Sunday, 21 May 2017


 VERY SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS

The Thames at Chertsey, Surrey.

During the summer we gave our Canadian canoe an outing Swallows and Amazons* style. We paddled up - or down, I'm navigationally challenged - the River Thames (UK) along Chertsey Meads, Surrey, around forty miles north of Hampshire, our neck of the woods (is that a British saying? 😄). Bonkers. Brilliant! It was a case of: 'Get the machete out, I'm going in!' Definitely the most bonkers trip ever.

     During his student days, umpteen years ago, Husband and his mate rented a riverside bungalow/hut and  owned a Canadian canoe, too. They paddled stretches of the Thames in Weybridge, south of Chertsey, just as we were now. They never did anything quite as barmy as Swallows and Amazons, although they did collect firewood in their canoe to heat their riverside bungalow/hut in the depths of winter. Freezing as brass monkeys (another British saying?) at that time of year, although very backwoods frontier style.

     Some of these images, taken in the neck of my old woods (I was brought up in Sunbury-on-Thames, a village literally alongside the river nearby), appear idyllic, bucolic even, in places. Willow trees grace the banks and floating lily pads dot the water. But they are deceptive. A busy motorway runs slap-bang next to the river at one point (you can glimpse cars speeding past through the trees at the perimeter) and Heathrow airport is a spit away, so the air traffic, which due to its close proximity flies fairly low, and, particularly at that time of year, frequently.

     That said, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Husband had discovered this stretch of water on the interweb (God bless Street Google!). A decent car park with ease of access for canoe launching from a sandy beach onto the main river was all that we required. Furiously paddle past a heavily watered weir to steer clear of the currents, and onto a calm stretch of water towards a historically listed red stone arch and bridge over the old boat rollers. 

     Stop for coffee next to the rollers (we've had coffee in worst places)! Then onwards, past that bucolic scenery, heavy motorway noise and aircraft, then the Swallows ambience. Amazing. The channel grew very narrow near our turn-around point, where both banks were covered in stinging nettles. Bugger that, let's head back for lunch at the rollers.

     What fun!


     From the sublime to the ridiculous. The drive back through the traffic there was pretty horrendous, the start of the rush hour, but didn't last. Approaching Hampshire, it eased off. Back in Hampshire, it's LOVELY! But we loved this trip!
The rollers (the central tunnel)
The motorway is behind the trees in the background
The Hubs

Bonkers!
&9


Rusty tressle bridge




Back to civilization!
(For non-UK folks, here's a link about the book, Swallows and Amazons, by English author Arthur Ransome:

2 comments:

  1. Seems like an interesting day, thanks for sharing the beautiful view.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Mohamed. And you're welcome! 😊

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