Monday, 30 July 2012

Sunday Walk

An interesting circuit today, and rather long at that.  The plan took me from Aldermaston to Reading and then along the “Thames Path” to Pangborne, before turning south to Calcot where I did some essential food shopping (ice cream and chocolate) before heading back to Aldermaston.

Only the ground not previously walked is highlighted in the above screen dump.  The light purple line in the middle right of the map is the plotted route from the OS website.  However the actual Thames Path follows the light brown line which is the ground I walked. Pangbourne is in the top left and calcot at the bottom.

Whilst walking the Thames Path just west of Reading I came upon Derwent 6, Rock-n-Roll, Seyella and Moore2Life.  I noticed George was on Rock-n-Roll so I introduced myself.  He was then joined by Carol and we had a very interesting conversation about narrowboats and living aboard.  Then Anne from Moore2Life arrived so I’ve finally managed to meet three more boating bloggers after several years of reading their blogs.

George, Carol and Anne

We had to part as they were heading for Tesco whilst I needed to continue with my walk towards Pangbourne.  The Thames Path detours away from the river at Tilehurst and then returns at Mapledurham Lock.  The lock was quite busy with boats waiting to go up and down.

Mapledurham Lock

The name of the big tupperware boat entering the lock caught my eye.

Kaikoura - a NZ Maori name.

Kaikouru is located on the north-east corner of the South Island.  It’s particularly well known for whale watching.  I wonder if the owners know the English translation of their boat’s name.  “Kai” is food or meal and “koura” is crayfish.  So their boat is named “eating crayfish”! Winking smile

“No Mooring” signs were present all along the Thames until just before Pangbourne where I came upon the following plaque.

Suddenly the riverbank was wall to wall in tupperware boat stretching all the way to the bridge at Pangbourne. 

I had been keeping my eye (only got one!) on the sky and it was starting to look very dark and ominous.  I could see bands of rain passing across in front of me and hoped I’d get lucky.  Not my day as the liquid sunshine started to fall whilst crossing the meadow.  I just had time to take a photo of the toll bridge at Pangbourne before scurrying for shelter.

It’s actually the Whitchurch Bridge.  The original toll bridge was opened in 1792.  The current bridge was opened in 1902.  The collected toll is used to maintain the bridge.

Meanwhile I was hiding whilst the rain came down like cats & dogs.  The actual expression originates from medieval times where birds and vermin (eg, rats and mice) would nest/hide in the heavily thatched roofs.  The owners would keeps their cats and dogs in the roof cavity in an effort to reduce the vermin problem.  However in high wind and rain the cats and dogs might get blown out of the thatch.  Hence the expression “raining cats & dogs”  And if you believe that explanation you’ll just about believe anything I write here!

The rain ceased after 20 minutes which enabled me to turn south and head for Calcot.  The footpath through the countryside eventually brought me to an attractive village.  Of interest was the five sided building with the front door adjacent to the road.

Perhaps its original purpose was as a toll house?

The row of cottages opposite also looked attractive with the moss growing over their front porch roofs.

At the junction was the most important building in the village.  I love the way the rear half of the thatched roof goes all the way to the ground.

After bashing my way through a footpath overgrown with stinging nettles I found myself on a wide bridlepath that took me directly to the Sainsbury’s at Calcot.  Along the way this tower was standing in a field to the east.

I really couldn’t make up my mind about its original purpose.  From a distance it looked like the steeple of a Norman church, but as I got closer it looked to be circular in shape.

It has four arched doorways in the base and arched windows which have subsequently been filled with bricks.  This seemed to preclude it being an old water tower.  Perhaps it’s a folly?  But it doesn’t look sufficiently ornate!  Well it’s a mystery to me.

Back to boat building tomorrow!

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