Ferryland

Kingston to Shepperton

Kingston, Kingston, the years have not been kind. Such a promising start, what with all those crowning of Saxon kings, but now what have you come to? Department Stores on Thames, that’s what.

Here’s a view of the river from the station – a quarter mile away perhaps.

Here’s another shot of the water from a couple of hundred metres.

And having found the river here’s the view looking back into the town from the bridge.

Did someone lock the planning department up and throw away the key?

At least the Thames is on good form here. A long straight stretch makes it a great spot for rowing and even this early on a Saturday morning there were races in full swing.

The weather wasn’t exactly playing fair though, being that particularly trying combination of warmish but wettish. On with the cagoule to avoid the fine mistlike rain (but swelter inside), or keep cool (but get damp)?

I don’t think that these two were together; I think there was just a shortage of seats.

After a while the path began to run alongside the Hampton Court wall and a bit further on, I rounded a bend to see what looked like an elegantly dressed crowd climbing over it. Couldn’t work out what I was seeing until I got closer and realised that this was not a middle class storming of the palace but simply the way into a garden festival.

Not entirely sure why they didn’t use this gate.

And nor was the very chatty security man stationed there.

Are you here to stop people going in this way?

 No, not at all.

So why are they all walking all the way along there?

I have no idea.

Ferry boat captains offering rides between the show and the station were doing their best to entice the gardeners aboard but without success.

It seemed like fool’s errand to me at the time, what with the horticulturally minded coming from sturdy stock and all. Half a mile in the mizzle was not going to defeat these people. Then later, much later, when I found myself catching a stumbling man carrying a clematis in each hand on the Tube, it came to me – of course no one takes a ferry to the show, it’s those getting back from the show laden with leafy treasures that the ferrymen are lying in wait for.

One ferry that was rising above it all was this one, with its disconcerting One Way Only note.

They should call it the Catherine Howard experience.

At Molesey Lock there was this handy map of the Thames.

Also a lovely tea hut, a spotless public loo and a couple of friendly Thames Path walkers. Top spot, all told. The walkers were heading downstream and had walked without stopping for 12 days so far, with another two more to go. They were very enthusiastic about the path which was good to hear. We commiserated each other on the weather. I extolled the cagoule off and brave the damp approach. In return, she recommended boots off and let the feet cool down at lunchtime…

Excellent advice

… while he tried to convince the two of us of his post walk straight into the shower fully clothed trick as a means of getting both body and clothing clean at the same time. We were unconvinced.

And that was about it as far as I can recall, writing this some weeks later. The weather cheered up and on I went. Lots of boats and houseboats, riverside cabins and riverside houses. Another couple of ferries…

and a few odd things that caught my eye.

Then I was almost at Shepperton. I could have taken yet another ferry myself but wimped out and took the bridge. The waterways have got very complicated hereabouts over the years. Have a look.