Bourne End to Henley-on-Thames : 11 miles, 4 lock
To date : 466 miles, 271 locks
I almost had a melt down this morning. I was up early and as I sat down to work and looked out... well, tried to look out... the dinette window, I just couldn't stand it another minute. The boat windows have become so absolutely filthy since we've been in London and on the Thames. There's bugs everywhere and there's dead ones stuck all over one side of the boat from when we moored our first night on the Thames. I recall asking one of the boating folk we've been in touch with over the years in an email if insects were a problem in Summer in the UK. I'm always eaten alive by mosquitoes at home. They laughed at me.. I'm sure I could hear it. No need for flyscreens in England I think they said. We like to keep a few portholes or hoppers open most of the time and that probably hasn't helped the situation but the bugs are driving me insane.
So this morning with the filthy windows and the dust that seems to come from nowhere inside the boat I went bananas cleaning. By the time Mick got up at 7.30am there was cleaning clutter everywhere and I'm sure he didn't know what had hit him. He blinked a couple of times... sighed... and joined in. It's not the first time he's woken to cleaning madness. We didn't quite finish the job (there was cruising to do) but that will happen tomorrow. Mick even got out the hoover while we cruised along. I'm sure Carol and Barry thought I'd nagged him into it but Mick's more "clean and tidy" obsessed than I am and his favourite jobs are the dishes and the hoovering... really! There's nothing we both like better than sitting down at the end of the day and the house is spotless. I'll be so relieved when the outside of the windows are as clean as the inside. Meanwhile, the side hatch window is perfect!
While we stood outside chatting this morning we saw the tiniest narrowboat ever.
It was a lovely outlook from our mooring at Bourne End. Across the river there was open green countryside. Mick and I would love to have the house that was just visible below. What a fantastic location it was with views to die for. There was a railway line just across the stretch of grass where this mooring was but the trains went by extremely slowly. It didn't really bother us.
Today we passed more amazing riverside properties. In some places it was quite steep with grand houses perched in the hillsides. The Thames seems to get prettier as we go on. We're really enjoying it.
Mick nearly jumped off the boat when he saw this work in progress. I think he's missing work.
And this sign tells us we're around the halfway mark.
As we reached Hurley Lock we had to stop on the lock landing and wait. I glanced across and the photo below is what was right beside us. I felt a strange sensation of de-ja-vu and suddenly it dawned on me that we'd seen this place before. On our last trip to the UK we took a wrong turn in the hire car and stumbled upon this boat building yard. Mick just loved looking around and seeing inside the workshop. Little did we know then that there was a lock and the Thames river right there beside the yard!
We stopped for water and a quick lunch just after the lock. It must be the prettiest lock on the Thames. There were several people having a cup of tea at tables and chairs beside the lock and there was a large grassy area next to the lock landing by the water point. Carol, as usual, found someone to chat to.
I tried to take a couple of photos of the weirs on the Thames. It's not easy to get a decent photo. Every lock has a weir running alongside. Some of them are enormous and have quite a strong pull from the flow of the water. Best to keep the boat well away.
How's this for an ice cream store!
Today's destination was Henley-on-Thames. We're just making it through Henley with a week to spare before the Henley Royal Regatta. This rowing regatta dates back to 1839 and the preparations were well underway. The three in the little blue boat below turned their noses up and didn't acknowledge our wave and hello as we passed. They looked straight at us and ignored us. I watched as they passed nb Winton's Folly and the threesome conveniently looked away. Such snobbery.
The town itself is rather upmarket. We've been here before by car and remember it being a lovely place. We knew we'd have to pay for mooring here and eventually settled on a spot opposite one of the islands in the river. We're opposite lush green fields that are well used by dog walkers. We went off for a walk in search of Tesco and as we were leaving the boat a gaggle of women were passing and peppered us with questions about the boat and how long we were here for. We found Tesco about 15 minutes away. Not all that long after we returned it began to rain. It's been overcast the entire day although not cold. This evening it really has cooled down and there's a chill in the air. Mick is hankering for the sun. I'm not.
Another fabulous day of cruising.