Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Burghfield to Goring, meeting a little ship and a keel en route.

The less said about yesterday the better, it can be summed up in one word, rain. We went from Woolhampton to Burghfield, soaked, cold and fed up. Aldermarston Lock probably deserves a mention if only for the amount of water that can get through, under and around a closed gate.


But no sign of Para Handy, Dougie, Sunny Jim or Dan McPhail. Coincidence as I'm re-reading the Neil Munro tales at the moment. But that was yesterday. This morning we left Burghfield bright and early

and were through County Lock, the last on the K&A, just over an hour later.

The lights went green and we were off,

through the ravine that is the Oracle shopping centre, like a greased weasel

and out onto Environment Agency waters at Blakes Lock.
What a change to be out on Old Father Thames.

Wide waters and automated locks with friendly lock keepers doing all the work.
At Mapledurham Lock a vision of loveliness slid in beside us,

L'Orage, a symphony in polished brass, varnished wood and perfect paintwork.

She was previously owned by Raymond Baxter, the broadcaster, and the most proudly polished piece of brass is the small plaque in the cockpit that reads simply,"Dunkirk 1940". An honour to be allowed to share a lock with one of the little ships.
As if this wasn't enough for one day, in the next reach another piece of history hove into view,

a Humber Keel making the most of the stiff breeze.

"Daybreak", built 1934 by Richard Dunston at Thorne and used to carry grain from Hull to Hanley's mill at Doncaster. The hold has been converted to living space and she is now based on the Thames.

Armadillo was built at Thorne in 2006, I wonder, did they nod to each other as they passed with an,"Ay oop", in greeting?

We finished today's journey just below the lock at Goring, a sublime example of a small Thames side town,

with a selection of building styles. If you want to boggle your mind just peer in the window of the local estate agents, I promise you the price of houses here will make you eyes water.

Watch this space.............

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