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The Eleventh Stage of the Thames Walk

The weather watchers found us another good day to go walking. Well done! We started this stage a little disappointed because we could not get a trip from Windsor to Shepperton, there is a service to Hampton Court but it wasn’t running so we settled for a round trip up and down the river.

We parked up in Runnymede and walked over the road to see the fabulous chair sculpture in the Runnymede Field. Commissioned in 2015 to mark the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. ‘The Jurors’ was designed for this ancient landscape to mark the sealing of Magna Carta. The 12 bronze chairs are decorated with panels of images and symbols relating to past and ongoing struggles for freedom, rule of law and equal rights. The chairs are waiting for a group, just like ours, to sit and have a discussion or debate of some kind, to reflect and discuss together the implications of the histories and issues depicted, and to debate the meaning of justice.

We then moved on to the new structure, known locally as the cow shed. It does not look anything special from the approach and the outside. However, side there is a quite spot to sit and contemplate the words reflected in the water.

No man shall be seized or imprisoned, or striped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his rights in any way ruined, nor will we proceed with force against them or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

We were just doing this when the youngest in the group piped up with “Oh, now I get it!” There was a moment of silence as we waited for him to continue. “That’s why we can’t go and get her, and why you argued that it wasn’t that’s man’s job to decide.” This came from a chap, who by his own admission is only interested in things on wheels that can go fast. Apparently, he had been contemplating our conversation on the fourth walk back in March about the plight of Shamima Begum and the Home Secretary taking her British citizenship away. We found the same words at the foot of the statue of Queen Elizabeth. This clearly brought home to the children how important the rule of law is to us.

We walked on in to Staines and stopped for ice cream at a certain ice cream parlour. With our bellies full of ice cream, we felt disinclined to walk on. As many of us will be cycling next week along this section as we start training for our annual charity bike ride we didn’t feel too bad.


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