Nicola retired on Monday after more than 30 years in the NHS. It was really the point that we were aiming towards when we hatched the idea to get a boat.
We had a few things to sort out, including me doing a days work for Middlesex Cricket – which I can tell you, without fear of contradiction, came as a shock. But eventually, not a moment too soon, we woke this morning, loaded our cars up and headed to the Marina to stock Anticus ready for 4 weeks on the Thames.
We have no real plan, in terms of where we will stop, but are aiming to get somewhere near Oxford, where hopefully my son, girlfriend and dog (Corbyn) will come and visit before we head back downstream.
And so it was, we turned out of the Marina, turned right and headed in a generally westward direction with 80 odd miles of the Thames stretching before us. Negotiating Shepperton lock got us back into the stride of throwing ropes and manoeuvring 30 tons of barge into a narrow lock. No problem, like riding a bike!
The next lock, Chertsey, woke us up though as there was no lock keeper on duty.
The approach to Chertsey Lock, upstream, showing blue board.
On our way towards the locks we look out for the Environment Agency notice board, see here to the right of the lock gates on the wall. If the middle of the board is blue it means the lock is on self service. Which basically means we have to press the lock operating buttons rather than the lock-keeper. There is also a safety system which means that the lock doesn’t fill or empty as quickly when on self service.
True to our plan, or rather – lack of plan, we had probably done enough cruising when we spotted a favourite mooring of ours at Runnymede. Perfect timing and a lovely spot.
Lovely spot at Runnymede.
Who knows where we will be tomorrow?