Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 50. Jolly Fine Boating Weather.

Yesterday afternoon I received a message that Radio Berkshire wanted my telephone number because they wanted to interview me before I entered Oxfordshire. As Oxfordshire starts about 3 inches from Caversham, I had already plunged well out of Berkshire already, in yesterday’s walk. But as I was back in Berkshire for the evening, and as we were only 500 metres from Radio Berkshire, I released the secret details of my number, but did not hear from them. And I must say that I know they had the number more than a week ago because Rod King sent it to them, and many other media outlets in the area.

Last evening we had a very pleasant evening out at the Kyrenia Cypriot restaurant in Caversham, with our hosts Caroline and Rod. At the restaurant we met for the first time, and dined with, Sue Ballard, the founder and chair of Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Back to South Stoke this morning for the start of the walk to Abingdon. It was apparent from the start that it was going to be a hot day. Lots of boats on the River Thames. I thought boating was supposed to be a quiet holiday? This lot are falling over each other.

I had to leave the river at Wallingford. The route was going to take me through the town, so I asked a woman, just before I left the towpath, if there would be a cafĂ©. “Oh, no,” she said, as if to say “Nothing so common”. I remember once, a woman in a fish and chip shop in Alderley Edge, when asked if they had mushy peas, said “Oh no” in just such a fashion. She added “This is Alderley Edge, you know!” They went out of business soon after. But back to Wallingford, I found that there were several cafes, not all of them open at that time of day, and even some of the pubs seemed to be open. It was before 9 am, I think.

I took this picture of a great crested grebe. I had to zoom to get the pic, and I have zoomed it more to put it on the blog, so it is not very good, but it is such a lovely bird, I knew you would like to see it.

I stopped at the Barley Mow, in Clifton Hampden, for a desperately needed tea or coffee. The time was about 11.30 and they were not due to open until 12.00. The kind mine host did give me a glass of water.

As I charged on along the Thames Path, I overtook a woman who was doing something with her rucksack. She said “Are you the man who is walking to Blackpool?” Fame at last! Or not. Before Clifton Hampden, she had spoken to somebody going the other way, who had previously spoken to me. Then she had overtaken me while I was having the glass of water. She was walking the Thames Path from the Thames Barrier to the source, doing it in stages on different weekends.

A bit further up the track we met a young woman going the other way, who said “Is it far to Abingdon?” So we turned her around and the three of us proceeded in convoy to Abingdon, where Gay promptly drove me back to Clifton Hampden, where we are ensconced in a caravan park next to the aforementioned Barley Mow, which I believe is the pub which featured in “Three Men and a Boat”.

I walked 31 kms. 1389 to date.

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