I originally thought that the tents on the island at Shiplake Lock were a form of Glamping having walked into them as I took Jimmy for a walk whilst June filled up with water. However the Lock keeper informed us that the island was bought by the Corporation to preserve the amenities for bathing and camping. It was managed by the Corporation's City Lands Committee. However, managing at a distance proved a problem and the island was let in perpetuity in 1914 to the Thames Conservancy. The camp was then divided into 18 plots and run by the lock keepers.
Soon after taking over, the Conservancy allowed huts to be built near the tents. The use of these was restricted to cooking and they were not to be used for sleeping. (At that time, ladies were not allowed to sleep on the island at all, but had to retire to wooden huts on the Shiplake bank).
The Thames Conservancy and its successor organisations the National Rivers Authority and Environment Agency have not been prepared to give more than a one-year lease to the plot holders. However, the community has remained remarkably static with plots passing down the family line.
Further down river we started to see some lovely houses and hotels, too many to include here but here are a couple.
I believe that this house belongs to a very magical person who Graham and Carolann saw in the garden.
There are also some marinas with very expensive looking boats in them and then at Marsh lock we met up with this canoe. We had passed them at Sonning Bridge with the young lady putting on sun cream so I asked how they had managed to beat us down here, even though we had stopped for water. They had taken a couple of back waters, the Hennerton Backwater and the St Patricks Stream which they said flowed quite quickly, hence being in front of us at the lock. They lived on a narrow boat in London and this was their holiday canoeing from Cricklade to London.
We found a nice mooring at Henley which was relatively empty when we arrived, however by late evening it was very busy with boats moored all along Marsh Meadow.
We had a walk into the town and along the river to see the Regatta Coarse. It is a lovely town with the same tourist feel that we get at Stratford on Avon. Found a nice restaurant for lunch and then back to the boat to enjoy the afternoon sun and gongoozle the passing pedestrians and boats.
We had to have a picture taken at this point looking at the bridge as we took a similar one on our honeymoon too many years ago to print here.
Spotted this lovely old Bugatti parked in a pub car park, looks some people can’t read the sign in front of them.
Does anybody Know this Sleeping Beauty.