Sunday, 11 October 2015

Thames River Walk - Post Trip

Well...finally the problem was fixed...not by me... for posting blogs. While I did not see any ghosts on the trip I am convinced the problems with Blogger were caused by let's say paranormal interference.

Great trip...thanks Dawn, Dave, Elaine and Dennis (supposed to be nice to Dennis). With regret I must let you know that the Queen did not show up for tea...I'm sure that website I set things up with was legit...oh well!

Happy adventures to all!

Thames River Walk (Oct 4, 2015) - Windsor Special Edition

Somehow posting a few pictures works so one last very short blog dedicated to the merry group of five...Dennis included. We made it to Windsor today...yes a tired group...yes some blisters...yes tired feet etc. However we are still talking to each other and from my perspective walking 119 km's of official Thames path plus many additional km's within villages etc is a feat all of the group should be proud of.

Very well done! Be proud merry band!

Tomorrow the surprise mentioned in my first blog will I hope unfold as planned...assuming the email address I had was the right one! The flag on Windsor Castle is flying which means Her Royal Highness the Queen is in residence I have worked through the various protocols and have arranged a private tea party with the Queen at Windsor Castle for Dawn, Elaine, Dave and me

The only stipulation from the Royal office is that Dennis muck the horse stables...I readily agreed to this. There will be no photographs allowed therefore you will simply have to accept my word the tea party took place.

A couple of pictures to cap things off...

Dennis finally had a job...carting the garbage

A final picture of Dennis
Finally we had a great breakfast this morning at the Bridge B&B and Dennis got a real surprise. Apparently the ladies in the kitchen overheard him whining a lot about the two poached eggs being not symmetrical.

One lady came out of the kitchen and was extremely apologetic and told Dennis that this horrible problem would be corrected immediately, she took his plate way. Being closest to the kitchen I overheard one lady say..."The nerve of that guy..."... The other lady said "I know exactly how to fix this..." Then hysterical giggling started and the following was presented to Dennis...I kid you not about the presentation!

What a way to start the day as we all had a real good laugh...breakfast presentation for Dennis!!!
And finally to my little granddaughter Rose!
Thanks for reading and keep walking!

Thames River Walk (Oct 1, 2015) - Reading to Henley-on-Thames

Today was a very peaceful walking day after an equally lazy rest day in Reading yesterday. For the 6th walking day so far...brilliant rain...perfect conditions...and we are in England! We walked 15 km's in 4.5 hrs...quite respectful pace.

No dangerous animals, no ghosts, no wild encounters of any kind today so the day belongs to pictures.

Yesterday Dennis, Elaine and Dave travelled 20 minutes or so out of Reading to see Maria, Dennis's and Elaine's oldest daughter who has recently started a one year teaching contract. Dawn and I simply lazed around in Reading...walking to a local pub restaurant for a nice meal.

By all accounts the visit with Maria was nice...Dennis and Elaine will see Maria and another daughter Danielle in London in a few weeks time. Should be a great visit for everyone!

Elaine (far right) with her oldest child Dennis and daughter Maria
Yesterday we also visited Mark's and Spencer's which was a real treat...just looking at the food and maybe buying a little candy! 

Sampling of bakery items from Mark's and Spencer's

Some pictures from the day...again a very quiet day 

Look at the number of swans!

Neat ivy on the house

Elaine and someone walking

Dawn and Dave...well ahead of Dennis

Well no one else will take my picture! Selfie for those who are wondering!
We had a small misadventure early when it was decided to go to Tesco to buy sandwiches. The rest of the group took a short cut based on a local's advice which took them off the official Thames River path. I must always stay on the official walking path that I have set out to do due to my unwavering high standards so I soldiered on! A short while later I left the official Thames path for Tesco. 

Stayed on Thames Path...then went to is proof...neat photographic technique!
The path was both really pleasant and well in my books boring today...depended on the stretch we were on. A few pictures...



Very pleasant

Dreadfully boring!

Pleasant again!
Sometime during the day the planning Dave and I undertook paid off! See scooter photo!

Little red wagon (ok motorized scooter) for Dennis
There are some really nice houses along the Thames River as you would expect...few pictures...

Yes a house patterned after the White House in Washington!

A nice lunch spot

An incredible resemblance to Dennis!
Be careful...once touched such a fence in France!

You thought I was joking about dangerous animals!

We came upon a really interesting property along our walk...apparently the gentleman who owns the property was a former CEO of a very large insurance company and hand built a railway engine...then he needed a track to run it on and a railway station to boot! Incredible!

Mini railway station!

Finally we were walking into Henley-on-Thames...each of us likely thinking the same thing. I've never seen a more more peaceful River setting...would be nice to return and stay here for a fortnight (British term although I am not sure how long a time period this is!)

For Rose our precious little granddaughter

For Rose

Tomorrow on to Marlow...only three more walking days left in the adventure!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Thames River Walk - Blogging Suspended Technical Difficulties

Unfortunately the technology gremlins are at it again...can't post a blog with pictures as I get error 403. Great information to try and figure out what to do! Given this is such a short walk the easiest approach is simply to suspend blogging rather than fuss any more about how to fix this...argh for whatever has happened.

Hope you enjoyed the postings so far and now have a flavour of what the Thames River path's a real nice walk that anyone would enjoy. The group is walking well...only 2 days and 23 km's to go!



Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Thames River Walk (Sep 29, 2015) - Goring to Reading

Another perfect walking day...the weather has just been unbelievable so far! Whoever was in charge of the weather for our group has done an admirable job! Everyone in the group continues to walk well and while there are definite hurts within the merry band all have held up remarkably well! We walked just over 18 km's in roughly 5.5 hours.

Tomorrow will be a rest day in Reading...including a rest day for the blog as well.

Overall some very peaceful walking, with a hill or two. The day was however highlighted by an enjoyable unplanned event, a disturbing turn and the most frightening dangerous animal encounter ever!

Last night we ate in the John Barleycorn pub...the food was delicious!

John Barleycorn pub - Dawn and I had a Polish dish

John Barleycorn Pub - Dennis and Elaine had Haddock and chips...look at the size!
This morning the breakfast was once again rather copious!

Again the day can best be shown with a few pictures...the English countryside is really beautiful!

Real nice walking surface

Sunroom on the Thames River

Don't know what type of horse but it was really nice!

Not sure what Dennis is doing

Another war time pillbox

Peaceful lane where dangerous animal encounter took place

Ah I would like this house!

Fall colours!
All along the Thames River you see people fishing using very long poles. Here are a few pictures concerning the popular pastime of fishing.

Like everything else in life it is the unplanned moments that stand we had a brilliant example of this. We were just about through the village of Whitchurch-on-Thames when a lady stopped us and mentioned that we should have coffee/tea and cake just up the road.

We saw the local sign for the event and decided to stop and see what it was all about...I thought for a few minutes...Elaine suggested 30 minutes...she was right!

We paid our £2.50 each and were ushered into the small room which had numerous older ladies and a few gentlemen outside of Dave and me...Dennis I'm not sure how to refer to him. We chose our treats and sat down at a table...many folks stopping by to chat.

Special coffee/tea event

Special coffee/tea event

Special coffee/tea event

We found out that this was a fund raiser for the McMillan Cancer Society so all for a good cause. One lady, who seemed particularly taken by my debonair looks, wanted to sell us first raffle tickets then a whole cake followed by four cupcakes. We said we couldn't possibly carry the goods!

A gentlemen then talked to us about a 50/50 draw which required us to estimate the number of small round candies on a picture. I paid the £2 entry fee out of a disputed £10 that was not properly accounted for the previous per Dennis that is!

I looked at it and said to Dave maybe 275 or so...Dave then started to analyze things more carefully by estimating the candies by small quadrant and ended up guessing 567.

We wrote down 567 and beside it "if won donate back" in the person spot on the card. I then went to use the facilities and Dave and Dennis followed...Dennis always follows. Upon coming out of the restroom a very elderly lady with a walker simply cut in front of Dave and went in the restroom...this is important!

Then when Dave was using the facilities a gentlemen called everyone together and announced the winning number 576!!! He turns to me and asks me to read out who won...I said it's me! I also added that the prize money would be  donated back to the charity and a huge cheer goes up! I am both a wizard and a hero at the same time!

Dave with the magic card
Dave get's no credit at all and Dennis...well...let's say he was not involved in this effort! I am then asked to pick raffle tickets for other prizes and after a few minutes we are in our way...we chuckled about this for quite some time. That was unplanned and great fun!

Yours truly picking raffle prize - of course Dennis would not know how to do this!
Coming into a town just prior to Reading we got more signs...after backtracking and discussing with a few locals it was determined that the sign below was wrong. Someone had tampered with it as the left sign should be a right angle. This is something I have come across occasionally and I find it most frustrating!

Incorrect sign 

I have been told that my dangerous animals comments are a little far fetched...I don't believe that is the case however today let there be no doubt about the danger we were in. 

We were walking up a quiet country road when all of a sudden from the bush came charging out a badger...teeth barred...hissing madly and foaming at the mouth. For those who don't know a badger is one of the most tenacious and ferocious animals in the world when threatened!

Dennis tried to jump over a fence but got caught up in barb wire....Dave simply froze in fear. The badger very suddenly let out a blood curdling and chilling noise and jumped at both Dawn and Elaine who were huddled together in fear. I shudder to think what might have happened had I not picked up a loose bow and arrow lying by my side and skillfully let the arrow fly within inches of both Dawn and Elaine killing the badger.

I was really saddened to see the result of my efforts but clearly I had made the right choice. Some of you may understandably find the picture below disturbing however proof is required. I saved the day once again through a heroic act...after a few minutes we extricated Dennis from the barb wire and managed to prod Dave back to life.

Badger that attacked us
For my little granddaughter Rose a little something