As we approach the end of this year’s wanderings, a man’s thoughts naturally turn to the boat winterisation chores we’ll have to do at the end of the cruise, and the chores we never got around to on the house that will need sorting out when we get home. The garden’s a bit overrun, and anyone who has visited in the last few years will know we need a new garden shed.
On the run-in to the centre of Reading we found just the thing. Could give a whole new slant to “I’m just nipping out to the shed, darling”.
From the river, the Reading metropolis passes surprisingly quickly. At the rural Mapledurham Lock It’s hard to realise that the big city is so close.
As you approach the shiny new renovated Whitchurch Bridge, now open to road traffic again, the fields are full of hundreds of sheep. Except that those sheep all appear to have been indulging in neck-stretching like some of those Kayan ladies who live in the Burmese/Thai borderlands, and it dawns that they aren’t sheep at all, but alpacas. Hundreds of them. Seems it’s one of the biggest alpaca farms in the country.
And then the weather breaks with a vengeance, and we bail out onto an Environment Agency mooring at Goring Lock then went for a wander. Goring seems to have a village green surrounded by a brick wall which strikes us as unusual, (and the village sign is up-to-date, featuring a red kite), as well as an excellent small hotel that serves lovely food even on a Sunday evening. Take a bow, The Miller of Mansfield. Even more surprising, on a dark, wet, late Sunday afternoon, was an art gallery/exhibition that was still open, and staffed by the artists themselves, both of whom (Carolyn Tyrer and Howard Birchmore) had folky connections and it turned out we had friends and acquaintances in common. It’s a small world.