Tuesday, 26 March 2013

THE THAMES PATH: ANOTHER GLORIOUS DAY


Second day, after a glorious deep sleep I looked out of the window on the sunny courtyard at the back of The Red Lion. It still looked cold. We made a hearty breakfast downstairs in the restaurant just off the bar. Everything on the menu appeared to be made on the premises or at just down the road.  Sausages, bacon, black pudding, eggs and warm toast; it all tasted so good.

We checked out, whilst Mike and Dave were sorting out luggage and cars I made a drawing of the Bar and its impressive stock of beers many of which were created in the small brewery just off the courtyard under my room.

I found my way to the local church, St Mary’s


10:35 There is ten miles ahead of us from Cricklade to Lechlade, the later marking the highest point of navigability on The Thames. Across or alongside broad fields the damage to crops by the heavy rains and flooding of recent months was clear to see. The Farming Programme (Radio4) later reported that Farmers were still figuring out whether to replant or leave fallow.

We saw twelve swans grazing in a field and they took off as we neared, to the next field and again as entered that field: the appeared as line of jet-fighter silhouettes against a pale March sky, the whoosh whoosh of their great wings.

13:45: The leg pain that had dogged me the day before set in early this second day. We were slightly less than halfway through the 10 miles. We agreed at Castle Eaton village to part company, farewells were made outside The Red Lion (another Red Lion). Mike and Dave headed off.

I found my way to the local church, St Mary’s, with its two Norman doorways. The place was looked so I was denied at look at the English Gothic. This delightful place was restored by architect William Butterfield (known for Keble College, Oxford and All Saints Margret Street). He added a distinctive corbelled bellcote on the roof mid-way along the roof – quite strange!

Back to The Red Lion and a pint and the landlady ordered me a taxi, which turned up after I had warmed myself in front of a huge fire.

I arrived in Lechlade and made a drawing of the Ha’ Penny Bridge
14:40 Eventually I arrived in Lechlade and sat to make a drawing of the Half’ Penny Bridge, the toll bridge of the town. It had turned dull and the temperature was just above freezing. I repaired to The Tea Chest for warmth and coffee. I had just settled down and in walked the boys and ordered the same. The first stretch completed the next stretch Lechlade to Oxford is contemplated by boat.