K&A backtracking, Aldermaston to Wooten Rivers

Diesel polishingWe’ve been staying for a couple of weeks at Aldermaston Marina on the K&A which has given us the opportunity to clean and shine Silber, get her diesel polished and get quotes for solar panels and roof boxes. A stranger procedure I have never heard – polishing the silver or buffing up the brass – but one’s diesel? Surely this is taking cleaning to the realms of obsessive compulsive behaviour? Not so apparently, as one’s fuel can be filthy and harbour the Dastardly Diesel Bug which means curtains for you if you don’t get Marvellous Marcus Marine to sort it out for you. And look at the muck that came out! Disgraceful. We also met Marcus’ mate The Talented Mark who is to fashion us a roof box for our wood stores and plant on it solar panels.

Inky the greyhoundWe have had two very nice meals at the Rowbarge just up the road in Woolhampton. It’s right on the canal by the electric swing bridge and a mean lock and the Mikron Theatre Company were moored outside in their 77 year old narrowboat Tyseley. What a jolly idea that is – a floating theatre group who have been performing since 1972. We aim to catch a performance if we can. Inky was able to rest from the summer heat in the huge outside eating area which welcomed dogs.

We took a walk into Aldermaston and found opposite the Aldermaston stores a curious wee building with a medieval door with bars for a window. Accommodation for naughty people methinks.

BlackberriesReturning westwards on 13th August we saw the fattest blackberries ever but they were rather inconveniently situated on the canal near Thatcham. I clasped Mark’s cowboy-esque hat in the hope of plucking a few but with no success. Mark’s hat then fell in the canal (all on it’s own. Naughty hat). Irretrievable I’m afraid. We had to make do with a mini mean harvest of towpath blackberries instead which I made into a crumble slice which then disappeared as quickly as the hat did into the canal.

Bruce TunnelBack we travelled through Newbury, Kintbury and Hungerford, lured to Great Bedwyn for another stone baked pizza having met up with our now firm boaty friends Madison Avenue and Molly the water-seeking spaniel who are now eastward bound. Our next destination in unchartered water was Crofton where a two hundred year old pumping station was to be ‘in steam’ over the August bank holiday weekend. Not having the ability to appreciate such a treat we satisfied ourselves with viewing the pumping station ‘not in steam’ and forged on to the Savernake High Summit and the short, airy and dry Bruce Tunnel. At only 502 yards the exit is a clearly visible smaller version of the entrance.

Kennet and Avon mooringApproaching Wooton Rivers we at long last found a semi-rural mooring. It has been the case that the Kennet and Avon is sorely short on such moorings with any tempting spots soon repelling the boat with either a density of reeds or weeds or silted canal sides that run you aground and oblique your horizon. Hidden beneath the (manageable) towpath foliage we even found the mooring to have the wonderful metal barrier to ease our tethering efforts so we secured Silber and settled down to watch the increasing floating traffic, unsure if it is due to the bank holiday or our nearing Devizes and the popularity of the West.

Next – After a Winter’s hibernation in Cropredy we set off northwards towards Stratford upon Avon.

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