Carrying on the Royal theme we left Windsor yesterday and are now moored up outside the golden gates of Henry VIII's magnificent Hampton Court (which was actually built by Cardinal Wolsey, son of an Ipswich butcher and half-inched by Henry after Wolsey had got the axe. Literally.)
It's a lovely mooring, marred only by the speed of the passing cruisers and pleasure boats which necessitated lots of extra spring lines to stop us bashing the side hard and causing Brian to bark 'repel boarders' at every instance.
We moored here five years ago in little Nb Star after a wind-blown trip up the tidal river from Brentford before heading on up river past the multiplicity of shacks, bungalows and shanties that inhabited the riverside through Sunbury, Walton and Shepperton. Things are changing fast these days: the shacks are fewer and in their place have come glass and steel homes with swanky cruisers. Little wonder – a shack would cost you the thick end of £500,000 these days, a house a million and rising. Waterside living has become a desirable and expensive business.
An old Top Gear mate, Tom Stewart, called to see us last night and we spent a happy evening reminiscing and gossiping over a couple of beers. This afternoon we hit the tidal Thames at Teddington for the short trip down to Brentford and back to the canals.