The Perfect Thursday

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog, but last night’s marvellous paddle deserves one.

Four foreigners: A Jerseyman, an Irishman, a Frenchman and a Danishwoman. Three days to spring tides: LW at 7.30 p.m. Two leaders. One howling westerly wind.

Despite the odd bit of rain, it was a clear night, and with the wind at our backs, a small group and a desire to get moving we decided to go as far down river as we could until the tide turned. It was obvious that the strong wind was holding out the flood tide, and VTS confirmed this every 15 minutes with their broadcast stating tides running below prediction.

The London Eye was reached in no time, about ten past eight, and we pushed on. Watching the clippers cautiously we went past Festival Pier and stayed out in the middle of the river, occasionally holding position to let them manoeuvure. The tide was so low that many arches on the right were unnavigable, even for kayaks, a point Andy proved by running aground, while in the midst of his tourist trail talk.

The bridges shot by – Hungerford and Golden Jubilee, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Blackfriars Railway, Millennium, Southwark, Southwark Railway, London. Tower was on the horizon – could we make it?

No problem – the tide had barely turned by the time we reached it, so crossing below it we turned our teeth into the wind and pushed on.

Harder now, but helped by the tide we came back at a steady pace with no stopping, until, totally randomly, we came under Lambeth Bridge and were treated to a spectacular fireworks display. With Lambeth Palace silhouetted in the light of the low fireworks, and the glass towers reflecting the high ones, we stopped, rafted, and watched; entranced. Keith claimed the credit and said it was 47 pence well spent to give Pia a send off on her last Thames paddle.  Really we had no idea why the fireworks show took place, but we were in a brilliant place to observe them.

A quick push back to Cremorne, our tiring muscles invigorated by the thought of a drink and the need to make last orders.

Which we did. Just.

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2 comments to The Perfect Thursday

  • Pia

    It was a remindable evening. The dark, the rain, the wind and the fast running tide together with the beatiful views of all the lights over London – you can’t get it better.

    It was worth the £265 I had to pay to get my car, which had been towed away, back.

  • Miranda

    Oh Pia!!

    So sorry – me too, a few months ago in the same place. I parked on the other side of the road to where I usually park, and the residents’ parking there is till 2230 instead of 1830 so I got towed…

    Horrible. Evil tow people at the end of the road – taking advantage!!

    Really glad you guys had such a lovely paddle though!

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