Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kew to Hammersmith walk & off to Kenya

A quick note as I while away the time until the trip to Heathrow & then on to three weeks in Kenya. It's definitely been a bit cooler this week & I've spent quite a bit of time working on my bike (bled the front brakes - they weren't done properly by the shop in Pennsylvania - refitted the serviced fork, cleaned the chain & packed it up for a new continent), reading (of course), helped with a bit of yard work at cousin Ray's & there have been a couple of farewells for good school friends.

On Wednesday I eventually made it Kew for another walk, this time down to Hammersmith. This walk was quite long & I got rained on for the first time in a long time. As it was far (relatively) removed from the centre of the city, the wasn't quite as much fascinating history to read about. But most of the walk followed the Thames & that was quite scenic & nice to be away from the traffic.

The walk started off near the famous gardens that George III's mother, Princess Augusta, founded in 1759. I think I will save my £12 for a warmer day as I could probably have spent a good few hours in the gardens alone. On the other side of the river I found the London Steam museum, which is another to add to the rainy-day list of things to do. Walking down the river, it was curious to note the incoming tide going the wrong way up the river & watch it get higher & higher (it was much better looking than when I walked over in the same place last week at low tide). As always, the houses were really quite old - but more unusually, they had been built right next to a river that often floods. Consequently there were a few quaint little flood protection measures. These ranged from front walls that you had no gates, so you had to go up & down steps to get in to the tiny front yards, to slots in all window & door frames to place barriers and really small little front doors that had there base a fair way off the ground.

After walking past numerous pubs, through some nice gardens, a really odd alley to St Nicolas's Church (which had a deserted & extensive graveyard - quite sombre on what was a grey day, it started raining shortly after) I made it down to Chiswick Mall. This tiny little part of London is bordered on one side by the Thames and on the other by a large arterial road & it feels pretty secluded. The odd thing was it right next to the river & I must have been there right at high tide, as the road was flooded. This seemed to be a common occurrence as there signs up warning of this invasion of water around the nice little gardens that the houses had on the opposite side of the road. I was quite bemused until I couldn't walk any further & had to backtrack & go around in a big loop - of course, by the time I got back to near where I had turned around the tide had gone out enough to make the footpath passable. Never mind, as I discovered the Fuller's (London Pride) brewery & that wonder fermenting smell chased me down the river on the wind for the next twenty minutes. From there, there was not too much of note, save watching all the rowers out on the Thames training (I passed the halfway point of that famous rowing race).

Apparently, the ABs are playing Wales now & it's on BBC - so I'll go see how much of that I can see before leaving for Heathrow & more adventures & (hopefully good) riding in Kenya (three weeks).

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