The Sounds of the River Thames

There are five sounds that say 'the Thames' to me:

1. The whoop whoop whoop of the swans as they take flight.
2. The (endless) honking of the Canada geese, especially when you're trying to have a lie-in.
3. The growl of bow and stern thursters in the locks and when boats are mooring up.
4. The 'kerchoomf' sound of rowing blades driving through the water (again, usually at the crack of dawn when you're trying to have a lie-in)
5. The ting, ting, ting of mooring pins as they're being driven into the bank with a mallet.

Which are your five?

Three things that made me smile on the Thames this summer


Amphibious Cars on the Thames

There's always a surprise around the corner on the Thames. This time it was an amphibious boat club: 65 cars from across Europe.  They cause chaos and queues in the locks - but they put a smile on your face.

Hot Air Ballooning Over the Thames

A few weeks ago I was waking up to the sounds of lions and elephants in the Serengueti (see my blog here: And at the weekend we woke up to the sound of an air balloon drifting past our barge in Henley.  In the words of Louis Armstrong... what a wonderful world!

Lardon Chase and The Hollies

Although we've been to Goring many times - and have an ordnance survey map criss crossed with highlighted walks - we'd never done the Lardon Chase and The Hollies walk.  So we put it on our 2017 Boating Season 'to do' list - and did it over the Easter Bank Holiday. It's a lovely walk and at just 3 miles long, the perfect length for a pre or post lunch stroll with friends.There's one thing I'd change though. Instead of starting at the car park, winding your way down through the Hollies and then walking up Lardon Chase at the end, I'd do it the other way around. I'd walk along the Reading Road, up through The Hollies and then down Lardon Chase. That way you can enjoy the view which - as you can see from the photo - is quite spectacular. Or better still, I'd pack some sandwiches, walk through the gate at the top of Lardon Chase, sit on the perfectly placed benches and have a picnic.

A Boaty Barstool: What a Difference A Chair Makes

I know most barges don't have steering chairs - it's just not the barge-y thing to do (you're supposed to be made of sterner stuff). But we spent five years cruising along the Thames in one when we had our little Dutch river boat - see above - and found it very relaxing. Especially on the five hour trips from Wargrave to Goring.  So we decided to buy an adjustable barstool on ebay and managed to get the one in the photo for 0.99p plus £9.99 postage and packaging. I couldn't believe it. It's brand new! But because there's a tiny cut in the faux leather no-one else wanted it. We tested it recently and I have to admit that it has completely transformed my barging experience. When I'm standing at the helm I get restless and fidget a lot. But when I'm sitting down I can - quite literally - sit back and take it all in. What's more, it's multi-functional. Because when lowered, our boaty barstool fits under the dinette table in the wheelhouse or out of …