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Thursday, July 11, 2013

We are on our Wey



"The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough." ~Rabindranath Tagore

   After a quiet night falling asleep to rain on the roof, we woke to a morning of uncertain weather; the world washed new and in the process of change from the bellicose cold, drizzly weeks leading us this far we faced a day in which the winds were changing direction, the clouds lifted, changing from grey to white, and the temperature was rising.
   After a a hot cuppa we took a walk from our mooring on D'Oyly Carte Island over to Weybridge to look at the first lock on the River Wey. 
Behind our boat across the river is Shepperton. Also behind our boat on the towpath is...
...this bell, which is what the folks of Weybridge and D'Oyley Carte Island ring when they want a ride to Shepperton. Ring the bell...
and the Shepperton Ferry comes over and picks you up and delivers you across the Thames. £2.00 each way and £2.50 for a bike.
The Surrey Fire Department Water Rescue Squad took time while the rains let up to practice water rescue near the weir.
Man overboard!
This tug is pulling a long working barge loaded with heavy equipment. Both have just come down through Shepperton lock...
...and past us on their way to the next job.
    On the canals it is possible to have stretches of time and space where not a whole lot happens, depending on where one is moored and the time of year. By contrast on a river there is always something happening. By their nature the water is always moving somewhere, carrying things along, and so Amateur Rowing Club were setting up for a row on the river.
A final moment of instruction from the leader...
and off they go!
We passed the Fire Crew's rig parked and waiting for them to return from their water rescue drill.
Off to a very unassuming right passed this pub is the Church Walk--the Weybridge town public footpath. All righty then..off we go to see where it leads.
Once more I find myself walking along a bijou walkway between brick walls with doors to people's homes and gardens built in. I really do feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland. "Through this door?" Well perhaps not today.
Les strolls on ahead. Although he has never been on Church Walk before, a public path is as instinctive to him as roast on Sunday or a pint in a pub.
Bless is heart, Dear Sir is patiently waiting for his American wife to stop shooting a thousand pictures of brick walls and catch up!
This is the door to Lantern Cottage garage! The American thinks, "How quaint." The Englishman thinks, "Come on woman--it's a door!"
Across a lane and the Church Walk public Footpath continues...
I am learning that all villages in the UK have some kind of public right of way or footpath--a system of shortcuts which is older than the houses that press in on each side as we walk.
Every postage stamp size front garden has a touch of whimsy or a bit of green elegance.
Soon enough we come to an intersection of path and lane. We are turning right and following the pathway...
A row of narrow cottages present white washed faces with Wisteria fringes.
Looking back at the Lilliputian lane!
This very lovely end cottage just before the footbridge to Wittets Ait (Island). If you owned it you could live here now. It is for sale for £399,999.
Looking back across the footbridge to the side wall of the end cottage for sale.
Standing on the footbridge looking over at the back gardens of the houses which front the Church Walk footpath. One of those is for sale as well. What a lovely place to live.
The end of the footbridge and a green walled path leads to the only road on this island.
The keyhole view back toward the footbridge. For me this is magical! Were I a child in England I would be out playing along all these small, hidden, green paths allowing my imagination to lead me on to explore and wonder.
This island is private owned but public access is required. There is only one road bridge on and off and one footbridge. The gated park is for folks to walk their dogs. The public has a right of way on this private island in order to access the path along the Rover Wey.
The Sky has lightened now, and a warm, western breeze is ruffling the leaves. I expect Mary Poppins to drop in any time with her parrot handled umbrella asking, "Where is tea!"
The path winds its way out from the small woodland and around a curved hedge...
and we spot a bulletin board ahead! The first lock onto the River Wey must be straight ahead.
Sure enough here we are in time to watch the lock keeper grab a mooring rope with his hooked gaff,  from the boat in the lock.
The heavy lock gates on the Wey have chains to hold them open and chains on the end one can pull to exert more force opening and shutting the gates.
The lock keeper lifts one paddle very slowly with a special River Wey Windlass. One can purchase these quite long, straight windlasses from the lock office. Our friends Sue and Ken Deveson on NB Cleddau lent us theirs.
   The lock keeper told us we could come through at 2 p.m.--they shut for lunch from noon-2. We should moor up outside the stop lock before Thames lock and fill out the paperwork for the license. Once can get a one week license, or pay daily. We opted for the three week license for £108. We wanted time to really enjoy the character of this river and the towns along its banks.
   Back on NB Valerie we ate lunch and readied for cruising: satellite dish folded down, we cast off and said goodbye to the Thames for now...

Into Cox's Lock--the first on the River Wey. We will share it with a holiday boat going back up river.
While the lock fills we marvel at the clever design of these balconies!
Looking back at Cox's Lock and the redeveloped Old mill, right. Built in 1776 it now houses lovely flats (apartments). You could live here in a 2 bedroom split level apartment for £250,000.
Off we go into the lush green unknown!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a delightful walk at the beginning of a day. Cary on ... we follow you every step and lock along your way. Including every interesting door and balcony! :-)
Karen in Pullman