again early to visit the Bristol Museum and art Gallery, The Georgian House and The Red Lodge (all free but donation appreciated). We have visited most of the attractions we wanted to, but we are leaving visiting Clifton and the bridge as it is way too hot for man and beast.

Pliosaur exhibition in the museum

early flight

inside the Georgian house. Built and owned by John Pinney who earned his fortune from his sugar plantations in the Caribbean which sadly used slaves

dining room

housekeepers room

cold bath. Apparently John Pinney took a cold bath everyday



drawing room

bedroom. John Pinney settled in Bristol when he retired amassing a vast fortune which in today’s money would have equated to £17 million

the Red Lodge. Built in the 16th century, and has been a house and a school in it’s history

room in the red lodge

Elizabethan oak panelling and still intact as it would have been originally. The ceiling plasterwork is also of this period. The oldest 16th century survivor in Bristol

A well that was discovered in the house in 2010 after renovators dug up the flooring

garden laid in the elizabethan style

Back to the boat by 2pm and college students again collecting on the harbour pontoons in this nice weather. No trouble this time but we did see the lad who cut his chest; he needed 7 stitches, so maybe he may think twice about doing a stunt like that again. The harbour master replied to my e mail about the situation. Another group of students left their rubbish strewn along the pontoon, and a resident in the apartments above had been watching them and came down with a bag to clear it up, so we helped fish out the bottles etc from the harbour. Mostly though people take their rubbish away with them.

Today another day of searing 30 degree plus heat, so as we had decided not to venture out to Clifton I have done washing and more blogging, so now am totally up to date with our adventures. Tomorrow we will go into town to sort out the phone contract (hopefully), and we will leave on Friday heading back to Bath as we have 2 friends from Cornwall coming at the weekend. First though tonight we are going onboard the Matthew for a fish and chip cruise along with our friends Mary and Stephen.

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