Now it is late September, several months since we were last making our way up the river Thames to our journey’s end of the Thames Barrier.
Autumn was just starting to show as we re-joined the river at Goring. We pushed our bikes along through steep tree lined Thames Path through Goring gap
This vertical section soon gives way to broad fields with disinterested sheep and cattle grazing in fields through which we walked.
At Mapledurham we took a break and made a great lunch at the Café right next to the Lock’s edge. Here Mike and Dave tucked into large plates of sausage bacon egg and chips, and beans. I made do with a slightly more modest sausage in baguette as befits my waistline
Onwards towards Reading: Reading, the railway town of red brick that nestles up against a now very broad River.
Reading, like Oxford and further upstream, Lechlade, is one of those topographical ‘watersheds’ where the river really does change: From the Thames source to Lechlade it is really a stream although navigable at its nethermost end (Lechlade). At Oxford one sees the city Spires across the fields through with the Thames passes. The river is widening. And then you Reading; with its red brick and gasometers this is a Thames that is populated and populous.
From Reading we reached Sonning with its red brick bridge. Set right in the centre inaccessible to anybody and at water level is a post box. The local press reports:
‘Puzzled villagers were scratching their heads after a post box appeared. It turned out to be a cardboard pillar-box front pinned a couple of metres above the River Thames, was first spotted in July. The prank is believed to be the work of a mischievous artist whose previous work includes traffic islands on the Thames and gravestones in the middle of a roundabout.’
Henley-on-Thames boasts a wonderful wide stone bridge. Henley, that every year hosts the wonderful regatta, where teams from all over the world in ‘single-scull’ ‘two’s’ and ‘eights’ compete. Upstream from the town centre is the wonderful River and Rowing museum and this is where we have our cups of tea and afternoon cake.
We regained the Thames path through the grounds of the famous Leander club. I remembered that my Uncle would often take me to lunch here, sporting his member’s tie with its pink hippo motif.