Out and About on the glorious Thames

I was just sitting in fabulous sunshine at Marlow, with the bridge and the Church just downstream of us, thinking what a great 5 or 6 weeks we have had out on the river watching the world go by. Nicola has had a couple of trips home for appointments and to check her son’s had managed to keep the house in some sort of order. I, though, have not left the boat other than shopping, the odd pub and restaurant and a walk with Alfie.

We have basically travelled from Shepperton to Wallingford and back, a trip that would take around 2 hours in a car, and has taken by the time we get back to home, around 2 months on the barge. Fabulous!

The boat has behaved wonderfully and we seem to have snagged everything before our next great adventure – taking her across the English Channel in September.

By way of a change, here are some captioned photos of some of the things that have caught our eye.

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Taken on my iPhone !
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Heavy metal at Sonning
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Rescue in progress. Who on earth lets their 4 year old on a hire boat with no life jacket?
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New Orleans at Henley
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Jazz band on New Orleans
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Damsel fly on my float
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A better fisher than I
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Mad dogs and English men…
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A reflection of sunset
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Acrobatics over the boat
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Narrowboaters
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Coming into Wallingford
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Goring weir
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Farewell the Upper Thames
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Hmmm
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It takes all sorts
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Swan Upping at Sonning
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Swan Upping at Sonning
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Swan Upping at Sonning
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A wet weekend
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Who lives in a house like this?
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Steamed up in Henley at the Trad Boat Festival
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Amphibious van
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Duck!

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A Sopwith Triplane from the WWI flying display team

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We were entertained by followers of Krishna at Henley
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Red Kite
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Goosey goosey
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Swimming race at Henley

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Another Piper
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The Regatta course at Henley

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Gloriana

It’s all in the name

On the Thames you have to register your boat with either the Environment Agency who are responsible for the upkeep and enforcement matters on the river, or the Canal and River Trust (CRT) who are similarly responsible on all other rivers and the UK’s canal system.

One of the requirements on the Thames is that you must register an unique name for your boat with them. This leads to a number of things such as “Lady Diana 9”, “Carpe Diem XXIII” or my personal favourite “Unsinkable the Second”. All the numbers help to identify the boats from their predecessors or nearly-name-sakes.

We decided to invent a name, others come up with often amusing names some of which may or may not more accurately reflect their owner rather than the boat.

I’ll try and snap some as we move along, but here are a few for starters.

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A rainy time in Windsor

After a couple of weeks at home attending to the mundane matters of having a house and two adult but dependant children we couldn’t wait any longer and cast off under bleak and cloudy skies.

There is always a sense of excitement as we leave the marina not quite knowing where we will end up or what we will be doing from day to day. At one time or another in our lives, this lack of certainty or safety would have been an anathema, but from where we are now it is perfect.

Although cloudy, the rain that was forecast was holding off. That was until we approached Shepperton Lock, which necessitates Nicola having to walk around to the bow (front of the boat) and prepare to throw a line (rope) around a bollard in the lock. She had just got to the pointy end and the heavens opened. From my position inside the warm, dry wheelhouse it didn’t look great out there! But someone has to steer the boat!

Unfortunately of the 5 locks we passed through, we were met with the same pattern of weather at four of them. A lovely cruise followed by a downpour just as we approached the locks. *Note to self – might be a good idea to offer to teach Nicola how to drive into locks*

We managed to secure a lovely mooring at Windsor, one we have been on before. Lovely views of the castle, dog walking straight off the boat and plenty to see on one of the busier reaches on the non-tidal Thames. We planned a few days of doing not much at all and were treated to an added bonus of the Royal Windsor Triathlon swim going right past Anticus on Sunday morning. One of the things we were looking forward to when planning to get Anticus was mooring somewhere and coming across things we would never have seen ordinarily – this was one of those occasions. Nearly every day we sit back and look at each other and comment on the fact that our dreams are coming true. We are very lucky.

Talking of which, we got an email from one of our readers in France yesterday thanking us for our website “which inspire dreams”. Considering that only just over a year ago, our dreams were just that as we read through blogs and web pages of barge owners and travellers, it was lovely to hear that we are now in the lucky position to be moving people towards realising their dreams.

Anyway, below are some pictures from the last few days. I think we are casting off again in the morning, heading upstream to who knows where?

Trooping the Colour

We are moored up at the moment back at ‘home base’ (Shepperton Marina), to have a little work done on our generator, and to attend HM Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Parade Trooping the Colour at Horseguards Parade in London. We were very privileged to be seated 4 rows from the front just along from HMQ. Can’t tell you how we got there, I’d have to kill you!

Anyway, words can hardly convey the pomp, majesty and sheer pride that flows from events such as this…………… So here are a few photos.

Barge Rally at Kingston

We are members of the DBA, The Barge Association. This is a loose knit group of people who own or are interested in Barges and inland waterways travel. There is an online forum which we used extensively when researching before building Anticus, and still find extremely useful in our day to day life on board.

During the year, all over the world, members of the DBA organise rallies, where members gather to show off and chat about all things boaty. Last week there was a gathering just down-river from us at Kingston-Upon-Thames. It was too good an opportunity to miss, so off we headed on board our boat.

It was a great weekend, where we met new friends on board a variety of barges, had a great afternoon in the sun, with cold beer in the company of our friends Alan and Gee, and even witnessed a dramatic river rescue by the RNLI crew from Teddington!

 

We were treated to a visit from the crew of the D-class lifeboat from RNLI Teddington, who told us about water safety, and gave us an insight on how to deal with a man-overboard (or indeed woman – or in our case, dog!). Little did they know at the time but at around midnight on Saturday night, they would be visiting us in earnest as they rescued a person who had entered the water from Kingston Bridge and found himself clinging to one of the barges awaiting rescue. All very dramatic!

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Nicola returning from a walk with Alfie, who has never had so much exercise. (Alfie that is, not Nicola, – although thinking about it ………..)