Wednesday, 17 October 2012

It's been chaos here.  They told me 'Boats & Plans incompatible", but they didn't mention Chaos.  Time for a picture that has nothing to do with that:

Ignore the hire boat in the background (dreadful apparently), you can just see here the orange RibMat (from MobMat = ManOverBoardMat) but in our case, dog, but that's not the Chaos, he hasn't needed rescuing with this yet.  In fact the MobMat we ordered first turned out to be far too large and we returned it to the Southampton Boat Show and this replacement just arrived.  It'll be fun using it (not really!).
Another picture:

What's so special about that?  Well Burdock is on the bank and the fender is on the boat, he nearly leaned enought to fall into the boat or the water.  Well, the house has been 'up for rent' for 3 weeks (patience!) and we've had lots of friends to stay on board (and at home), Tad's moved out and we're approaching Big Decision Time about where we go.  It's like Desert Island Discs but with pix, so here's one more:

I know it's from an earlier trip, but it's nice and cheery.  The flowers are pretty dead now tho'!
So anyway we braved the Thames in spate, well Yellow Boards anyway (Red means the insurance don't pay up, and Yellow is next down).  It was quite exciting and we had a mission to be at a sort of weekend Rally to launch a new boat from our boatbuilder, combined with my birthday with sons & daughter-in-law, hosted at their barbeque.  The first two locks were fine, but at Marsh lock I made a real hash of it and wound up wedged at 45 degrees across the entrance.  In the end the Self Service lock turned out to be attended and he towed us in!  I blame a strange wier stream, but no great harm was done. 
The new boat they were promoting looked like this:

I know, all portholes, who'd ever think of that?!  This amazingly compact boat (49 feet) has two large double bedrooms with large en suite bathrooms (I'll take a commission thanks).  That's Temple Island in the background (not part of the boat) at Henley, so we did 3 locks down (gosh!) and the two notorious bridges at Sonning (known as Sodding) and Henley.  Nik helmed us back up through Henley very skilfully and I didn't bash anything either.  We learned loads from other owners, which is great when one is as green as we are, hence we have green P plates on our wheelhouse, as a warning to others!
Oh dear, are we out of time?  Well about that Chaos, oh sorry, I'll have to explain that next time.  Just one more picture, showing what strange characters use the Thames:

So, if you know the person on the right, who may serve as a fender, do contact Le Boat company.