Monday, May 03, 2010

River Thames

'F*CK OFF !!!!'
Oh yes! the jolly teenage alarm has gone off, it's 10 a.m. teenage dawn, and Offsprog 1 is up for the weekend to celebrate Offsprog 2's birthday.
Yesterday, I got up, looked at the cold grey rain and phoned to cancel our boat trip up the Thames.
As soon as I had, I changed my mind, bellowed at the girls to get them out of bed, rammed a few picnic things into a basket (plus a flask of tepid soup) and off we went to Datchet and a little electric boat, max speed 20 mph, for a chilly and wet pootle upriver.
We were rewarded straight away by the sighting of a kingfisher, iridescent blue on its way down and iridescent bronze on its way back up to its branch, a silver fish drooping from its beak.
There was little traffic on the river, meaning that there were hundreds of birds and very friendly lock-keepers.
A pleasure-boat took great pleasure in the girls; leering teeth glowed in the gloom behind the plastic rain-cover as they swirled round for another look.
We couldn't accelerate away, so we slowed down to a creeping pace to avoid them, and watched the cormorants posing stiffly with their wide wings, herons perched like statues on rotten posts that emerged from the currents, a crowd of swans mexican waving in an odd rhythm as they vied to be first in line for crumbs thrown by an elderly couple, ducks of all colours flying, up-tailing, swimming straight towards us and then darting away again.
We swapped gloves as the cold sodden rope made our hands red and chapped; we snapped French bread into scrumptious sections and ate sinful amounts of chocolate.
One lock-keeper, amused by Offsprog 1's photography project of signs and symbols, went off and found her a laminated poster he'd been removing regularly from fence-posts-
Nobody was sure if it was a pervy site or one for romantic liasons between pet-owners!
We got as far as the Brunel Bridge at Maidenhead, where I disembarked and yelled a song at the magic brickwork, which yelled it back to me again.
On the way back to Datchet, we inspected the velvety green lawns and topiary of the seriously-rich, whose Agatha-Christie houses back on to the Thames. We passed narrowboats with serious captains, fancy little cruisers with posh chaps at the helm, and a big steel boat that the lock keeper advised us to follow into the lock in case it smashed us to smithereens.
Although it was bloody cold, it was a fantastically relaxing way to spend the day- we were out for five and a half hours, and it's taken me till this morning to feel warm again!

1 comment:

Ian said...

You should have stopped by for a cup of tea. We're just off the Thames at Maidenhead. Did you look at our new river? (The one I choke over calling the Jubilee river) which was dug out in the late 90s for two reasons

i) To extract loads of gravel for profitable building in the Thames Valley
ii) to ensure that when the floods come, Maidenhead stays dry and Staines goes under three feet of water