The joy of living next door to a Rowing Club

Early in the morning, the crunch of wellington boots heralds the rowing fraternity as they catch the incoming tide from low down on the beach.  Having carried their craft from the boat store, they launch into a rising tide giving the crews the maximum time on the tideway. 

Crane Street has never been busier, the rowers navigating this narrow section of the Thames Path alongside pedestrians, cycles and pushchairs,  traffic volume increasing to meet demands for exercise during the year-long shutdown.  We old folk coming out of our house need to take maximum care.

Riverside pubs and restaurants are now fully open, meaning businesses should return to normality.  New coffee houses and riverside facilities are springing up to service the anticipated recovery. 

The Trafalgar Rowing Club, with its riverside amenities, is open again after such a damaging closure.  The Trafalgar Rowing Centre serves both the Globe and Curlew clubs, although their facilities are out in Docklands alongside City Airport (non-tidal but very exposed to the other elements).  Membership for both is very lively, a very  diverse and jolly group who live far and wide and come from many countries, joining together for the joy of skulling on the tidal Thames.  Sometimes son Ben and his fellow rowers come to 15 Crane Street for coffee and biscuits, keeping us well-informed and much amused.  Most have come to London to work in the City and/or Canary Wharf.  Our riverside deck provides stunning river views, and at low tide the ‘mudlarks’ take over, still finding items of interest as the tide scours the beach below.

As I close, the Lowestoft Drifter slips down on the ebb to continue her summer cruise, having enjoyed weekend jollies at Rotherhithe – part of the ‘Light up Thames’ festival as bridges shine with splendid illuminations.

As reported earlier this year, June brought the second half of the Mayflower celebration which was finally played out on the Thames at Rotherhithe this Friday afternoon, June 4th.  A flotilla of craft joined the Lowestoft Drifter to re-enact the departure of the Pilgrims’ ‘Mayflower’ as the President of the USA visited our shores down in Cornwall at the G7 Conference.  Judy and I spent a pleasant hour or so in this delightful, characterful port savouring the atmosphere of yesteryear with a gathering of river folk, there to wish bon voyage to those onboard for their journey upstream on the  flood tide to Westminster for a welcome from the Speaker and other dignitaries from across the sea in New England.

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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