We could not be bothered faffing around with the alternate routes out of Shepperton so looked at the large map and followed the road from the hotel to the nearest part of the path- easy!
Fought our way across the commuter traffic and found the quiet of the path pleasant after the road. Yesterday at the end of the day our ears were ringing with the constant jet noise- I imagine people living near Heathrow have permanent ear damage after a time.
We walked for quite a time along broad paths just below the Moslesey reservoirs. T says his brother Alan in his youth ,used to spend a lot of time bird watching near there. Terry has suddenly gotten like a gun dog with a bird in sight, pointing at every new (old to him) vista.
Sunbury House on the opposite was very grand but must have hit hard times at some stage as all along its frontage are bungalows. We also saw many variations of what look like the UK version of a bach- some about 6m by 6m. But to accommodate everyone there was a large tent in front.
About 10 pm we were forced to don wet weather gear, first day and now last day. It belted down, stopping about every 20 minutes just to tease… At Hurst Park, just before Hampton Court there is a community memorial cum sundial, it mentions on plaques things like the Vikings sailed past here to pillage Chertsey , about 10 miles upstream. Other things were Henry 8 ‘acquired’ this piece of land in 1528? to hunt on. Then later stuff, first game of golf in England was played here, only been played in Scotland before this. The actor David carrick brought it to England. Games of early cricket were commemorated as well. Then it rained again!
Hordes of people were arriving at Hampton Court for the flower show, this year commemorating English poets- including Lewis Carroll. The people were all wet and bedraggled and mainly female of an indeterminate age or yummy mummies. A few bewildered looking men, wondering why their wives who would normally never venture out in rain were battling it out for queue position in a downpour.
We trudged on, past the superb screen by Tijou(18thC), now gated in front to stop plebs touching the gilt, a nice view of the Sir Christopher Wren designed wing of HC. We trudged on and on,even if the path was now called Barge Walk it was still a long way.We gobbled some lunch during a break, glad we had our snack bits gussied up by a purloined ‘ham sandwich’ from the hotel breakfast.
We crossed over the Kingston Bridge and knew we were in a big city when the directions’read by the John Lewis store’. It was still bucketing down with rain, we tottered on. The last stretch just before Teddington Lock had two paths, one marked Thames Path, full of puddles and one marked Public Path, nicely sealed- what gives there?
Over the bridge which spanned both lock and weir, not a Brunel one, and we were at our destination, Tides End Cottage Inn. We walked in like two drowned rats to be told our luggage was not here and not likely to be as they were a Pub and not a hotel! Ouch! Rang the taxi company and were told they had our luggage, and would bring it immediately. We figured if we were buying food and booze we could be accompanied by a pile of luggage- we could. Seems the memory of IRA and latter bombings have bred extreme caution- I would be too.
We watched the weather turn nice and sunny from the comfort of the Inn and wondered fleetingly if we should have taken another three days and done the last 50 k’s to the Thames barriers- nah! Been there on the river …
David arrived, collected us and our luggage and four hours later we were back in Southport. It now seems as though we were living in a parallel universe for the last 16 days….
Did we really walk all that way?Or did we just go out for a cup of tea. The pile of stinky clothing points that we did walk it .