A day in the river of life

An account of a shared day from the perspective of two individuals…

This morning, it was overcast and slightly muggy. A huge thunderstorm endured the night before and rain since has rendered the river a weird misty, humid and soporific atmosphere.

Brindley and I rose and worked our way past Barry, our guest, who was in the front cabin. He was still asleep really so we tried to be quiet.

“I joined Sally on her boat yesterday having not seen it, or indeed her, since the beginning of the pandemic.  Given the hot sunshine we have been having over the last few weeks the weather is disappointingly grey and drizzly.  But it certainly hasn’t spoiled the pleasure of being back on the river.”

The field outside was a vast empty field (if you discount the sheep who went past every two or three hours on their circular route) and Brindley was keen to take advantage of the space with a ball game. I obliged for a few throws then decided I should make Barry a cup of tea… 

“After a very good nights sleep (always helped, for some reason, by sleeping on the water) I was awoken with a very welcome cup of tea as Sally took Brindley out for an early morning walk.  After breakfast we set off upstream.  Even on a grey day the Thames looks stunning.  Whether we are passing trees and thickets, grassy fields coming down to the waters edge or some extremely plush houses for those lucky enough to be able to afford such a desirable location.  We passed a few other boats but, the river seemed less busy than I remember on previous occasions – whether because of the drizzle or the effects of the pandemic.  Paddle boards, on the other hand, seem to have proliferated dramatically.”

“We spent the night beside a field near Dorchester with the abbey on a low hill in the distance.  Sitting on the front deck after eating one of Sally’s usual delicious dinner’s it was wonderful just drinking in the peace and quiet (along with a very acceptable glass of red wine).  There was the occasional plop as a fish rose to the surface to take a fly, the odd moo and baa somewhere in the distance and a duck quacking to proclaim it’s presence.  Just occasionally there was a soft murmur in the trees as a zephyr of wind picked up for a moment.  The whole effect was just magical.”

Barry drove Daisy – he is one of few guests I trust at the tiller – and honour bestowed because of his many visits and hours of practice over the years!

“Sally bravely let me steer the boat but, apart from one teensy bump on the way into a lock, all went reasonably smoothly.”

As Barry was driving I could wash up, and tidy through the boat. And make phone calls about various things that needed doing in my non boat life. I tried not to neglect him by taking cups of coffee from time to time.

Filled with water, emptied loo, rubbish, recycling at the next lock. Pleased to do so. There was a queue so a wait. We had our lunch while we took on water.

The area was full of boats and moorings not easy. I decided to turn and go back through the lock so that we could go past the water point again in a couple of days – it’ll mean that Barry and I won’t have to be ‘careful’ with our water use while we are here. Showers and washing up can be done in ‘house dweller’ style rather than ‘boater’ style!

Somehow we squished into a spot. Literally no space to spare! But very, very pleased to have found somewhere within striking distance of my car (we had placed the car in a side street near here yesterday and taken a bus back to Daisy in preparation for our move today). As I must get to work.

“We ended up in Abingdon where we took on some much needed water before finding a spot near the church to moor up for the night.  After less than twenty four hours on the boat I am already feeling the magical unwinding effect of life on the river.”

Work for me tomorrow. Barry and Brindley can have a lazy boat day and mooch around the town. 

About the author


  1. Elizabeth Coghlan says:

    Thank you for sharing your River Thames trip ,Barry and Sally. I so much enjoyed it, and a day on the river I look forward to some river, somewhere.

Comments are closed.