Saturday, 27 June 2015

Old friends, blog readers and Samson is undone

We had moored in Wallingford on Wednesday so that we would have a post code with easy road access for our friends Pete and Warren to come and stay overnight on Thursday. I happily went to the swimming pool reception and paid for two nights’ mooring even though the sign says one, but more available by request. We thought £5 per night was dead cheap. And it was a lovely mooring alongside the park with the fountain pool and swimming pool close by us – the kids were having a ball running through spouting water, activating the dam on the ‘mountain’ and then releasing the water down the slopes. Very cool and noisy fun.

On Wednesday I went off with my granny trolley to Waitrose and realised what a beautiful wee town Wallingford is, in just the bits I saw of the old shopping street and the market square. 
The other houses on the main street were more salubrious but these seemed authentic English village to me. Maybe not the colours but they seemed very quaint.
Currently the archetypal English street scene - the tower ,and the white building to the left is an Indian restaurant. Unfortunately we haven't yet tried the restaurant, but next week I think we will as it is very close to the river.
The market square - not far off this is Champions, one of those fabulous English shops that sells EVERYTHING = all of which you need ... I managed to get out buying only sugar soap (my original shopping intention) and a cheese slicing knife. It could have been a lot lot worse!

As it turned out I did two trips to Waitrose as there was no way that all of the things on the list (as well as those not on it but mysteriously ending up in the Waitrose trundler …)  would fit in the granny trolley. So half the shopping done and back to the boat for David to carry the granny trolley down the steep steps to the mooring. Off I went with the second granny trolley which also got filled to the brim. They are an absolute boon and they carry far more than the 10kg the label indicated. Good thing too.

We finished emptying both trolleys and storing things away (we have to do it together, or I have to do it alone, because David likes to set everything out on the bench before putting it away and the double handling drives me spare!) Then I prepared lunch and as we were eating it, I looked at the stern of the boat and saw a couple of pairs of legs. Pete and Warren had arrived!
They've been together 40 years - it'll never last!
While we ate lunch, they ate crackers and a lovely brie and some stilton they had brought with them – of course I had to help! They caught us up on their doings since arriving in the UK – that morning they had been to the place where Downton Abbey is set.
Leaving David behind to rest his still intermittently poorly foot, Pete, Warren and I set off on an explore of the town. After a wander along a path that was signposted Castle Gardens but didn’t seem to lead there, we found said gardens when we asked for directions – note to men: asking for directions is a valid response to not knowing where you are, and does not, contrary to male opinion (which is dodgy at best) lead to loss of testicular function. This however, may do:
So where do vengeful women get hold of these fish??
The gardens are beautiful, lovely roses, lovely lawns and a great place for the local teenagers to play. There was a big bunch of them playing some kind of chasing game – wonderful to see kids so active and not an iphone or tablet in sight.
Warren (L) and Pete (R) taking time out to smell the roses in Castle Gardens
The roses were beautiful
Hot pink again and a lovely perfume

In the middle of the lawn
Part of the old castle. Judging by the distances between sections still standing, the castle was enormous!

Back on the boat, out came the table, chairs, wine, glasses, platter of nibbles on to the lawn above the mooring. Out too came the laughter, the stories. 
David, Warren, me and Pete with Wallingford Bridge (the part re-built in the 19th century) in the background

By the time we had consumed most of what was on the platter of nibbles, we decided that two courses for dinner were all that was required, so it was avocados, prawns (tuna for David), boat grown lettuce and seafood sauce. Then David prepared dessert – Waitrose’s chocolate brownie cubes, strawberries and whipped cream.

Back on board we decided to skype with Gary back in Wellington. Bruce was already at work, poor man – must be time he retired! Then off to bed. David and I prepared the dinette bed for W&P, and I went to bed, put in my earplugs and then added my noise cancelling earphones – Pete started to snore immediately his head hit the pillow! Fortunately he stopped not long after or he may have been tipped into the river …

In the morning, we took a quick trip up to Benson Lock and turned after it and came back down. We were all impressed with the Benson lock keeper as she used a very NZ saying ‘No worries!’ I don’t think I’ve ever heard an English person say that before. However her boyfriend has been to NZ so perhaps he brought the saying back with him.

Then back at Wallingford we moored up again with a bit of faffing around – part of the space we had vacated had been taken by a plastic boat, so we breasted up against another boat while the people who had been in front of us moved off. We said goodbye to Warren and Pete who were heading for their hotel at Heathrow to stay overnight and fly to Spain today. They have promised that next year they will stay at least 4 nights with us. They are excellent company – they travel around NZ a lot in their campervan, so are used to small spaces and the compromises required, eg showering with very little water – Gary and Bruce, please note: Warren can do it! Remember that at Waikanae …

Then we decided to head back down to Cleve Lock to get water and moor up at the meadows again for the weekend. The feather that David had stood up by ‘our’ spot was still there.. We were joined overnight by two other boats, one of which left this morning. 
Photo taken by Irene of Jamiesons Afloat fame - hair needs to be thoroughly wet for a decent cut, Michelle, my esteemed hairdresser tells me ... See the deadly scissors in my left hand? The result is not a bad cut - I used to cut David's hair years ago and gave it up. I am NOT re-establishing the habit, just so he knows!

Then while I was giving David a haircut (Michelle isn’t coming, I cannot get David to a barber – poorly foot, don’t you know) two boats came past, turned and came back to moor. We moved up about 8 feet so they could both fit in comfortably. So our neighbours now are Ian and Irene Jamieson (Jamiesons Afloat blog) and the Heather and Dave Fox on Vixen. We had a cup of tea together late in the morning and a chat this arvo. But I needed a nana nap and David was busy sorting out the techie thing that enhances the wifi and phone signal. Not particularly sociable activities!

Hopefully we will catch up with them all in the morning.


Lesley Bateman said...

I have been using no worries for years, although I can't remember if I was doing so before so before I met you. I notice you did not post a picture post haircut!

Lesley Bateman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marilyn McDonald said...

I think 'no worries' will be one of the many things I taught you, ODS...
I will remedy the post haircut photo today - looks OK, if I do say so myself, but I am not sure if Michelle would approve tho!