Pubs and playgrounds

The weather has been mostly good over the past two weeks, which has encouraged us to go out and do some walking. And when walking on a warm day, you need refreshment. We’ve also spent quite a lot of time with our grandsons. Hence the title of this blog!

Heading for the ice cream van

Heading for the ice cream van

London with the boys

At the end of June, Claire went to Edinburgh for a long weekend hen ‘do’. Charlie and Oscar stayed with us. When we collect them from school, we often walk from there to the Rye, a large park/playing field with an adventure playground. That Friday, we felt like a change, and as we had the use of Claire’s car, we took them to a pub a little way out of town, which has a playground in the garden.

The next day the four of us went up to London. Starting from Hyde Park Corner, we walked right through Hyde Park, admiring the gardens and statues, and stopping for coffee by the Serpentine. Then we crossed into Kensington Gardens – more statues and flowers, a pause at a small playground, and over to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. On a warm Saturday this was inevitably crowded, but the boys enjoyed playing there for a couple of hours while we sat in the sun and read the weekend Guardian.

On the Tube

On the Tube

Flowers in Hyde Park

Flowers in Hyde Park

A London heron

A London heron

Fairies in Kensington Gardens

Fairies in Kensington Gardens

We returned by a different route to Hyde Park, and took out a pedal boat on the Serpentine for half an hour. Great fun, if rather exhausting for the pedallers! Then we took the tube to Leicester Square, as we wanted to get some maps from Stanfords, the travel bookshop. On emerging from the station we were amazed to find the streets absolutely packed, and some of the tube entrances closed. Only later did we discover that the gay Pride march had taken place earlier that day. Pubs and restaurants were jammed, but we managed to find a pub slightly away from the really busy area, where we were able to get a table and have something to eat before returning home.

On the Serpentine

On the Serpentine

Shipmates

Shipmates

While in Chesham two days earlier (see previous blog) we’d spotted a chair in a charity shop which went perfectly with our other dining chairs. We bought it, but had to leave it until we could go with a car to collect it. We’d also spotted a great playground in Chesham, and another at Little Missenden, halfway round our walk. It seemed the perfect outing for that Sunday morning. We collected the chair, and the boys spent a short while on the Chesham playground. But then it started raining, so the Little Missenden playground will have to wait for another occasion.

Whee!

Whee!

Whee!!

Whee!!

Walks long and short

We decided that we would aim to do one long walk every week, and on Wednesday 1st July we chose an eight-mile loop from Marlow. We’d done it before, but several years ago, so we enjoyed doing it again. It happened to be the hottest day of the year, so we naturally got very thirsty. We couldn’t wait to reach a pub half way round the loop, but when we got there, we discovered it was closed for refurbishment. Disaster! Luckily, a mile or two further on, the path skirted a golf club; to our great joy (and somewhat to our surprise) non-members were able to get drinks from the bar.

Country view

Country view

Lips of a lurking monster?

Lips of a lurking monster?

Medmenham Church

Medmenham Church

Smart lodge gates

Smart lodge gates

A glimpse of the Thames

A glimpse of the Thames

In poor shape

In poor shape

Folly

Folly

We arrived back in Marlow at 4pm, and met Claire and the boys at the big playground (where else?). After a short stroll along the Thames, we went to a nearby pub for drinks, and ended up eating there as well.

Bisham Church

Bisham Church

It is our habit on Friday evenings to go for what we jokingly call our ‘pub crawl’: a short walk with stops at one (or two) pubs for drinks, and then another pub for dinner (and more drinks, of course). Recently we have been exploring different walks (and different pubs). We’ve been to Bourne End many times, but only recently discovered a walking route there, on footpaths most of the way. That made a good pub crawl last Friday. Yesterday we took the bus to Bourne End, and walked along the Thames to Cookham, where we had dinner by the river. A rare treat, eating an evening meal outside in England! But the weather has been good – so good in fact that we’ve twice gone out for an evening walk on days other than Fridays, just because it was far too nice to stay at home.

The Old Bell at Wooburn Green

The Old Bell at Wooburn Green

The Bounty at Bourne End

The Bounty at Bourne End

The Ferry at Cookham

The Ferry at Cookham

School events

Friday 3rd July was Sports Day at the boys’ school. This year it was held on the school’s rather small playing field, so there were separate events for each year group. We were there early to see Oscar in the Nursery School events, and to see Claire win the parents’ Egg and Spoon race. After a break we were back for the Year 1 events (Charlie’s year group). And Claire won again! Ian had a go at the men’s egg and spoon, but came in near the back of the field.

Concentration

Concentration

Competition

Competition

Skipping race

Skipping race

Claire wins again!

Claire wins again!

Winner of the over-60s race

Winner of the over-60s race

Next day was the school fete, with the usual stalls, face painting, refreshments etc. Claire had several tries at a competition which involved putting pegs on a paper plate, but despite several attempts she did not win this one.

Shiver me timbers!

Shiver me timbers!

Avast me hearties!

Avast me hearties!

Pegging out

Pegging out

London again – by bus

We decided that for our ‘long walk’ this week we would do the next stretch of the Thames Path, starting from Richmond. We chose Thursday because the weather forecast was good. What we didn’t realise was that there was a tube strike scheduled for that day! And – contrary to our usual practice – we’d booked theatre tickets two days earlier, so changing our plan was not an option. We looked up buses for journeys which we would normally do by tube, but were well aware that when there is a tube strike it can be difficult to catch a bus in Central London.

Over breakfast on Thursday morning, we debated how to get to Richmond without going through London. There is a bus from High Wycombe – passing close to our flat – direct to Heathrow, and we guessed there must be one from Heathrow to Richmond.   So there is – but unfortunately it goes from Terminal 5, not the central bus station. Finally we decided to go from here to Slough, because we knew we could get a bus direct from there to T5.

Our plan worked – although we just missed a connection in Slough, and the journey to Richmond took longer than we had anticipated, so we finally arrived there at 12.40. After a drink we detoured up Richmond Hill, as we’d heard that there were great views of the river from there. The views (we thought) were disappointing, but there were some beautiful gardens where we ate our picnic lunch.

Thames view from Richmond Hill

Thames view from Richmond Hill

Terrace Gardens

Terrace Gardens

Thames at Richmond

Thames at Richmond

Then we walked along the Thames – but only 4.5 miles, as we wanted to allow plenty of time for getting to the West End. We finished at Mortlake, and if we’d had any sense we would have caught the train from there to Waterloo. But we decided to go by bus (free for seniors!) which involved changing at Hammersmith. There was a delay there, and an awful traffic jam when we reached Kensington. In the end we decided it would be quicker to walk, so we left the bus near the Albert Hall and hiked the two miles to Leicester Square. Fortunately we reached the theatre in time, and managed a quick snack on the way, though not the full meal we had planned.

Richmond heron

Richmond heron

Thames with rower

Thames with rower

The Albert Memorial - on foot from here

The Albert Memorial – on foot from here

At the Duke of York’s we saw Hay Fever, by Noel Coward. Felicity Kendall was brilliant as ever, though we did not find the play itself terribly funny. Afterwards we walked to Trafalgar Square, and got a bus (no problem this time) to Marylebone, where we were able to get a train home. We counted ourselves lucky that we had achieved all we wanted to do, despite the strike!

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  1. #1 by JANE PERIN on July 13, 2015 - 1:45 pm

    As always I so enjoy your blog and your photos. It is a good thing you two love to walk as you seem to do miles of it. I feel like a lazy bum reading about it but here the weather has not been nice as you know and not much fun to walk in the rain! We actually saw some sun over the weekend and it promises to be very sunny Wed. and Thurs. that will be wonderful as the golf league I am in has their outing in West Virginia an overnight which ten of us are really looking forward to. The weatherman forecasts SUN both days! Will keep you posted. Love, Janie

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