We enjoyed our last few days on the River Thames, which was busier and busier the further down it we went. We enjoyed viewing all the crazy houses, castles, follies, and wide varieties of boats while also looking forward to more mundane, workaday peace of the canals to come.
One magical day stood out! We leisurely cast off from our bank in Windsor in the morning (aka, not quite at the crack of dawn), watching the castle looming larger and larger, then disappearing behind the trees. The canal then looped around behind the Home Park (or castle grounds), giving us a lovely view from the opposite side. The bank was clearly marked: no mooring– trespass being a criminal offence.
We chugged on as the skies slowly cleared and tied up at Staines-Upon-Thames, where I had a quick meet up with a knitter who lives near the canal!
We headed on out, past many houseboats of all shapes and types of grandeur, cottages on the little Thames islands, loads of folks out enjoying a beautiful Sunday.
In one lock which, on that day often had 7 or 8 boats in at a time, we were the largest by miles, with a wooden speedboat, an inflatable canoe, a lovely launch, and a be-fendered plastic boat. We have grown accustomed to those crafts all giving us a wide berth, as we are 20 tons and steel with no brakes. We nearly collided with a thoroughbred rowing scull awaiting their race at a regatta! There was nothing more I could do than stay in the Channel. Fortunately, they finally noticed our hoot and looming bulk and realized there was no contest.
Shortly after that, we came around a bend to see a very odd craft. Upon closer inspection, we realized she was the Royal Barge Gloriana! Decided not to take her on (even though she was on the wrong side of the river. You’ll have to take my word for it, she really is spectacular.
We’d been looking for somewhere to tie up for the day and had been failing for the last couple of hours. I had hoped to moor near Hampton Court but had doubted this would be possible. Then we found one spot that might just be long enough. The boat is 57’. We squeezed in, the gap was 56’ 9”. With a slight overlap of rudders we managed it. Imagine my delight when I looked across the footpath to find that we were right by the golden railings of the back garden of Hampton Court Palace! We went for a little stroll and were surprised to find we could freely stroll around the grounds, rose and kitchen garden. We even saw a flock of green parrots in one of the trees.
As we were returning to to boat we found we had been locked in at the side gate. Luckily we could see the main entrance and headed that way and were politely let out by a uniformed gent!
Only wish we could have stayed another day to check out the Royal School of Needlework. I guess it’ll just have to wait until next time.
This week’s sale pattern:
The graceful, shoulder-hugging Faroese Flower Shawl is knit in one piece from the neck down. This gorgeous, airy piece features floral lace stitches and an unusual petal trim at the bottom.
A beautiful summer project!
The Faroese Flower Shawl is half-price ($6.00CAD) until June 28,