Bank Holiday Saturday
Young Jim Crow, born on the roof of the Trafalgar Tavern (or should I say hatched?) – his attentive parents swoop down to the foreshore collecting titbits which hadn’t already been spotted by the local gulls (they had been busy soaring to the heights catching high-flying insects in the heat of the late afternoon sun). Now young Jim was out and about on his own. He alighted onto the roof of the next door rowing club and, to my amazement, pointed his beak to the skies and caught fresh rain drops. Well, dash it all, it was just before five and we mortals are ready for our first drink of the evening too!! I wonder if Jim investigated the tall ship fleet for other crows bound for Holland?
Likewise, a newly arrived Thames Barge moored up just downstream of our local PLA lighter prior to an evening cruise. The lighter is very useful as it’s comparatively easy for visiting craft to come alongside. We had the privilege of the company of a two-masted barquentine prior to the Tall Ship weekend – a perfect replica of an eight-gun man of war which I had scanned through my binoculars watching every movement of crew and visitors coming to and fro from the foreshore in the ship’s boat. I instantly realised how shipping of yore used to cope prior to docking further upstream. It is said that the Doge would not permit Venetian galleys to proceed further upriver than Highbridge and that their cargoes were indeed landed on to awaiting horse-drawn carts from the foreshore – still much used by my next door rowing clubs. The aging historic gates have, alas, been replaced by a severe steel gate mounted into a concrete barrier. The ever-changing river beach comes and goes, especially now that the Thanes Clippers surge past at such a pace, scouring the foreshore, exposing medieval mooring pasts and the pier in front of Placenta and the Old Royal Navel College.