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Published: September 30th 2019
Miles from Reading - 13 and to London -28 from Bisham Abbey
15 September 2019, Sunday
Thames Path day 14, Bisham Abbey National Sports Complex to Oxford. Day 30 of travel.
Seven o'clock was an early start for our 16.8 miles of walking. It was a weekend so no breakfast service until after 0800. We asked for a take away bag and got a dry croissant, apple and cookie with a sugary sports drink. From the National Athlete Training Complex-- go figure!
The photos of the dozens of Britian's gold metal Olympic athletes and world record holders are on the walls around us. But no photography allowed. I learned that when taking a photo of the dedication of the complex in 1990s by Princess Diana. They have many young children training there normally so they do have a good reason. I asked and was given permission to take the photos--no children in sight!
It is about 15 minutes walking from Bisham Abbey to the Marlow Bridge. Across the bridge, our path weaves to and fro between high walls to eventually emerge below the locks and weir at the river. The mist rising off the river presents an interesting scene.
It is Sunday so we peek into several churches today.
The bridge twinned with Budapest as mentioned yesterday
The clear skies accent the peaceful river scenes.
In Bourne End, we are fortunate to find a lady who believes we can find a cafe for coffee. It is Cafe Italia and has a good breakfast and coffee.
In Cookham, The Stanley Spencer art gallery is open. It is housed in a little, pristine white Wesleyan chapel. Having both been raised in the Methodist tradition this catches our eye. We spend about 50 minutes looking at the work of this WWI veteran, Western Front and Greece, who was commissioned in WWII to paint shipyards on the Clyde in Scotland. The curator is from Dublin and a very lovely person.
Sir Spencer (knighted early in the year in which he died) had a very unique style. Spenser's whole creative world revolved around the village of Cookham and its residents.
One picture intrigued me very much. It shows a young mother, cigarette dangling from mouth, nursing a baby with a toddler attempting to pull on her for attention. And on what is she focused? An easel. With her spare hand she is working on her creation. Her husband, dishtowel in hand, is looking from around the corner, with
pained expression on face. The entire exhibition was called, "Counterpoint," and included other artists of the same school.
We pause to watch a game of cricket. As the afternoon wears on we find many walkers and cycles on the path. We pass more locks and lakes that were the canoe and kayaking locations during 2012 London Olympics.
We pass a simple chapel that is very old, Saint Mary Magdalene Boveny. It's rough timbers and thick stone walls make for solitude and we rest and take it in.
Karen and I take the highway bridge over the river into Windsor and check in with Julia Cogswell, our BnB hostess. Norma and Jo, who were several hours ahead, continued to the footbridge and spend 2 hours waiting in a pub for me to find them and escort them to our BnB. I was almost to the bridge when Karen called saying they had arrived. Part of a much later arrival is that Karen has been suffering from severe shin splints on one leg and insists on going at a snail's pace and resting every two hours or so! Karen wrote this last sentence! When one has 16.5 miles to
Mist rising from river in early morning
cover that means it is a l-o-n-g day with all those stops!
Tot: 1.782s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 10; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0295s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb