Round Here

We had a nice spot. It was quiet boat wise, with nobody else moored by the lock, but the water from the huge weir opposite was not so quiet. Still it was a great place to see low flying kites and the heron didn’t mind being right next to the rushing weir and paid no heed to the “No fishing from March to November” signs. In fact around lock area the rule was no fishing at all ever.

In the morning the staff’s arrival was announced by the sound of a leaf blower, which was a surprise and seemed unseasonal, though yesterday I had scooped up large handfuls of leaves and fluffy catkins that had landed all over the bow overnight. I was waiting for a lull in activity to go up and pay but there was a continuous supply of boats coming and going in both directions of all shapes and sizes, including one that only just fitted in the lock and there was no room for anything with it and there looked like a wedding aboard. The boat that came out, as Caversham Princess was awaiting her turn to enter was quite a contrast. When we came through the lock there were three boats in and space for more.

Wedding party boat and Little Ellie cross outside the lock.

A boat arrived and pulled in to the mooring jetty nose to nose with us but didn’t tie up and I suspected they really wanted to go through the lock and not moor. A narrow boat came to wait at the lock jetty opposite. There was some signalling from the lock keeper about coming into the lock and I went out and asked if they wanted to go into it first. They asked if I wanted to before them, and I explained we were going the other way and not using the lock. They quickly got going after apologies. I guess they are new when they didn’t recognise which way we were facing.

I eventually gave up waiting for a gap in traffic and just went to pay anyway. The guy operating the lock told me that it was the other person I should see about mooring charges but to watch out I might get yellow paint on me. He was squatted down repainting the markings for the “stay clear of here” area on the ground, where the large lock bridge swings when the gates open, to warn pedestrians. I said we were in no hurry so he didn’t need to get up and it could wait till he had finshed. He said it might be another half hour, put down his brush and got up to go the office. He asked the length and name of the boat and boldly said he’d have a stab at writing “Bartimaeus” without me spelling it for him It was a good attempt -10 out of 10 for effort; 7 out of 10 for correct placement of letters. I left him saying I hoped his brush hadn’t dried up. On my return Shane speculated that the leaf blower may have been to clear the areas to be painted.

We had a very short journey planned. We had heard last night the next town had lots of mooring but was also pretty full, but we thought lunch time would have more movement and certainly it looked like a lot of people may have left, judging by the steady arrival of lock traffic. After a mere mile of travel we reached Goring and found it to be still quite heavily moored. We found a spot that required me to use the folding stirrup step on the side to get up to the ban to tie up. Shane was prepared to go under a small branch and risk losing a little solar power, thinking to move later if space appeared.

Another narrow boat looked like it needed to moor and Shane knew there wasn’t space ahead so invited them to moor up next to us. They thought they may stop for lunch and then said would it be okay if they stayed overnight. We had a good chat before going for lunch. We had two kinds of cheddar cheese bringing to mind the cheese shop sketch “not much call for that around here sir”.

Later other boats were jostling for spaces and despite being twice our width, they also doubled up. A small boat arrived and the doubled ones behind were doubtful they would fit and suggested there may be space further along. ” Go on we are only little” – it looked like they may just fit so I got up to try to look at the space and guide them in and take a rope,with someone else at the other end. They fitted just and I tied them up. We pulled forward a few inches so their outboard motor wasn’t rubbing against our rear fender. They were pleased to squeeze in and were another chatty neighbour. I am now informed that George Michael used to live here so that explains why there are postcards in town with his picture on. I don’t if that is why it is so busy round here.

No escape! Bartimaeus hemmed in on all sides.

Some very young goslings have been well trained already in seeking out titbits from boats and came quickly to newly married boats,shooting across as a few crumbs were scattered. They were clearly not afraid of boats at all.

Geese and goslings snapping up my offerings swimming under the ropes tying the two narrow boats together

In a short foray into town we found a hardware shop. Shane wanted a larger Allen key or hex key as the shop called them. They had a selection but were out of their largest size. Shane went to check the size before purchase. This was not such an easy spot to access and measure, but he eventually got it out to bring to the shop. They definitely didn’t have anything large enough. It is a good job it was warm enough that I had changed into shorts for the return trip and that we don’t really need the heating on right now.

Shane getting the part to see what size hex key is required.