Well, we thought we might have had a dullish journey down to Reading today but not so. For a start the rain, which was forecast, didn’t happen and we had quite a lot of sunshine instead - but we also met up with nb ‘Avoca’ at our first lock at Aldermaston. Andy, it’s owner, and friend Leanne, and Andy’s mum and dad, Pete and Ann, who were just helping Andy for today were just about to go into the lock and they seemed happy for us to team up with them.
Going through the Aldermaston road bridge, which hold up large amounts of traffic! The wind was still not on our side today and when we got to the next lock, Andy was unable to hold his boat against the wind as his ropes weren’t long enough. It was a comical sight, which we all had a laugh about, and there was no harm done. Doug suggested that Andy and his dad pop back to the chandlery at Aldermaston Wharf and buy some longer ropes – especially as he was planning to go on the Thames and he’d certainly need them there. They duly went off and came back with……..
………gleaming white ones!
Getting the new ropes fitted to ‘nb Avoca’ before we went on.
‘Chance’ in the lovely sunshine when we didn’t expect it.
‘Chance and ‘Avoca’ in the huge and bizarrely shaped Sheffield Lock.
Mum and dad: Ann and Pete. It’s an amazing coincidence but they have regularly visited their friends who live just a few doors away from our house in Selsey. It’s a very small world sometimes!
Ann and Pete had to go back home so we left all of them all to say their goodbyes near Burghfield and we continued on to our old, tried and tested, mooring at the Old Gaol in Reading. Here are some shots as we motored through the Oracle shopping centre.
We are now at the end of our trip along the Kennet and Avon (and back) and we’re due to be on the Thames tomorrow and heading towards London.
We’ve genuinely enjoyed our journeying over the last few weeks. We met up with family and friends, who live close enough to visit us, and we very much enjoyed our travels with June and Bob on nb ‘Autumn Myst’ and it was a great shame they had to curtail their journey. We had the fortune to meet fellow bloggers Ian and Karen on nb ‘Tacet’ and to enjoy their company for a while, especially during the superb experience of Bristol Docks. Also we met fellow bloggers Nick and Emma on nb ‘Marpessa 2’– all of these moments were wonderful.
We also enjoyed some of the most fantastic scenery in the countryside around Berkshire and Wiltshire and some lovely weather to go with it. The canal has had a lot of money spent on it since our last experience of it in 2007. This has resulted in much better locks, especially at the eastern end between Reading and Newbury, and there’s been an enormous amount of vegetation cut back which was well overdue. Sadly, there are too many stationary live-aboards and the visitor moorings can range from the very good to the downright dangerous (Pewsey and Bradford-on-Avon being the worst). There’s also been a plethora of wildlife to enjoy, including water voles and American Mink (!).
We’re very pleased to have “done” the old K and A again, and it’s certainly worthwhile doing it, but we’re are now looking forward to different pastures and to blogging about something new for a change!