Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Oracle at Night with Sirius covered in Christmas Lights

First of all, Happy Christmas everyone!

The plan for today was to leave Theale in good time so that we could go through the Oracle shopping centre just as it was getting dark. Unfortunately we didn't take into account that we'd all like to stop for a pub lunch on the way, so by the time we got to Fobney Lock it was already getting dark.
Click on the image to enlarge itAs you can see, as we were waiting for Fobney Lock to fill up, the sun was gently setting over the horizon, both Melanie and Jeni had decided it was too cold outside, so they had retired to the living room leaving Alex and I to do the work! They did make us a couple of hot cups of tea, so all is well :)
Click on the image to enlarge itAlex Looking "Off his Head" again...
Alex was the main lock keeper of the day! Thanks Alex, it's always great to have your company. (Especially when you do the locks ;) )
Click on the image to enlarge itIt's not a very clear photo, but you can just about see the christmas lights all the way along the top of Sirius, and the little Christmas Tree!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Abbey Gardens to Theale Second Attempt :)

Click on the image to enlarge itAs you can see from this photograph, when you go through the Oracle shopping centre in Reading there is a traffic light controlled one way system.
Click on the image to enlarge itAs mentioned a couple of days ago, here is Fobney lock, you can see the annoying weir on the right of this photo.
Click on the image to enlarge itHas anyone any idea what this is beside the lock? Please leave a comment if you do!
Click on the image to enlarge itNice hat Alex :)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Abbey Gardens to Sonning

Click on the image to enlarge itThis is where we moored last night, it's beside the old abbey ruines and Reading prison.
Click on the image to enlarge itAlthough it was cold today, it was also gloriously sunny when we stopped in Soning for lunch so we got a couple of chairs out and sat on the bank in the sun.
Click on the image to enlarge itThis was the sunset as we travelled back to Reading.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thames Water HQ to Fobney Lock

Click on the image to enlarge itWe left the Thame Water HQ mooring at about 11ish, as you can see it was still icing on the top of Sirius as we went through Caversham Lock
Click on the image to enlarge itWe decided to go along the Kennett and Avon, with the intention of heading towards Theale. Blakes Lock has quite an interesting mechanism for opening and closing the sluices.
Click on the image to enlarge itJust after Blakes Lock you go through the centre of the new Reading shopping centre, the Oracle
Click on the image to enlarge itThis lock is just the other side of the Oracle, it's called County Lock.
Click on the image to enlarge itWe got at far as Fobney lock, infact, we got into the lock, only to find when we looked behind us, that one of the bottom gates was missing! Douh! This meant we had to reverse out of the lock and turn around, if anyone else knows this lock, they will recall there is a weir dropping down at the bottom of the lock which makes it extremely difficult to turn a 70' narrowboat in reverse, as the front side keeps being pushed the wrong way! We managed it in the end :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Goring back to Thames Water

Click on the image to enlarge itLast night we had a meal in the John Barleycorn Inn the food was excellent!
Today we headed back to Reading as Cleave lock is closes so we can go no further north.
The photo on the left is the Railway bridge between Goring and Pangbourne.
Click on the image to enlarge itJust past the bridge there is a long straight section running along side Beale Park, you can moor at the part if you wish to visit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thames Water to Goring

Click on the image to enlarge itToday started off as a bit of a grey morning as you can see, here we were moored out side the Thames Water's new offices.
Click on the image to enlarge itA photo of the very smart looking Thames Water offices.
Click on the image to enlarge itAbout a mile away from Reading bridge is Caversham bridge, notorious for traffic problems of the four wheeled variety.
Click on the image to enlarge itMelanie at the helm :)
Click on the image to enlarge itJust coming up to Whitchurch lock, where I had the joyous task of emptying the toilet! Crumbs, there has to be a better way of doing that... but on the positive side, the sun was coming out and the lock looked lovely with all the autumn coloured trees.
Click on the image to enlarge itYep, it's me at the helm now :)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Kings Meadow to Thames Water in Reading.

Click on the image to enlarge itAfter trying to start a weeks holiday all weekend, it eventually started half way through today!

Melanie and I had planned to take a trip from Reading up to Lower Heyford, but, unfortunately this plan had to change...

The down side to a slow start in November, is the amount of daylight hours you have, and added to that having to stop for disel and water for over 30 minutes. We were lucky that the lady at the "Better Boating Company" took pitty on us, as apparently they are not normally open on a Monday. Unfortunately with the good news we could fill up with fuel and water came the bad news about lock closures!

Cleeve lock is closed! Which means we cannot go past Goring :( So there goes the idea of travelling up to Oxford and beyond.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Marlow to Reading avoiding the big black clouds.

See my route on a Google Map

The weather forecast for today was not very good, but I did not want to leave Sirius in Marlow, so time to press on! Melanie said she would give me a hand which was great, as it's always more fun with someone else around.

We had a couple of interesting moments, the first of which was when Melanie tried pushing the from of Sirius away from the lock edge, and almost forgot to jump on! I.e. she almost went swimming ;-)

The next "moment" was when we were going through Marsh Lock (near Henley-on-Thames), there is alway a crowd of spectators at this lock, and once again I managed to fumble throwing the rope over the bollard!

We made great time from Henley to Reading, 2 hours and 10 minutes, which is the quickest yet, I guess because previously I've had more waiting around at locks etc.

Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it

Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Maidenhead to Marlow with Jeni, Rupert, Jenny, Melanie and Alex.

Well, I have left Sirius in Maidenhead for too long, due to being very busy at work etc etc. This weekend was time to move her on, ( A letter from the Environment Agency reminded me ;-) )

Jeni, Rupert, Jenny, Alex and Melanie all came along to help move Sirius. After we had all arrived, we tried to start the engine, and, nothing...

After a little bit of tinkering around and remembering what I had learnt on my boat maintenance course earlier in the year, I checked the water trap to find a good amount of water and diesel bug slime! After bleeding that off, with a bit of a choak and splutter she started.
Click on the image to enlarge itWe did a quick (ok slow) motor past the SpinVox offices, and then turned around and headed up to Boulters Lock (first photo below). The two plastic boats infront of us decided to hog most of the landing stage, so we just had the first 6 foot of Sirius's 70' moored and the rest of her was stuck out into the river.

We waited what seemed like forever for the front boat to sort out the lock, in the end it turned out they guy obviously didn't know what he was doing, as he was trying to open the lock to empty it, with the sluice gates still open at the top. (for those that don't know, this is impossible on an electric lock, and shouldn't be done on any lock anyway!)
Click on the image to enlarge itAfter passing through Cookham, we stopped just outside Bourne End and moored up to have lunch at the Bounty Inn, Jeni and Rupert cycled off back to their car to meet another friend for a walk.
Click on the image to enlarge itMelanie and Jenny spent a while at the front of the boat chatting away while Alex and I did the real work ;-) i.e. steering and making cups of tea.. thanks for all the tea Alex!
Click on the image to enlarge itFor any of you who have seen the new movie Serenity I spotted this Narrowboat as we were coming up to Marlow.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Window Cleaning...

My friend Alex and I spent Saturday cleaning out the starboard window frames and re-sealing them with silicon sealant. Hopefully we will have fixed the leaks! Thanks for your help Alex!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Friday, August 05, 2005

Cowle's festival fireworks on a 72' Global Challenge Yacht

This evening I was invited by my company (SpinVox to join some of the rest of the team on a Global Challenge yacht for a corporate entertainment evening. Which involved cruising out into the solent from Southampton over to Cowles on the Isle of Wight.

This was in time for the final evening of the Cowle's festival and the fireworks display, there were hundreds of boats in the water ranging from large Yachts, to huge gin palaces ( expensive plastic boats )

Here are a few photos I took of the evening:
Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Henley down to Maidenhead

We woke up this morning to find it was raining, and not just a light shower, proper rain :(

After deliberating for an hour whether to go or not, I decided to get up and start our journey towards Maidenhead. Yvonne stayed in bed, so I single handedly turned Sirius around, and headed along the Henley Regatta stretch, with an unbrella in one hand, and the rudder in the other.

Yvonne decided to get up just before the second lock, and arrived with a nice hot cup of tea, just what I needed as it was cold and horrible outside.

It rained most of the day, until the late afternoon when eventually the rain stopped and the cloud started showing signs of clearing as we were going past Cliveden Woodland and Gardens and Cliveden House

Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Reading to Henley

Today was a glorious sunny day, it's day's like this that make having a boat worth while. Yvonne and I took Sirius from Kings meddow in Reading down the Thames to Henley on Thames.

We moored the night along the edge of the park, it said on a sign that it cost £8 per night for mooring, but no one came and asked us for any money (the last time I stayed there, for the regatta, they swooped as soon as we had the first rope ashore!)

I cooked some pork fillets, and a risotto, which was very nice, although I say so myself :)

We saw a hot air balloon fly over, and then sat with candlelight watching the sky fill with stars, after which we went to bed, intending to get an early start.

No photos today! opps...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My thirtieth Birthday !

Today was my birthday! OMG.. the start of my 30's !

This weekend has been a weekend of parties; a BBQ at my friend Alex's house on Friday night for his 40th Birthday, a joint Jive party to celebrate both Alex's 40th and my 30th last night, and finally today to finish off the weekend another BBQ at my house.

To top it all, and make it oh so relevant for my blog, check out my cake given to me by Yvonne!!

Click on the image to enlarge itClick on the image to enlarge it

Monday, July 11, 2005

Dancing Bear and Sirius Meet at last!

My friend Roxy owns a narrowboat called "Dancing Bear". Roxy is off on travels around the UK for 3 / 4 months, lucky girl! As she was going through Pangbourne she spotted Sirius and decided to moor next to her :)

After a few phone calls, Roxy, her friend Mark?!, Maggie and I all met up and had a squash curry made by Roxy, thanks Roxy!

We spent the next few hours just sitting watching the sun set and chatting about all sorts, this is what having a boat is all about, true relaxing with friends.

Click on the image to enlarge it

Pangbourne to Goring with Paula and Mark

Today Paula, Mark, Yvonne and I all went for a trip along the Thames to Goring. We were aiming for the Catherine Wheel pub, but we must have missed it, as we ended up going to the Queens Arms pub near the railway station. It was a glorious day, we spotted a novel means of sailing, and I think Mark spotting was the best, he spotted a turtle (terrapin?) sitting on a log on the edge of the river, a photo is below :)
Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it
Click on the image to enlarge it