Krista and I walked into an Indian food restaurant for dinner last night. I placed a serviette across my lap. Goodness knows why I did it, given that my trousers have half of the gunk from the River Thames on them.
The majesty of the River Thames continued to reveal itself to us today. We passed castles and coots in abundance. For the first time since we began our journey, we sat on the riverbank and ate ice cream. The Thames lockkeepers continued to show what decent and enthusiastic people they are. At one lock, a keeper emerged from her lunch, looked at our canoe, and said: “It’s you! I’ve just been reading about you. And here you are. This is incredible!” She seemed impressed with our journey to date, and about the journey ahead, and used the word “incredible” three more times.
We achieved a milestone this afternoon, and it is one of which we are particularly proud. We arrived in the greater London community Teddington. This may not sound like a big accomplishment for a pair of adventurers committed to paddling the entire length of the River Thames, but it is. Teddington is the location of our forty-fourth and final lock. It is the spot where the Thames stops being entirely freshwater and becomes tidal instead. Tonight, after eight days of paddling, we have now covered two hundred and thirty-four glorious kilometres.
At the Royal Canoe Club in Teddington, Krista and I met up with Harry Whelan. If you think you know a lot about paddling, it is only because you have never met Harry. Tomorrow morning, after we make a couple of presentations about our adventure to the students at Green Dragon Primary School, we will swap our beloved yellow canoe for a tandem kayak which Harry will deliver to us for the completion of our journey. A canoe is easy to jump in and out of, but wouldn’t be sufficiently safe in the Thames Estuary and beyond.
The weather has been very cooperative to date. The forecast suggests that we are in for a change. It appears that we might see some rain and for some unfavorable winds. Please let me reassure our loved ones that we are safe, happy, and will not do anything silly.