Wednesday, 19 October 2016

First Holiday Onboard! Day 8

October 19th 2016

Today was the last day of our first holiday on Life's too Short and we only had 2 hours to go to get back to Thames and Kennet Marina.

After a breezy night we woke to calm weather and a glass-like river Thames. We were soon ready to head off from Pangbourne meadow down stream towards Mapledurham lock and pleasantly surprised to discover it was manned.

Mapledurham Lock filling

Mapledurham Wier
Once through Mapledurham there aren't really any places that I'd like to moor overnight - a few 'slum boats' dotted around this stretch hogging the moorings. Reading is a bit better than it was many years ago having had lots of development along the river, the park looks like a place I might consider stopping overnight at.

Caversham lock was also manned and Lady Elizabeth from Kris Cruisers was coming through the other way so we didn't have to wait long.

Caversham Lock
We passed through Caversham Lock without incident and then we were on the home straight. Again there aren't many great moorings along this stretch, many are taken up by long term live-aboards, especially around the entrance to the Kennet and Avon and along the towpath near Tesco. If I was looking for a mooring I'd go on to Sonning, it's a bit nicer there and not far to go.

Entrance to the Kennet and Avon
Then we were back. 2 hours since leaving the meadow we were back at our marina ready to give the boat a quick clean and pack our things to go back to the hustle and bustle and the faster pace of life. Being on the river is a really good way to slow down for a bit and to de-stress, we can't wait until we get the chance to get back on board.

Thames and Kennet Marina

So what did we learn on our first proper trip?

  • Overhanging branches are tougher than the canvas our canopy is made from
  • Most other boaters are really friendly
  • Only use battery 2 at night, battery 1 is for engine starting only
  • It is possible to live on digestives, cheddars and wine for a short while
  • The gelcoat on our boat is about the same thickness as an eggshell and nearly as strong
  • It was well worth buying a spare toilet holding tank
  • Lock-keepers are wonderful people, we need to look after them
  • There's no obvious place to go shopping between Oxford and Lechlade
  • There's no such thing as 'too many' fenders, we're going to add more!
  • Kingfishers only appear when they know you haven't got a camera handy
  • Fishermen always want to fish by the bank on the opposite side of the river
  • Grass snakes swim very well


  1. You seem to have learned all you need to know apart from - keeping the fridge as full as possible makes it less power hungry to run and always have a packet of weetabix and a live of milk handy for quick breakfasts !

  2. Hi Steve,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog but see that you have not posted since Autumn last year, I hope everything is OK.

    1. Hi Chris, glad you've enjoyed reading the blog. I am way behind, I need to get on and post all the updates as soon as I can! I'll try to crack on with it soon!