Sunday, 24 May 2015

Old Father Thames

We keep rolling along….. upstream of course!  The lock keeper at Shepperton Lock was rather dour, or perhaps it was a result of me interrupting his chat with a young lady?  Suffice to say the lock quickly filled and we headed further west.

There are some nice homes on both banks.  I managed to point one out to Jan that I thought might be within our price range…….. if we stretched ourselves!

Nothing that a little TIC won’t fix!

No sign of the lock keeper at Chertsey Lock and then we noticed the “SELF SERVICE” sign to one side.  Jan wandered up to the control box and let her fingers do the talking.  It’s interesting to note the locks fill and empty far slower when on self service.  Obviously a built in safety feature.  We had almost filled the lock when a couple of large tupperware boats appeared behind us.  Then I noticed at the opposite end there were a narrowboat and two tupperware’s waiting to come down.   It was also interesting to note most narrowboat crew members wearing life jackets whilst the tupperware crews don’t.  Either the latter can swim or they are full of air!

The tupperware boats hadn’t caught up with us by the time we reached Penton Hook Lock where were waved straight in by the lock keeper.  A fast fill and then we were on our way.  The plan was to moor somewhere around Staines-upon-Thames and wait for a lunch appointment on Monday.  However just after engaging the hyperdrive, and about to make the jump to light speed, I noticed a green narrowboat moored on the bank above the lock.  The boat was against a concrete edge but wasn’t on the lock landing bollards.  My guess was there were rings hidden in the long grass.  Waiouru was dropped back into neutral and then reverse.  Once you get 23 tonnes of steel boat moving it does take some distance to get it to stop! We reversed back (I should have done a circle) to find there were rings and the mooring is rather nice.  It’s not marked on any of our maps.

Mid afternoon a tupperware came in to moor behind us.  But not right behind us.  He left enough of a gap thus preventing any other boat from fitting in.  I foiled his operation by cunningly flushing our toilet.  Waiouru emitted a powerful blast of air from the toilet breather vent at the stern. This caught him in mid breath whilst attempting to tie the bow line.  The crew promptly threw their lines back on board and motored off to find a more pleasant location.  I must remember this trick!

A wander around the local area led me to a river front church.  There was nothing special about the church but the gateway looked interesting.

It was the carved words in the timber lintel that I found interesting.

Hand or machine cut?  I suspect machine routered!

Part of this afternoon has been spent cleaning up the data on the backup hard drive.  It was interesting to read some of the original thoughts about the boat specifications and equipment.  All the research was done on the internet and the boat started to get longer and we attempted to cram more into it.  At one point I’d decided a whipper-snipper (strimmer) would be required to cut back any long vegetation.  Considerable research went into finding a model where the pole could be sseparated into two sections to store it in the engine bay.  It would have fitted except the calorifer went into the space instead.  Our plan had the calorifier inside the cabin, but I’m now happier it’s in the engine compartment where a leak will not be so catastrophic.  And to date we haven’t needed the whipper-snipper!


Marilyn McDonald said...

What do the words say above the gate, Tom? I couldn't make them out, but admit I didn't try that hard. One glass of wine at lunch and my atheist brain gives up on church writings ... But I am interested, really!
We got as pair of loppers for Xmas from our grandsons - I am looking forward to using them to chop blackberry from beside the bridgeholes. Could have done with them last year on the Maccie!

Tom and Jan said...

I think it starts "To the honour and glory" etc etc.

Jaqueline Biggs said...

I love the new photo at the very top of your page. (I am playing catch up with my favorit boaters' blogs). Isn't it divine having locks filled and emptied, opened and closed for you? Xx

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Jaq,

You mean the one where we went round the corner too fast and bent the boat in the lock? :-)