Thursday, 17 July 2008


Last Tuesday, we enjoyed a nice day out on the River Thames again, in the company of our good friends Chas and Pam Watkins – it was really a chance for Shirley to ‘go boating’ having missed out on Henley a couple of weeks ago because of her poorly foot!

Chas and Pam were in the middle of a 2-week cruise up the river on their lovely Antaris Family cruiser named ‘Bumble’ so we met up at Goring-on-Thames just by the Lock Cut so that Shirley could easily step on board without too much hassle.

The weather was fine although a little breezy on the river to start with and we headed up through Goring Lock and then Cleeve Lock a mile or so further on; we moored up at around midday at Moulsford just downstream from the wonderful (but quite pricey) Beetle and Wedge Restaurant. Pam had fixed a nice salad we enjoyed, washed down of course with some chilled Rose!

By lunchtime the sun was really out and the wind had dropped a little which made the sun very warm (well, it IS July you know!!) – we had to escape the heat so we walked along the river bank a couple of hundred yards, through the woods until we came to the Beetle and Wedge set on the site of the original Moulsford/South Stoke ferry service on the stretch of river immortalised in 'The Wind in the Willows', where Jerome K Jerome chronicled the escapades of his friends' visits in 'Three Men in a Boat'!

Now here’s something else you maybe didn’t know! In bygone days, a ‘beetle’ was actually a mallet used to hit the ‘wedge’ which split trees into planks which were then floated down to London, a practice apparently last recorded in 1777 but recalled in the name of the pub which used to stand here where H. G. Wells stayed while writing ‘Mr. Polly’ – it actually features in the book as the ‘Potwell Inn’; the building itself was originally a manor house.

Just upstream a few hundred yards is Brunel’s lovely skewed brick arched railway bridge on the main London to Penzance line above which are some islands which are supposedly haunted!!

It wasn’t until after 6pm that we headed back to Goring where Chas dropped us off after finding an overnight mooring.

A very nice day!