I’ve been meaning to write this post for many months. I’ve held back, as I’m worried that neither my photos nor I can do it justice. It’s about a beautiful walk that lasts no more than 10 minutes if you walk at normal pace, longer if you stroll along and appreciate everything on its way like I do. It’s a walk that has given me many enjoyable moments, many great memories. A walk that I drove for an hour to when I went back to England earlier this year, just so I could do the walk again. The Queen Promenade walk along the River Thames is so called, not because of England’s present Queen, but Queen Victoria who personally inaugurated it in 1856.
很久之前已想寫這篇文章，但文彩實在太爛，怕虧待它。 這是一個在泰晤士河邊散步的經歷， 快則十分鐘可走完。想慢慢感受整個過程可以走很久。 今年初回英國度假，我專程開了一個小時車回到這裏， 再度感受這經歷。
My sanctuary on the ait
My walk starts at this point on the River Thames in Surrey, 10 miles outside of London. This little island is called Raven Ait, an ait being a little river island on the Thames. It’s only 2 acres big and the building is used to host private functions and weddings. The only access to the ait across the 100m stretch of river is via their private boats.
散步起點在泰晤士河中這小島對出。 這小島很有趣 一定要乘搭島上餐廳的私人船隻才能到達。
I always wonder what it would be like to be on the ait, all be myself, my private sanctuary, looking back out to the rest of the world going about their business. I guess I will never know.
My destination are those buildings at the far end of the river, Kingston upon Thames. I did say my photos won’t do this walk justice. You can’t feel the serenity and calmness from the river, the gush of excitement as the bird flies towards you, nor hear the children’s laughter as they come out to play on this cold winter day.
終點是遠處見到的建築物。 從照片中很難感受河畔散步的平靜， 鳥兒迎面而來的感受， 和小孩子嬉戲的歡笑聲。
The boat ride that never was
Along this stretch of the river are many boat trips to take you upstream to Hampton Court and downstream to Richmond. They only run during the summer, and gets quite busy as it’s popular with local tourists. Hampton Court and Richmond are two of the most beautiful and affluent places along the Thames in rural London. Every summer I said I’d go on the boat trip. Summer came and went eight times, and then I moved away. I never went on the boat trip.
Ice cream on the bank
Mid way during the walk is the Riverside Cafe, great to grab a cup of coffee and sit outside on the river bank to savour the tranquility. The cafe used to be quite run down, they’ve modernised it now, or at least the exterior. Perhaps the big swan is a saying hello to all the other swans in the river.
沿途有一家咖啡店 ，在這裏買杯咖啡坐下來看看河邊風景十分寫意。 記憶中我只光顧過一次，買了一杯冰淇淋坐在河邊草地上欣賞對岸美景。
Like the boats, the cafe closes during winter. Not that it mattered me as I’ve never been inside. Actually, I’m lying. I did buy an ice-cream there one summer, and sat outside on the grass bank eating it, thinking how lucky I am to enjoy all this beauty. This is the beauty I’m talking about, taken on my way back later on during the day.
Sailing on the Thames
My favourite part of the walk are along these tall trees that line the other side of the bank. These trees are part of the ecological system here, and an integral part of the sailing community. Sailing is a very popular sport in this neck of the woods. A few years ago someone, I think it was some crazy money grabbing property developers, wanted to chop downs these trees. All the locals and sailing clubs came out to protest as these trees form part of our unique environment for sailing. Luckily common sense prevailed.
帆船活動在這附近非常流行。一排排高聳 的樹 形成這裏的自然生態環境， 非常適合練習各類帆船運動。
The Queen’s swans
Did you know that all the unmarked swans along the River Thames are owned by the Queen? In the third week of July every year (next week as I write) there is a ceremony called Swan Upping, a five day ceremony which has been held since the 12th century to audit the swans on the Thames. I always used to keep stale bread in my freezer and take them along to feed the swans in summer. My best memories are bringing my visitors’ children here to feed the swans. Their squeal, their laughter, and excitement of throwing bits of bread into the river is just priceless, I didn’t have any bread with me this day, and there were no swans to be seen. Too bad, but memories will suffice.
小知識，你知道英國泰晤士河上的天鵝是屬於英女皇擁有嗎？ 以前家中吃不完的麵包我會放在冰箱裏， 去散步時會帶到河邊餵天鵝。 有朋友到訪，我必定會帶他們的孩子到河邊餵天鵝。聽到他們的歡笑聲，又愛又怕天鵝，簡直是無價的經歷。可惜今天沒有麵包，也沒有天鵝，只有回憶。
My favourite boat
We’re nearing the end of the walk now, and Kingston Bridge is ahead of us. It’s getting busier with flats, shops and bars along the river. There are more people who moor their boats along this stretch of the river.
I’m glad my favourite boat is still here after all these years. So good to see you again. Every now and then the boat owner changes the decorations on the top of the boat. In February, there’s still has an Xmas doggy here to keep the spring lambs company. By easter it will be adorned with easter eggs and chicks, summer and autumn has its own theme. Haloween is always interesting, and Christmas festive. Why! Oh why! Did I not take photos of them when I had a chance?
河上有不少船隻停泊在岸邊。 我最喜歡的一隻多年來還在，很高興又見到你喔！ 船主非常有心思，在船頂擺了不少擺設。不同季節會換上不同的裝飾。 每次經過總會見到有人在拍照，絕對是河邊的打卡熱門點。
All good things must come to an end
All good things must come to an end, including my 10 minute walk which I’ve tried to stretch out as far as possible. Reaching the Kingston Bridge marks the end of my tranquility. I wish I could keep going. Another time. Hopefully.
儘管已慢慢走這段十分鐘的路程，但隨著 到達Kingston Bridge我美好的經歷也需要結束。 或許有一天有時間，可以不停地繼續往前走，一直慢慢享受在河邊悠遊漫步的感受。