Having achieved our safety certificate, our next appointment was back in Reading. We had sailed through without stopping in order to meet up at midday at Pangbourne. We had let a Norwegian crew tie a rope on to us and we had both agreed we weren’t early risers. We had discussed options if we needed to leave first but we felt them arrive on our boat to untie. It was after lunch before we had left but we hadn’t far to go.
We did have one scheduled stop en route though. Having failed to get a pump out, we wanted to try one that was on the way back to Reading. There was one at Mapledurham Lock. You needed to buy a token and as we arrived the lock keeper had just gone on his lunch break. While we waited, another boat, Jester, arrived and we shifted along to let them queue for the same facility. After a wait, Shane went to get a token, Jester tried but hadn’t had money with them when they saw the lock keeper and he wouldn’t give them a token, with a promise of payment afterwards, while they were in the lock. Shane arranged with Jester that since they were lined up next to us we could probably get two tanks emptied in the 6 minutes of pumping time you got.They were impressed to hear we had a gauge on our waste tank, so when it was suitably low, I pressed the pause button and Shane passed over the hose and it went into a second boat, with a short shuffle of positions. I pressed the restart button and a second tank was emptied. The lock was now ready for both of us to go through together. We felt quite well bonded by the whole experience!
We wanted to get to the moorings at Reading Abbey. We had moored there when Anne and Richard visited as it was near the station and quiet. We had seen rehearsals for a play outdoors in the Abbey ruins and Shane had got tickets. This time the mooring by Abbey Wharf was a perfect pretheatre place to be. In theatrical mood, this time I remembered to photograph the Oscar Wilde metal memorials.
I managed to get dinner sorted before leaving for Henry I. The seats were unallocated so early arrival was beneficial. Shane tried out the theatre company’s own brew lager. We had raincoats but survived with the rain only starting on our return to the boat. The show was excellent with never a dull moment, comedy, tragedy and swashbuckling action combined. I am tempted to return a third time as someone we know is performing in the same place next month.
In the morning I went for a stroll while Shane was on the phone. I wanted to look for the museum we had passed by boat but the route on foot was less obvious. I returned after a short circuit and two false attempts. Shane got his map out and we had a more straightforward walk there together. The main exhibit was an exquisitely decorated gypsy caravan. Shane admired the sprung wheels
The other side of the room had some industrial history of Reading, like Huntley and Palmer biscuits and brewing. A surprise exhibit was the book, made famous by the advert for Yellow Pages which were printed in Reading, and the advert was so successful that the fictional book was written and published to satisfy people’s requests for it. There was a large Pike on show too. I did see some tiny fish near our mooring, but nothing to satisfy a fisher.
There was a second room with some sewage pump equipment…this running theme has featured a bit too much. Fortunately there was also an art exhibition by refugees and people suffering with their mental health. The play had been quite moving with violent deaths, rape, bloodshed, forced marriage and a tragic drowning, but this was a second moving spectacle, which we hadn’t expected and we were very lucky to see it as it finishes this weekend. Since we can’t stay second night, we went round a second time to make sure we did it justice.