Friday, 3 October 2008

1st Oct - Sunbury to Brentford

The weather ended up being quite a mixture of sun and wind, with the occasional shower; not the ideal conditions, but in the end it was fine.

I did the run out of Sunbury, past Hampton and into Kingston; spotting this very strange shell

it reminds me of the landing stage on the Thames just a little way down from Westminister.

by Kinsgton bridge there's this charming houseboat, literally a 'floating cottage':

I was duw to go through Teddington Lock at 1630,and got there about four hours early. Time for a leisurely lunch and potter around the boat, but also a walk over to Teddington Studios, where I manged to blag my way in to see the Cbeebies crew, who I used to look after before they moved. Even Cbeebies is now franschised, and they're making links for Poland, Singapore and Australia, each with their own presenter and script. The stuidio set up looks very similar to what they used to have (indeed what I built for them) only a little newer & posher, the studio smaller, but it's a nice working evironment top be in (the site is a lot smaller & friendier) - especially if you live near that corner of south west London. Highly amusing, anyway, to pop in as I was passing, and then to explain exactly how I was doing that passing.

Before going into the lock another boat appeared, a canal-boat shaped GRP thing - not booked in at Brentford, they'd been advised to 'follow a narrowboat through' - so they did. It was a pretty high tide, the height adjustment in the lock was minimal indeed and we were out into the tidal Thames towards Richmond, staying to the middle of the stream as in some places the edge of the river, and towpath were flooded, and I had no intention of grounding on the side... it';s all familiar territory, having been walked & cycled many times over the years, as well as the boat trip done two years ago.

Approaching Richmond...

...and the iconic landmarks of home, the Towers of Brentford;

I'd been coming through at a fair old lick, and got in to Thames Lock at Brentford ten minutes before they thought, taking around 50 minutes for the journey. It's comforting to know I had the power and speed to cope with the high tide, and hoof it along with the best of them (with minmal wash, unlike most of the boats on the Thames).

Sadly I couldn't seem to raise Jim & Mary to see if they were still on Lyme Barge, although back in Richmond I had managed to get hold of Kathleen on Centaur to exhange waves; nice.

So - trip more or less over, but not quite; I'll take Tortoise back up to Iver in a few days, I've promised a few neighbours a trip, and they can always do the Hanwell Flight locks for me; last time i did them on my own, in the rain, which was a bit tedious.

I walked back to my house to find a letter from BW - signed by the very person I'd phoned to discuss overstaying near Oxford (and suggested staying where I did, saying it would be fine), saying I'd been 'reported' by the local cruising club and could I call them (the cruising club, not BW) to explain myself. Obviously the only reasonable response to this would be to scrawl in green crayon across the original letter 'you bloody well said I could', but I suspect a slightly more controlled response may be in order. You do what you can, speak to two dfferent people in BW who are happy with the agreement, and I still get a stroppy letter. I tried, but I may as well may have not bothered. Oh well. The boating bit's been great, eh?

13 miles, 2 flg and 4 locks

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