We left Kingston at 10.30. We thought we might be in for a wet day given the grey skies, and the rain we had heard drumming on the deck earlier when we got up, although it eased a little as we cast off.
As we made our way along the river we passed lots of lovely Thames cruisers, all smartly kept, with their highly varnished wood panels. The banks of the river were lined with large properties again, with beautiful gardens and balconies full of plants, smart boathouses, and all with their own individual character. But there seemed to be no occupants, or at least no one we could see. Were they perhaps second homes? Possibly, but one thing we did know is that they must all cost a pretty penny by their elaborate construction and size.
It was a day of cruise two or three miles, go through a lock, and cruise two or three miles more, and we stopped for about half an hour for lunch at Staines. At one point I threw one of the fenders over just before one lock and it came off its rope bobbing its way alongside the boat and then away behind us. We managed to fish it out with one of the boat poles, so we didn’t loose it completely.
Other than the large riverside houses, there were also historic sights to see such as Hampton Court and Windsor Castle, at Windsor an equestrian event was being held, we saw many horses with carriages, riders dressed up for what looked like cross country style events, and horses being exercised on lunge reins, as well as the usual stall and food areas.
Closer to Maidenhead, we came across the rowers again. This time lots of them, and strewn over the river like skittles. At this point it was difficult to know how we were going to pass them all. There was lots of wildlife, on the way too, ducks, swans (one on a nest), and geese with their groups of young, herons stood like statues on the bank, and parakeets flew overhead. Martin also saw a fox, sloping through the undergrowth on the bank.
We finally managed to wash the boat down of salt deposits from the English Channel and tidal Thames part of our journey, and we removed the rubber dinghy that had acted as our life raft for the Channel crossing from the top deck, and packed it away. We could stop worrying about items falling out of cupboards now too, we were back now to the more stable waters of river boating, and slowly the environment around us was becoming more familiar, and much more recognisable as home.
We had managed to cover a lot of ground (or should I say river) today. We travelled 29 miles and passed through 11 locks. We finally moored just beyond Maidenhead at a small mooring site under the trees by the bank. We had planned to eat out, but it seemed that we were not really within walking distance of a pub. Maybe tomorrow we will do that.