Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cruisey Thames

This boat came past this morning.  Two things came to mind ...

1.  Did the name make me homesick?  No way, Jose!

2.  I know that they travel with the fenders hanging down because of the locks, but back in Sydney Harbour it was a hanging offence to cruise with fenders down.  As soon as the boat was untied  the fenders were stowed!

We left Hampton Court this morning to continue our cruise up the Thames.  We got a 9.5 out of 10 by the lockie at the first lock!

Once through the lock we filled with water.  What lovely hoses they have on the Thames!  Whilst it was filling, Elaine went off to get some breakfast supplies from the local shop ... she forgot to take off the lifejacket!

There are some truly superb houses down here.  Personally I prefer the smaller open plan style of house rather than the over the top mansions ... wouldn't knock any of them back mind you!

I'm glad we didn't move up next to the big trip boat!  He moved about a fair bit in the lock, I don't think our little sausage fenders would have saved us from being and extra-narrow narrowboat.

This pad had a particularly nice setting ...

Under the Chertsey Bridge we went through the lock before mooring at Laleham for the night ...

We took the boys for a walk up to the village; Elaine is now obsessed with taking pictures of bees...
Bee on Burdock

...right then, I will take pics of hedges!

Plus black and white pics of old barns...

...with a sepia shot to round it off ...

After all that excitement we went to the pub for a swift one.

Back on board the good ship Elaine gave Bombo boy a trim ...

I sat out in the cratch with Sammie ... I had a quick read whilst Sam checked out all the dogs cruising past on the boats.

So what do we think of the Thames so far?  As the title says, it is very cruisey and requires very little effort, especially in the locks.  I'm sure it is a lot more fun after a lot of rain ... talking of which, it rained for about 30 secs today ... reading some of the blogs tonight it looks like our northern brothers copped a few downpours.  Tomorrow is forecast for a dry, sunny and 31 degree day....bring it on!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Courting Hampton

We woke this morning to heavy rain, so decided to stay put.

I left my Shreddies for a couple of minutes and Geoffrey was straight in there, so I let him carry on and made another bowl!  He used to weigh 8 kilos, he now weighs 3 kilos, so every bit helps. Elaine has been buying him prawns to get him eating as he is rather partial to them!

We went for a walk when the rain eased off, we walked past Hampton Court Palace and went to Bushy Park again.  We had a chat with a local dog walker, she said that as long as you stay away from the long grass the deer are no problem.  She also told us it wasn't the stags that were the problem it was the does and their newborn fawns, so heeding her words we walked around the perimeter,  It is a massive park, we spotted a few deer grazing away.

We walked a little further, where another dog walker warned us about a mother and fawn a bit further down the track.

By the time we got there she was heading off in the opposite direction.

We finally ended up in Kingston ...

We walked back to the boat alongside the river. We came across this next to the river ... any ideas?

Looks like a budget Olympic cauldron!

We had walked quite a lot of miles so we left the dogs on the boat to sleep and decided to treat ourselves to a nice lunch, rather than dinner which is our usual choice ... a very nice restaurant it was too!  It was recommended by a friend of ours back in Oz who used to live in the area ...

When we got back to the boat I did a few little jobs on the boat, as in re-doing the silicon in the shower and galley granite top.  I had done it before but used cheapo silicon, which had started going black and mouldy after a few weeks, so now I have used the expensive u-beaut anti-mould stuff so we will see how it goes.

Meanwhile Elaine went off with Bombo photographing plants and flowers, as you do.  She took this pic of a bee, I have been trying for ages to get a pic, but they don't pose for long enough for me.

Weather has turned out really nice again this evening.  We will move tomorrow no matter what ... destination-who-knows!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Back on the Thames

The first plane flew over at 4.22 am this morning - what curfew?  Shortly after that Elaine decided it was time to get up (4.30am)!!!!!

I struggled out of bed at 6.00 am ...

We had to be up early as we were booked through the Thames lock at 6.30 am.  We stopped to top up with water first ... while I was waiting I spotted a Qantas A380 directly overhead - what a time to not have my camera to hand!

We passed through the Brentford lock and then onward ... in the early morning glare - there are no sun visors on narrowboats ...

We cruised up the deserted Thames on our own ... Nigels again!

It was a bit chilly first thing.  Elaine took the tiller for a while ...

Passing some impressive boatsheds ...

Into an empty Teddington lock.  Once through the lock we walked back to see the lockie where we sorted out and paid for a one week license ... he smiled as I slapped him with a fish - not another one he muttered!

We were going to stop in Kingston but all the moorings were full ... it was still silly o'clock, they were probably still in bed!

I love the mini hanging off the side of the wall at the mini dealership in Thames Ditton ...

We continued on and got a good mooring right outside Hampton Court palace ... not a bad result!

We squeezed in between some large GRP cruisers ...

I took the doggies for a good walk around Hampton Court.  There is plenty of coin in these parts, no charity shops on the high street here!   I also took a walk down to Molesey Lock as a flotilla of GRP Cruisers were going upstream; they all seemed to know each other.  They were such an amusing bunch ... very strong cockney accents, dripping in bling, shirts off and suntanned and that that was the blokes!  The women didn't need life jackets as they all had their own built in buoyancy devices ... they are very closely related to their Australian counterparts who reside on the Gold Coast - often described as flash trash (not that there is anything wrong with that!).

We went for another walk later in the day, through Bushy Park, where we spotted quite a few deer - but there were notices warning not to go near them with dogs especially at this time of year, so we did a u-turn back to the boat.

Nice police station in Bushy park ...

The day turned out very nice in the end, but as I am typing this I can hear a thunderstorm approaching.

Tonight's guests at the side hatch ... a very pushy bunch, this lot ...

We are now back into our 5-2 fast again - we gave up in London as there was just too much temptation!  We also switched on the TV tonight, which was another first for a month ... once again too much to do in London to even think about the idiot box.  Elaine has been getting her Home and Away fix tonight, so she is a happy little vegemite :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tales of the River Bank

It rained a fair bit last night, which was good, the grass certainly needs it. This morning we woke to a lovely blue sky with the temperature being a little on the cooler side.

We carried on sorting out the cratch - it is now nicely sorted with the majority of stuff in the hold (and some stuff under the bed). We now have plenty of room to manoeuvre on our forward deck for anchoring ... and even sitting in!

In the early afternoon we decided to walk to B & Q in Chiswick to buy a few odds and sods - we left the dogs on the boat as the temperature had risen considerably.

Lots of guerrilla  knitting in Brentford ...

The old Fire Station, which is now a Persian restaurant.  Great building ...

After buying the odds and sods we ambled down to the Thames where we found a..........
really nice pub!

The Bell and Crown sits right on the river bank - the tide was just starting to come in when we arrived.  We can't believe how paddle boarding has took off in this country, must be quite nice drifting along with the tide.

The birds were having a good time picking around on the foreshore ...

Then a really special treat ... Gloriana cruised past, a narrowboat passed in the opposite direction!

It is a splendid looking vessel, and it made it under Kew bridge unscathed!

Then we caught the bus back to the boat, we still have some credit on the Oyster cards.

As I sit typing this the planes are passing low overhead on their way to land at Heathrow - it's quite handy with Flight Radar 24 running in the background, you can see where they have all  come from!  Elaine especially likes me telling her this......not!
Landing gear just coming down, she has just come from Joburg

Tonight we are off to a local Indian restaurant - as a bonus it takes the Tastecard, which has been a good investment.  Early morning tomorrow !

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tropical Brentford

Has anyone else noted that when moored up at Hanwell the canal bubbles under the boat, giving you the impression that you are sinking?!

No big plans for today so we thought we might as well head down to Brentford and check out the lock  for going onto the Thames.  (We don't plan very far ahead!)

Before we got going I took the dogs for a good walk.  I walked to the top of a nearby hill, I could just about see Heathrow and noticed that the planes had been landing and taking off towards the east for a change, I don't think it was a wind decision as there is none, perhaps they like to share the  love noise.

Bombo assumed the position and off we went, all of two locks today.

Mr heron was looking particularly handsome.

When we arrived in Brentford we grabbed the first mooring spot we came to, as we always do, just in case there are none further on. We moored opposite Glaxo Smith Klein.

We grabbed the dogs and walked down further towards the gauging locks; the place was deserted! So I jogged back to the boat, holding onto the camera securely, and bought the boat down first to the service point for a fill and dump, then reversed back to a nice spot ... perfect!  I'm glad we didn't have to raft up to another boat, not that we are unsociable its just that I like to open the side hatches and get some air through the boat, plus I don't want to have to hear my neighbours goings on - and the dogs would bark a lot!

So don't tie up next to us, OK!  Talking of air through the boat, what about this weather?  As the title says, it's like living in the bloody tropics, it is so humid.  Not that I am complaining, it is still 300% better than last year's summer and is easily equal to our old Australian summers!

Good mooring spot ...

Another posing Mr Heron. this one was standing in a big planter box on the gauging locks.

We then took a walk in the balmy conditions down the towpath to the Thames Lock.  On the way we spotted this ... could this be the first of a bumper season?  Last year was crap.

At the lock we spotted a tide chart ... looks like a early start Monday then!

The tide was well and truly out on the Thames side of the lock ...

What a neat way to dry dock boats, let the tide go out and hey presto!

I took a walk back down the lock at about 17.00 when the lockie was on duty - nice young chap, who told me this was his first job with CaRT!  We are 'locked in' for 06.30 on Monday ... Yikes!

On the way back to the boat I checked out a few of the pubs, so tonight it will be The Six Bells, as they have a band playing.

... and now the rain has just started here, which will cool things down a treat!