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Friday, 8 July 2016

Honey, the waterway has shrunk!

We decided to stay this mooring and go to see the changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle and have a last look round before leaving around lunch time.

Market Cross House is next to the Town Hall and I expect it is much more photographed too. It is surprising that it has survived through the ages.

As we had some time until the parade at 1055 we went to see if we could find the illusive dress for our nephews coming wedding. Success I am pleased to announce as a much reduced number from M&S has fitted the bill. I lovely top found it's way into the bag too. We still had time so we went for a walk so walked towards the Great Park. We saw this statue dedicated to Irish Guards, past, present and future and liked the modernism of it.

The Long Walk is what it says, long. I was impressed that the tractor on the right was mowing the grass and the vehicle on the right was sucking up the clippings to keep everything nice and neat.

Queen Victoria stands guard over the entrance to Windsor Castle. Why do all the statues, bust and portraits of our Kings and Queens never show them smiling? I would have thought that a little smirk would have endeared them to the nation even more. Maybe not the done thing in days of yore.

Bang on time the traffic stopped and we heard the sound of fifes and drums as the guard and band arrived. I did wonder what the height standards for the Guards regiments have become as this contingent had several that would never play in a pack in Rugby Union

We were going to leave but decided to wait the 25 mins for the old guard to leave the Castle. This is the band of drums and fifes leaving with the relieved guard following. This was the Coldstream Guards and you can tell by the configuration of the buttons on their tunics and the plume on their bearskins.

We got back to the boat and slid back to fill up with water at the tap just behind where we moored. We were soon off and then you get the best views of the castle from the river.

We must have upset the plastic boats as we caught them up at every lock. There were a couple of locks that were on self service. None of the plastic cruisers with 4 or 6 crew seemed able to step off their boats to work the locks and so it was left to narrow boaters to do the job.

Windsor Castle maybe the oldest inhabited castle in the world but it is still almost under the flight path of Heathrow. I suppose she has had a complimentary fit out of triple glazing provided by Everest so as to claim the Royal Warrant!!

We passed Runnymede and spotted the Magna Carta Monument. We will have to stop next time this way. It is funny that this much revered document was quickly ignored by King John after signing it but it really does bring it homke that there is history at every bend on this river.

This is Queen Elizabeth II, not Princess Anne or Alexandra and again there isn't the hint of a grin there. It is from 2015.

We passed many small, old launches heading up river. They seem to be part of the small ships fleet from Dunkirk in 1940. I assume that they were heading to Henley for the Historic Boat Festival in a while. This is the MTB 102.

We eventaullyarrived at the Wey Navigation with 'Speakeasy'. As the passed through the stop lock the lock keeper started to close it. He said he didn't hear us. I had to tell him that we had our cloaking device activated but switched it off now we are on canals again. We paid our money £7 for a transit licence and £78 for a week on the Wey Navigation, and the lending of a windlass for the canal (£15 if you do not return it when you leave).

Thames Lock is the deepest on the Wey and the navigation was opened in 1653. I love the old Humane Society sign.

There are three buildings making up the complex that was started in the 1770's and finally closed in 1983. It is now apartments.

It was strange to be on such confined waters and at the revs that we had used on the Thames we were crawling along in the ditch once again. I even forgot to go to tick over passing moored boats. A new mind set needs to click in now.

We went up three locks and the stop lock to above New Haw Lock. We were going to moor at the bottom of the first lock on the Basingstoke but that is almost under the motorway and next to a railway line so we stopped a little above. It will consequently be a bit earlier to start tomorrow.

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