Friday, 30 September 2011

A lock, a swing bridge, a lock, a swing bridge ...

The sun was still a little bit hazy ...
 ... as George went to set the first lock of the day as we left our mooring at Woolhampton yesterday morning just after 10.
Just below the lock is a swing bridge which carries a busy road and between the lock and bridge and just beyond there can be very strong currents (see Woolhampton).  Fortunately we weren't picking up crew at that point (they were walking) so it was foot down throttle in and through it - and it was quite fierce!
 The fallen trees still restrict the channel by 50% but it's still just passable
 Rock n Roll continues to be accompanied by tug Sirius as John takes her out of Aldermaston Lock where we need to stop to fill the water tanks
 I wonder which letter was originally between the 'a' and the 's' on this notice?
 A row of pretty houses between Aldermaston Lock and ...
... swing bridge where once through we pass ...
 ... lots of moored boats, some private and some hired ...
... and that boat in the middle of the picture looks suspiciously like Waiouru waiting patiently to be restored to her former beauty.
After Padworth Lock and Swing Bridge and Ufton Lock and Swing Bridge and Tyle Mill and Swing Bridge and Sullhampton Swing Bridge and Lock (for a bit of a change) we moored for the night just above Theale Swing Bridge and Sheffield Lock!
 Early morning sun on a horse chestnut tree across from our mooring at 8am this morning ...
 ... the leaves just above the water are starting to change colour making pretty patterns on each one ...
 ... and the mist is just starting to lift.
 We can see a huge expanse of water from the top of ...
 ... Garston Turf Lock which is a grade II listed building
 3 miles and 2 locks later we reach our destination for the weekend above Fobney Lock ...
 ... were a wild meadow is being created by the towpath ...
... which will have a stream running though it to encourage wild life.
We have said cheerio to John and Kathy on Sirius as they are continuing on through Reading today, but if they are only cruising slowly up the Thames we may well catch up with them next week!
In the meantime we hope to meet up with our nephew Steve and family on Sunday for a (nother) BBQ.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

What a great day!

Started with a mist ...
... taken this morning at 8am
 We set off at a very civilised hour just after 10 with the dew still evident on the cobwebs!
 We'd inspected this hugh bowl structure yesterday, it was evident that it was used for water - perhaps a now defunct fountain - but found out this morning that when the lock fills with water it is supposed to be a fountain - this is it as we set the lock - amazing (not)
 A rare picture of yours truly as I steer RnR into the first lock of the day at Newbury
 Approaching Ham Marsh Lock ...
 and descending with NB Sirius with whom we cruised again today
This pretty church appears to be in the middle of nowhere and I can't find out it's location - anyone know it?  It is directly north of lock 92.
We're currently moored at Woolhampton - we've had a great BBQ with Kathy and John from nb Sirius and a good natter too - boating stories, past history - all those interesting things about getting to know knew friends.  
I can't think of a better way to spend a beautiful sunny day!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

To Newbury

After filling with water we set off from our mooring at Kintbury and enter the first lock of the day ...
 ... that's a rather strange place to have a water point!
 We're waiting in the lock because it looks as if that boat may want to join us.
This is Kathy and John and collie Rowan on narrowboat Sirius who will share all the locks today
 Kennet Horse Boat Company 'Valley' anchored on the offside of the channel
 NB (tug) Sirius entering Dreweat's Lock 79 ahead of me
 Leaving Higgs Lock (83) where they are installing the lock safety paths and their work hopper is moored on the lock landing and obstructing part of the lock exit; that's the busy A34 ahead
 The  canal practically closes in the weeds as we approach Guyer's Lock 84; I have held back in a slightly wider space and NB Sirius is in a space ahead of me whilst this hire boat ascends the lock ...
 ... and here it comes, time for me to get a move on!
 Approaching West Mills Swing Bridge ...
 ... and passing what used to be the mill.
After a very welcome cuppa we set off to explore Newbury ...
 Newbury Clock Tower
 The Market Square
 A mixture of quaint and contemporary
 The Corn Exchange ...
 ... with this interesting carving over the door
 The Clock House
Pretty 17th century cottages at West Mills from our mooring above Newbury Lock
 West Mills Yard - could this have been something associated with the canal perhaps?
The late afternoon sun shining on Newbury - beautiful!
Newbury has lots of history - if you'd like to read more click on the link below

Monday, 26 September 2011

An Indian Summer?

After a very relaxing sunny weekend we left our mooring ...
... at the lovely town of Hungerford and set off for ...
... Kintbury.
Another sunny warm day which is most welcome being as we're approaching the end of September - very welcome indeed.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Signals here abouts are few and far between!

It's either no internet, no telly or no 'phone in this area of the K &A, and once or twice it's been all 3!
 We left Crofton on Tuesday heading for Great Bedwyn, it's only 1.5 miles but it's 5 of the slowest, leakiest locks ever, but the day was warm and sunny and the journey enjoyable.  This is Great Bedwyn Church as we approach ...
 ... Bedwyn Church Lock which has only one paddle on the top gates and took about half an hour to fill so that we could go down.  According the the chap on the boat moored there on the left, it's been like this for about 3-years!
Molly has had an ear infection for the past few days so George took her on the train into Hungerford to the vets there - she's been given some drops (which she hates) and we need to take her back on Monday.
 18:40 21st September - a dramatic sky - but it did stay dry albeit rather chilly.
 07:25 Friday 23rd we woke to a misty morning ...
 ... but it cleared before we set off for Hungerford after filling the water tank
 Molly is checking that George is not slacking at lock 67 Little Bedwyn
 BW maintenance guys have put in a new 'Winding Hole' sign (a place to turn boats)
 Cobblers lock has leaky top gates making the bottom gates very heavy to open ...
 ... and the lock cottage has now been sold at auction and has unfortunately been vandalised.  There's a very touching note on the door (along with a police warning notice) stating that 'We have bought this lovely cottage and intend to make it our home, please respect our property'
 The long straight to Hungerford Marsh Lock ...
... with its swing bridge over it - the last of the day.
We moored last night above Hungerford Lock and this morning moved down onto the 48-hour mooring by the town bridge, so we can stay here until Monday and move on after Molly has seen the vet again.
It's been a glorious day, warm and sunny; George has been scrubbing the cratch canvas and says he'll do the back canopy tomorrow - he's a good lad indeed!
We've got 3G/4bar wifi, 5 bar Vodaphone and a satellite telly signal here - can't ask for much more that that!
Our thoughts at present are with Sue and family of narrowboat No Problem.