Posted by: nickwardscenarios | August 10, 2012

Thames Path

Was hoping to post more pics of visit to Bill Colley at Richmond Bridge Boathouses this morning  but the internet connection here in Kingston is too slow.

Bill Colley is the last wooden sculling boat builder on the Thames.

On his workshop wall is this photo of the legendary Dick Phelps who beat Bill Colley’s father, Bill, in the Doggett’s Coat and Badge in 1923, after Dick Phelps decided to row inside the line of barges between London Bridge and Chelsea, on the flood tide. Bill had been advised by his father, also Bill, to stick to the middle of the river. A bad call as Colley was leading Phelps when Phelps made the move (the wind was against the tide.)

Bill thinks it very unlikely that Eton College will permit a 7 am scull 12 times around the Eton Dorney ‘island’ on Sunday… he would have liked to see my original proposal of a Thames marathon sculling race from The Dome in Greenwich to Richmond Bridge to mark the Opening Ceremony – however, his advice is that I should turn up at 5am, at Eton Dorney – just in case, because that is what I have said I will do.

So I’ll continue this beautiful Thames Path bike ride up to Windsor – maybe I’ll drop into the Eton College Bursar’s office before 5pm. Perhaps they’ll lend me a boat.

I was disappointed to find out that my teaching boat Ivan (pictured here in 2007 at Hammersmith), the boat that Mark Edwards had been storing on the island since December 2007 has disappeared.

At least I got to row a boat over and find out for myself – because Mark had assured me it was safe.

Tough men, these Thames watermen.

‘Should I just give up on this whole idea, Bill?’

‘Never give up.’

added Saturday 11th August, Slough

Tight security around Dorney Lake this morning as Ed McKeever stormed to gold…

‘It’s been a while in coming but it’s finally here with many thanks to the staff at Fusion…’

…this is where I’ll be 5am tomorrow morning  Sunday (posted Saturday 11 August)

Also dropped in to Eton College this morning in search of authority but found the place to be completely deserted.

Also found no sign of life at Eton Racing Boats – have they been driven out of business by the Chinese?

Banjo Nick plays the Waterman’s Arms, Eton

this pair of photos by

thanks, John – it was a lovely afternoon (Sat 11th August?)

Eton blackberries are a rich source of Vitimin C and last night’s shut-eye was sweetly scented:

and sometimes coffee comes free to banjo-picking troubadours



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