Messing Around in Boats…

Malia and I went for a cream tea at Kew.  We didn’t go into the gardens we just enjoyed the little town square and sat under a cafe awning, in the rain, sipped our tea and ate scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

Absolute heaven…without the sunshine.

We then dallied our way to Richmond, another picturesque town.

We bought two tickets on the Thames River Boat to Westminster.

As we waited with our umbrellas up on a typical London summer’s day we watched a boat pass by,

a couple of well marked ducks out for an afternoon stroll with their chicks,

and caught some cabin cruisers bobbing on their moorings.

Finally our boat came in,


and despite the rain I was reminded of these words of Toad’s, from Wind in the Willows, as we boarded our cruiser,

“It’s the only way to travel.”

Call us mad Englishmen but we have lots to do before we leave and if we waited for the weather to co-operate we’d be sitting at home!

There were four women on board the large vessel when we embarked and we joined them downstairs in the large covered lounge area.  The crew consisted of a helmsman and the conductor/barman.

We made one stop on the two hour cruise down the river and the exchange of passengers kept our numbers at a consistent half-a-dozen.

When the  rain finally ceased we decided to brave the elements and sit outside on the fore deck.  The seats were only moderately damp; we sat together with the wind full in our faces and enjoyed the river while the others stayed below.

There were some pretty bank-side terraces some whose gardens kissed the water’s edge.

School children out in their canoes were being coached through a longhorn on the art of synchronous rowing,

and impressive boats near Chelsea, even a double decker houseboat.


Then some futuristic-looking blocks of flats replacing the slums and warehouses of South London,


said to be terribly expensive!

Again Wind in the Willows sprung to mind,

“If you believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing, half so worth doing as – simply messing around in boats!”  Ratty has a point here!

We weren’t exactly messing around but we did enjoy the gentle meander along the waterway noticing the change in wind direction as the Thames twisted lazily through countryside and finally bridges on its way to the city.





The Albert, a turquoise and pink bridge with a pub, on the south side of the same name, that encourages dogs to bring their owners for a pint.




a view of Battersea Power Station just before Vauxhall bridge,


brilliant in its cream and burgundy coat of paint with statues set in the uprights,

Lambeth bridge, finally closing in on the city, can you see Big Ben and the Eye?


And last, but not least, Westminster bridge.


When we arrived at our destination we were well relaxed, but not sleepy and I thanked the conductor/barman for a lovely ride.  He was disgruntled; our fares barely paid for the fuel to carry us that far.  Seasonal business is disheartening, perhaps the Olympics will see an upsurge in business.

Malia and I enjoyed our conversation where words drifted into silences and hearts opened with the gentle safety of familiarity and ease; where our tongues were loosened by the joining of spirits with nothing better to do than messing around in boats.

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