We managed to pull ourselves away from our beautiful mooring at Dorchester on Thames and began our journey back towards Caversham we have an appointment we need to keep next week.
We had arranged to meet our friends, Sue and David at the restaurant Rossini at The Leatherne Bottle just upstream of Cleeve lock, with a view to returning to the restaurant for dinner later in the day. We got permission from the restaurant for their car to be left in the car park and headed off up to Wallingford for lunch.
As we left the mooring, the skies were grey but we were pleased to see a couple of narrowboats heading the other way, the surroundings making them look more majestic in some way.
We were soon headed under the beautiful Moulsford railway bridge , built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 1830’s.
When arrived at Wallingford we found Town Wharf moorings to be full. We tried to get on boat to move to one end of the large space but when we realised that his handling ability was limited, we decided to turn around, go back under the bridge and find a bank side mooring somewhere downstream of the bridge.
Wallingford is a quintessential English market town and today was Country market day so we headed into town and had a nice lunch.The ladies shopped and the men returned to the boat to savour the views.
At Wallingford, you are very close to RAF Benson so the helicopter traffic can be quite busy at times but we’ve never found it to be too intrusive. We were flown over by this Chinook as we were relaxing.
We were ready to leave the mooring so I went onto the bank to remove the springs and warps when I heard a splash. I looked up to see a lady and three children in a state of panic as their black labrador had fallen into the river. The bank was about 5 feet high and he was struggling to try to get himself out. I am not a fan of boat hooks generally as I have seen a few accidents as a result of them being used inappropriately. However, I have also recovered a couple of my hats and caps and a fender or two using a hook so fortunately, I had bought one for Steel Away just the week before. The dog was fitted with a harness collar so I was able to locate the hook inside his harness and hoist him up out of the water, much to the relief of his family. He thanked me by shaking himself off and soaking me in the process! The lady thanked me numerous times, the dog was happy again so we all departed feeling good.
We moved on downstream and took up the mooring at the Leatherne Bottle, where we enjoyed a superb meal. Sue & David left for home and we returned to the boat for a night-cap in beautiful surroundings.
The following morning, we headed back to Caversham and on the way, just upstream of Cleeve lock, we passed a beautiful Dutch Tjalke, named Hiljo, who was almost at the end of her journey from Friesland, Holland to Lechlade. Her owners, Martin & Sarah, should be very proud of her and themselves. She is a beautiful boat.
We enjoyed a pleasant cruise from Cleeve Lock to Caversham