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Published: September 29th 2019
Leaving Row Barge Inn 'where everybody knows your name.'
14 September 2019, Saturday
Henley on Thames to Bisham Abbey National Sports Center day 13 Thames Path day 29 of travel
Henley is a most beautiful village. Yesterday, when, with weary feet, we arrived at Marsh Lock, it was as if we had come upon Brigadoon. Marsh Lock is unusually situated in midstream and you reach it via a long, wooden causeway. Then one goes past a Georgian lock house, sporting hanging flower baskets, and then you go back to the bank again by a second causeway leading to pretty cottages at the foot of Mill Lane. A grand floral entry to a superb English village.
- But now, after a welcome night at the Row Barge Pub, we saunter down West St., in the beautiful sun, enjoying the morning. It is difficult to imagine this street was once the site of destitute agricultural workers and their starving families, brutally deprived of their homes and livelihoods during successive agricultural depressions. It was a stinking slum with no running water or basic sanitation.
- We pass St. Mary the Virgin church. The exact origin of this parish church unknown but likely to be around the year 1000.
The historic street tiles and our morning visit with this man on his morning walk
tiles on the sidewalk are also historic and very old. We visit briefly with a man on his morning walk.
- We cross the elegant 1780s bridge, turn back to the riverside and are now looking down the Henley Regatta course. The towpath had a metalled surface for most of the way, provided for the coaches of rowing crews to cycle along.
- The long regatta reach is terminated by a tiny temple on Temple Island. As the rowers practice the coaches cycle by on the tow patches with megaphones giving instructions and encouragement.
After Hambleden lock we cross an estate with a couple of sculptures. One is the head of a woman with a bun but from the back this cannot be determined. There are white deer here but too far away for a good photo.
At Hurley lock we have a panini sandwich and ice cream at Michaela's tea shop. Here we catch up with Jo and Norma. Next is temple lock with its footbridge. We cross the chain Bridge at Marlow and have to go back up river to Bisham Abbey which we had passed across the river more than a mile before.
St Mary's Church in Henley on Thames
This bridge is a sister of the Chain Bridge in Budapest.
When we arrive at the Bisham Abbey National Sports Complex we are greeted by the photos of the world champion athletes who have trained here.
For dinner we went to the Bull Inn at Bisham pub with a large, and healthy menu. I was wandering around the restaurant and a young man, behind the bar in one of the rooms, tells me a little history. He was born in Galicia, Spain (home of Santiago de Compostela-goal of many pilgrims.) His parents go to France and that explains the French emphasis on the menu. They then move to England where his father has two restaurants. The son graduates from University. His father becomes ill and the son comes home to help out for three months--and he ends by saying, "and here I am, thirty years later " Ah, everyone has a story-and always we are enriched if we take the time to hear it!
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