Wednesday, 3 May 2017

George Michael and Five Catch-ups


Our mooring on Wednesday in Wallingford gave us a magnificent night time view of the bridge and river frontage. Had to take this shot for posterity.


Thursday saw us moving on downstream and stopping briefly at Goring-on-Thames to pay our respects to George Michael at his home, Mill Cottage, where he was found dead on Christmas Day last year,


Outside the cottage there were many, many gifts of love and respect for the amazingly talented man who was taken from us far too soon.


It was a humbling experience to read some of the notes, poems and verses to George. This one, of course, refers to his song “Careless Whisper”.


Many tributes dated back to his early years.


His front door was covered in heartfelt messages of love and respect.


All items left at the cottage are carefully and regularly tidied and important items are passed to the family. It was a terribly sad few moments we spent there but one we would not have missed.


Cruising downstream towards Thursday night’s mooring (which we’d not decided upon but we knew who had!) there were numerous impressive residences to be admired and wondered at.


If you keep your eyes peeled there are some very odd sights to be had. This post box, mounted in a wall, can only be reached by boat!


Our night’s mooring was, sort of, chosen for us. We’d managed to catch up and surprise our friends Pauline and Neil on nb “Waterlily”, who’d moored just above Sonning Lock, and four excited people were to enjoy an evening together! It was also to be one of those rare occasions these days when we needed to use our gangplank!


Here’s a very pleased, and surprised, Neil and Pauline with Doug …….


….. and here’s Pauline’s three favourite men!


After a joyous meal together (of combined foodstuffs!) we relaxed and laughed until late into the evening.


Next morning, Friday, we both set off together for a days cruise. Our first lock was the pretty one at Sonning.


More impressive residences …….


……. to marvel at! One wonders about who had these fabulous places designed and built.


Well, Friday night’s stopover was to be Henley-on-Thames where we had agreed to meet up with boating friends Richard and Linda on nb “Mary H”. Pauline and Neil, with Richard and Linda (and their charming little dog Muffin), came on board “Chance” for lunchtime drinks which soon turned into afternoon drinks!


That evening we all crowded into The Angel for a lovely meal together. Richard, Linda, Neil, Doug, Pauline and James.


Being the May Bank holiday there were many tourist craft plying the river past us. This one, a perfectly preserved steam launch, was one of the most special.


On Saturday morning we said farewell to Linda and Richard, who were going in the opposite direction, and also Pauline and Neil who had planned to stay a couple more days in Henley (but we’d be catching up with them again later).


Henley is a popular and charming place. The river frontage and bridge make for pleasant sight.


Just before the bridge we passed The Angel where we’d all spent such a grand previous evening.


More spectacular and ………


enormous residences to wonder and marvel at!


And some which stretch the understanding a little bit! This seems to be a floating “garden room”!


Marlow, like Henley, presents itself spectacularly with it’s Victorian suspension bridge and lovely river frontage.


Along the Marlow, Bourne End, Cookham stretch of the river, and it’s associated locks, we had the privilege of travelling with another “Chance”. This time “Happy Chance”!


Passing through Bourne End was to rekindle memories going back to 2007 and our first boat “Spirit”. In the November we had alternator problems and the kindness of the owner of The Bounty and his staff giving us free mooring, free electricity and occasionally even food (!) during a very cold two weeks when we couldn’t move. We’ve visited many times since then to catch up with these kind people.


High above the lock at Cookham is Clivedon. A very impressive house built in the 1850’s for the Duke of Sutherland. It’s most famous for later being the home of Nancy, Lady Astor. These days it’s used as a hotel.


Downstream of Maidenhead and Bray are the dilapidated buildings of the disused Bray Studios.

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Soon after Maidenhead we arrived in Windsor and our stopover for the night. Even though it was Bank Holiday weekend  there were still moorings to be had. We chose a quiet location on Baths Island where we could see what was happening on the river.


That evening friends Chris and Alastair, who live close by, came over for the evening and brought the adorable six month old “Maggie” with them.


Maggie a lot of cuddles from Doug!


Egyptian geese seem to be more common on the Thames these days and, this time, we saw our first Egyptian goslings.


As we didn’t have too far to travel on Bank Holiday Monday we used the morning and took a walk into town. Wherever you look there is generally a view of the castle which dominates the town completely.


Although the weather was pretty dyer there were masses of people around. The queue for the castle was a couple of hundred yards long!


You can tell that the Queen lives at the end of the road by the quality of seating in the pavement cafes!


There’s a terrific view of the castle Round Tower at the end of the High Street.


It’s a very special feeling to cruise past Windsor Castle, the oldest inhabited castle in the world, as we left our moorings and headed further down river.


It was to be a short hop for us on Monday to moor up at the National Trust moorings at Runnymede and to catch up with boating friends Carol and George on their wide beam “Still Rockin’”.


Carol and George came on “Chance” for a drink during the afternoon. The expression on Carol’s face is because of something James said to get everyone laughing!


In the evening we went aboard “Still Rockin’” for Chinese and Indian Waitrose meals for two – supplied by us and cooked by Carol in the galley on their super boat.  We had pre dinner drinks, and then dinner, on their vast rear deck, all warm and cosy beneath the canopy.


George worked hard to set up the camera for the preceding pic!


On Tuesday we said our farewells to Carol and George and thanked them so much for the most fantastic evening.


The fabulous “Still Rockin’”!


A couple of pics, courtesy of Carol and George, as we left our mooring. (can’t think why James is looking so confused!)


Tuesday’s mooring was one we’ve used many times at Weybridge, just below Shepperton lock. A walk into town to get some groceries was followed by us hunkering down by the fire for the rest of the day. Let’s hope the weather starts to warm up a bit!

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