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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Thames Swan Upping flotilla sails past

Cant believe it. No more early starts from here on, well apart from this morning that is. Ian stuck his head out of the back hatch at 6.50am ready to put the tiller on and who should already have let loose his lines and was hovering mid stream? Dave. Blooming 'eck he was an eager beaver this morning. I hadnt even had time to dress properly when I got the shout from Ian to start engines. Anyway having waved Dave past and then freed us from the grips of the mud, we soon caught him just before Southcote lock. Within 2 hours we had reached Reading and the last lock on the K&A. Through the traffic lights and then onto EA waters at Blakes Lock. No lock keeper on so to purchase the Thames license it was at Caversham Lock. But first a miracle! One space big enough for FS by the Tesco moorings. Great opportunity to stock up with beer and wine as well as a few essentials like food!

I'd like to say it was plane sailing to the moorings at Beale Park. Not so as the queues at every lock were horrendous. And those plastics overtaking us making us wait longer in the queue. Then we were informed it was Swan Upping week! No wonder the queues were horrendous. Vixen and FS got separated at Mapledurham lock so plan was for us to proceed without them to get the mooring at the park. Didnt look promising at first as all the best spots were already occupied but then a lovely stretch showed itself, ideal for a BBQ tonight. We got moored and then waited for Vixen. Nearly an hour later they turned up!!! So now both boats are nicely joined together, BBQ out ready, meat ready, garlic bread made and ready, coleslaw done and ready and Heathers cheese cake also ready. Not ready is the lighting of the coals!! Come on boys, we want out grub!!!

 Queuing at Caversham lock

Beale Park moorings
 So now for the flotilla. They had all stopped for a late lunch so we manged to get past them. Vixen had not long arrived and we were enjoying tea and cake when the flotilla turned up. Lovely sight it was too. Feel sorry for those swans and cygnets. Grabbed by the neck and rings placed on their legs. Still it has to be done after all the Queen has decreed it.

Dave and Heather will be leaving us tomorrow, mores the pity. We have had a fabulous month together enjoying the days as well as the evenings. Especially the Uno and Mexican Train tournament. Not sure of tonights Mexican outcome scheduled for this evening, Heather looks to be in the lead on that game, but the Uno finished yesterday with me as outright winner. Who will be winner tomorrow??? My final haircut was also done much to the amusement of passers by.  Got to start finding hairdressers again now!

Will probably stop tomorrow here at Beale Park. Forecast looks to be awful so may visit the wildlife park instead of cruising. Brolly s will definitely be needed!

And more from Wilton Waters nature reserve click here 

And seen on route as well as Beale Park


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