Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Village of Twigs

We're spending tonight at Laleham. If you have a dog, the park here is well worth a wander around. It's massive, well tended, and (in their own words) "there are numerous receptacles for droppings". A rare treat this far down the river, because there's an awful lot of concrete, the closer you get to London.

We didn't see the Runnymede 'Pleasure Grounds', but we did have a nice wander around Coopers Wood and the Oak trees in the meadows yesterday afternoon. Sumo wasn't allowed in to the Air Force memorial. But we climbed up the hill to have look at it.

Many of the guide books say that the jet noise is "interminable" on this stretch of the river. And last night did not dissapoint. The planes fly so low and close that you can almost see the pilot. Thankfully, they shut up at midnight. But at peak time, there's often one flying overhead every two minutes. Which isn't terribly conducive to peace and quiet. On the plus side, we were moored directly opposite the American bar memorial to the Magna Carta. It's a shame that there is no English monument there. If you cannot appreciate the "history" of the place, there is precious little else there to mark such a monumental occurrence.

We stopped off for supplies at Staines on the way down, this afternoon. And I have to admit that I'm impressed. My misjudgement and preconceptions of the place were forever shattered, when I discovered many of the people to be smiley, helpful and friendly. Not the cold hearted cityfolks I'd imagined, at all. Also noticed a thing of great joy, and something that I've not encountered anywhere else in the world. You walk to the side of the road (where there is a zebra crossing), and DRIVERS STOP THEIR CARS AUTOMATICALLY!. There are no buttons, beepings, lights, or flashing things to command them to stop. They just do! Which I have to say, I found quite mind boggling. Almost everywhere else I've ever visited, the motor car is king. I'm sorry I misjudged you, Staines.

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