Tuesday 22nd April
It seems that 7am IS a time even when one is on holiday. After a very quiet night (Graham went over the Brewery Tap to sample the Brit Hop) except for the rain drumming on the boat roof. It is obvious that at Heathrow 6am is a time, but if you are jetting off to exotic time zones that’s understandable.
We caught a rising tide which helped push us upriver.
The first thing we spotted was a ‘Heron Tree’. This specimen had at least five nests with young that we could see. As we left Teddington lock it seemed we were in elevated company. ‘Gloriana’ approached and her crew was looking as cold and damp as us. As it’s the Queens birthday – is she boating? It stayed cold on the river all day.
At Sunbury lock two large tupperwares pulled in behind us and roped onto the other side of the lock, the first had been a gent and made way to let us slip past easily on the way in. We then l;et them leave first as they were faster than us. The second boat had to be told by the lockie to turn their engine off. The female steerer admitted that she did not know how to and had to call her husband from lockside to assist. Her lack of experience became even more obvious as they left because she had the rudder over forcing the back of their boat into the middle of the lock rather than forward. The huge space hopper sized fender at the back of their boat rode up Jannock’s side and gave our cratch such a clout that the lockie enquired whether the damage was serious. Luckily it had survived the onslaught OK.
We stopped at Walton wharf for a warm lunch and a hot drink in an attempt to not have to share with them again. Graham found a couple of stretches of the Thames we’d not done before. The first, around the back of Desborough Island (avoiding Desborough new cut) contains a very nice secluded 24hr mooring spot which we’ll remember for next time we are in the area. The second was around the back of Pharaoh’s island after Shepperton lock.
As we approached Shepperton lock we observed a cruiser coming out of the lock shoot out across the river and then nearly run into the bank by over-correcting. This meant he nearly took the top of his boat off by passing under the lowest part of the bridge. Two more cruisers follwed him like rubber duckies down a water slide. The combined flow of the lock wier and the river Wey output was pushing them right across. I was warned! A deep breath, steer into the flow and gun the engine. I entered the lock with grace and composure. Phew was quickly followed by both of us trying not to giggle too much. A teensy narrowboat with an egg whisk for a motor entered the maelstrom. At times he was actually being pushed backwards. Phew #2 – he made it into the lock, but once in he mistook it for a swimming pool. He did a couple of widths and then a length before ending up behind Jannock. He grabbed his tangled, frayed rope which caught on his chimney and a mushroom vent, then he nearly swept his coffee mug off the roof before finally securing it to a bollard. Egg whisk off and lockie started filling the lock, at which point he got all tangled in his rope again and even managed to turn the egg whisk back on again whilst stood on the lockside. He smiled and suggested that we might have noticed that he wasn’t used to “this sort of thing yet” You’ll get the hang of it.
As we left Penton Hook lock, we were deciding how much further to go today, when I spotted some nice moorings just above the lock. They are not marked on the map, are they Private? We stopped and I went back to ask the lockie who said we could moor here happily – so no arguments tonight then. There are public moorings and also in slack water opposite the wier stream – so kettle on then.