As we entered the Thames, and contemplated the future transit from Teddington Lock to Brentford Lock down the tidal section we decided some suitable lifejackets would be in order. On most of the canals, the first thing you say to a man overboard is “stand up”, but that isn’t the case on a big tidal river!
So we locked down onto the Thames, went across to the fascinating Nauticalia emporium, who don’t sell lifejackets, and the adjacent outpost of Shepperton Marina who don’t sell lifejackets either, before heading downstream through Walton Bridge to Shepperton Marina proper, who do.
Suitably denuded of money (as per the boat we saw there called Empty Wallet) we took the opportunity of having a pump out and learned another of those important boating lessons. When the pump out orifice is on the side away from the jetty, and is perforce tricky to get at balancing on the gunwale, the large thick rubber gauntlets one normally wears for such (and other!) activities are hugely conducive to dropping the pump out cap into the water…
And being made of chrome plated brass, the caps aren’t retrievable with those powerful magnets often found around the boating fraternity. Ho hum.
Some phone calls and web browsing discovered a part number from a major chandlery wholesaler who dealt with Shepperton Marina, and a replacement was ordered, and promised for delivery Friday lunchtime. As the cook had plans for the area, the Captain had already spotted a potentially pleasant mooring place he wished to explore, and the Thames is large enough that we can turn round pretty well anywhere, we decided to stay in the area for a couple of days.
Shepperton Marina is pretty huge, mainly full of river cruisers, but way in the distance, almost hidden behind Sinfonia we spotted HM Queen’s Gloriana lurking. And the latest free sheet has pictures of the recent Crick Boat Festival, where Sinfonia was Piper Boats’ exhibit, so she must be brand new and only just launched.
A trip just across the water to The Anglers at Walton Wharf for a quick shopping trip in Bob-on-Thames, and we headed back up the river to the place Biggles had spotted. We did wonder why The Anglers pub sign was of a dive-bombing ring-necked parakeet, but an evening in Shepperton soon showed why…
Anyway, Biggles was most impressed, and spend hours totally still, meditating silently at the edge of the woods, before occasionally diving into the greenery. And at least once emerging shortly thereafter with a small furry object in his mouth.
With the weather set fair, the Captain’s seal of approval, well away from the road, tucked behind the cricket club and useful car park, and 5 minutes walk from the shops and restaurants of Shepperton High Street, this seemed a highly suitable place to chill out for a couple of days.