It’s Sunday night; we’re moored up at Hungerford for the night… after a short discussion we all agreed to finish early so we can have a lazy evening in preparation to hammer the next five days. We basically need to haul ass to Bristol by Friday so that I can do the big move over the weekend before starting work Monday! Hectic you say…? I wouldn’t have it any other way…
Mum’s getting the spag bol on the go, we have our lovely Bob Back after his trip home for the weekend to allow us to have room for the whole family on board and I have finally got some time to fill you in on the next instalment:
So this is my second attempt at writing part 2 of our journey from London to Bristol. It has been hectic to say the least and every time I’ve sat down to write, there has been a lock to do, a bridge to open, a boat to steer, a drink to make, a dinner to cook, not to mention the moments when you just want to stop and take it all in.
In my first attempt I started to tell you all about our completion of the Thames River and joining the River Kennet: We hit Reading on Thursday and what a culture shock it was…
Having never done any boating on the Thames River I can see how people get used to the leisure of it all! No man-powered locks at all, every single one is run by the push of a button and not only that but at 90% of the locks there is a person there to push said button for you! The other lovely thing about the Thames is the space; getting into the windy River Kennet we suddenly had to be a lot more alert while steering! But still I love it on the canals, doing the locks not only gives you a sense of achievement but its great teamwork and a dam good workout. We have of course been putting all our guests to work too!
So far on this trip I have found two new loves; my new (charity shop bought) slow cooker and birds; I’ve become a bit of a keen bird spotter (with the help of Bob identifying them for me) we’ve seen swans, geese, ducks, great crested grebes, cormorants, herons, buzzards, terns, red kites and many more. Unfortunately without a decent zoom lens on my camera and usually only my iPhone to hand I’ve not managed to capture any decent pictures yet but I’m working on it! And don’t even get me started on my slow cooker, its just a dream and perfect for this trip; Chop it all up in the morning, plonk it all in, switch it on, set off and forget about it for the whole day… then after a long day there is nothing to be done but eat… Although the aroma throughout the day is pretty dam hard to resist!
So as I said, Bob headed home for the weekend to make room for the motely crew to come aboard; we moored up just before Newbury right outside the The Narrow Boat pub. That way my sister and the gang could park the car literally spitting distance from the boat and get all their stuff on board. Anyone with kids will know that there is no such thing as packing light with two little ones! But it was perfect for us because with a Tesco’s superstore on our doorstep we were able to stock up… and stock up we did, we were busting at the seems with food and booze (can I just take this moment to say there really is nothing super about Tesco’s superstores, they are so under stocked and have little more to offer than a corner shop! That’s my rant done)!
With the family on board, the next morning although up nice any early to enjoy the day we had a leisurely start. Breakfast in our pj’s and much to Gem’s disbelief mum even walked the dogs in her onesie!!! Anyone who knows mum knows she doesn’t leave the house without her lipstick so this was a proud moment for me; she’s adapted well to boat life! Driving the boat with my whole family on board it felt amazing. It was so lovely to see us all enjoying our new venture together. Took me right back to our childhood… only this time it’s ours; no having to give the boat back in a week, no extortionate rental fees, no post holiday blues, it’s ours to enjoy holidays whenever we want. Every day’s a holiday.
Even with our leisurely pace we surprised ourselves and managed to make it to Kintbury for the evening’s mooring spot; I think the extra hands made light work of the locks. What a lovely little Village Kintbury is, we had a wonderful stay there and then after another well earned lazy morning the family set off and we picked up our next guests. Some day-tripper’s this time: Miss Serena Catapano came back for some more and this time she brought her mum and step dad along for the ride. Jan got stuck in with the locks straight away climbing down the side the boat, jumping off the front end and pushing the gates open faster than me! We hit Hungerford in no time… So much so that we nearly cruised straight by it! We were cruising passed it and mum said: “oh, this place looks nice, where are we…?” With Serena’s car in Hungerford ready to take them all back to Kintbury and Bob getting the train there to meet back up with us, there was really no choice… I quickly banged it into reverse and with a good old audience building up I managed not to make too much of a hash of it and reverse moored it up! Although we realised shortly after that, that it was the boat trip mooring and not somewhere we were supposed to be… oops!
Sunday was of course a popular day for visitors but we managed to fit them all in with our last guests of the day being none other than the lovely Kate Dean and her papa. What a lovely end to a wonderful weekend.
Time to turn in for the night, long old day tomorrow, I have a slow cooked roast chicken dinner planned, I can smell it already; 24 locks to Devises which we are determined to do so we can moor up and tackle the Caen Hill flight Tuesday morning. Feel free to come and watch or get stuck in, we could do with the extra womanpower…