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May 28th 2010 - Windson

Ali, Mike and Harry finally arrived after a two hour drive that should only have taken one! 

It was lovely to have little Harry on board, he was into everything, investigating every switch and button and pressing them all just to see what they did.  We nearly ended up with the central heating on!!  He was however a wee bit tired and was just about ready to have his nap when they arrived so after about half an hour he was really sleepy so Mike took him for a walk in his pushchair and he soon nodded off.  He was "parked" on the stern and left to snooze whilst we all had a bit of lunch.  When he woke up again later we decided to go for a walk around Hampton Court Palace Gardens.

Harry couldn't wait to get out of his pushchair and then he just ran and ran and ran! It was so funny.  He met up with a young lady called Annabelle who took a real fancy to him!

Where did you get that hat!

Eventually, when Harry just couldn't run any more, we decided to go and find a restaurant and have some tea.  We found one not far from the Palace and were soon tucking into our meal whilst Harry had his very posh salmon and leek pasta which Ali had made earlier and brought with her - it looked yummy!  Finally it was time to say goodbye, Ali, Mike and Harry had to drive back to Enfield and hoped to be back in time for Harry's bedtime.  It was really lovely to see them.

The following morning we cast off from Hampton Court Palace and continued our journey up the Thames.  We went through several locks but these are no hardship whatsoever because they are mostly manned so the lock-keeper does all the work for you.  All we have to do is rope the boat fore and aft to keep it into the side so it doesn't drift about in the lock whilst its filling. We had decided to break our journey to Windsor and after about three hours cruising we arrived at Eggham which is very near to Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed by King John in 1215 (or quarter past twelve as Eric Morcambe used to say!!)  It was a very pleasant mooring but you couldn't exactly say it was peaceful!  The reason for this is that we were directly under the flight path from Heathrow so there were planes roaring overhead every few minutes but not only that, there were parakeets in all the trees around us and there was an absolute cacophany of cheeps, squawks and twitterings going on constantly!  Every now and again a tree would erupt and a flock of bright green parakeets would take to the air shrieking and squawking at the top of their lungs - quite bizarre really! 

We did manage to have a good nights sleep, though soon after we went to bed I heard it raining and when we awoke the next morning the air was damp and muggy.  It was quite cloudy first thing but not cold at all.  During the course of the morning the clouds dissipated and it was soon warm and sunny again.  We set off after breakfast and once again encountered several locks then a familiar sight appeared on the left bank - Windsor Castle!

Windsor Castle

We knew there was a lovely spot to moor in Windsor and we were delighted to find that there was plenty of room for us when we got there.  As soon as we had secured the boat I put the laptop on and sent Stuart a message to let him know we had arrived and found a space to moor up.  He sent a message back to say he would pop in and see us later.

Sure enough half way through the afternoon there was a knock on the roof and there was Stuart!  Stuart and Clive were at Huddersfield New College together.  Stuart is a wonderful pianist and has also played the organ in several churches over the years.  When Clive and I got married back in 1973 Stuart played the organ during the ceremony - it was lovely.  Anyway, sadly we lost touch with each other over the years and haven't seen him for about 35 years!  However, miraculously I found him a few months agon on Facebook and we have been in touch ever since.  He now lives in Windsor with his partner David and his baby grand piano. 

We spent the afternoon reminiscing and quaffing wine then we all walked up through Windsor, after a short detour to Waitrose, to have dinner at their home.  We had a really lovely evening and great food.  One of their friends came round for the evening too.  Youra's  hobby is making the most amazing clocks completely from scratch.  Stuart and David have an egg timer in their kitchen which Youra made for them and it is incredible!  Stuart has a baby grand piano, which takes up most of the lounge!  They have a small room at the back of the house which was earmarked for the piano when it was ordered but the delivery men refused to take it through the kitchen and tilt it on its side to get it into this room as it was against their Health and Safety regulations!  So the little room at the back has become their sitting room and the piano resides in its glory in the living room!  I asked Stuart if he would play for us - he is absolutely brilliant! 

Then Stuart suggested to David that he fetch his guitar down for Clive to play and that was it, Bach turned into Trad folk for the rest of the evening!

Anyway, all in all we had a really lovely day.  David very kindly drove us back to the boat later and we arranged for them to come down and visit us on the boat after lunch - perhaps we will go for a cruise, weather permitting!

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