Canopy manufacture under way

The manufacture of our stern deck canopy is underway.   It is being made by Titan Boat Canopies, based in Cambridgeshire.

Steve, the owner of Titan provided us with a very good quote and we subsequently placed our order.   He came to discuss our detailed requirements and to take measurements for the stainless steel frame.   Once the frame was made, they fitted it to the boat.

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and then produce a great piece of equipment to take detailed measurements for the manufacture of the canopy.  The simplest description I can give is that it was a computer with and extending wire attached and a pen attached to the end of the wire.

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Steve then began to touch the frame in lots of places and as he was doing so, the computer was designing the basis for the canopy cover.

If you look closely, you can see the result in the shot below (unfortunately my shadow is on the screen).

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So now, Steve has taken the digitized plan back to his workshop for the production of the canopy to be started.   The next step is to “first fit” the new canopy and make any necessary adjustments before taking bit back to the workshop for final finishing and then fitting it to the boat.

You can see my article on the completion of this project here:

http://wp.me/p8eSsZ-r9

 

Whitchurch Bridge amazing community art project

On our recent trip downstream from Dorchester, we had learned that there was a community art project on show on the Whitchurch Bridge, which crosses the river Thames at Pangbourne and connects Pangbourne in Berkshire and Whitchurch-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.   The bridge is a toll bridge, created by of Act of Parliament in 1792.

We moored on Pangbourne Meadow and had a light lunch before walking back to the bridge.  Pangbourne meadow was busy with lots of canoeists cleaning, working on, carrying and using their canoes.

There was an amazing display of craft on the bridge, all with a river Thames theme and I have simply posted some photographs below which you might like to browse.

Congratulations to all those involved for their hard work and the great result they achieved!

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Dorchester back to Caversham, a dog rescue and a beautiful Tjalke!

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.

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Peaceful mooring at Dorchester on Thames

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.P1020512

We were soon headed under the beautiful Moulsford railway bridge , built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 1830’s.P1020460

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.

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A bank side mooring 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.P1020423

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.

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The beautiful Tjalke, Hiljo

We enjoyed a pleasant cruise from Cleeve Lock to Caversham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A slow trip to Dorchester

We left Dreadnought Reach in brilliant sunshine and soon cleared through Caversham lock on our way towards Dorchester-on-Thames for a visit to the Abbey.   Once we had passed through Mapledurham lock, we passed a small farm with lots of Alpaca’s in the field.P1020348

Mapledurham lock and weir

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As we continued on, we approached Whitchurch Lock and as it was on self-service, we moored on the lay-by and got the lock ready for ourselves.   We made an uneventful passage through the lock.   Whitchurch is a very pretty, traditional Thames lock complete with lock office and lock keepers house alongside.   It was originally built as a wooden pound lock by the Thames Navigation Commissioners in 1787.   The Lock House is the only surviving one of its type – the arched window design is the same as when the house was built in 1829.

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Whitchurch Lock

We were soon passing under Gatehampton Railway Bridge, one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s masterpieces carrying the Great Western Railway across the Thames.   It was built in 1838 (at the same time as Moulsford Railway Bridge a little further upstream).P1020365

We were soon navigating the Goring Gap and shortly afterwards arrived at Goring where we moored alongside and spent a very pleasant three night stay to facilitate a visit from our daughter and her husband.   The mooring here is free for 24 hours and then £5 per night with the maximum stay allowed being 3 days.   It is necessary to log your arrival with http://www.ThamesVisitorMoorings.co.uk.   It is a very pleasant mooring just east of the lock.   We also paid a visit to the late George Michael’s house in the village, which is still something of a shrine.    We ate at the John Barleycorn and won’t be going back again!

We were joined at the mooring by Karanja, a Piper 49M and her lovely owners, Verne and Roy.   We enjoyed a long wine and chat session in the evening before heading off the following morning.

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Steel Away and Karanja, alonside at Goring

We left our mooring and passed through Goring lock whereupon we entered the shortest reach on the Thames – the river between Goring lock and Cleeve lock is just over half a mile long and this is the shortest distance between locks on the river.

We motored on and soon we were passing under the second Isambard Kingdom Brunel bridge on our trip – Moulsford Railway Bridge.  This is another masterpiece.   It is constructed from red brick with Bath stone quoins as four elliptical skew arches of 62 feet (19 m) span and a headway height of 21 feet 8 inches (6.60 m).    The bricklayers must have been very talented!

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Moulsford Railway Bridge

We then arrived at Wallingford, where we moored alongside at Town Wharf.   The mooring here is £5 per night and although the sign states that the maximum stay is 24hrs, we were informed by the mooring superintendant that we were welcome to stay for three nights, which we were pleased to do.   Wallingford is a nice town with antique shops, shops, pubs, a Waitrose supermarket and some nice walks for which you can get a leaflet from the Tourist Information Office in the Market Place.

From Wallingford we headed on to Benson Lock, which again is a pretty location and of ample size.   We were soon through the lock and heading towards Shillingford, passing Benson waterfront on the way.

As we approached Shillingford, Ange was at the helm and with a little encouragement, decided that it was time for her to be at the helm as we negotiated a bridge.   She continued at the helm and made a perfect passage through the arch.

We soon arrived at Dorchester-on-Thames where we were able to find a very peaceful mooring just west of the junction of the river Thame and the Thames.  We visited the village and Abbey before returning to the boat where we enjoyed a BBQ in beautiful surroundings and hot, sunny weather!

Motorcycle onboard!

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After spending many hours thinking about, designing, producing and co-ordinating the fitting of my motorcycle platform, today was the day when I finally got to load up my bike.   Loading it was very straight forward using the ramp which stores under the platform and it was easy to secure the bike into into the bike grab (which holds it upright), using ratchet straps and a handlebar tie down system which compresses the forks slightly and holds the bike firmly into the grab.bike web 2

Finally, I fitted an overall cover to protect the bike from the Canada Goose droppings!

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