The Sixth Stage of walking the River Thames

We started our walk with a minute of silence for the people of New Zealand, suggested by one of the families. This meant our leaving Abingdon was somewhat solemn but our mood soon brightened as we discussed basic internet rules and one chap suggested that a rule that needed to be high up on the list was – “Talk to Nicola because she old!” He realised fairly quickly from the girl’s sharp intake of breath, that he may have made a social blunder with his choice of words. The more he tried to explain that what he meant was - I have had more life experience, the further he dug himself in – the more we had to laugh. TV script writers would have struggled to do better. The rest of the walk was peppered with “old’ jokes which kept us laughing right to the end.

We had a barmy 13 degrees to walk in which meant that we all opted for dumping our heaver coats in to the support vehicle and walked only with our water proofs tied around our waists. Although it was warm in comparison to our earlier walks, we had grey skies and between each stop, we considered if we should have kept the coats with us. In the end, we need not have worried, we made it to the very end without a drop of rain.

Although, the skies may have been grey the path way was not, spring has officially arrived along the banks of the River Thames and we were treated to strong scents coming from the daffodils, the trees and bushes along the river bank.

The Environment Agency and Thame Water were out in force today and we came across a scene involving both teams, a boat and some in diving suits. Somebody very quickly jumped to the conclusion that maybe they were looking for a body. Just as this was said, one of the chaps on the bank looked round, smiled and told us it was nothing so dramatic - they were checking water quality and recording river flow rate. He turned out to be a retired police officer and while we sat on the benches for our sweetie stop he entertained us with stories of being in the International Rescue Team sent out from Great Britain in times of flooding and tsunami to help during these national disasters.

The other thing of note worthiness was the raptors- there were lots of red kites and a buzzard. Thanks to the bird watching scouts we meet in Oxford we can now identify them from underneath as they fly over us. They were all out flying along the river. We tried to capture them but they were really quick and the only one photo - made the bird look like a dot in the sky.


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