#50 River Thames downstream – East (& Meanderings). June/July 2017


Friday 9th June 2017      Tis knot even late aft’noon & Cap’n Black Bart has (just aboat) safely skippered his vessel & crew through the bubbling, swirling waters of the Kennet & Avon Canal to Reading and we is now swimming into the deep & very wide waterway that be the River Thames. Old Father Thames. Aaaarrrggh !!!    M-aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  !!!    We is Very Happy to bee back. Floating oat ‘ere………

As our ‘ship’ crosses the boundary int’wide choppy flows Cap’n Bart commands we tack to starboard, on a North-Easterly heading. “To Sonning we shall Sail” is wot he proclaims.  And that is indeed true. Tis knot but moor than within aboat thirty min-utes that we have swished most marvellously through the gently curvaceous wideness flowing downstream from Reading & to Sonning lock visitor moorings we have arrived. With fore mooring stakes physically forced into the ground, lines Aaaarrrggh !!!  secured. The sun is oat & we shall continue to bask, just like the whale, but we is knot in the water. Bart is. Reading Blue Coat School (founded by Richard Aldworth in 1646 for poor scholars in the centre of Reading, now based at Holme Park here in Sonning) pupils are having fun in the thames.


After canoe practice, varying levels of success & failure are experienced in final tests following the raft building ‘lesson’. Lucky some of the cruise don’t mind getting a tittle soggy.

Saturday 10th June      It may be darn windy agin, but onward & downstreamly nb:Black Bart will be flowing today. Aft-er extricating mooring stakes we is free to swim roand the corner, following our recent ‘extra’ Fobney Lock companions from the K&A (who were berthed to the rear overnight) & a placky towards the watery lift. The large hotel boat African Queen of London be right there. We thinks she is waiting fore the lock, but maybe knot. No movement so we is gestured to move on in by the lock keeper. A smooth descent & off we go very gently wiggling along the curvy nature of this mamouth stream. Passing Aits & islands as we wind our way to & bye Shiplake. Shortly be-fore Shiplake Lock we is ‘aving to weight sum-thyme as the service moorings is being very busy. Bye the thyme we is in a position to proceed we have been out manoeuvred by udders including the African Queen. Wait some moor we shall. Duth knot matter to be honest. There be no rush. This is Bart World aft-er’all. With AF creeping very slowly into the chamber (in which she just aboat fits) Bart changes from the ‘hanging’ technique to the lock landing position. We wait a further lock cycle with the dutch barge & placky be-fore Bart & Co (nb:Edge of Light) is finally entering & flowing down the boaty-lift, And under Shiplake railway Bridge. Downstream we swim, passing numerous Eyots & islands of all sizes & shapes.


And bee past bye eights. Knot Aits. Eights. Well, one, a Rowing eight. The final stretch to Marsh Lock is quite cloggy aswell as windy. Many a boat of muchly differing sizes & constructions is struggling to hold position mid-ish channel as many locking cycles will be needed to swish everybody down. A chappy & lady with their two tittle-uns are enjoying a day oat in their old (by him) refurbished Cornwall fishing boat. A request to raft up to our Bart is graciously accepted. Skipper can shut off his engine & stands in his craft, holding onto our vessel’s roof ‘nob’. (Now there’s a word that we require no reaction to !  Thankyou !!). Lip. Edge, what-ever the technical boaty term is, eyes duth knot k-no-w. We ‘ave a chitty chatty, like boaty peoples muchly seems to do. Passes the time of day. Does y’know. As we slowly creep forward aft each lock re-cycle, Tittle craft & crew just stay they, being pulled along by Lister when-ever oldie-gearbox is engaged. Now you do knot hear aboat oldie-gearbox very often it must be said, But oldie-gearbox is never ever ever forgotten. That must be fully known & appreciated by all bloggets oat there, as already is, by Cap’n Black Bart & his very merry crew  Aaaarrrggh !!!    Me H-aaarrrggh-ties !!!   Aaaarrrggh !!!  !!!


After a considerable delay Bart makes it to the lock landing stage.


Our Locky friends & dutch Barge Dorchester have the eights for lock companionship. Never seen that be-fore. Just Aboat squeeze in with their oars. Carful crawling oat crew (of eight) (+ the cox of course).


A Most Pleasant assortment of craft if ever one saw (or is it ‘sore’?) one.


No room fore any-moor biggies so tittles cannee come in behind. Now we is down & time to disperse into the wider waters agin. Fair-thee-well lock companions. We hold our position whilst advancing towards Henley Bridge, as many an’udder boat is cruising with & in sum cases, bye nb:Black Bart.


As we pull away from our chosen arch in the bridge a different Henley Reach appears in front of Bart. Knot open, wide & obstruction free like ‘usual’. There be static constructions in the water everywhere & posts in neat lines all the way ‘down’ the reach, with beams tied to them, end to end, floating in the water, creating rowing lanes. The Henley Regatta is soon. This were all started back in April, apparently. Amazing. Still some work to do lads & lasses. No slacking. Knot long now !!  No Pressure !!!   Skip’s anticipated mooring area bee isolated by sum of t’constructions, so we swim on. In addition to those statics, there are many many non-statics. Engine powered craft of the most amazing variations in size & shape (Yes. that agin) & speed. Man & Woman powered craft of many different lengths whizzing by in huge numbers, in both directions. They can certainly move them their rowing peoples. Spying free berths on tuther side Cap’n Bart waves craft behind us on-bye while slowing down, waiting for an sensible space between oncoming vessels in a different lane. There be a flagged opening in the lane dividers. Once the situation is safe, Skip turns Bart to port, swinging the bow through the opening. The remaining sixty nine feet (& of course, nearly seven hundred toes) (we tink) follow, & a fairly clean aboat turn is completed. Bart chugs along our new lane, in the opposite direction & when reached, neatly pulls over into our (revised) chosen berth.


Multiple mooring stakes in, lines secured & Still floating too. Good stuff. Great Position. With the last ‘er the wind had picked up even moor & the sky extremely clouding. Brewing up fore a storm ??  A wonder into the Splendid place that be Henley on Thames to check it oat. Back on Bart, we stop to relax & watch those athletes swishing this wey & that. Most Impressive. Makes one tie-red just watching ’em. Might need a sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz………………….

Sunday 11th June    Today is an Extremely Special Day for a Most Wonderful of Persons. Huge Congratulations to you aig-ed ‘P’. Yes, you know who you are. Happy Birthday to you Sir !!!  A train ride of two or three & a brisk long walk finally ‘delivers’ skip to see Skip-Senior on his Momentous Birthday. Mass-eve Congratulations, Hugs & Kisses. Aaaarrrggh !!!   Me H-aaarrrggh-ty !!!  !!!   We may be Nasty Rufty-Tufty Pirates but even we can be softies at the correct & necessary time.

Monday 12th June      Skip hath (dirty stop-out) stayed away all night. Know one quite knows where said helmsperson might ‘ave been hiding. Skippet & 1st mate been looking aft-er our Bart, all on their own since Hurley yesterday morning. Over twenty four ‘ers & still no sign or sound. Eventually……. Look wot the cat has dragged in. Skip bee finally back. The rowing cruise are still oat there. Do they ever stop. MAD !!   Think they would have become a tittle worn-oat by now.

Tuesday 13th June      Henley on Thames is a Lovely place to be. Especially on a Boat. Even moor so on a Bart. Black Bart. Bart World. That be wot tis all aboat. Even so, decision made. Time to crews. Aaaarrrggh !!!    Tis a strange cry. Knot really sure wot it is aboat, really, But sure is FUN shouting oat Aaaarrrggh !!!  for all aroand to hear.



With the coast clear (knot too rowy at the mo) crew release the lines, retrieve all necessary equipment & push the bow oat.


Bart (almost) pirouettes to face the write way & off cruising agin we is.


Knot many engined craft swimming today, but there is a few person powered. Swishing passed Bart with consummate ease.


We being chased down the lane here. Bart maintains the hugging of lane markers, to give the speedy-boats room a plenty.  Black Bart is leaving Henley Reach & Temple Island behind, to-aft, into where flows become moor curvaceous. Passing weirs, thru large locks, passed moor islands. Aft-er reversing practice, a brief breasting/rafting-up to the moored Tranquil Rose holiday boat & Cap’n Bart can moisten his dry cracked lips.


Then Hurley & Temple Locks swish Bart & crew down passed Bisham Abbey


via wide waters towards Marlow. Intended berthing location but the park be full.


Under the Lovely Marlow Bridge


& to the landing stage, carefully trying to stay away from that scary big long weir.


Down the lock & there is room for Bart to land for a few ‘ers. Rings to secure fore & aft lines. That makes tings a tittle easier. Like this position. Expansive width of flow hear with the rush of water bypassing the chamber behind us. Danger !!  is true.  The guards are right there. Keeping a beady eye  or two on us. Don’t worry. Knot going that wey. We be staying put. Sleep tight our tittle bloggets.

Wednesday 14th June    nb:Black Bart, Lister & friends be Knot quite sure where the River Thames may swoosh all of us today. Progress we must. Gibraltar Island only hides Bourne End Reach from us fore a wee while. The reach opens oat in front of us. Unusually quiet through ‘ere Cap’n. Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me  H-aaarrrggh-ties !   Only the odd sailing craft to avoid. Pirates roand ‘ere are usually muchly moor troublesome. Big Wide Water continues through Cookham Reach & down a mere fore feet (toes ??) into the wooded wonderland that be Cliveden Reach. Gavin’s Gulls split the flow, but our Bart is knot be troubled.


This old chap gives us a cheery smile as we swim on two an’udder lock & moor land-like obstructions trying to block our route. Knot going to work. We is going on through.


Has to be said. The old Thames Lock Chambers are being quite busy today. No big queues, but we is sharing chambers with quite a few varying boats. It.s knot quite wot one could call a Jam, but getting close. Mayhaps. We is swished downwardly moor, soonest followed by a motorway flying across our path. He cannee swoop down far enough to catch us. Bart hankers down as we ‘speed’ on. Monkey Island & Queen’s Eyot feeds the river’s flow to Bush Ait where 1st mate be up the crows nest on a lookoat to a berthing pool. Knot really a pool, but Dorney Lake be full. As we is lowered in the water lift old crows nest is knot coming up with any good news. All udder viable berthing pools are full to the point of almost overflowing. The race course is knot very helpful eiver mate. To Windsor Castle we do arrive. Ain’t paying that much. Skip the skin-flint. Lister & Co. chuggens on through as commanded by Cap’n Black Bart. Aaaarrrggh !!!   Shiver Me Timbers !!  Aaaarrrggh !!!   What-ever that all means. This pirate speaks stuff can bee a mite confusing at the best of thymes. We roand the headland of old Romney which duth reduce our heightness bye only a few dozen toes. And they ain’t even that smelly. Shared that water lift with an old retired lifeboat from the Kentish coast. A Fine looking vessel. Albert Bridge ends our sneak roand the back of the castle’s fine homestead, detouring our swimathon along New Cut, avoiding those severe wiggerlies roand Ham Island. Bart be fed straight into a swirling Old Windsor Lockmouth. Were a slight scary, but only fore a mo. We escape unseen, through the bottom (twas a fairly tight & slightly dirt squeeze but we popped-out beautifully) and were gone. In a Flash !!  Friary Island is aft of us long before one can resight (resing is truer it be told) the merry tune of Buccaneer himself Captain Pugwash. Many furlongs South & finally, the Bells of Ouzeley provide shelter for our tie-red cru. Hath been a long sweltering swim it certainly hath. Skip is obviously suffering from sunstroke. Plunged int’water. Right in he gone. Now scrubbing & cleaning the hull. Right there in the waterline. Above & below, to be moor exact. Quite MAD !!!   He’s gone fore ‘ers. ‘ers I say. When finally returns, there must be muchly of the old fashioned drip drying, followed by sum moor modern, intense air-drying. A most effective combination if ever there bee. Still. Quite Mad !!!


Yes. You can count two. No. There is eight tittle fury wonders.

Thursday 15th June      Swimming a few furlongs of old father Thames we are. We ‘ave foolishly set a course through twisty dangerous waters, passing very close to Magna Carta Island, steaming down through the swell of Bell Weir & under one of them noisy flying beastly motorways. Aaaarrrggh !!!  To slow agin. You lot ain’t never gonna ketch-us. No Staines on us as Bart cruises passed Church & Truss’s Islands, to descend & then a diversion takes us roand a sharpy Penton Hook. Facilities all tested OK. Quite a delay one way or an’udder, with mooring, relocation,


reversing in windy conditions. Mooring. Sucking. No egg on faces though. Went quite well. Yes, were filled from the well too. Cap’n Black Bart takes command as he duth knot want us to navigate Abbey River. Shall return to Olde Father Thames which flows craft & cru to Chertsey downwardly two. M3 didn’t even notice us. Too busy flying high in the clouds. The River winds Bart round Dumsey Meadows, Chertsey Meads & Pharaoh’s Island. One way, then t’uther, then an’uther. Could start to make you feel a tittle dizzy.


The water chamber of Shepperton is shared with three rowing crews, guiding their ‘istoric wooden craft through these ‘istoric ripples. Cap’n Bart guides craft & cru onwards, once very light & delicate lock companions have safely departed. We is tacking to starboard at the junction with the River Wey and securing fore & aft lines at Weybridge visitor moorings. Still floating proper like too. Unlike last night. We was beached. Took extended persistence to escape the river bed this morn. Tomorrow morning departure should be a ‘doddle’. Fingers crossed.   As we is fine tuning our mooring position a young lad is being very inquisitive. Obviously quite taken with our Bart. OK-ed with his mum, Skippet takes him on a tittle ‘tour’ through Bart. Skippet chats with mum. Her buoy will be talking aboat this all night now !!  Absolutely Fantastic !!!

Friday 16th June      nb:Black Bart makes a smooth dignified departure, cruising from the Wey, dodging the expense of fishing lines. Summit is definitely going on today. Is it Annual River Thames Angling day or wot ??  They is everywhere. As we swim Desborough Cut (unfairly avoiding Shepperton’s very wriggerly olde Thames route today), floating towards Sunbury there is a fair splattering of these fishing types. When we arrive at Sunbury lock we stop at the lock landing, Heading the queue which develops as moor craft arrive for a watery inverse lift. Big white placky cruiser directed in first by lock keeper, followed by small placky cruiser, then Bart, hire narrowboat & a third placky cruiser that be just arrived. Nearly Skip’s height of descent & Big white is away, with Bart leaving moor slowly. Smaller plackies soon swimming bye Bart & hirer keeping pace to the rear of our increasingly stretched & varied convoy.

P1200876  P1200878

1st Mate spies strange warriors in the undergrowth & dolphins leaping oat the Thames in quadraphonic groups. Certainly is bee-coming a strange cruising day in these ‘ere parts. Sunbury Court & Grand Junction Islands Aaaarrrggh !!!  followed by Platt’s Eyot &


Garrick’s Ait which be shadowed by Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare. Roand the last (gentle this thyme) bend of the voyage & we bee sliding bye Taggs Island & Ash Island, together, lining our boaty lane into the already open & waiting Molesey Lock. There be a BIG Steel Dutch barge ‘Alberdina’ port side fore, our convoy’s Big Cruiser ‘Ad Lib’ behind, then smaller cruisers. Bart carefully creeps int’lock, starboard side, slipping past cruisers upt’fore, next to the Biggy. Following hirers do not seem to be coming in. Stopping above the lock. Off we go. Thyme to lower an’udder nearly skip height. (Far two many smelly toes to contemplate).


Departure thyme hath arrived. Bottom gates open. Bart follows Alberdina on a southerly tack, Ad Lib swishes bye & we all is swimming through one of the huge arches of Hampton Court Bridge. Alberdina floats on while the rest of our locking convoy are on the lookout for a berthing pool. Hampton Court is full, but we ain’t beaten that easily !!  No !!  All manage to breast-up t’uthers. Thanks to friendly boaters. Bart’s lines be secured to-two shorter narrowboats. Lubberly Jubberly !!!


River Thames based hotel Barge ‘Magna Carta’ cruises bye just aft-er Barty berthing is successfully completed. That were all far too exhausting. Sleep must come soon……..

Saturday 17th June      Sunny Sunny Hot !  HOT !!  HOT !!!  Mad English-persons in the mid-day sun & all that !!


Hampton Court Palace is Absolutely Architecturally Fantastically Stunning.


The deer (& heron) in Bushy Park be sensibly relaxing in/by the water


Love those velvety furry antlers. Couldn’t quite reach to feel their softly lusciousness.


We pay a Bart-less visit to (originally, Walnut Tree) Taggs Island where we is finding a lovely homely greenly land of watery-ness for over sixty statically challenged floating homes. ‘Swimming’ roand the island & in the inner ‘lagoon’. Delightful place.


A Fantastical three wheel Morgan Super Sport would be a Fabulous Beast to drive on the occasion one might depart the island fore a rare adventure on ‘dry’ land. Returning to our floating gem of Barty-ness we is awaiting the arrival of VIPs. Brother M (& one’s better half JB) is ‘aving a Wonderful (very stickily Hot) Big Boaty swim from Westminster all the way to Hampton Court so Bart is readied for visitation.


Here they come. Cold shower followed by cool iced drinks on Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  urgently required. Desired to be moor exacting. Once refreshed a walk inta’town finds the Prince of Wales a most pleasant provider of sustenance & moor varied refreshment options. Tis a Wonderful aft’noon & evening which duth unfortunately come to departing of the waves, with a returning train ride to London fore our two guests. Cheers.  Chink !  CHINK !!  CHINK !!!

Sunday 18th June      Extremely Sunny  &  Hot !  HOT !!  HOT !!!   Crew decide to go fore a wander t’uther side of the Thames. Cigarette Island (originally ‘The Sterte’) (later, fore a while, Davis’s Ait) bee knot an island any-moor. twas (or is it twere ??) over eighty years gone bye that construction of Hampton Court Way, forming the approach to a new Hampton Court Bridge, the River Mole were diverted into the River Ember above old East Molesey Mill and the locally known ‘Creek’ be filled in. An island know moor. Following a couple of ciggies, we work our way roand, via the railway station, crossing the River Ember to access the grass lined, beachettes than run behind Ditton Field.


Roxy (who duth knot like water) is getting Very Brave. Paddling into the Thames ripples aft-er her ball


1st mate used to stand away from any water Shouting (Barking) at you to get the ball fore her. Quite a transformation. Tink the heat is bending the poor girl’s head. Just a tittle. (A typically cheeky) Skippet asks a chap with a tittle powered rib if we can hitch a lift across the water back to our Bart. Tis a long trek back round bye feet & toes. He kindly swishes Skip & 1st Mate across & goes back, returning with Skippet sum-tym later. Knot sure wot is be going on.

Monday 19th June      nb:Black Bart & crew ‘av been almost static for a fair few ‘ers so Cap’n calls fore sum moor pronounced movement. Lister, gearbox & old prop Aaaarrrggh !!!  awoken from their sleepy (drunken ??) stupors & we is off, on a twisty, turning sort of voyage across swathes of the river’s watery-ness. Many furlongs of chuggen lead us to the (hopefully) safe port of Kingston, Jamaica. We tink !!   Darkness hath already descended bye the thyme we swam int’port.


Jamaica at night is a Lovely Sight to behold. It certainly be.

Tuesday 20th June    It were being Very Hot in Hampton. It’s Just, if knot even Hotter in this ‘ere Jamaica. The Deliciously Sticky Heat of past-ie days duth continue. The evenings & nights knot providing much rest-bite as most of you bloggetts will likely know first hand. Is we complaining. No. We is Knot !!!


1st Mate is be hiding in the long grass. Seem to like it. Probs a smight cooling in there.


Quite Rude !!  !!  !!

No need fore that sort of behaviour !!!

Wednesday 21st June      The friendly port Jamaica is to be ventured from on this (agin) Extremely Hot !  HOT !!  HOT !!!  Summer’s Day. Perfect weather fore boating activities, like Swimming Old Father Thames. Bart performs a beautiful pirouette & sets sail for ports a’new. As in passed days, winds Aaaarrrggh !!!  low, so sailing is sum-wot leisurely. Even moor relaxed than we be used to. Progress may be unhurried, but we stay sharp & a’lerts to the yet unknown trials that may lie ahead of us.  Aaaarrrggh !!  Me H-aaarrrggh-ties !!!    Onwards We swim through (almost) uncharted waters. Hampton Court in All her Splendour waves to starboard in our approach to Moseley Lock which swooshes Bart upwardly like & there we have


Taggs Island be approaching us from the North/starboard side bee-fore we is swishing a long slender ‘S’ bye-bye Garrick’s Ait,


Platt’s Eyot, Grand Junction & Sunbury Court Islands. Sunbury Lock de-plunges nb:Black Bart up to & along Walton Reach which takes us beautifully to Walton Wharf berthings. Good position here. Skip ‘dives’ int’river & continues with slimey green waterline scrubbing of ‘tuther’ day, working ’round’ (moor of a pointing sort of shape) the bow. Perfect combination of staying cool in the intense heat, & still being productive. Aft-er some swimming of the flailing arms & legs variety skip climbs oat to dry off in the sun.


The evening’s entertainment arrives.


Two seem particularly intent on repeated Thames Plunges. Most refreshing.

Thursday 22nd June      Should mayhaps stay ‘ear today ??   Knot sure.

Shiver Me Timbers !!!

Draw the foresail

Aye !!  Aye  !!!  Cap’n

Aaaarrrggh !!  Me H-aaarrrggh-ties !!!

Cap’n Black Bart Takes charge. Just as any ‘Good’ (Mean) Pirate Boss (Cap’n) should.

The Stinkily Hot !  HOT !!  HOTNESS !!!   is chilling oat a bit today.

Wrongly or writely we decide to swim (no flailing arms &/or legs required) on from Walton, staying South of both Desborough & D’oyly Carte Islands as we prepare to pass the Wey & entree’ Shepperton Lock where we meet our favourite lock keeper. He’s usually in command of one of the locks on this ‘ere stretch of the Thames. Remembered Bart from last year when we met him a couple of weeks back. The very wiggerly flow ‘up’ to Chertsey Lock keeps Bart on ones (slightly smelly) toes. Cruisers have arisen & be powering oat of top lock as we arrive. A work boat be coming tuther way, slowly appearing over the horizon so we wait & waive him in. He waves a happy thankee good-bye as he


departs a tittle lower & Bart be motoring in ready for arising. Wide water continues in a moor leisurely curvaceousness of fine undulations, to ripple nb:Black Bart & crew to Laleham. Secure those lines. Aye  Aye  Cap’n. Shall mayhaps stay fore a while. Opposite 4 All Marine Boatyard we is. Mayknot be the most picturesque of location, but good to see boatyards are still here & thriving on our Lovely River Thames.


Tis late evening & skip hath noticed this Beautiful young swan with


one barbed spike of a nasty looking treble curvey ‘pronged’ fishing hook through the side of her upper bill. A tag of some kind hangs below the lower bill, attached to the wire which then disappears  into the other side and who knows how much has gone down her gullet😡 We have phoned the swan sanctuary and reported the location so fingers crossed they will help her  Spoke to them later, to be told they would find her, but were in Brentford & had a list of swans to help. Knot good to hear such news. Fingers crossed.

Friday 23rd June      Although Friday is the final run (swim) two-wards the weekend. nb:Black Bart & the Merry Crew of three (eight legs) (& moor smelly toes) Aaaarrrggh !!!  knot swimming along (either ‘up’ or ‘down’) the River Thames on this day. (Almost) statically floating we is being. A much needed many furlong walk to the Maestro of hair-saloons fore Cap’n Bart is relatively successful. Skip pops int’town (that being Staines) to check oat facilities & possible berthings.


Our wonderful white friend is back tis aft’noon. Close examination of numerous photographs, particularly markings (natural & un-natural) i the upper & lower bills confirm this Beautiful creature has been looked aft-er by the swan sanctuary & seems OK now. Fantastic !!!

Saturday 24th June      A cool cloudy day to aid the cooling down process still being carried oat roand ‘ear. We is staying put for a wee while longer.

Tis aft’noon & there be a big cruiser playing music swimming towards & then past nb:Black Bart with a flotilla in hot pursuit.



‘Jolly Brit’ (which is a “jolly boat”) formerly of the Royal Yacht ‘Britannia’ swims bye.


closely followed by the Magnificent Royal Row Barge ‘Gloriana‘ (specially built for Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee).


Gloriana‘ led hundreds of person-powered craft which formed part of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant in June 2012. She now swims the River Thames attending various events throughout the season. Master Boat Builder Mark Edwards MBE & his team crafted this Beautiful Wooden barge in a short five months. A-Mai-Zing !!!


Just in front of Bart’s berth there be a wonderful display of wild flowers.


planted in/on the sloping bank in front of one of the lovely houses looking out on the River Thames. Like their note.

Sunday 25th June      Well indeed. Wot on earth (or water) (tis Bart World dear bloggetts) will today bring to Cap’n Black Bart & the motley crew of three (& eight legs). We is using those legs to walk the Thames Path to ply our trade at Staines upon Thames Day. River Shanties & the strange Thames River Dance are amongst the many attractions enjoyed by a throng of thousands. The Frenchies Aaaarrrggh !!!  ‘ere two, with their fine cheeses & bread amongst udders. Skippet Skip & 1st mate enjoy a Galette or two fore lunch. Delish. Have-nee had those fore a while. The Thames Stone is mounted up ‘ere, in the Memorial Gardens, marking the old tidal limit of the River Thames.  The Magnificent Royal Row Barge ‘Gloriana‘ is moored at the town hall landing stage, write bye the stone.



Wonderful to be able to getting soo close & admire the craftsmanship & talk with the Cap’n. The build of five months was only possible ’cause the many skilled peoples worked in teams on shifts so construction could be ongoing twenty four hours a day.


The crew have arrived.


Presumably, swishing their way towards Henley. The regatta commences soon. Crew be is quite tye-red aft’ all that oar-work. Must trudge our weiry wey back to Bart to bee-ginneth the necessary recoveries.

Monday 26th June      Moor water is salty river-dog.


Bart spin-eth roand to swim back downstream via Chertsey lock to where the cool clear refreshment is Bart-ered fore. Spin-eth agin, we is gurgling ascent-ion de-la-Chertsey & sum-thyme later Penton Hook chamber which ariseth craft & crew to a relatively level & wide Staines Reach to where we swim to the old town hall. Shall rest-up fore a while or too.

Tuesday 27th June      Ye-old town of Staines will be left aft this day.


Pass the wise old bird

of Staines we shall.

Quietly slip bye.

Tis early.

Butt. Knot earlier ‘nough !!

One (all of us to be moor exact)

needs to be up be-fore ‘early’ to beat this wise old crow.

Upstream will our craft & cru flow. Against the current. All the wey passed Church Island to the happy lock keeper who rushes the water through Bell Weir Lock. As is the normal at tis’ere local. Chamber being shared with a splendid modern take on the old classic dutch barge. One of the better ‘new’ examples. The Good ‘Eadlin’ & her fine crew share our berthing pool at the end of the long voyage. Just as the humongously wet onslaught from above starts to get a real grip on all us river peoples & those beyond. Once the drip (& air-drying) processes can be-begun crues of craft confure. Many many moons ago our pirate barge were nearly Bart-ered fore by our new boaty friends. Luckily fore us they didnee invest soo much so Cap’ns Howarth won through in t’end. Udderwise a deal nigh on five year ago is knot be ‘appening & she wouldnee be ours now. Got that ? Good !!  Glad sum-won hath !!!

Wednesday 28th June      Wake-up we do, in a wee place the locals call Egham. T’side of Runnymede. A fine berth with a lovely park edging the wriggerly wriver, just a few steps upstream. Perfeck fore an up & coming Bart World event…..  A Day fore a pleasure cruise (partly, anyhows). Bart, Lister & friends is chuggen upstream all the wey to nigh on Old Windsor lock, then swishing a smartly 180° & back downstream we re-jaunt. Passing our stop fore the night & into Bell Weir Lock for sum thymely descent-ion. We though an extended cruise weir the perfect wey of enjoying a full-on washing cycle, without having to get the old manual scrubbing board out & walking into the Thames to carry out the necessaries. Bart calls a sharp end to swimming thyme just above Penton Hook. Perfect !!

Thursday 29th June      This day there bee know rest fore our the-red cru. Cap’n Bart may be a ‘good’ (effective) pirate, butt he be a real hard task-master. That bee the ‘nice’ wey of putting it maties. Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  !!!   Time to get a tittle dizzy agin. Lister is chuggen (as be usual during our voyages like), lines slipped & weir off………….  Almost our longest cruise of the year to-date. A pleasurely downward through Penton Hook Lock chamber & knot too many ‘ers later, we be safely berthed near Laleham.

Friday 30th June      Finely day it be to end this Wonderful Month that has been June. Via many marinas, wide Thames reaches, curvey bends, watery elevators, weirs, meadows & islands we eventually succeed in our endeavours to reach the Wey. We is knot taking that particular watery path yet, but mayhaps in a future while. Mooring at the wide ripply junction Aaaarrrggh !!!  be ideal fore an increasingly tie-red crew. May this constant crew-sing never end. Just to stop for a day Skip. Please. Just a day (or two).

Saturday 1st July      Short voyage has been promised this Fine first July day, although our fearless Cap’n duth helm the moor treacherously wriggerly waters of the Old Thames trying to hide behind Desborough Island. The rower intent on causing a collision with twenty four + tonnes of Bart, bye cutting diagonally across a bend, & our path as we is coming roand said bend is very lucky (& then apologetic) to knot find one-self in a bit of a mess. A bit to careless & close for comfort. Probably better to change route on a straight where you can see & be seen. Thankee !!!   Deep breath. Onto the delightful Walton on Thames Moorings we do chuggen.

Sunday 2nd July      “Sunday is a day of rest”. That be the message, (carefully & tactfully) past onto Cap’n Black Bart. Tis a Most Fine Day indeed. Yes. Rest down we can indeed do. Knot quite all day as 1st mate gets restless so we all take a blooming long walk all the wey to Sunbury Pier. Or was that weir ??


A small wedding celebration flotilla pass bye enroute to party-thyme aft their vowels.


A Fabulous last throw of light to wave this wonderful day goodbye !!

Monday 3rd July      Might knot manage to sneak an’udder day off. Cap’n shouts Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-aaarrrggh-ties  !!!  !!!   Appointments with the Palace Aaaarrrggh !!! to be kept. Deals ‘av to be Bart-ered & fought fore, in the dark shadows of the crown’s estate. Walton Reach safely guides craft & cru passed many a dangerous weir & into Sunbury Lock. Down we travel, entering a strange liquid flowing world of aits, eyots, islands and floating wonders of all shapes, sizes & colours. Molesey Lock is the route to a moor serene environment. We brazenly secure our lines write there in front of those flashy golden gates. They won’t notice us, write under their very noses !!  Aaaarrrggh !!!   Shiver Me Timbers  !!!  !!!   Quiet Skip. Sorry. Keep the noise down. Shadowy dealings must be approached most stealthily. Ay ! Ay !!  Cap’n. Following (quiet) any possible shadowy dealings we can relax, back on Bart. We invite the newly arrived Waverley Pirates to breast (no silly comments Please ! ) up. Too many udder craft skulking roand ‘ere. safely in numbers.  Aye !  Aye !!  Maties !!!


Following drinkies & chitty chatties the night sky lights up.


Need a rest aft all that excitement.

Tuesday 4th July      Cap’n Black Bart & Crew Wish Skippet a Very Happy Birthday on this ‘ere special day. Three Cheers. Chink !  CHINK !!  CHINK !!!  Hip Hip Hip Hooray !!!  Relaxations, birthday presents & cakes Aaaarrrggh !!!  the name of the day. Followed bye a most splendid evening of Italiano foodies & scrumptiousness with our new chums !!

Wednesday 5th July      We the cru av & our Beautiful Pirate Barge is crews-ed to Kingston (Jamaica, we tink), swimming many ‘ers through waves, watery descents & (almost) treacherously conditions. Knot really !!  Were fairly calm. Just a few ripples dips & troughs. Having arrived in port cru ‘av been to the goods-docks fore muchly needed provisions. Old Larder master is been getting a slight fretful. While we is their we almost trip over ye old pirate skips of Gloucester docks. They is far off their ‘trading’ route. Lucky we is knot foes, as likely their-d b’trouble. Aaaarrrggh !!!   Their ship the Claira-belle is knot sunk, butt repairs is needed following a most fearsomely fought battle at Belvedere Sound. The lowly attacking marauders were dealt with most justifiably nastily-like. Muchly blood were spilt that dark stormy night of the ambush. Injuries is be healing & a short Thames ‘oliday is just wot the doctor ordered. Lubberly Jubberly !!!   Welcome. Rest your weiry legs & udder parts & woundings on our Bart. Time for a swish upstream with our new ‘guests’. We certainly ‘av sum Fun, steaming past the palace, all those tittle blots of land, mid-channel & almost flying up Moseley & Sunbury elevations del-aqua. Back to good old Walton we do end. Lovely to see you agin, aft all this thyme. Thanks to most generosity, a tittle tipple & tasty-ness is partaken of. Replete, to Bart we do relax & watch the night creep towards our slumberness.

Thursday 6th July      The swollen crew (no-ting to do with fine food & drink) (there be extra legs amongst udders, onboard our craft ya-knowAaaarrrggh !!! enjoying a warm comfy pleasure crews along & up the River Thames taking the Old Thames route-de-Halliford & Shepperton. Covering those nautical miles agin we Aaaarrrggh !!!  The day just swims on bye.


The Self Service Chertsey Lock duth knot slow our experienced, swollen crew down


Made light work of that. Sum fair old thyme later, just above Penton Hook provides the most fine of locations to rest Bart while crew enjoy a nibble of rare rib-eye. As any ‘Good’ Pirate should, on occasion. Can hear the old choo-choo-ing cry of the wheel-der beast that steams those slender shards of iron. The Good Ship Claira-Belle is calling her cru. They mustly travel many furlongs across mountainous dry lands to find & protect her for moor voyages yet to come…..  We may see you agin sum-day…….

Friday 7th July      Fore this day hath come. A Barty swim is required, all the wey to Egham, via a doubled downstream diversion for Bart’s refreshment be-fore the necessary re-arisings, plus the Leap over Bell Weir. Knot to be taken lightly. A Dangerous pass-thyme this weir leaping lark. But Sum-bodies (& boats) got to do it !!   Arrived at required destination old quartermaster gets on one’s high horse. Making a right old fuss !!  Tis a fair old while later be-fore said cru-member is finally happy & peaceful in their slumber once moor.

Saturday 8th July      Special Day hath come And Mr/Mrs Sun hath come out in All their Glory, to help. Extra cru Aaaarrrggh !!!  joining nb:Black Bart on this Fine Day…….. Four Wonderful tittle tykes (with parents in tow). A long thyme coming, but they is all ‘ere. Fantastic !!!   Cap’ns E&L Cowes-del-Albert of Wight + Tittle ones & Cap’ns T&R Mope-le-Ham of Kent + Knot quite so (any moor) tittle ones.

P1210111  P1210125

Following Fun !!  investigating Bart, playing with pop-guns, skimming stones al-a-Thames style & swishing elephant bubble wands amongst udder such kiddy-wonky sort o’tings, lunchly is scrumptiously munchlied.

IMG_2382  P1210130

Bowling practise is proceeding quite nicely & the trainee skipper is standing tall, over-flowing with exuberant confidence. Nice hat bye the wey. Thyme goes soo quickly when one (& moor) is (are) enjoying. Unfortunately, Wight Cru have to make wey & attempt to rejoin their ship be-fore dusk. They have many miles to travel & hills to climb before sea can be found, so Sadly Goodbye fore noiw. Kent Cru are staying !!  Yippeeeeee  !!!  Off to Runnymede park we shall go (just a tittle walk) so all can have even moor Fun !!!   Many ‘ers later, the-red tittle & knot-so-tittle legs trudge the return to Bart for tea, board game Fun & eventually a very welcoming bedly mattress on which to slumber.

Sunday 9th July      Sunday with guests on board. Only one ting fore it. Thyme for a Barty swim. A two & a half ‘er seven nautical mile chuggen upstream through two BIG locks


to a lovely tittle island in the shadow of Windsor Castle. A Great combo of relaxation, play, a fine fish lunch & liquid refreshment goes down a Treat. Aaaarrrggh !!!!   Thyme has come to slip those lines, Aye !!  Aye !!  Cap’n !! ! , spin Bart roand & retrace our swimming strokes all the wey back to Runnymede, where teary Sad Goodbyes are exchanged. Hope we can do this agin sum-thyme. Twere Fabulous !!!

Monday 10th July      My, wot a Wonderful weekend for Bart & crew. Now we need to chill & recover. Poor old 1st mate was on the go incessantly. Knone of the ‘usual’ relaxation techniques fore long stints of the day. Poor girl is k-nackered. Don’t know how she kept going. Just like a hyper active kiddie herself when tittle-ones are around. Now she hath ‘collapsed’. The reduced cru of two (1st mate cannee be counted as cru today) (no good to man, woman or beast in that condition). Aaaarrrggh !!!   capable. Just. Bart swishes along with the help of Lister, old prop, g’box all chuggen together, as one. Bell Weir Lock lowers cru & craft sufficiently to allow wet progression through wide waters. Tis knot long before we tentatively approaching the limited berth pool at


Lammas Land, by Church Island, just off the main Thames flow.


Bart just makes it. Just ‘nough room & millimetres above the stoney river bed below. Restricted mooring here, just room for aboat two craft. Great position. Still waiting for the Lammas to appear. Shy creatures they certainly Aaaarrrggh !!!


A familiar sight just roand the corner. Be the wonderful Humber Keel we met near Windsor last year, & her friend, a lovely dutch barge.

Tuesday 11th July      Cap’n Black Bart & Crew Wish Skip a Very Happy Birthday on this ‘ere special day. Three Cheers. Chink !  CHINK !!  CHINK !!!  Hip Hip Hip Hooray !!!

It may be grey, but we are going on a Birthday Crews. Now it be soggy. Now it becoming Wetter than soggy. Now it be Very Wet. We drift down the Hook before the snake like flow swooshes us along & down further, several thymes, all the wey to Weybridge where we land for the night, in the shadow of the wey’s big open mouth. The Very Weiry Waters swish roand these ‘ere parts with Muchly A-Gusto. Bart is moving aboat all the thyme, ‘buffeted’, lashed by the currents continually recharged by the torrents of water rushing down from the watery world of Spelthorne, above & behind us. It’s OK. You gradually become acclimatised to the continuance of movement.

Wednesday 12th July      We is moving onward & downward on this less soggy day. Quite pleasant really, although a fair breeze is swooshing across the river. Warm when the sun peaks out occasionally. Bart steadily leaves the Wey further aft, as we float our wey through the shadows behind Desborough Island, via the sleepy ‘old Thames’. Creeping by Halliford, we swim back into the main flow. Bart taking Walton Reach in one’s stride. Sunbury Lock slows & lowers nb:Black Bart down. Just a tittle. Craft & cru gently crews from the (nearly) empty chamber, swinging a sharp (almost, complete) aboat turn, to chuggen ‘up’ Sunbury weir stream


& mooring at the most pleasant Kings Lawn Moorings.

Thursday 13th July      Tis a (boaty term) fairly shortish ‘voyage’ this late morn. Lister thrumbs into (nearly full) wakefulness. Morning !!!   Still a tittle slumberly , but getting there. Lines slipped, Cap’n Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  takes advantage of the weir stream’s flow,


swinging the bow out (mind those boats skip)


& whizzing our vessel roand a full 180°. Weir off !!  Chuggen. Downstream agin. All the whey to/thru the Big Molesey lock & finally, aft many a furlong we is moored right outside the golden gates of Richmond’s Royal Palace. Splendid !!  Tis aft’noon & skippet is training her wey to sum-weir in deepest darkest Kent. Cru shall be reunited soon.

Friday 14th July      Fore this day a reduced Barty cru of two is slumbering in the shadow of those pearly gates.


Hey !!  Mate !!!  Can we av sum of that their wood. Cannee take much but a cupple of trees could be very warming in a few months thyme.

Saturday 15th July      As you bloggets will sea, we is still ‘ere.


Neighbours seam quite a pleasant bunch. Just a tittle bit noisy at thymes.

Don’t like to ‘shout’ aboat their standing in life though. Difficult trying to keep all that brass polished & beautiful looking though. Knot fore us !  Eh !!

Sunday 16th July      So we need to be a’crewsing a tittle on this day.


Aft doing the chores, including watering those Gorgeous Flowers.


Wonderful flourishing array of colours. And Yes !!  Another Fabulous artistic creation of Skippet’s. An’udder outpouring of handly brushly talent tastefully created on that galvanised trough. Skilfully crafted during a recent ‘stop’ at Barge Walk, Kingston. Ah !! Kingston upon Thames. Yes Old Father Thames. Our wide watery pathway of a companion during recent thymes. Back to noi, & nb:Black Bart is swimming those wide waters a’wey from the Palace, through Kingston & eventually to Teddington. The normally pleasant & almostly joyous route is repeatedly troubled by a plethora of udder vessels.


Speedy kayakers, large, very fast moving day trip boats, slightly slower dutch barges, slowish narrowboats & wide beams, slow/quick/slow dragon boats, large fast cruisers, smaller ‘speedboats’, small fast/slow day hire boats, quick rowing eights’n’fours, knot muchly slower twos’n’singles, delightfully pleasant skiffs,


fluctuatingly moving sailing dinghies, sea cadets appearing in varied craft, ambling canoeists, And (almost surprisingly) no swimmers (thankfully) to add to the melee. That were knot quite the relaxing swim one were anticipating. Fool !!  Of course it weren’t. Tis Sunday maties !  Aaaarrrggh !!  Me H-aaaarrrggh-ties !!!   Well, we do manage to arrive safely ‘in’ Teddington waters without any serious incidents. (Although there were a few concerned moments along the whey). (Tis quite A-Maz-ing sum-thymes how invisible a seventy foot ‘lump’ of metal seems to be to many a water traveller). Bart neatly pirouettes to point upstream & moors above the BIG Locks for the night. Skip & 1st mate pop ‘down’ to the locks to meet & chat with the lock keepers be-fore retiring fore the evening & be-yonder.

Monday 17th July      Moor we shall, but only aft’craft & cru have upstream travelled the (in boaty terms) relatively short of furlongs to a Royal Borough where Charter Quay provides a tight (fore a seventy foot-er) opening. The second attempt at approach (aft’ aborted initial move) proves a mite moor successful, although with hardly an inch or so to spare & difficult to tell how close Bart’s ‘nose’ were to the aft of the already static widebeam, skip swings the bow out a tittle & pulls Bart in (almost) side-words with subtle tweaks of the fore/aft & tiller while Lister chuggenly purrs to the usual watching gongoozlers. Just aboat managed to get away with that one. Sum-wot cosy position. At least we is in & those lines secured. Know-where else of sufficient length available in these ‘ere parts. With Bart safe, provisions Aaaarrrggh !!  sought & Bartered fore. Skip is then be off to the trainly place to welcome Skippet back Home to Bart & cru. Fab !!!

Tuesday 18th July      This is a thyme to chill, relax & watch the Royal boroughly world go bye. Tis early-ish aft’noon & hotel boat ‘The Billet’ has been eyed moving off it’s mooring of recent thymes so Lister & friends ‘jump to’, swishing nb:Black Bart away from Charter Quay, across the wide waterscape & re-mooring alongside Barge Walk. We like it here. Grass covered & lined with lovely big tall trees. And Knot quite so close to the busy bars & restaurants bye our location of previous ‘ers. And they certainly seem moor busy this eve, so that were a good move to make. Later, there be a Fantastic lightening show in the dark night sky, as most of you folk will likely ‘av experienced with your very own eyelets two. Well, aft all that excitement all one can do is ‘try’ & get sum sleep. Slater…..

Wednesday 19th July      We is off (Lister bee chuggen) (old prop bee spinning, slowly) & swimming in a generally westerly like direction, taking into account the naturally waviness of this ‘ere Finely Wonderful Watery World in which we Jaunt along. Plans to swim tidal waters ‘av been thwarted fore noi, but that is Fine. We is quite perfectly ‘appy aboat that. Can be re-approached at (probably, only a slightly) later date. Mayhaps fairly-like soonish. Up twice we go, leaping swirling waters through chambers, to finally, Walton Reach we do glide & an eventual slowing to an almost static-ness Bart duth end the crew-sing day. Quite a long one too.

To complete a Grand Day. Glasses are raised & Chink !  CHINK !!  CHINKED !!! For a Most Lovely Crew member. Never forgotten.  Goodnight !!   Now Sleep Tight all youz tittle ones…….

Thursday 20th July      Thee may tink that Skip be just a smitely, slightly Mad. Thee may indeed be sum-wear near the true mark of that fine smidge of knowledge. But who really knows wot ‘mad’ actually is ??


Aft checking oat the fine place that be Walton on Thames Cap’n Bart demands moor action so there be no rest fore the wicked…..  No-ting to worry aboat cru. Just a pleasant chuggen downstream, descending Sunbury Lock & swinging a sharp aboat, creeping up to Kings Lawn moorings fore a wee while. We is liking it ‘ere.

Friday 21st July      Fore we ‘av an appointment to maintain. Cap’n Black Bart spins our floating vessel roand & heads for the Palace. Don’t save the Horses. Aye !  Aye !!  Cap’n !!!  Aaaarrrggh !!!   We flow along the wonderfully wide curvaceousness of eyot/ait/island slopping river, passed Shakespeare’s (Garrick) Temple & the Most Glorious houseboat there can possibly be, ‘Astoria’. A Fine 1911 construction for Fred Karno (Frederick John Westcott) (amongst udders) custard pie in the face, comedian of the music hall & very successful theatre impresario. Eventually we is a’lowering the Moseley chamber of lift flotation, in the slightly sinking manner, which descention provides. Following our escape, Bart is slipperingly slinking under through the shadows cast on t’ripples by t’Magnificence-de-Hampton Court Bridge, finally spinning on a (very large) sixpence & majestically, buoyantly gliding into a Most Finest of berth’s within sight of those eyes peering from the greenly maze from beyond those splendourly polished brass gates, a’plenty. Tis many ‘ers later, creeping oat’a’mist & mirk. Finally Cap’n Murk & ‘is Shabbly Crew  Aaaarrrggh !!!   appear. Were knot shore they would ever make it ‘ear safely like. But. Yes !!  They av. Yeh !!!  (Quite ‘nough of that buoy). Were that strange noise from t’bow gave it away skip. Shall hear no-moor ‘boat it noi. Quite ‘nough. Muchly chitty chatties & udder tings that cannee be discussed at tis thyme be enjoyed. Ai(n)t seen em fore blooming ages. Great to Fruity Broan Saucy Likely. Twas in-deed. A Fine Fish o’t’day were filleted & cooked to perfection it t’were. Filled tummies need to relax & recover noi. S’later……….

Saturday 22nd July      Saturday is nb:Black Bart & cru’s last day of river meanderings. Cap’n  Aaaarrrggh !!!  hath decided. No moor !!  Thyme to swim in an enthusiastic manner, fore a while, anyhows. Aft today, of course. Static relax flotation. (hot) Tea & (warm) scones (knot the ‘posh’ type), lavishly buttered & jammed is the treat for pirate crew of two & sixteen legs. Yes !!  You Do read write. Sixteen. Quite A-Mai-Zing !!!  The rest of our day is none of your business so Buzz-Off !!!

Noi, we Must Bring this Meanderingly relaxation of crew-sing to a (fittingly) slow end.

Mightly Fruity Broan Saucy with you’ll Later. Slater !!


Black Bart has cruised swimmingly East to Teddington Locks from the K&A, swimming aboat 55 miles of the Wonderously Wide River River Thames, crawling through no tunnels of any description, descending 19 Big Wide lock chambers (sum, numerous thymes), sailing over zero strange channels (well we did-nee see any) called aqueducts & swimming under (sum Big, sum surprisingly small) 35 bridges (agin, sum, numerous thymes). & there you ‘av-it !!!


3 thoughts on “#50 River Thames downstream – East (& Meanderings). June/July 2017

  1. Simba Dada and crew is land locked in that old salty place known as Droitwich Spa.
    Her skipper Bernard is shackled by a 20’hour a week work contract .
    We is planning to escape next year though !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So I have found this lunatic blog and it is fully up to date!!! Unless this is June 14 2016…,
    Now am going to lie down for the archers having anaesthetised the hammered little or tittle as you say finger with a) dettol and b) large quantities of vino bianco

    Liked by 1 person

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