It came as no surprise to any of us that the plan for departure on our #ThatLondon trip was nothing but completely undone by events of the morning. This is the standard operating procedure on any holiday we undertake.
Today, though, unlike normal trips on the UK mainland, had a guaranteed departure time. The 7yo finished her acting/dance classes at 1pm and the idea was to collect her, return promptly to the M42 and head south by south east for Ham Island, nestling within the surrounding touches of the Thames within a stones-throw of Windsor.
The car troubles we've had since a bump on the 13th of May (note the date...) reared their head again delaying us to the point of my dashing Bromsgrove-bound to collect T and return home to squeeze the others in and begin our journey. We were not happy, late, and very not amused.
The M40 is an old friend and the 90 minutes trip was dispatched with ease, kids and wife in the back snoozing or playing on the DS, with me in the driver's seat annoying the mother-in-law by pinching her mints as we cruised along.
Ham Island is rather strange. We'd googled the place to get an idea of the layout and how the land lay, but without street view this gives a very one-dimensional picture that reality quickly overtakes – today would be no different. It's where the Thames forms, most probably, an ox-bow lake, but the waters have yet to dry to nothingness, and boats, barges and all manner of water-borne craft drift by. The 'island' is accessed by a single single-lane bridge over the water and you turn a smart right to the line of houses that track the path of the river.
Now, we knew it was on the river and thought the views would be lovely, but as you can see they are just fantastic. There's a weir off to our left under the bridge that allows the local home-owners access to their launches on the other side of the water. We explored the house, cooing, smiling, forgetting all about the awful morning we endured. Swans and ducks swam close to the water's edge, persuaded by bread thrown by Gran and the kids. The little ones charged round the place endlessly, happy in their surroundings.
Dinner dispatched, we trecked slowly back towards the bridge to cross the water and walk a while, drinking in the views and the sounds of the Thames sweeping on past. Our walk was warm, long, and very enjoyable. We gazed longingly at homes with tracks down to the waters edge where tables and chair waited for those with glasses and popped bottles – their jovial voices carrying across the water to greet us. The path was quiet and we meandered along, laughing, snapping, smiling. A lovely end to what promised to be an awful day.
Whatever happens on our adventures in London and the many theme parks we're planning to visit, at least we know that a calm and peaceful retreat awaits at the end of all the madness.