River Thames between Maidenhead and Cookham by boxplayer

River Thames between Maidenhead and Cookham

On stage 7 of our Thames Path walk - 11.5 miles from Windsor to Bourne End.

Very different from last week as was startlingly cold and fresh all day but at least the rain held off.
We were up early but only just got out of the house on time - with no breakfast or packed lunch.

Picked up the tube to Vauxhall - for the last time. as future sections of the walk will be on the Paddington line. Got us giant pretzels for breakfast, which turned out to be very pleasant doughy things in the shape of pretzels and covered in cheese and smoked paprika. Plus a sandwich for lunch from Sainsbury's as Starbucks seems to have gone.

On the train to Windsor and Eton Riverside, we met up with Terry and Sal who got on at Clapham Junction then a bit later Helen. All faffed about getting our waterproof trousers on as, even if it wasn't going to rain, looked likely to be muddy.

A bit of a hiatus at Windsor as I queued for the only working toilet behind several others and Sal got herself a coffee from the kiosk. Then walked down to the river to pick up where we left off last time.

Generally tried to keep up a brisk pace as we were on a tight schedule but also to keep the hip from hurting too much - which tends to happen if we bimble about too much. It felt a bit vulnerable after yesterday's new cardio.

There were some very beautiful stretches, now definitely getting quite rural once away from the main towns, with lots of lush greenery around the riverside and a few wooded bits to walk through too.

The first stretch was through Eton meadows with loads of swans swanning about and views of the castle. Passed the Athens bathing spot, famous for being a spot for Eton boys to bathe at - complete with an olde sign warning them to jump straight in to the water or hide behind a screen should boats containing 'ladies' pass by ..

We saw lots of spring flowers - including some wisteria - but the sun never came out. The river looked lovely and serene with quite a few boats - houseboats moored up but also some very posh leisure craft - rather moneyed around here.

Came across Boveney church just on the riverside - a lovely find. Dating from the 12th century, a very picturesque flint church with wooden tower - now no longer a functioning church but in the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches.

As well as the extremely posh boats, there were tons of extremely posh houses - including across the water near Bray - home of Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck. £300 to have their tasting menu it is now.

We stopped for 10 mins to eat our sandwiches at Maidenhead by a park memorial then it was another 10 mins walk to a nice cafe on the riverside for a welcome hot cup of tea and bit of fruit cake.

On the next stage, we passed Richard Dimbleby's house before arriving in Cookham to visit the Stanley Spencer Gallery. Lovely tiny museum, they had their summer exhibition on so had a few loans in. Wandered in to the King's Arms after that for a good hour of drinking gin and chat. Dave wandered over to the interesting looking wine shop.

After that, just a short 1.5 mile stretch to Bourne End station for the train to Maidenhead and a change for Paddington. Having said goodbye to the others, we arrived at Paddington and headed straight for Camden Town and the Green Note to queue for Väsen. There were already a few people there but we managed to get ourselves a seat.

But ended up being very squashed - lovely venue but very tiny. Did manage to swivel round the chairs when the band came on. They have a nice bar too with cocktails and bar food like samosas and pakoras.
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Väsen were excellent although they seemed to a shortish set and none of their greatest hits. Eventually got back home exhausted.

Väsen https://365project.org/boxplayer/extras/2018-04-28

28 April 2018
Maidenhead, Berkshire
It sounds like it was a very pleasant walk
May 5th, 2018  
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