Sunday, 23 August 2015

Finally onto the Thames

For the first time in ages we managed to pair up with another boat to travel down Hanwell Locks, which was really good as they're stiffer and heavier than any we'd encountered before on the Grand Union. The owners of Flora Dora had done the Thames crossings many times and were a mine of information for us, unfortunately though they were only going half way to Brentford and I struggled with the last few locks on my own.

CRT seem to be having problems with people leaving the gates open round here as there were signs on every lock, but to be honest I can understand why they're left open as they're just way to difficult to operate.  One was so heavy Roger had to get off the boat to help me close the gate.

On Thursday Roger phoned the CRT office at Brentford to book our passage through Thames Lock onto the tidal stretch of the river and go to Teddington on Saturday. The woman he spoke to said we didn't need to pre-book but to turn up at 8 am as we'd have a 2 hour window to get to Teddington.

So yesterday morning we were up at 6 am  (yes you read it correctly, we were up at 6 )  and arrived at Thames Lock at 7.45 where we were joined by another narrowboat "Brigand".  At 8 am the lockie arrived to start his shift and was surprised to see us as we should have been told 6 am. He couldn't appologise enough and told us this woman had done exactly the same thing to 3 other boats on Friday morning. He did offer to come back at 6.15 pm if we wanted to go out then, so we went back up to Brentford where we spent the day cleaning the boat and generally just killing time.

We also had a really good lunch in the Magpie and Crown on Brentford High Street.  It's a CAMRA award winning pub with a small food menu and an extensive stock of beers. The homemade pies were delicious.

It's a shame we couldn't do the passage in the morning as it was one of the hottest days of the year and would have been perfect for a long day's cruise once we'd got through Teddington.  We got back to Thames Lock ready for the 6.15 pm tide and were joined by Brigand and another 2 boats. The river was as smooth as silk and we really enjoyed ourselves.

 We were quite tempted to drop anchor beside this pub at Richmond to listen to the band.

Richmond Park was very busy with people picnicking and and having BBQ's. This elderly couple were doing it in style with their table and chairs and bottle of champagne

We also saw several of these boarders and met a couple of lads in canoes who were playing chicken by paddling across the river in front of fast moving boats.

It only took us 45 minutes to get to Teddington and all 4 of us easily fit into the lock. After the heavy Hanwell locks it's going to seem like a holiday here on the Thames where the locks are done for you.

We managed to squeeze onto the visitor moorings no thanks to a narrowboat which had moored right in the middle of a 100 yard space and refused to move up as he was going out. We were helped in by a couple off a "hippy" boat and Brigand doubled up with us but the other narrowboat couldn't get in and had to go further up-river to try and find a spot. It really is the case that you shouldn't judge people by how they look or by the state of their boat. They were really nice and friendly, unlike the guy who wouldn't move his new shiny boat.

Bye for now

1 comment:

Sheila Napier said...

I hope you will lodge a complaint about the bad service from the Brentford office. If C&RT don't know there's a problem there they can't do anything about it.

Enjoy your holiday on the Thames. The only downside is getting back onto the canals and having to start working locks again. The first few are so hard!

All the best

Sanity Again