Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 49. Celebrity-Free?

More nostalgia today, and of course there will be more and more as I travel through parts of England where I have spent some of my life.

I walked down to Caversham Bridge. Here I used to stay regularly at the eponymous hotel, which was one of character. It has now been knocked down and replaced by a modern Crowne Plaza establishment. Where I used to go for a run of a morning, along the Thames towpath, there is now, for some distance, a tarmac path. There is a huge number of swans and geese in the area, which seem determined to obliterate said path. I saw a Sikh man tossing bread to about 50 swans and more geese. As was the case 30 years ago, there were scullers skimming up and down the Thames, many of them practising, no doubt, for Henley Regatta, which is due to start imminently. I was taught to row, on the Thames, by a former Henley champion, and have always enjoyed that feeling of surging through the water. I would love to do it daily, but have never lived near enough to a body of water. I make frequent use of a Concept 2 trainer, though.

Several people were inclined to talk, or ask me what I was up to. One man said that he makes film documentaries about extraordinary people. He is interested in interviewing me for a film.

Where the path rejoined the river at Purley, there was a lock, with a Locks Café. I stopped for a cup of tea, served by a man with zero customer interface skills. A man asked me if I was going far, so of course I told him. In conversation with him and his wife, who had just canoed from Oxford, it turned out that he was once a personnel officer in ICL, the company I worked for long ago.

A strange thing I saw is shown in one of the photographs. A field, containing a football pitch, a children’s playground, and this group of weight-training machines.

The Thames path is surprisingly hilly in parts, where it actually swings away from the river, at Purley and Pangbourne for instance. Apparently I passed George Michael’s house at Goring, and after Rod, Caroline and Gay picked me up at South Stoke, we saw Billy Connolly walking along the street, also in Goring, I think. Who said this is a celebrity-free walk?

Distance covered was 24 kms, 1358 kms to date, with a surprising total of ascents at 852 metres.

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