Monday, 20 July 2009

Sonning to Shillingford Bridge

Monday

We said goodbye to our neighbours at about 10 am this morning as they were heading to Reading for a few days, we followed them up the river and passed them as they tried to get into different spots by the river. We pulled in at Tesco to do some shopping and some how they ended up tied on the outside of us again. About an hour later when Diana returned loaded down with bags we did a bit of a shuffle. We left to carry on up stream and they pulled in against the bank. While all this was going on I spotted nb. Water Witch going by. Years ago we owned a share in this boat and David and Chris, fellow shares still own the whole boat.

We caught up with them at Caversham lock, but not before a hire cruiser tried to overtake me on the bend approaching the lock, only to meet another cruiser and a Narrowboat coming down stream, so he had to drop back inline.  I held Harnser while Diana went to the lock to talk to Dave and Chris, at the same time she agreed to deliver a package from the lock to the lock keeper at Oxford, the strange thing is we have done this service before but in the opposite direction.

We passed Water Witch by Reading Marine and spent a bit of time going along side by side chatting, as luck would have it there was room for both of us in Maple Durham, after this we bid our farewells and headed on without them.
As we left Goring lock I pulled over to the landing stage so that Diana could walk back to below the lock to dump the rubbish, while I was here a small electric day boat shot out from above the weir and headed up stream. When we arrived at the next lock the Narrowboat we had shared Goring lock with was still waiting below the lock but the electric launch had managed to get in the lock, but once in the lock managed to get his rear mooring rope round his prop. This caused some delay in him departing with the lock keeper minus his shirt laying on the lock side reaching down to the prop to unravel things. The end result was a kitchen knife to cut the line close to the prop so he could continue on his way and we could enter the lock.
As we locked up President and Kildare arrived below the lock breasted up. Once out of the lock we both pulled over for water and I was able to get some photos of President steaming into and out of the lock. Once filled with water we continued on our way and much to my surprise we caught up with President, more photos as she piled the coal on as she steamed up stream ahead of us, I then over took her, the first time I have ever done that, its usually a case of when you get behind President you stay there until one of you stops for the night. When we got to Wallingford Bridge I eased off so she could catch up and I could get a few more photos, I then let them pass me and we followed them to Benson lock where they locked up ahead of us. The next time we saw them they were moored just above Shillingford bridge, in the trees and we moored about a 100 yards further on. By now it was gone 7 30 pm. Outside the Shillingford Bridge Hotel some of the cruiser owners were worried about catching the dreaded mooring rope virus and the end boat was occupying some 150 feet of mooring, the next one along must have had the best part of 30 feet between him and the next boat. A cruiser arrived just ahead of us and they refused to move along and let him in.  Later in the evening when we were returning from walking the dog  in the failing light a chap in a suit from the hotel was collecting mooring fees from them when 3 hire cruisers with French crews onboard arrived and tried to moor, Even the suited gent couldn't get them to move closer.

You will find our latest position at
http://tinyurl.com/Harnser-s-route

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