Yet another late start on Friday - we're making the most of it before we venture onto the Kennet and Avon at the weekend where we've been advised to rise early, journey a distance and then get moored up before the evening, as there's not many places to moor and it can get busy. Rightly or wrongly we don't hold too much sway of well-meaning advice from fellow boaters, mainly because much of it can be negative and we're a little rebellious and child-like in our fifties with a quest to discover challenges for ourselves - so the chances are we'll still be starting out and mooring up late! However, we've arranged to meet Barry's daughter Jamie in Bristol on the weekend of 20th August so we may find we'll have to do some longer days depending on progress.
It was a gray day when we set out to investigate Goring, but had only gone as far as the Mill next to the lock when Barry got chatting to the occupants of narrowboat 'Tobias Maximus', which we'd been criss-crossing for a while. Once he discovered that Tony was a fellow photographer and had a career as such in the RAF for 15 years, it was like old friends meeting and I had to literally drag him away after half an hour or we'd never have got anywhere! Lovely to meet you both Jill and Tony and we hope to catch up with you again soon ...
We loved Goring, it's a gorgeous place which was unsurprisingly voted the 'South of England Village of the Year 2009/10'. We weren't certain which house was George Michael's though from the information on an internet search it looked like the one close to the river, but there was so little security apart from CCTV cameras that I thought it doubtful. Thank you to one of our readers though for confirming that it was that house - good on you George for not hiding away behind high fences, though I suspect he mostly lives in USA. And if you were in on Friday 6 August I wish I'd knocked to say 'Kia ora'! .
One of the distinguishing features of the buildings around here is their use of flintsones, they're so unusual and very attractive ...
Well we just had to see for ourselves Look at the size of his feet!
Goring Lock and weir
We're pretty certain that this is George's delightfully unpretentious riverside home - Kia ora bro!
Tony and Jill on narrowboat 'Tobias-Maximus' heading on the same route as us albeit at a slower pace - hope we catch up along the Kennet and Avon near a pub!
Now that's just clinched the 'Village of the Year' having New Zealand lamb on sale
The recently renovated interior of the quaint Goring Parish Church next door to George - I suspect he doesn't sing in their choir!
Leaving Goring we crossed the bridge to check out Streatley, where they're doing some road widening but it was still a charming place ...
Looking across the river to Streatley and The Swan pub, restaurant and hotel
Barry normally tries to avoid people and cars in his scenic photos as they can date images too quickly, however there are exceptions - this chap yelled out he would gladly swap his car for Barry's camera as at that point as it wasn't the most comfortable of rides - Barry was ready to swap but the traffic lights changed!
Looking down the street at Streatley
Neat window boxes
An abundance of flintstones make up this residence
The flinstone is really attractive
More massive houses ... And a rather unique 'conservatory' over the river!
Gatehampton Railway Bridge
By the time we returned to the boat it was after lunch-time so we grabbed a bite to eat and set off - due to our time-keeping we passed Pangbourne without stopping, which was sad as it's the place where Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows, retired to Church Cottage. He died there in 1932, and E.H. Shepherd's famous illustrations of his book are said to have been inspired by the Thameside landscape here - it's not difficult to see why ...
Can't be boathouses but must house something boat-like inside
Looks like another Swan Hotel, this time in Pangbourne
We eventually moored near to Mapledurham House, not far from Reading, next to a couple of extremely large boats, one of which looked like it should've been on the European canals and other the 'African Queen' from London, a hotel boat. It was an even more precarious mooring than the previous one, being tied to a couple of tree trunks and the only way off was to shimmy down one of them - needless to say it was only Barry who ventured out ...