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The Waterways Wanderings of Narrowboat “Just Heaven”

Cookham lock

As usual we made an early is start. Through Henley again and down the regatta course for the second time.

They do things in style here!

They do things in style here!

The arrangements for all the corporate hospitality were well under way. I wonder how many of the people in there will be watching the rowing?!

On down to Marlow where we stopped on good local council moorings for lunch and a wander round the town.

Marlow bridge

Marlow bridge

The river is getting busier with boats heading upstream, presumably on their way to Henley. The Thames has many different types of boats. This far downstream narrowboats are definitely in the minority. As we go downstream the boats are getting bigger!


The biggest one seen so far

The biggest one seen so far

On arrival at Cookham lock we asked the lock keeper if there were any moorings between here and Boulters lock ( the next one). He said there weren’t any good ones, but for £8.90 we could moor here in a weir stream behind the lock. We decided that was a good idea, and it’s a lovely peaceful mooring.

Very peaceful

Very peaceful

We walked into the little village of Cookham, which appears to have 5 pubs, for a bit of exercise, then chilled out by the boat.




Above Marsh Lock

A trip to Tesco to stock up then back up to Sonning to drop of the Downs family. Unfortunately it rained most of the way!

The rain had stopped when we had got there. Lunch of sausage and mash was readily consumed then it was time for them to go.

After they left we went back down river to moor up a few hundred yards above Marsh Lock just before Henley.


Henley on Thames

After breakfast we took two very excited girls for a ride, chugging slowly down river. They were most keen to feed the ducks and geese. We had said earlier that they shouldn’t feed them bread, but  grain instead. They had brought a large bag of wild bird food for the purpose. Unfortunately the birds hadn’t read the recent publicity about bread being bad for them, and didn’t seem to want the grain!

Henley is getting ready for the Royal Regatta which starts on Wednesday. There were lots of rowers practicing, and a general busyness and anticipation about, lots of people, and boats of all shapes and sizes, going hither and thither.

We found a lovely mooring alongside a public park. Although it was only about noon we decided to stay there for the rest of the day. The mooring cost £10 for overnight, a ticket purchased from the car park pay & display machine. We spent the afternoon in the town, eating ice creams (all of us) and playing in the playground (some of us).

For our evening meal Paul used his new “Cobb” to cook an excellent tandoori chicken. We sat outside in the lovely sunshine soaking up the atmosphere.



An early start as we needed to find a suitable place to meet Nik, Paul, Izzie & Roxie.

As we came through Reading there was a new pedestrian bridge being built. It is a suspended design, and they are building out across the river in sections.


As we came down through Sonning bridge we could see several mooring opportunities. It would easy to meet Nik & Paul and to unload their car. However the mooring all had confusing signs. Some saying ‘no mooring’ and others saying that a fee was due. We spoke to some boaters who were moored up and they told us that the land belonged to Uri Geller and he charged £10 per  night for charity. We decided to go for it. After a while another boater came to see us. He was moored further up not on Uri’s land and would be moving soon and we could move into his space, so we did.

We were now just outside an hotel where a wedding was taking place. The photographer took some pics of the bride and groom standing by our boat.

Our guests arrived a little late due to heavy traffic. We unloaded their stuff and had the meal that we had waiting for them


Just south of Wallingford

We left Oxford at around 7:00 am, the weather all day has been lovely and warm. We worked the first two Thames locks on our own as the lock keepers don’t come on duty until 9:00.

The flower beds at Iffley lock were looking really great:

iffley lock

A stop at Abingdon for breakfast and some shopping for tomorrow when we are to be joined by Nikki, Paul, Izzie & Roxie.

Abingdon council provide lots of free moorings for visitors to the town. Their near neighbours Wallingford should take note!

On arrival at Wallingford it was obvious that were weren’t going to find a mooring easily. There was a very inviting space above the bridge, but it was marked for “trip boat only”. We went under the bridge to a spot we have used before. It’s not ideal as the banks are very high, but beggars can’t be chosers. Unfortunately the river levels must be lower as we couldn’t get near without running aground. In desperation we tried another place above the the bridge outside the pub, but it wasnt long enough for our 55ft.

So we carried on out of the town for about a mile, then Heddi spotted a bit of bank that looked promising. We squeezed it between  some trees for a quiet, but unusual mooring.

In The Trees

 We have seen lots od Red Kites around, some swooping low over the river right  in front and over us. It’s such a success story for the re-introduction of these beautiful birds.


Still in Oxford

A day of culture today.

First we cycled to the Oxford Botanic garden. This is great, we really enjoyed it. The herbaceous flowers  were at their best – really impressive.

alliumsCalifornian PoppyBorder


We stayed here all morning and ate our lunch (just a sandwich from Boots!) in the grounds.

Back on the bikes to go back into the city. Oxford is a very cycle friendly place, cycle lanes, lots of bike racks and the traffic seems to be bike aware. There are lots of cyclists. They even have special green cycle lamps on the traffic lights.

We parked the bikes by Oriel College and wandered about a bit, bought some Chelsea buns in the covered market and sat on the grass under a tree in the grounds of Christ Church College to eat them. On the bikes again to make our way to the Ashmolean Museum. This has amazing exhibits of Ancient Eygpt, Roman, Greek and other civilisations. We could have stayed here longer, but our legs were getting weary from all the walking and cycling, so we made our way through the streets, back up the towpath to the boat.

After supper it was another walk across Port Meadow, though not quite so long this time.

Off tommorow down the Thames towards London.



3 miles and 3 locks boating

6 miles cycling

3 miles walking

We set off for the short trip to moor just above Dukes lock. We have moored there before and it’s convenient to go out onto the Thames via Duke’s cut. But when we got there all the available visitors space was taken. So we dropped down Duke’s lock and decided to stop on the 48hr mooring by the junction. As Heddi maneuvered in to the side the boat became wedged on something under the water. Almost half an hour of pushing with poles, pulling on ropes and engine revving we eventually got free. It was a pleasant mooring except the nearby trains insisted on blowing their horns as they passed!

We cycled into Oxford and did a bit of culture at the Museum of Natural History and wanderin around the colleges. Lunch was taken in the ground of the Radcliffe Camera.

As we cycled back to the boat we noticed quite a few spaces on the visitors mooring nearer the city, so moved the boat through Wolvercote lock and on another half mile or so.

Our even stroll turned in a really lovely 3 mike walk down to the Thames, round Port Meadow and back pas Isis lock.



A long day. We hadn’t intended to get this far (20 miles & 12 locks) today, but the weather was good so we carried on intending to stop at Thrupp, but there were no free moorings. So it was about 6:00 before we stopped.

The day didn’t start too good. We had only been going about 20 mins when an alarm sounded and the engine temperature gauge was showing almost boiling. We stopped, pulled into the side and I lifted the engine boards. After a quick look around I could see that one of the joints in coolant link to the calorific was leaking. It seemed like we had lost most of the coolant. I dismantled and then remade the joint, filled the system up with fresh water ( note to self, put antifreeze in before the winter!) and off we went again, all seemed OK.

A stop for fuel and pump out at Aynho Wharf, and then the rest of the day chugging along in pleasant sunshine.

Not many boats about, we met a few at locks, but quite quiet.


Just south of Banbury

Yesterday we drove to Monks Risborough to celebrate our son in law Paul’s birthday.

A trip to Tesco.com this morning to top up with provisions for the London trip. I completed the engine service, changing the oil and filters.

Rather than stay in the marina we decided to move out into Cropredy village and moored just before the lock. After lunch we did a circular walk through fields near the village. We intended to stay until tomorrow, but at about 3:30 we set off. The weather was really good and the forecast for tomorrow isn’t.

Through Banbury, which was surprisingly quiet, to more near bridge 171.


Near Bridge 193

The sun was shining so we made our usual early morning start. Walker Services at Aynho Wharf had diesel on at a very reasonable 78p/l and we needed just over 100 litres.

A fairly uneventful and quiet day. We winded just before Pigeons Lock and then back up to near bridge 193. It was a lovely sunny evening and we sat outside with a glass of wine.

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