This week has been a week of contrasts, walking through London south-east to north-west, with most of it following the Thames Path. It started in Kent with the only wet day we have had. We splashed through puddles and ducked overhanging bare branches in woods and round fields. That day everyone seemed sensibly to have stayed indoors and we met hardly anyone. The next day we got to the Thames and began our walk past building sites, industry, iconic historic buildings and thrusting modern constructions each seeming to be trying to outdo the one we had just past. There were plenty of smart riverside dwellings on our route, a few parks and gardens and plenty of the young fit jogging or riding bikes. Some of the more and less famous you can see on the separate posting of photos which will give you a taste of what is has been like. One day we braved the morning rush hour in central London at Waterloo. Everyone except us, seemed to be young and to know exactly where they were going – and did so purposefully and at speed. The queues for buses were enormous, the cyclists seemed to be risking life and limb. Most people were attached to their mobile phones or have ear phones listening to music of some kind and seemed rather taken aback by our saying hello and making eye contact – though they did manage a smile in return.
Wednesday was the day of visits. We made it to Southwark Cathedral for their 11.30 prayers, to St Paul’s for midday Ashing and Communion and to the Christian Aid office where we were welcomed and treated to cups of tea, coffee, grapes and biscuits and lots of encouragement and conversation. We came away feeling uplifted and ready to walk the rest of the route. Thursday we were in the heart of London at Westminster, nodding to Churchill on his plinth, Downing Street past the policemen and Westminster Abbey with its queues of visitors (and it is only March!). Once past there it did not seem too long before the Thames took on a much more relaxed appearance with: boys getting rowing lessons; Hurlingham Yr 4 pupils coming back with their books on world book day (hope you enjoy reading them!) with their teachers, especially Mr Stanley; trees – and even a dirt path which was a welcome relief after so much tarmac.
So hello and thank you to many people for making our London leg so memorable. To Dial-a-ride Carl in Slade Green, Mo in Morrisons Erith, Cate and Judith cycling, David running, Peter on his bike at Woolwich Arsenal, Christine who gave us a much needed cup of tea in her lovely flat, John taking photographs. Mark with his daughter Molly at Southwark, Trevor cyclist beyond Barnes. Also to David Payne, Wilhelmina and Tony at Southwark Cathedral for your time and interest, St Paul’s staff for their Ash Wednesday communion and David Busk the chaplain at Westminster Abbey for your prayers. Hello to painter
Danny met at Kew Bridge, Carmel and Damian who were chopping wood by their boat on the Thames, Steve running by the Grand Union canal, Daniel from Spain, Chris, Dusty and Geraldine from Worcester, Mohammed and his son Ibrahim met at Hayes, and James the cyclist. Special mention must go to All Saints Church in Dedworth with whom we worshiped this Sunday. Thank you for the donations, interest and encouragement – to their vicar Louise and Ruth and Peter who gave us lunch. Nancy This week’s statistics Amount raised so far: Online £305 Offline £652.18 Miles walked this week: 72 Total so far: 154 Kissing gates: 5 This week’s Scrabble Scores: Nancy 2 John 3