Originally we had planned to cruise as far as Oxford, which is the limit of our navigation on the Thames because of the size of Anticus versus the size of small bridges! However, Wallingford was very lovely and had plenty to offer, so after 5 days moored within a stones throw of the town centre, we turned around and started heading downstream towards Shepperton.
With no specific plan on where we were to stop on the way down the Thames, things felt right after a couple of hours to pull up and moor at Pangbourne. There are lovely moorings here adjacent to a lovely town closely associated with Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat.
From here it was a short hop to Sonning, where we were helped through the lock by John, a fellow retired Firefighter, who is now the resident lock-keeper there. Again we found comfortable moorings outside Uri Geller’s former residence. Luckily the power is no longer strong there, we woke up to a still straight boat !
On to Henley, one of our favourite spots where we planned to meet up with family visitors, and also Tom an engineer who is looking at a couple of issues with our generator.
Henley looking gorgeous in the early summer sun
Sally (Martyn’s sister), her husband Mark and their son Stan turned up on Saturday and mainly spent the day eating, drinking and messing about on the river.
Mark and Stan messing about on the river
Tom turned up on time as promised and after an hour or so managed to get the generator functioning properly. Great job done.
For those interested, Anticus has a bank of batteries which power everything on board from the lights to the washer/dryer and the music system to the draft beer chiller (yes really)! We have three ways of charging these batteries when we are out and about (as well as the ability to plug into power on shore). These are the engine, via an alternator, a generator and 8 solar panels on the roof.
We also carry around 1000 litres of water, which lasts us a couple of weeks. On leaving Henley we headed for Hurley lock which has a water station where we can fill up. We were down to our last hundred litres or so.
Anticus taking on water at Hurley Lock
Whilst at Hurley I spotted what must be one of the more unusual boats on the Thames.
The floating ice-cream
We had planned to press on to Cookham where we had arranged to meet our friends Paul and Marianne on ‘El Perro Negro’ a fellow Piper Barge. However on leaving Marlow lock we noticed that there was space on the lock moorings which is unusual, so we pulled up for the night.
View from the boat at Marlow Lock.
The following day, after less than an hour with the engine running we moored up at Cookham. We were joined, as planned, by ‘El Perro Negro’ and then a little later by Peter and Karen on ‘Joie de Vivre V’. We all gathered on our deck in the evening for lasagne, blackberry and apple crumble, and a fair bit of wine.
El Perro Negro, Anticus and Joie de Vivre at Cookham