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Narrowboat 'wilvir'

by wilvir

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Whispers on water - a photo journal of our life on the 'cut' dedicated to keeping family and friends informed of our whereabouts.

Tweet us @wilvir514

Helping to keep our waterways litter-free:

Drought, pollution and illegal fishing all threaten our waterways. Spotted something that looks wrong? See it, say it, save it. Call the Environment Agency (EA) Incident Hotline: 0800 80 70

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The Days Are a Changing

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1. From this.
2. To this.
3. Then this.
7th Sep 2013, 23:24   comments (0)

The Old Man of Wilvir

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7th Sep 2013, 14:34   comments (2)

Narrowboat 'Dreamcatcher'

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1. Finally on their way again.
2. (L-R) Celeste and Miya.

After a delay of several days brought about by starter motor failure and a couple of electrical faults, Celeste and Miya set off from Great Seabrook Locks heading for London to begin life as liveaboards.
6th Sep 2013, 23:53   comments (2)

Friends and Fixes

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Great Seabrook Locks, Grand Union Canal. Thursday 04Sept2013.

1. Moored below Great Seabrook Top Lock.
2. Indulging in my favourite pastime.
3. Neil lending the wind-'lass' a hand.

Tomorrow we begin picking up the pace as we make our way northwest for the coming winter months.

We've had a great week here at Pitstone, having spent time in the company of great friends Neil and Jude who live in Wilstone, alongside the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal and with dearest friends Martin and Brenda, who are always more than generous in ensuring we have all we need wherever and whenever they come to visit. We can be certain we'll see them over the winter months as they seek us out join us for a weekend together.

Last week, in preparation for the shorter days ahead, I fitted two new domestic batteries and a new shore-power charger. Over the past couple of days I've also cleaned and painted the stove, chimney, replaced the fire-bricks and cleaned the oven. So we're now all ship-shape for the coming winter.
5th Sep 2013, 23:31   comments (0)

Moving On Down

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Here we are below Seabrook Top Lock. We arrived this afternoon to spend a few days being visited by friends and to do a final check of the boat in preparation for the colder months ahead, before picking up the pace and heading northwest to this winter's cruising ground now that Autumn is fast approaching.
31st Aug 2013, 00:12   comments (0)

Back on Track

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1. A family Sunday lunch get-together at the 'Anglers Retreat', Marsworth.

Never one for clocking the passing of time, especially living as we do, I've never the less been reminded of the fast receding months by the arrival of the Perseid meteor shower in the night sky and, much closer to home, the ripening of blackberries.

I need to get the blog back on track too as the days are becoming noticeably shorter as we move northwards to seek out quiet moorings to over-winter, and recent weeks have flown by.

Jim and Helen have continued on their way as they have still to find a mooring for 'M' over the winter months, while we have slowed to our usual pace since leaving the Thames. This gives us a chance to meet up with friends old and new who live locally along the route of the Grand Union Canal.

To bring us bang up to date, just this weekend gone, we had a summer family get-together at Ivinghoe, not far from where we're moored. Our son Craig made a sweeping detour on his way home to Kent with his family at the end of a two week caravan holiday in Dorset, and our daughter Emma, with her family stopped off on their way from Norwich to Legoland, conveniently staying overnight in Craig's caravan. All-in-all a great weekend.
30th Aug 2013, 00:24   comments (1)

Royal Swan Upping

1. The Swan Uppers arrive at Mapledurham.
2. The skiffs and flags of the Queens and Vintners.
3. The skiffs and flags of the Dyers.
4. The Swan Uppers depart and head upstream to Goring.
5. The Queens Swan Marker (note the feather in his cap).

During our run down the Thames in July we happened to moor at Mapledurham where we were fortunate to observe the pageantry that is 'Swan Upping'. Today this is an opportunity to carry out an annual census of the Mute Swan population, to check upon their health and to ring the cygnets.

The Wardens of the Queens, Dyers and Vintner Swan Uppers arrived in splendid style to break for lunch, dressed in their traditional finery aboard six skiffs led by the Queens Swan Marker. They were kind enough to give us a swans feather as a memento of the occasion, which will be framed and displayed in the cabin.

For more info on Swan Upping go to:
7th Aug 2013, 22:53   comments (0)

July, and the Thames at its Best

Denham Deep Lock, Grand Union Canal. Monday 05Aug13.

1. Jim and Helen aboard their Narrowboat 'M', keeping station astern.
2. Heading out of Abingdon.
3. One of our weekend 'out in the sticks' moorings below Clifton Hampden.
4. A fully laden trip-boat heading upstream.
5. Approaching Wallingford.
6. (l-r) Helen, Jim and Ginny consult the oracle.

We left the River Thames on Wednesday morning's high tide, which took us from Teddington down to Brentford. There we locked up onto the River Brent and the Grand Union Canal.

The month spent on the Thames was a joy, made all the more so by an umbrella of blue sky and the near ever-present cloak of warmth from a sun last felt for its traditional summer brilliance in 2006.

There was also an abundance of water, which made the meandering river journey from Oxford to Lechlade that much easier when negotiating narrow bends that almost turns the river back on itself as we wound our way upstream towards our destination, before turning back for the three week leisurely run down river to the outskirts of London.

The pleasure of sharing and spending time with great friends Jim and Helen throughout a journey that was a first for them, made it all the more worthwhile and memorable for us too.

Memorable for the sights and sounds of red-kites wheeling in thermals above a field of gold as they followed in the wake of a tractor cutting a dusty swathe through a hay meadow. Boats large and small, brilliant white or traditionally painted, plying their trade or, like us, simply cruising about for pleasure. Mighty weirs, taming water upstream, tumbled unfettered, ever downstream, leaving misty rainbows hanging in the air and tranquil pools of expectation below them, enticing anglers to cast a line and test their luck. Memorable for the souvenir feathers given to us by the Swan-Uppers as they passed through Mapledurham in all their pageant finery, continuing to protect and mark swans as they have been doing traditionally for the past 900 years. The majesty of Cliveden House, overlooking the river from on high through heavily wooded slopes reaching down to the waters edge. The Crown Estate of Windsor Castle unfolding along the royal banks of the river. Cruising along the course of the Henley Regatta. Eynsham, Oxford, Rushey, Wallingford, Marlowe, Goring, Abingdon, Sonning, Runnymede and more; all linked by the trade and industry that was once the lifeblood of this great river yet now serve as weekend destinations for mainly private pleasure boats and tourists. And our last port of call, Hampton Court Palace, the seat of so much royal and political intrigue.

A river never disappoints the water-borne traveller inquisitive to learn more about our heritage. A river such as the Thames carries a living time-line that truly helps us to understand history. If rivers have taught me anything over the years, outside of my passion for angling, it's how they remain virtually impervious to change, provide opportunities for adventure, add a wilderness element to this island of ours and cleanse the mind as well as the body. Long may that continue.
5th Aug 2013, 18:41   comments (5)