Our final night on the river mooring at Stratford was a disturbed one. Strange really, since our two nights in the basin had been quite peaceful and the last thing that we expected was to have any sort of disturbance next to the park. We went to bed as usual and then at around half eleven could hear two people sitting talking on one of the park benches. Nothing wrong with that, annoying but it’s a free country. The conversation continued for an hour and then the pair moved off. Just as we were drifting off, we were treated to the drunken strains of some song or other and although we hoped that the songster would move on, it seemed that he had taken a liking to the bench too. The singing stopped and we assumed that the would-be X Factor contestant had moved on but a few minutes later he found his second wind and burst into song again. We groaned and hoped for an early reprieve, sure enough the singing stopped a few minutes later – maybe peace at last?
Two minutes later and we felt the tell-tale movement that alerted us to the fact that someone had stepped on to the boat. There was no other course of action; lights on, clothes on, out on the back deck and with torch in hand, I found a young man sitting on the park bench looking rather sheepish. He was very apologetic and promised to move on which, in fairness he did and so silence finally fell on the vicinity of our mooring.
We awoke early the following morning, despite the fact that we hadn’t had much sleep. It was a short hop to the water point for us where we filled the tank and completed the last of our services. At first glance, Stratford isn’t very boater friendly when it comes to the essential services, especially if the boater is not going on to the river. There is a CRT bin compound between Bancroft basin and Cox’s yard, not mentioned in the guides and not well signed but it is there if you look for it. Elsan facilities are available at Stratford marina if you don’t mind carting a cassette across the main road, past the hotel and down to the marina where it costs £2 for the keys to lift the manhole. Water is only available on the river but it’s not impossible to slip down through the lock, grab a tankful and return to CRT waters if you’re not licenced. We are licenced of course and although we think that we’ll only be on the river for a couple of weeks, we paid for a 30 day licence just in case we need it.