Sunday, 21 June 2009


Something of an epic struggle from Woolhampton to Reading. Water levels were rather low for two Dutch barges that were labouring up to Reading and everywhere we went there were dire warnings from other boaters that they were grounded in locks and across the stream. When we eventually caught up with them one was stuck solidly in the centre of the channel just downstream of the turf lock. We let a few locks worth of water down to float him off with no effect and then had to decide whether to wait for BW who were on their way or try and sneak past. We decided to try and sneak past and going slowly we managed to get nearly by and were just cheerily shouting – ‘ See you at the Abbey Ruins’ when we stuck fast. We tried everything. Rocking, poling, cutting a channel by going back and forwards. Twice we managed to move forward a few feet and then grounded again. The barge skipper was on the phone to BW gleefully announcing - ‘Now Mikron are grounded as well!’ With renewed determination we poled the bows right out into the stream, put Tyseley in slow forward and pulled on the barge’s ropes to inch forward agonisingly slowly – but we were free!
Other notable events were an encounter with a willow tree that had the crew pressed on their faces to the front deck, winding above Woolhampton in the winding hole clearly marked ‘Max 60 foot’, two members of the company managing to expose themselves to fellow boaters while showering, Rachel finding that the sure way to arrive at a lock is to make a cup of tea and seeing a tramp find (and finish) a bottle of vodka in a litter bin by County lock in Reading – who throws bottles of vodka away I wonder?
The next morning I woke to find the bows of the Dutch barge looming above the back cabin so they managed to make it after all. My first question – ‘what time are you leaving tomorrow?’ (because I want to make sure I'm in front of you)
Now here we are all set up, fed and watered in Benson and above is an (almost) live picture of the event.


  1. Well done you lot! Hope the pre tour brief slightly prepared you for some of The K&A horrors! Enjoy Benson, should be a great night. Speak real soon.

  2. The obvious question is "which two cast memebers exposed themselves while showering"? and depending on the answer Can you sell tickets in future? Could be a novel (should that be navel) fundraising idea


  3. Not sure if this is Blog etiquette as I'm not really responding to the post - other than to say that I'm very glad that you did manage to 'unstick' Tyseley because otherwise you might not have made it to Bablock Hythe for tonight's, or rather, last night's show, given that it's now 01.02. It was SO good and perfect to see 'Tales of the Thames' by the Thames on an idyllic summer's evening. Richard and Vashti were in the audience which was lovely. All four members of the cast were excellent and there were some very funny moments in the show. Thanks to everyone involved for a truly splendid and memorable evening.

  4. Thanks Jill and thanks for your support. A propos of nothing at all - it was fascinating when standing behind the set during the late dusk watching the black headed gulls catching flies over the river. There must have been about 20 of them doing the most amazing aerobatics over the river. Beautiful.