The volcano’s clouds can’t stop Clodia: we may be slow, but we go!
After the days spent in Wargrave at the Bushnell Marina, things took up a brisker pace. Colin Henwood, who has built many a famous boat for the Thames (see the Henwood and Dean site) a lovely man – and wife Lucy – put us up at their home.
As well as lending us equipment and materials to complete the works, on a wonderful evening in Henley, Colin entertained us with his tales spent on the Thames. We were also treated to the alluring sound of bagpipes across the green meadows.
The nights in the tent are rather damp and cold, with morning frost and warm sun in the daytime: but here, the water is lovely. It’s smells – and feels – so fresh.
Jacopo and I are continually surprised by a river that is safeguarded so well: the vegetation and wildlife are really plentiful. The landscape changes continually and the houses are designed in harmony with nature.
The Thames is a huge resource, one that everybody here is proud of. It’s an example of excellence in management.
Yesterday, after 25 km and another 4 locks, we reached Bray, where the Bray Marina allowed us to stay for free for the night and Aberdeen camping site gave us a pitch at a giveaway price, which our photographer Massimo kindly put up!
The river flows quite slowly here and we can make about 25 km a day. Our rowing synchronism is still in need of finer tuning. Jacopo is doing well on the oars .. I’m the one who’s rather rusty!
This evening we reached Chertsey, in Surrey, after passing Windsor (the castle is amazing!).
After yet another lock (we have done about 15 so far), we sought a mooring place and entered a canal where we find some “live-aboards”, which are houseboats where the owners live permanently. We were not allowed to moor there and ended up in a public zone, which didn’t seem too safe. So off we went to the prettiest Marina: well, we can only try…
At the reception, amidst all the luxury pleasure boats, a lovely young lady told us that the cost was £20. Then we told her about the project and the price went down to … £0 (and she even offered us a coffee, a pin-badge and a bag with a ladybird: really pretty!).
Tonight we sleep in the warm at a B&B. They are friends of Claire, who is also the Bates Marina owner’s wife. We are surprised and touched by peoples’ warmth.
Clodia is doing just fine. Today, with only the mizzen raised, we were even able to sail on some breeze. It was another day with lots of encounters, we will tell you more about soon.
Everyone is very curious to know about us and are genuinely interested in our our story. One person gave us 10 pounds as a good start to our fund-raising activity!
Unfortunately our resolution to live at a zero budget is still not fully applicable: there are many of us and we have to share. The film crew of the documentary cannot be abandoned and as far as possible we try to keep together.
A big “thank you” to Michele, who has helped us so much and who endured a crazy journey to get home, leaving us with Martina, who will be part of the group for a while. We already feel like so many Forrest Gumps.