|From little acorns.|
What we found was a charming sheep-infested landscape of towering electricity pylons and picture-perfect parish churches. We discovered narrow boats and locks like delighted toddlers finding ice cream for the first time. A timid affection was born in us that day for the little island that had up to that point only managed to impoverish us and piss rain on our heads.
|Bridge over the river Frump.|
We asked a lock keeper how to find a bus. He laughed and pointed out in charming local dialect that Oxfordshire on a Sunday was "basically total BFE". So we walked all the way home, only arriving at dusk. For some reason our resulting blisters convinced us that this Thames Path business would make a great summer hobby.
|Table for two for ten.|
But this summer, on our tenth wedding anniversary and exactly eight years after that sunny Jericho afternoon, my beloved and I set out to finish the Thames path from where we left off.
Though we are seasoned islanders now, we made new discoveries this time too. We discovered that Chiswick is covered in wiry rowing boys, like the rivers of my childhoods were covered in water spiders. We noticed that some of the lesser-known London bridges look like Victorian wedding cakes designed by three-year olds. We witnessed a Tower of Babel rising over Southark, and confirmed that the Millenium Dome is in fact the ugliest single thing that humanity has ever built (including Las Vegas).
Best of all, we reacquainted ourselves with the quintessential ramblers beverage: ale shandy.
|Time and tide.|
It took a relatively brief time to walk through central London, as compared to much longer jaunts through the home counties and the docklands. I find it odd to consider that such a dominant stretch of the cultural landscape is physically dwarfed by Sloughs and Mudshoots.
|Wherever you is, that's where you are.|
We put it on video for the kids. They will never see it with our eyes, nor will we see their discoveries with ours. But I try to leave them stories scattered here and there, like this blog for instance, which turns two today.
At the end, my beloved and I felt rather like Odysseus returning home from sea. We smiled like high fructose corn syrup breakfast champions, and strode into the guest centre at the Thames Barrier.
Here we found a lonely lady in a tea shop. We were the only ones through that day, she said, what with the bus strike an' all. She coughed and made us tea. We tried to figure out how the heck to get home, having unexpectedly looped back to total BFE.
|Crossing the bar.|
Endings involve an inevitable element of sadness. But I reckon they are good for the soul, because endings are a reminder that life is a verb, and it is rapidly lifing past the window.
Best drink those ale shandies now.