After we had our lunch at the Kennet-side pub our family group went back into Reading for an afternoon cruise on the Thames.
and we were supposed to have taken the boat back into Reading as part of the tour. However, the boat trip was cancelled by the tour operator because of some technical problem with the boat's engine. It was a shame because the boat, the Devon Belle, has quite an interesting history. Built in 1938 it is one of the Little Ships of Dunkirk as she helped evacuate the Allied troops in 1940. She stayed with the RN and had a role with the mulberry harbours which were built on the south coast and were then towed to Normandy on D.Day to service the invasion. After the war she became a pleasure cruiser in Devon until she came to the Thames in 1999.
|The Devon Belle - photo www.thamesrivercruise.co.uk|
This time the river trip had been arranged by our daughter as a combined treat for my birthday and our golden wedding anniversary (which is this month) and the boat that was available that day was another one of the fleet, the Caversham Princess. Although the weather was rather cloudy most of the cruise, which makes the water look brown and not very appealing in the photos, it was a leisurely experience made even more enjoyable because two or our grandsons had been able to get a rare two days off work to be with us. Their brother had travelled to Reading to be with us for a family meal a few days before.
Feeding the swans and other water birds that congregate near Caversham Bridge and Promenade has been going on for years. These days there are so many of them there's a notice requesting people not to encourage them onto the path, but only to feed those swimming in the water, as they make a mess around the landing stage area and the swans can also be quite domineering.
This swan, however, stood patiently by the boat without making a fuss, perhaps waiting and hoping for some food from those who came off the boat.
We passed Caversham Court Gardens.
1st Reading (YMCA) Sea Scout Group Headquarters.
Ducks and ducklings
Houses whose gardens go down to the river bank. I vaguely remember going to a garden party in the garden of one of the older houses with the Victorian/Edwardian architecture as a child. Most of the others are newer builds.
Out into open countryside now and I went down to stand at the prow of the boat joined by my husband and the others from time-to-time as tea was being served inside.
Visitors to Mapledurham House were waiting to come on board.
Mapledurahm Mill and Mill Pond
Mapledurham Church from the river bank
Mapledurham House from the river
Back to Caversham
The Promenade - a favourite place to have a picnic and take a walk
Caversham Bridge again
Looking down at the birds from the boat before we disembarked......
......and we were pleased to see the black swan or an offspring of the one we always look out for when we're visiting this stretch of the River Thames.