We are heading to Henley for a few days to spend a couple of days at the Henley Royal Regatta.
We left Caversham and headed downstream and as we approached Sonning lock, we came up behind one of the many “Le Boat” hire boats that are on the river at this time of year. She had a two man crew on board. The lock was ready for us to enter as we approached so we felt this was going to be a quick trip to Henley. We entered the lock and the helmsman was obviously a bit wary of our 32 tonnes of steel being behind him in the lock (how dare he even think that I could be a danger to him!) 🙂
Soon after leaving the lock we negotiated Sonning bridge
As we were approaching Shiplake College, the hire boat pulled to the port side of the channel and indicated that he wanted us to pass him, which we duly did. We asked him if he was continuing on to Shiplake lock. He replied that he was and we told him we would hold the lock for him (saving water!). Having negotiated Shiplake lock, we proceeded on to Marsh Lock, where we had to wait for some rowing skiffs to leave the lock before we could enter.
We soon entered and again waited for the hire boat. Whilst the lock was being worked, I casually asked the crew of the hire boat where they were going to today. “Benson” he replied. I smiled and said “ha ha…where are you really going to today?”. “Benson” he replied. You can imagine his face when I told him that he was going the wrong way (and had been for the past two hours!).
Then came the reply “You are joking aren’t you?”. Answer “No”. He told me that he was sure he was heading in the direction of Oxford. I explained that he was heading in the direction of London. I then proceeded to tell him in my most sympathetic manner possible that he needed to turn round and head back the other way. His put his head in his hands when I added that there was now nine locks between where we were and Benson Waterfront. He then went to tell the helmsman the news and he was equally distraught!
We left the lock and watched as they turned around and headed back into the lock for what I am sure they would feel would be along journey back to Benson.
We then headed to the public moorings in Henley where we had pre-arranged a timed departure (to coincide with our arrival) by our friends Mick and Jan on their widebeam “The Afterglow”. They had been at Henley for a few days and had a nice spot where we could also get satellite reception. We had helped them move their car downstream earlier in the day and it all worked like a dream.
So now we are alongside at Henley, “dressed to the nines” and looking forward to an exciting couple of days or spectating at the Regatta. Only problem is that as I write this blog it is absolutely pouring with rain!