The Thames: “L” plate

Wanderlust passes under a bridge on River Thames

Wanderlust passes under a bridge on River Thames

If you’re driving around Britain it is hard not to notice the numerous vehicles displaying a white plate with a large red “L” emblazoned in the middle. Displayed on a car, the “L-plate” signifies that the driver is a learner under instruction. On a motorcycle, the plate indicates that the rider has provisional entitlement to ride restricted motorcycles. A similar system is in place in France. In France, instead of an “L” for learner there is an “A” for apprenti. Either way, if there’s an “L” or an “A” on outside of the vehicle, you never quite know what you are going to get from the driver. Continue reading

Thames: Bird Life

Bald is beautiful: A young coot on the water.

Bald is beautiful: A young coot on the water.

Living on the water, we share our backyard with all sorts of birds. Some birds, the geese, the ducks, and the swans, are aggressive panhandlers who look food from every occupied boat. Other birds are shyer. Coots share the water and more or less keep to themselves. We’ve also come across a number of birds that are just a little stiff. Continue reading

The Thames: Escaping to London

Nothing like taking your home under London's Tower Bridge

Nothing like taking your home under London’s Tower Bridge

After a long stay on the upper section of England’s River Thames, we at last headed downstream. When we pulled in our ropes at Thames & Kennet Marina it marked the beginning of our passage to France and the next phase of our life aboard Wanderlust. Continue reading

The Thames: Oxford

An arcaded walkway at Merton College

An arcaded walkway at Magdalen College

Wanderlust’s size limits her Thames cruising range to the water between London and Oxford. As it happens, both London and Oxford are very popular tourist destinations; it’s hardly a hardship to be constrained between these two most interesting cities. Continue reading

The Thames: Runnymede Meadow

DSC_8526-Edit-EditRunnymede Meadow is a most unassuming historical site. This modest grassy water meadow alongside the River Thames, several miles downstream of Windsor Castle, is the location of the signing of the Magna Carta. When King John penned his name to the Magna Carta in 1215 it signified the beginning of the limitation of powers of the English monarchy and set the stage for our modern laws and government. Continue reading

The Thames: Windsor

Nothing runs like a Deere at Windsor Castle.

Nothing runs like a Deere at Windsor Castle.

A very popular stop for boats on the Thames is the stretch of river between the neighboring historic towns of Windsor and Eton. There are numerous mooring spots both above and below the 19th Century bridge that links the two communities. Eton College and Windsor Castle are short walks away from the river. Continue reading

The Thames: Henley on Thames

Wanderlust moored at the bank in Henley

Wanderlust moored at the bank in Henley

A short cruise from 2014’s summer base in Caversham is historic Henley-on-Thames. Henley offers plenty of shopping and dining options, all convenient to the River Thames. With numerous mooring options, it is usually easy to find a convenient spot for the night. Continue reading

The Thames: London Moorings

Wanderlust moored at the posh St. Katherine Docks.

Wanderlust moored at the posh St. Katherine Docks.

Our dream of spending a month or so in Central London on the way to the Channel crossing ran into a bit of snag—we had a difficult time arranging a mooring. Here’s what we tried. Unless noted, the prices shown are for 2014. With time, things change so even if we’ve been told no, it might be worth calling around.
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The Thames: The Sonning Bridge

Approaching Sonning's Bridge

Approaching Sonning’s Bridge

Leaving Caversham on the way to France, the first challenge is the Sonning Bridge. The bridge is just downriver from our former base mooring at Thames & Kennet Marina. Sonning’s narrow red brick bridge crosses the Thames allowing a single lane of car traffic through at a time. Passing under the bridge is also restricted; there’s enough space to allow one large boat to squeeze through at a time. Continue reading