I haven't seen her in real life yet, that treat is on Saturday. Here is a taster:
The window wall will separate the bed area from the living area and is something I have planned for ages. I bought the stained glass, from Weedon Antiques Village, about five years ago!! I have to save up to replace the deckboards now as they look really scruffy.
I spent another day with Luke in Henley followed by a meal in Wargrave. The next day we both headed to Sonning as Luke decided to take The Record Deck down the Kennet and Avon for the first time. I then continued up river stopping at Pangbourne meadows, in the trees above Day's lock, Abingdon, Opposite Christchurch meadows, Oxford and Osney Bridge, Oxford.
I caught up with Heather at Abingdon and we spent a good few days indulging in their Open Heritage events. We met up with Gill who moored near us in her beautiful wooden boat and went to visit Nuneham estate. We also walked the boundaries of medieval Abingdon in the company of the town crier. At Oxford, I spent a couple of hours at the Pitt Rivers museum which I had failed to get to on previous visits. What an interesting place. I had only bought a month licence for the river so had to leave at Oxford. I will need to get back to go up to Lechlade another time.
While I was at Runnymede I noticed water was gushing from the cooling system. Luckily I was moored next to a boatyard so an engineer came to have a look and we discovered all manner of brittle hoses, kinked hoses and inappropriate hose clips, so I paid another small fortune to have most of the hoses replaced plus, of course more antifreeze to replace that lost!
Back on track and with weather set fair, I moved up to Windsor and a very nice mooring on Baths Island. It cost £8 but worth it for the ambience and convenience. I spent the next morning mooching around Windsor and getting supplies. I even watched the changing of the guard! That afternoon I moored at Maidenhead and the next day I aimed at Marlow. However all the moorings there were taken (after all is was Bank Holiday weekend) so I had a long day and moored at Medmenham (£6). From here I could hear Reading festival, but not good enough to be enjoyable just bff bff bff. Yesterday I moved up through Henley to moor next to Luke at Wargrave. He wasn't onboard as he had popped to his friend's birthday do. Today I hopped on a train to Henley for more supplies but I think I will go and do a bit more cruising while the weather holds.
After what seems like an eternity Olivia is back cruising. In effect it was seven weeks to the day since the breakdown which was followed by a catalogue of poor service, miscommunication and downright porkies (or at least unfulfilled promises). I would like to thank the engineers who eventually rescued me by providing a safe mooring with facilities and then taking on a BMC engine that had been left in pieces by the previous guy who could not remove the cylinder head. He was replaced by an organisation who could not provide the promised service so I, in desperation, visited several boatyards and looked their engineers in the eye. I found one who was happy to rescue this "damsel in distress" and was as good as his word even though it took three weeks. Of course,the past seven weeks has been the most excellent cruising weather and this weekend is rain and strong winds! Never mind it feels good to be back on the move.
Today I visited Runnymede where I used to be taken by my parents when I was a young thing. Really enjoyed a bit of reminiscing despite the wind and rain. I had never been to the Air Forces memorial and found it quite moving. The views from the top are worth the climb.
I find it hard to believe what has been happening since my breakdown. Engine has been in pieces since 4th July. I was referred to a boatyard and finally got a job logged with them through Canal Contracting on 20th July. However, the engineer who was supposed to look at the engine kept putting off my job. Don't forget I was moored on a public 24hour mooring which I felt bad about BUT also I had no access to any facilities and no power (as no method of charging batteries. In the end I trawled around other boatyards and found a couple who thought they could help. I went with the second one because he said he could tow me that evening (27th July)to a safer place. This being FOUR weeks since the breakdown and following many excuses from those involved, at last I was on a wharf with some facilities. I could once again charge my phone and get water and there was a shower. Another week passed and they were able to get the cylinder head off. Time continued to pass with not much happening so I put a message on social media asking if there was a BMC engineer around who could help. I spoke to several people who all suggested that the head be pressure tested and possibly skimmed so I took it off to a specialist company on Thursday to get that job done. It should be back on Monday. In the meantime my engineering pals told me that they were struggling to source the head studs and thermostat studs so off I drove to Calcutt Boats (96 miles away) to fetch those parts. Hopefully, on Monday we will have all the parts needed and someone will put it all together for me. Fingers crossed then that she will start and run smoothly. I feel as if I have been totally abandoned by those who are supposed to get me moving or get me to a boatyard who can help.
In the meantime, there are several of my boaty friends on the Thames so I have had a couple of cruises with them as well as some meals out and visits to Dorney Court, Stanley Spencer gallery at Cookham, a screening of the BFG (child not necessary) and Woking Canal festival.
I am a bit fed up at the moment as poor Olivia has not yet been fixed. It transpires that the heat exchanger was not the problem and they are now pursuing a head gasket problem. However, they are struggling to get the head off and now the engine is in bits, I had to be towed to another mooring (at my expense) which is still only 24 hours and my electricity has run out of charge!! More disappointing is that I have yet to hear from RCR as to what they will do next. I am in a coffee shop charging my gadgets as I have already mentioned I no longer have battery power on board. Can't wait for the next instalment ...