This years ladies weekend took a giant stride away from the usual camping escapades Ruth kindly fell down the rabbit hole of the Airbnb website and found us a delightful moored barge on the River Thames near Chertsey. This particular boat was owned by a delightful host called Giles who it turned out was rather a thespian having performed in theatres around London and on Broadway no less. A select group of five embarked on this luxury weekend away. It wasn’t so luxury that we had a butler and cook however we managed to produce a feast of a barbecue on the first evening.
The weather dawned bright and fair on Saturday morning arranged especially for Ruth’s birthday. We enjoyed a delightful walk around the local nature reserve called Staines Moor, sharing it’s neighbour- hood with the runways at Heathrow and the M25. Admittedly this does not sound like an attractive prospect however the green surroundings, bountiful fruit harvest from the trees, brambles and abundant wildlife more than made up for what could on paper seem like an urban desert. A post walk ice cream was called for so we made our way to the local village and found a convenient corner store to purchase much-needed refreshments. It just so happens that the pub was open just up the road so we felt obliged to also pay this hostelry a visit. We enjoyed a drink outside in the beer garden whilst watching a variety of aeroplanes take off just above our heads. Sadly I did not have my notepad with me to make a written record of which planes I had spotted, at least to say that many of them were very large aeroplanes with orange markings, sleazy jet or something?!
Having been recommended a pub just up the river at Chertsey our ever kindly host Giles offered to deliver us to the pub on his other boat, (yes he was a man of many boats). Apparently it was compulsory to be aboard with an alcoholic drink in hand. Giles generosity lent its hand again, fortunately he had a spare bottle of Prosecco tucked aboard guaranteeing this obligation could be fulfilled. We were given the opportunity to steer the vessel ourselves, I eagerly took up the challenge and managed to avoid close liaison with the river bank by a gnats crotchet. In all honesty the course I sailed certainly would not have been called straight but who cares you only get prizes in ploughing matches where straight lines are concerned. We enjoyed a civilised meal at this bustling Riverside pub, we were all pretty tired after such a busy day plane spotting and back to the barge by 10pm. An evening tot or cup of cocoa for some was the order of the day before settling down for an our last night on this delightful barge.
We enjoyed the final part of our trip with a walk along the Thames Riverside at Runnymede, historians among you will know that this is significant in the signing of the Magna Carta. Sadly the good weather came to an end and just as we got back to the car park the heavens opened.
Thank you everyone for another good trip it was great to do something different and staying on the barge will remain a happy memory in years to come. Perhaps further eccentric commendation can be arranged next year maybe a giant treehouse?!