We moored late yesterday arvo above Shepperton Lock by the Thames Court pub. We did all of about 4 hours boating yesterday but that was far less than we intended.
The day before we only travelled a short distance to Hampton Court Palace moorings so we could do the tourist thing. I stupidly wore sandals whcich gave me blisters on my big toes so did the time-honoured NZ thing and took them off and walked barefooted around the palace. At one point, just before we were due to enter the chapel, a lovely young woman told me I would have to put my shoes on. I said I couldn't because of blisters and she said I'd have to. I said 'OK then, I will have to leave as I cannot wear them' and I started to hand her my audio guide. She said she didn't want me to have to leave so she found someone who said it was fine. Given my feet were probably far cleaner than people's shoes, I thought it was a bit strange. But barefootedness is an NZ thing, not a UK thing. So I shouldn't be surprised.
The palace was pretty spectacular. However having read Daughter of Time by Joesphine Tey about it being impossible for Richard III to be guilty of murdering the princes in the Tower, and in fact that Henry VII had organised the post-humous bad-mouthing of Richard III and then killed all of Richard's supporters and any of his family and courtiers who would have known the truth and could have objected to his taking the throne from Richard's rightful heir, I did find the lack of acknowledgement of the murderousness of Henry VII's reign rather disingenuous. About the only thing I saw about it was one comment that his tenure on the throne was not very stable. How very strange, I hear myself saying!
This morning, we headed off intending to do a quick pumpout above Molesy Lock, then fill with water while we all showered and head away into the wild blue yonder for hours... Well, it's boating, isn't it, that the best laid plans get the heave ho. There were two plastic boats moored on the facilities area, one with no one aboard, and one with two guys who had broken down and wanted to be as far from the pull of the lock as possible so the diver who would have to identify the problem with their props and intakes wouldn't be affected by it. David spoke to the lock keepers who said to move the empty boat down to close by the lock entrance. That done, we then had to negotiate with the broken down guy to get his boat out of our way so we could do the pump out. We could manoeuvre enough to get the pumpout hose to reach but the cleaning water hose was really short - why???? In the end, after much discussion, we got the plastic boat skipper to let himself be angled out across our bows and the approach to the lock so we could get close enough. I did suggest that he'd cause less hassle to other boats if he used some geometric theory and had his boat parallel to the jetty. Didn't care. And he had the cheek to say that he didn't want my ugly big steel boat squashing his beautiful boat! As I said to him 'yours may be beautiful but it doesn't f---ing work, mate!' I did smile, but it was through ever so slightly gritted teeth ...
I also did wonder why he couldn't see the logic of moving his boat down closer to the lock entrance until his diver arrived, so that any boaters like us could use the facilities, and then he could move back for the diver's convenience. Five minutes each way ... But that was too difficult for him to comprehend. Doh!!
So the pumpout and water fill ended up being well over an hour's worth of effort. Entertaining though.
Then while David was down in the cratch sorting out something with the solar panel distributor, Barry and I wondered where the moorings were for the Tesco's. I did consider asking a couple who were sitting in their deck chairs on the bank but decided against it. Bad move! Once David was off the phone he identified the moorings - back about 500 metres. Fortunately it is pretty easy to turn almost anywhere on the river, so a 180 deg turn was expertly executed by Barry and back we went. An he executed an expert coming alongside in windy conditions too. Bugger! Makes me look inept ...
Off he and I went to Tesco's while David did I don't know what. Over £100 later, back to the boat and lunch was prepared and eaten. I then struck up conversation with the guys on the boat behind as I realised that the solar panels being fitted were branded Onboard Solar. It turns out that the guy fitting them is Duncan who will be getting in touch with us next week to sort out a time to come and exchange one of our panels which has a strange brown line down it. The distributor is happily going to replace it. So we are happy bunnies and we now know who to look out for at the appointed day and time! A very opportune coincidence.
So onwards we came, thinking we'd push on for some time, but realising that we are better early in the morning rather than in the evening, we moored up at about 4pm with the intention of heading off early this morning. We shall see - I am an early riser, or at least I am a bouncer out of bed. But David is not ... Barry is, however, so I reckon this could be a go-er.
It's 83 miles to Oxford - we have better get a move on! I was thinking I'd get these guys up at 5am almost as soon as it gets light .... Barry was right when he said it was wishful thinking - but it's 7.10am now and I am ready to go after a quick bite for brekkie!