One of the advantages of starting a pilgrimage from home is that I’m not short of good company for the first hour or two. Mandy, her sister Suzi, Robert & Kwan (sorry for any spelling mistake) joined me for a Thames Path taster and we set off through Weybridge towards the Thames. We have two rivers in Weybridge. The Wey heads south towards Compostela and Rome but this time I’m heading up the Thames.
Weybridge has a bit of history. It has the first motor racing circuit built in 1906 at Brooklands and had a big aircraft industry until 1990. Concorde was developed here and we have one of them down at the museum. Also, John Lennon lived here in the 1960s so you can only imagine the likes of his houseguests doing their shopping in the High Street. Bob Dylan etc.
We soon reached the river where there is a ferry service over to Shepperton, home of the famous film studio (Alien to name one). I rang the bell to call the ferry and while we waited I recalled the desperate battle which took place in the 19th century along this stretch of the Thames. The book even mentions the ferry. It’s a topical book because the invaders were finally defeated, not by the gallant English but by a common virus. H G Wells lived nearby.
We continued along the Thames to Chertsey Bridge where my companions bid me goodbye and then I was alone.
Staines came next. I don’t know anything about Staines. I stopped for a coffee and muffin. Our Government is currently paying half the cost of eating out on Monday to Wednesday to encourage people to return to normal. Never was a Government policy more popular or successful.
After Staines, I walked through Runnymede where King John signed the Magna Carta on 15 June 1215. The temperature was by now a sizzling 34 degrees and the Magna Carta Cafe was closed. I was out of water and about to resort to drinking from the river when I spotted a Harvester. It’s a family style pub and I gratefully entered, surrendered my telephone number to assist future track and tracers and then enjoyed preCovid levels of hospitality. Once again, the Government paid up.
I can spot a Camino pilgrim at 2 metres. It was lovely to see Mafe coming towards me. She is walking the Thames Path and told me that I was the first person she’d met in 7 days.
My energy levels were rather low when I finally spotted Windsor Castle. I nearly missed it because there were a lot of girls in bikinis swimming in the river and generally sunbathing on the shore.
Fortunately, my hotel is near the Castle and I just had time to take a shower before meeting my mates who travelled here for dinner; the Government picked up half the bill, of course.
The ferry to Shepperton
Oh, a Buddhist temple
This evening in Windsor