Monday, 30 December 2019

Hartley Wintney (family times)

Since the last blog update, we have moved from the Airbnb in Reading to what we call our ‘Christmas family home’ in Hartley Wintney.  This is the fourth year we have rented this house where, for a couple of weeks or so, the children come and go as they please.  Needless to say, there is never a dull moment and most rooms are taken most nights 😊

On Christmas Eve, we had a happy flashback to the summer when our friends Ian & Lisette published an update to their blog.  One of the pictures showed our home when we left it in Migennes during the second heatwave when we returned to the UK for a few days for our annual family camping trip.

Thanks Ian, for the picture (his blog is a good read)
One thing we have always noticed about the older housing stock in Reading is the pleasing use of the different coloured bricks manufactured in the area.  Reading had many brick kilns in its day, and it is also good to see that new town centre developments have to emulate the old styling.
Some of the original housing near our Airbnb
It certainly feels like it has rained every day since coming back into the UK, although it has been dry since Christmas.  It’s been a bit worrying really as the narrowboat we are borrowing for the first couple of months in the new year is currently moored just off the River Kennet.  Our walks over the last couple of weeks have often taken us along the Kennet as it flows through Reading.  If the levels stay like they have been then we certainly won’t be cruising for a while.

Riverside eating area under water in the town centre
Rough water at the tail of County lock, also in the town centre - not really suitable for a narrowboat
Many people, knowing of our obsession with Victorian post boxes, send in pictures of boxes they have spotted and some of the notable ones this year have come from the Isle of Man, Edinburgh and Chester.  On Christmas Day Saskia, a friend of Jo’s, sent in our first box from Northumberland whilst out on a walk in Hexham.  Steve, who is an avid spotter being 20 ahead of me, also found a new one on Christmas Day on his way up from Sussex to stay with us.

Mentioning Christmas reminds me that our fellow boaters who have stayed on board in Châlons-en-Champagne for the festive period sent us some pictures of their decorations.

Nikki & Gorete’s Puddleduck with us tucked behind them

Bill & Jane’s Lazybones
The first Saturday after Christmas was our annual family curry day and great fun was had by all as usual.  We made sure that we got the traditional family pose albeit with not so many orange tee-shirts this year.  The orange tee-shirt tradition started over 10 years ago so many are now beyond wearing 😉

We did our secret Santa before eating and Karen was particularly pleased to receive her present:

😊 ðŸ˜Š
This is the last blog entry for 2019 so may we wish you all a coming year that brings you happiness and adventures.


  1. Love your blog which we follow. Its good to see your interest in bricks. Did you know that there are a couple of very good Facebook groups dedicated to the history of bricks. Brick of the Day and Bricks and brickworks past
    Both pages have very learned members who comment on all things related to the use of ceramic building materials. Some of your french photos would be of interest.
    All the best
    Richard T