Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Carry on up the Thames

The delights of Windsor behind us, we continued upriver past Cookham - where there was no room, to Marlow for the night and even here we had to raft on another boat. We then got to Henley.  Not my sort of town - when the only estate agents we could see was a branch of Sotherbys and in one men's clothing shop a blazer was marked down from £336 to £225.  Presumably no one  eats in, as there are so many restaurants but virtually no food shops.  Still it was a nice mooring and we got under a tree which is quite important in this heat.  An old naval friend also popped in for a chat some dinner and as it was Henley - a glass or three of Pimms.  I have to say the river is stunningly beautiful even if nearly every bit of bank has 'private no mooring' signs on them.  Now I know why this country is actually so rich.  I tried to add up the likely price of the houses on one small stretch of river but gave up when it must have been over £100 million.  We are now in Reading and heading up to Oxford which we will probably reach in no more than 5 days - as that is when my Thames licence runs out. 

More daft things on the Thames - who knows what 'Swan Upping' is?  Even the park bloke knocking in the signs and asking us to move didn't know.  So I looked it up:

In the Swan Upping ceremony, The Queen's Swan Marker, the Royal Swan Uppers and the Swan Uppers of the Vintners' and Dyers' livery companies use six traditional Thames rowing skiffs in their five-day journey up-river.
The Queen's Swan Uppers wear traditional scarlet uniforms and each boat flies appropriate flags and pennants.
When a brood of cygnets is sighted, a cry of "All up!" is given to signal that the boats should get into position. On passing Windsor Castle, the rowers stand to attention in their boat with oars raised and salute "Her Majesty The Queen, Seigneur of the Swans".

So now you know!!

Another weird sight - how do you post the letter and how does the Postman get to collect it????

A little panorama of Henley, the black boat moved in the afternoon and we
nicked his spot under a tree.

I have to say the locks are spectacliar, I think the lock keepers are more gardeners than anything else.  This is Sonning Lock - so for a certain Expat - you know where we have just been.

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