Showing posts from 2011

A Glorious Indian Summer on The Thames

Although lots has been said and written about the awful weather we've had this year, we've actually been out on the boat more times this year than last year. And other than a very rainy Sunday in September - see below - the weather's been fine. This weekend - 15/16 October - was exceptional, as you can see from the photo I took of the stretch between Henley & Hambleden. Gloriously warm days; cool, crisp evenings; a delicious dinner at The Little Angel in Henley and a fantastic breakdast at the Chocolate Theatre Cafe. What's not to love

Boating in the rain ...

... isn't much fun at all. This was a weekend in September - just before the glorious 'Indian Summer'. As it's my job to secure the ropes when we go through the locks, I got pretty wet. But luckily it was a Sunday and we were on our way home. And if I remember correctly, Saturday wasn't too bad. If it had been, we wouldn't have gone out on the boat. There's just no point.

Boating, Walking and Eating along the River Thames

It's been ages since I last wrote, but not because we haven't been on the river. We've actually spent 11 glorious weekends boating, walking and eating along The River Thames since the Easter Bank Holiday. So I thought I'd share some of the highlights. On the walking front, we've discovered there are stunning fields to cross, woods to walk through and picturesque villages to visit within 5-10 miles of Henley. This weekend, for example, we did a 17.5 miles circular route that took us along the river to Hambleden and across wonderful countryside to Skirmett, Fingest, Turvil, Stonor House, Middle Assendon and then back to Henley through a beautiful deer park. A shorter, but equally gorgeous, walk is from Henley to Rotherfield Greys, then up to Greys Court (a National Trust House) and back through the Badgemore Park Golf Club. The options are endless and we're having a fantastic time exploring them. All that walking builds up an appetite, of course, but …

Easter Bank Holiday: Gorgeous Goring on Thames

On Sunday morning we travelled the 8 miles back down to Goring, which was as gorgeous as ever. I have to admit I love the place. Stunning location, beautiful walks and the best food ever at the Pierreponts Cafe. So naturally that was our first stop once we'd moored up: a good lunch before our 8 miles walk through the bluebells in Wroxhills Wood, past The White Lion pub in Crays Pond and back to the boat. Then it was a quick drink with some friends on their boat before dinner and bed. Breakfast on Monday was at the Pierreponts Cafe - of course - and as it was a Bank Holiday I was very decadent: french toast with bananas, bacon and maple syrup. All in all, it was the most perfect weekend: glorious sunshine, great food, beautiful countryside, amazing walks and not a traffic jam or airline security queue in sight.

Easter Bank Holiday: Shillingford

On Saturday morning we covered the remaining 7.5 miles to Shillingford and moored up by the Shillingford Bridge Hotel. (It costs £10 to moor overnight and that includes electricity and the use of the hotel's facilities, which I think is good value.) The afternoon was spent walking up the river to Days Lock, enjoying lunch in the sunshine at the Fleur de Lys pub in Dorchester, walking back along the river to Shillingford and relaxing on the boat in the evening. There's a word for days like this: idyllic!

Easter Bank Holiday: Good Friday 'traffic' on the River Thames

We sorted out the problems with the motor (see below) and decided to take advantage of the 4-day Easter Bank Holiday to go as far upstream as we could: to Shillingford. It's 50 miles there and back, which isn't far in driving terms. But in boating terms it's quite a hike because you average about 3.5 miles p/hour on the river (taking into account the speed limit and the time spent getting in and out of locks). So we left London at 10am on Good Friday, arrived at the marina 45 minutes later and set off on the first leg of our trip: 17.5 miles to the The Leatherne Bottel riverside restaurant just above Goring, where we had dinner and moored overnight. It took 5 hours to get there, but as you can see from the photo, it's a very picturesque journey.

A frustrating start to the season

We've been looking forward to getting back on the river for months. So we were very excited when we set off at 7pm on Friday night after a long and tiring week at work. The plan was to have dinner at the George and Dragon pub in Wargrave, overnight at the marina, and then head to Henley for our 'shake down' trip. The pub was fully booked and packed to the rafters (clealy a popular choice on a Friday night). So we drove to Henley and tried the Little Angel. Another very popular choice (judging by the car park). So we drove back to Wargrave and ate at the White Hart pub (not such a popular choice - we were the only ones eating - but a very friendly service). We were back on board by 10pm and asleep by 10.30pm. It was much colder than I expected (there's no heating) but lovely to be back on the river. Saturday morning was glorious. Warm sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. The perfect start to season. And it would have been ... if our engine hadn't konke…