Sunday, 30 October 2011

Source of the Thames

On random days over the past few years we have been walking the Thames from the barrier to the source which we reached on Friday. Another perfect, golden, Autumn day; quiet water meadows, glowing Cotswold stone, placid cattle munching, our feet tramping the final eight miles from Ashton Keynes to the official source at Lyd Well and on to the Thames Head pub.

 The whole length of the river has given us so many wonderful days each a jewel in itself. Favourites have been: the sweeping park and Observatory at Greenwich, the houseboats and Georgian cottages through Chelsea, the parakeets at Ham House near Richmond, the tiny Stanley Spencer gallery at Cookham, watching the Henley Regatta preliminaries, swimming at Wallingford and Crayfishing at Lechlade. Through Spring, Summer and Autumn, through fields and cities, sparkling grey, sap green and pink with Oxford clay; racing over weirs, slow and meandering until finally just puddles in an ancient Ash grove, the history is tangible. And the lady we met with her poodle in her bicycle basket, the elderly couple parked up in their wheelchairs at Henley, the Chinese grandmother catching Crayfish - unforgettable.

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