So much to try and catch up on on here it’s beginning to get a little on the daunting side. I’ll get there though, starting with this update about the weekend Shelli and I had the other weekend.
It being our weekend off from having our girls we decided that – as the weather wasn’t looking too bad, which was a bit of a shock considering the amount of rain recently – we’d spend the day on Saturday ticking off another section of the Thames Path. We were never going to be able to do the whole thing in one go [maybe one day!] so knocking it off a bit at a time has been a great way to spend our free days.
The bit we conquered the other weekend was between Reading and Marlow, a section of the river I’ve walked before but seeing as Shelli had only walked the bit to Sonning before I wasn’t at all bothered. It’s always such a great time walking the paths with her I really don’t mind treading old familiar ground.
We got the train to Reading slightly later than originally planned but as we only had the one day’s walking ahead, and no deadline to be anywhere later, it wasn’t a problem. So, instead of hitting the trail around 9am as originally planned we headed off from Reading bridge around 10:30am.
One thing to note here is the fact that I completely forgot to put my knee supports on. Don’t ask me how I managed to walk out of the house without wearing them but I did. I didn’t realise until we were nearly down at the station in Twyford and I couldn’t be bothered to walk back to get them. So, I had my fingers well and truly crossed that my knees would play nicely for the day’s walking ahead.
The first bit of the walk to get out of Reading wasn’t too bad a stroll. There were quite a few people out, obviously making the most of the dry day, but it wasn’t long before we were out of earshot of Reading and pretty much alone on the path as we made our way to Sonning.
Once at Sonning we took a minor detour to take a few snaps of the church before heading over the bridge – avoiding the traffic as we walked along the narrow path on the bridge – and continued along the path on the other side of the river towards Shiplake.
I’d warned Shelli that this section of the path was a little more open and if it was a little windy it’d certainly feel cooler, which it was. Although the day was dry it was still a little cool and the wind indeed lowered the temperature by a degree or two. This section of the path was a lot muddier too, a lot of it having been churned up by people on their bikes.
We didn’t see many people on the path until we got to Shiplake college, avoiding a rather wet and boggy part of the field leading up to the college. I guess the river had burst its banks at some point over the previous few weeks and all the rain?
The temperature was warming up again by this point so we took a quick pitstop to take off our fleeces and had a few sweets to give us a little sugar hit before heading off again.
Shiplake came and went and – surprisingly – it wasn’t much longer before we found ourselves on the outskirts of Henley. I thought it was a little bit further away but by the time we’d made it out the other side of Shiplake we only had a mile or so to walk.
We’d not bothered to make any lunch to take with us as we knew we’d be able to get something in Henley easily enough. Walking along the front towards the bridge we decided to pop into The Chocolate Theatre Cafe – formerly know as the Henley Tea Rooms – and had a pretty tasty sandwich each. Okay, it wasn’t the cheapeast sandwich but the service was good and the food was very tasty indeed.
Fed and watered we headed over the bridge and carried on along the path to Hambleden lock. Along the way we passed a couple of groups of school children – with their teachers in tow – who were obviously out for the weekend walking and camping. Surprisingly they all looked really happy to be out. Most unexpected I can tell you.
After Hambledon lock, and another group of young walkers, we made our way to Hurley following a group of people on their bikes, some of which had little trailers on them with their children in. I don’t know if they were blind or just completely ignorant as there were a lot – and I mean a lot – of signs clearly stating that bikes weren’t allowed on that section of the Thames Path. Did they care? Clearly not! We had to laugh though as there were quite a few points where we were nearly walking as fast as they were cycling.
When we reached Hurley, and after a quick loo stop, we went to buy an ice cream. Unfortunately, even though my watch said it was a couple of minutes to five, they said that they were just closing up and that we couldn’t have one. Gutted! Surely it wouldn’t have been too much hassle, seeing as they’d not actually shut yet, to have given us a couple of ice creams that would have taken all of thirty seconds to sort out? Clearly it was and we left empty handed. Still, it was only a mile and half to go before we got to Marlow so we cracked on to get the day’s walking done.
As expected, as we got closer to Marlow we passed more people on the path and by the time we got to the main river front there were lots of people enjoying the scenery and the weather. Thankfully, after the disappointment with the ice cream earlier, we spotted an ice cream van and made a bee-line for it, both enjoying a well earned cone…with a flake of course 🙂
Up to this point I’d only had a couple of minor niggles from my left knee, which was great. That luck soon ran out though because for absolutely no reason whatsoever it decided to completely give out as we made our way to the main road and the pub. It was really rather painful so we got to the George and Dragon pub, found a seat, ordered a pint and took a well deserved rest.
Having spoken to the girls we ordered some food, had another beer and then made our way to the station seeing as it was beginning to get on a bit and we had to change trains at Maidenhead to get the back home again.
A great day’s walking and I’m pleased to report that Shelli’s feet handled the miles a lot better than they did the last weekend we spent walking along the Thames Path.
After the walking the day before we had a pretty chilled out day on Sunday. Other than me finding the energy – and enthusiasm – to get the lawnmower out and cut the front and back lawns, we pretty much did nothing until it was time to head down to the station to get a train into London. We were off out to the Garage in Highbury to go and see Prong, a favourite band of mine.
Originally I was planning on going alone, having bought a ticket the moment they went on sale. A week before the gig Shelli said that she’d come along to keep me company so I ordered her a ticket, warning her that it probably wouldn’t be her cup of tea. Still, she wanted to come and it would be nice to have her company for the evening that’s for sure.
The band were brilliant but having had problems with my knee the day before I steered clear of the guys pushing each other around at the front. The floor was covered in spilt beer and the last thing I wanted was to slip and do even more damage to my already heavily strapped up knee.
It was great to see the band after such a long time – it must have been a good ten years at least! – and even Shelli was tapping her foot along to a couple of the songs.
A great night out and a great way to finish a cracking weekend!