Sunday, 3 June 2007

R & R.

Still moored at Reading.
345 locks, 492 miles, 16 Tunnels and 8 lift bridges since Nov 2006

We have had a quiet relaxing day on the Thames just chatting with our neighbours and watching the rich boys and their toys cruising up river.
Dot got out and polished the brass work and Derek on the next door boat gave me some Incralac to varnish them so that was the total extent of work done today.
This afternoon was hot and sunny so we went for a walk to check out conditions on the Kennet and Avon and also have a look at the Blake lock museum which although only small did give a good idea of what Reading had in it’s past. The museum is in the old council pumping station where sewage was pumped about 2 miles to a treatment station by what had been a hydro power station over the weir. The original drive shaft and 2 generators were still there which was surprising as these sorts of places don’t normally get preserved. In another building on the site was housed a brief outline of Reading and a beautifully restored gypsy caravan or vardo as they called them similar to the logo on the side of our boat. They also had 2 videos running telling the story of the caravan and how they were used. The video’s lasted 8 minutes and were very interesting.

The caravans were actually made in Reading and took 6 months to build. The last one was produced just before WW1.

Another part of Reading’s history was that Huntley and Palmers the biscuit manufacturers had a very big factory here and employed many locals. The whole factory covered 24 acres but the only remaining building was the curved admin block which is now apartments. The rest of the site has now been redeveloped into up market apartment blocks and an office block overlooking the river Kennet/ Kennet and Avon canal.

As the 2 waterways have now eased back to their normal levels and flows we have decided to leave the Thames tomorrow morning in the company of Derek amd Christina on n/b Kalimera to be in Newbury by Friday.

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