A New Year’s outing as time marches on



For some twenty years or so we have endured a weekend treat as the Globe RC next door prepare their fragile craft for an early morning outing on the tideway, adjusting their blades as they board gingerly from the foreshore into the tidal Greenwich Reach of Father Thames.  Soon they are a tiny speck out on the broad tideway which is bounded by enormous new structures on the Isle of Dogs and on Greenwich Peninsula.

Both Canary Wharf and down towards the O2, giant cranes lift building materials high onto the new, lofty structures which are forever growing, providing fast business in the financial sector in spite of Brexit fears!

Likewise, we are in need of an occasional outing away from my self-imposed studio commitments.  A 50-minute trip down the M2 brings us to our ‘R & R’ retreat located on the broad, open estuarial reaches of the Thames at Faversham – a historic market town and ancient port.  For some 50 years or so, we have retreated to a tiny ‘two-up two-down’, built for workers in the nearby gunpowder ‘field’ which supplied both the Army and Navy with the necessary – convenient for the 1918 trenches (lest we forget) and nearby Chatham Naval Base.  They were reliant on local shipping for safe convenience.  Local quays and wharves played an important role.  Thus a regular inspection over the winter months is necessary to see how our end-of-terrace cottage is weathering the elements; also to clear away the excessive circulars which soon mount up over the quarterly bills which demand our instant attention.

One of our delights is to visit our favourite waterside pasta restaurant, delightfully sited in a provender mill with much Neapolitan charm and nosh.  As we arrived we were greeted with extra broad smiles with the news that we were the first customers to experience their latest makeover:  newly varnished, glossy wooden floors, new colour scheme and totally new tables, chairs and benches.  Soon to be crowded with family birthday celebrations, we ordered our usual pasta vongole and reviewed the changing ambience.  Shame the chef was still on Christmas leave!

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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