We knew this was going to be a bit of a slog and the last  part was a very long 5 miles….plus it was hot.

We set off briskly from Bourne End having had a very nice stay at The Old Cottage B&B despite my serious misgivings about B&B’s.

There was no bath but there were cottonsheets and none of the usual paranoid plastic lined underblanket for incontinent guests. I have taken to sleeping on top of the duvet to prevent me from thinking I am sleeping in some weird tropical country as the incontinent blankets heats up. In NZ we use a sheet between us and the duvet cover- not here, generally it is the cover or nothing. I prefer nothing and my sarong over me when the aforementioned combination of incontinent underblanket and polyester sheets are on offer.These are  rated 4 star plus in most books and the current one was rated by Lonely Planet as the best in Windsor- incontinent blanket but cotton sheets. What do people get up to in B&B’s ?

Back to the walk, some of the best stretches of river we have walked beside, wide (ish) path and right beside the river and lovely forest on the other side. We were in Cliveden territory, and the Astors knew a thing or two about location. Wedid the usual detour thru Cookham, and then back to the side of the Thames at Maidenhead, this time though up on a footpathed embankment along Boulters Lock. Would have been murder there yasterday as everyone would have been out with their crapping dogs. Lovely and quiet on a Monday.

Terry drooled again about another lovely Brunel bridge, crossed the towpath and the river, 39 metres across with a rise of 7.3 metres, so the guidebook said, impressive even to me…

Some fabulous mansions along this stretch of river, very posh or nouveau rich whichever is your perspective. Met a Royal naval captain Rtd, who was mooring his narrow boat,Water Dragon, got chatting, he was a supervisor of ‘ young Charlie Carr’ who we had as the captain on the Pacific Pearl at xmas time- small world.

We went into the Eton Rowing Centre, which is the site for the 2012 Olympic Rowing, looks very impressive. Eton will inherit a world class course- think they may have one already but will now have all the bells and whistles.

Saw the organisation I want to join; Friends of Friendless C hurches,  St Mary Magdalene at Boveney is a member, dates back to 12 A.D.It is stone with rubble chalk courses,( pointing with bits in)’ it looked a bit sad but not as sad as the church of St John the baptist at Lechlade which belongs to another organisation…

We then walked and walked- not a pub or food hall insight and this was the day we had not done one of our snack lunches. We finally tottered into Windsor about 3 pm, hot and grumpy. Have eaten and drunk heaps in the interim to make up for it.

Tuesday- Day off after 7 days walking.

Woke up a bit hung over after hanging out with some locals in a nearby pub- not a woman in sight of course, T fitted right in and I talked mainly to the youngish barman who is heading out to NZ soon.

Tottered down town, got badly derailed by our first Marks and Spencers since we arrived nearly a month ago- how virtuous is that!

T bought some bits but Pommy sheilas have small chests!!! So not much for me!

The castle is wonderful, even saw Sir Ed’s coat of arms in the Garter Hall.Will look with more interest next time a state banquet at Windsor is shown in the media. The china on display was divine, some was quite old and heavily decorated with gold….The gold plate was also to die for….  Spent ages there and would have gone back for evensong but it decided to rain so we sensibly went to Waitroses and bought provisions for our last two lunches- not going to get caught out again. Oddly, everything shuts at 5 or 5.30 pm, so no idling in shops after the castle.

Flowers

The roses are past their best with the odd few smiling away but the hybrid clematis are stunning, we can’t grow them like this without huge devotion. Lots of pink hydrangeas, the lime soil, plus lots of climbing hydrangeas, their flower is a bit so so. The holyhocks are out and the delphiniums are just starting. The lavender is in full perfumed throat and looks marvellous. Some of the river gardens are well landscaped and some quite indifferent. The nicest ones (to me) have only a couple of colours, generally cream and yellow with a lot of greenery. St Johns Wort is used extensively.

Fisherman

English fishermen have given us endless amusement, they have w2onderful gear, often sleep out overnight to keep an eye on their rods and generally really get into their chosen passion. They nearly all do catch and release…are pike, carp and whatever edible?

Off tomorrow to Shepperton, two days left and both long ones….