Sunday, 25 April 2010

Theatre, Country Walks and Good Food

It's amazing how much you can pack into a weekend when you have a boat. We set off from Wargrave at 4.30pm and moored up in Sonning where, after a glass of wine on board, we walked to The Mill at Sonning for dinner and an Agatha Christie play: Love From a Stranger. (It's £42 p/person including a two course dinner and your theatre ticket, which I think is very good value for money.) On Saturday morning we headed to Pangbourne for the first time. The stretch of the Thames between Sonning and Pangbourne is quite dull but, on the plus side, there's a Tesco by the river in Reading which allows you to moor up, shop and go. Fantastic! We arrived in Pangbourne around lunchtime and headed to the high street for lunch: a deliciously fresh & crunchy salad at The Ditty. We then decided to walk the 8 miles to and from Goring along the Thames Path. It's a really lovely walk - but be prepared for some steep climbs! After a much needed half a pint of cider at the historical Swan in Pangbourne we went back to the boat and got ready for dinner at The Ferryboat The Ferryboat in Whitchurch (just over the toll bridge). Great food and great service. The perfect end to a perfect day.

The facts: it's 12 miles from Wargrave to Pangbourne. You go through 4 locks - Shiplake, Sonning, Caversham and Mapledurham - and it takes between 3.5/4 hours.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A perfect start to the boating season

We went out on Happy Chance for the first time this year and it was idyllic: warm sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. And when you run your own business (findatvexpert.com) it's the perfect weekend away: no phone, no TV, no computer, no internet & no email. All I have to think about is what papers I want to read, which post I need to moor up to and whether or not I should put on sunfactor (which I did last weekend as it was so warm.) We were hoping to have a stereo installed but there's still some wiring to be done. The new cockpit lights are in though and they're fantastic: warm white LEDs. I like them because they give off a warm glow (instead of that cold, white LED light) and Mr J's happy because they don't use much electricity and, as a result, don't run down the battery. Re the trip itself, we went to Henley, moored up, had a friend join us on the boat for cocktails at sunset and then headed to La Bodega for dinner. For some reason we woke up at 6.30am and spent the next hour and a half (!) trying to access a radio via Mr J's BlackBerry. We failed. As I'd forgotten to pack the milk - and as the water pump wasn't working (don't ask) - we had breakfast in town and then pootled down the river towards Hambleden Lock, where we moored up and went for a two hour walk. Still not a cloud in the sky. After a quick bite to eat at the Stag and Huntsman - and a lazy hour on the boat spent reading the papers and chilling out in the sunshine - we headed home. Other than a short delay at Marsh Lock (technical problems with the gates) it was the most perfect start to the boating season.