Monday 2 October
Benson to Abingdon
We set off early this morning – just after seven! As we passed the neighbouring boat that had just moored, the couple on it shouted out! Tom and Leigh looked over and they said, ‘Would you like these?’ They proceeded to gift flowers, toilet rolls, honey, fresh coffee, a candle, chocolate biscuits and some other bits to us. They sounded French so Leigh said, ‘Merci, Merci,’ and Tom thanked them too. I imagine they were returning their hire boat and, rather than leave the left overs on the boat, decided to pass them on. Nice people eh?
Two things stood out today. Among the many, beautiful, gigantic houses we passed one particularly striking dwelling. The house was built in the style of art-deco; the muted colours of the outside really added to the WOW-factor. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera to hand so can’t share a photo. We’ve seen so many amazing houses but this one really does take the Bonio.
We also passed a very large herd of llamas.
Tom thinks they may be kept for not only their hair but that their milk may be utilised too. Leigh questioned this as although she drinks goats milk, she hasn’t ever seen llama milk on the shelves in the shops.
I had a little thought on this…in France we bought goats milk soap so I’m wondering if llama milk may be used in some cosmetic products?
Food (or drink) for thought!
Sunday 1 October
Goring to Benson
Leaving Goring this morning, with no particular destination in mind, with arrived at Benson around one-o-clock. Spotting a restaurant adjacent to a small marina and mobile home park, Leigh and Tom decided to pop in for a proper Sunday lunch.
This combined-use site had a laundry room with several washing machines and tumbler driers so whilst Leigh got ahead of the game with some writing tasks, Tom did a couple of loads of laundry.
Rosie, Leigh and I decided to take a stroll around five-o-clock. As we meandered up a lane we spotted a sign for a nature reserve and gravel garden so, expecting a bitofwilderness and not much else we followed the sign. We ended up in a really pretty little garden with some lovely plants and flowers.
It reminded me of our old cottage garden back in Astwood Bank – although that’s a distant memory now!
Woofs, Martha x
Saturday 30 September
Reading to Goring
Leaving Reading meant we passed a rather large Tesco. We moored up so that my humans could re-stock the fridge and food cupboards for the next few weeks. It seemed that we had only been going for another few minutes before we stopped again; this time to fill up with diesel, have the toilet pumped out and fill up the water tank. The boat-yard had a ‘shop’ that looked rather interesting so Leigh decided to pop in and see if they had a coolie hat for our chimney (we have ‘lost’ at least four or five on our travels so far).
They did. In fact, Leigh told me, ‘It would be hard to list what they don’t sell…they stock everything from antique books, selling for over £100 to ornaments that look as though they have come out of a Christmas cracker.’
What made my humans smile (maybe that’s not quite the right word) is that even though Tom spent a fair amount of money on diesel, the pump out and the coolie-hat, the proprietor still charged him £1 for the water! Yelp!
Arriving in Goring we took a short walk to see what this small town has to offer. Miss Marple would be very much at home here. As we walked up past the lock, towards the town, Leigh said, ‘I wonder what that is all about’ (she was looking at flags on a wall).
Not being fans of his, although Leigh loves his music, Leigh and Tom hadn’t realised that the pop-star George Michael had lived in Goring and the flags were the beginning of a lane-full of tributes to the star who was found dead in his home on Christmas Day 2016.
It really was quite overwhelming.
George’s fairly modest house is closed up, curtains drawn. I did think, ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely if his family kept the house and used it as a music school for disadvantaged children?’
Woofs, Martha x
Friday 29 September
Hambleden to Reading
A fairly uneventful day for Tom, Rosie and me, this was a ‘shopping day’ for Leigh. I do admit to enjoying a nice walk at lunchtime when we stopped at Sonning but that’s about it!
Knowing she is graduating from University in a couple of weeks Leigh told Tom she wanted to take a look around the shops in Reading for some ‘wow’ shoes. Apparently, you don’t really notice the clothes being worn under the gown, so females focus on the shoes they wear on graduation day!! This did tempt me to ask Leigh, ‘So why have you come back with some ‘wow’ shoes AND a new dress…why not jus the shoes?’ I decided against it. Yelp!
Anyway, Leigh is super-happy with her outfit; she shared the photos with a couple of her uni-pals, who have said they ‘loved the shoes’ and thought they looked very ‘strokable’ – being velvet.
Honestly, I do wonder about humans at times. Why would you want to stroke anything other than a cute canine like me?
Woofs, Martha x
Thursday 28 September
Windsor to Hambleden
We took in some pretty countryside today cruising from Windsor, through Marlow and towards Henley-on-Thames. Although it’s not long since we traveled this stretch, I love seeing all the wooden chalets, the Brent geese, Monkey Island and the aristocratic Cliveden House – gazing down over its grand estate.
Before reaching Henley Tom spotted a jungle mooring adjacent to a huge empty field; saying to Leigh, ‘That looks good for the dogs’, he moored up.
I have to bark, it did look fabulous. A wide, deep, open space means I can go off-lead and I love off-lead runs. As Tom put the canopy up at the back of the boat and tied us up securely Leigh, Rosie and I jumped off to stretch our paws.
Around six-o-clock Leigh was in the galley, the side-hatch wide open to let in the sunlight – and let out the aroma of my humans dinner (which smelt scrummy) – and Leigh jumped a mile.
Laughing, she said to Tom, ‘Where did they come from?’ Some thirty sheep were watching us. It’s a good job they didn’t sneak up on us whilst we were out walking. Yelp!
Wednesday 27 September
Chertsey Meads to Windsor
This was one of those rare days where we actually had a plan; you could even say my humans had set a goal. The reason for this discipline was that Cleo was coming over for dinner. According to Leigh, Cleo was attending some sort of business meeting during the day at one of the hotels at Heathrow airport and then needed to fly out of Heathrow tomorrow morning. Now, she could have stayed in the luxury of the Sofitel, but she chose to spend the night in the cosiness of our NB instead.
The three humans took a tip from another boater and ate out in Eton instead of Windsor. The pub was rather eclectic, as were the other punters – in a good way. I would definitely recommend a visit here – the food is good, the atmosphere is good and the quirkiness rating is excellent!
Because Cleo works for an alcoholic drinks company, Leigh decided to let her try the ‘almost ready to bottle’ blackberry Gin and Vodka she has made. Cleo was suitability impressed with them – so was Tom I think as he finished Cleo’s vodka ‘sample’!
Although Tom and Leigh had set the bed up as a verycomfortabledouble, with a goosedown duvet and supercleanlinen, I saw no reason why not to show Cleo how much I love her by joining her for a cuddle. Although I am not really allowed on beds, the cuddle lasted all night. Cleo seemed morethanhappy to sleep in a small corner of the bed, leaving me the other three-quarters of it. I only need a tiny amount of space so every time she moved, I moved closer to her. I really wasn’t keen to sleep on the ‘join’ anyway, so in reality we could have just shared the sofabed as a single and saved my humans the trouble of a making it a double. The bit I find confusing is that Cleo seemed quite happy for me to be there then she moaned about me in the morning, saying she didn’t have enough room. Sisters eh? Yelp!
Woofs, Martha xx