*ok, ok, this one had a touch of the epic to it. Just not that much, so don’t get your hopes up too much!

TL;DR: I walked, a lot. I saw a comics exhibit and a funny play

Today was the first (and hopefully not last, oh my aching calves!) day of my epic journey across London. I mentioned this before, but I’ll reiterate for those that only read the first couple of paragraphs: I intend to walk the entire length of the Thames Path, or at least that part which is contained within the limits of London. This constraint is important as it cuts a 290 km walk to a mere 80 km.

From Richmond Bridge

I started off relatively early, getting out of the hotel fed and washed and feeling good about my prospects at 7:50 am. A DLR, tube, and commuter rail ride later, I found myself at Richmond Rail station. (Here’s the point when you say, “but Chris, surely the start of the London leg of the Thames path starts at Hampton Court!” And you would be correct. I’m being cheap. Hampton Court is a £17 ride during the week, £8 on weekends. Eh.)


Before I started, I knew this walk would be a slog. It’s the longest one I have planned, and I had decided to start off on the North Bank (um, capitalization!) to shave a couple of kilometres off my total for the day. This was a mistake. The north bank of the Thames Path was annoying because it didn’t spend a heck of a lot of time being anywhere near the river from whence came its name, rather it spent a lot of time on high streets, or in industrial parks, or pretending I was Mario (see below). Meanwhile, the glimpses I had of the south bank were of verdant idylls, people strolling, smiles on their faces, not worrying a whit about lorries the width of the street coming straight at them. Oh, how I envied those people. It wasn’t all bad; for instance I passed a dry dock where these awesome dudes were reassembling a ye olde Thames barge into something awesome-balls, and I sadly saw two kids kicking a ball. It was sad because one had a terrible habit of toe-pegging it, and it ended up on the deck of a derelict barge in the middle of the Gand Union Canal. I left them calling hopefully to the boat, just in case someone happened to live there.


Finally, finally! I reached Kew Bridge, the point were I meant to join these shiny happy people. I crossed the Kew Bridge to cheers and welcomes and an explosion of confetti. Ok, not really. But it did get better. The biggest industry I passed were rowing clubhouses, and Kew Gardens. And pubs. Yes pubs. The entire time I was on the north bank, not one pub. South? Pub-a-rub-a-dub. Didn’t really matter on the north anyway, since it was so early, but I was starting to get hungry, and I wanted something more than another amusingly filled sandwich. So I idylled in a most sylvan manner, until I reached The White Hart in Barnes. I was hot when I got there. Very hot. Too hot, even. I ordered my food and my pint and took a seat by the river, in the shade. The bartender asked me, when I ordered, if the wind had died down. I hadn’t noticed any wind, but I had my trusty backpack on, and the canopy of green sheltered me from whatever Mother Nature sent my way. No longer true once I sat, wind on my wet (sorry, but it’s true and I strive to paint the most accurate picture I can for you, dear reader) back, and I found myself thankful for packing my sweater. The food was good, the loo hilarious (see the sinks below, and, while the rest of the pub was quietly playing unobtrusive poppy type music, the bathroom speakers were playing a reading of Cinderella. Seriously.), the beer tasty, and the service very friendly. A couple of guys came with a dog and they brought out a water bowl for the pooch. Very nice.

I realized when I left that I had reached the time that I had estimated I’d be done with the trek, and I still had about five and a half kilometres to go. Oops! I decided it would be a good idea to skip the Great British Beer Fest at this point, since I still had a full roster of things I wanted to accomplish today. Sorry folks, no update on that, I’m afraid! I idylled, and idylled, being passed by cyclists, saying good morning to dog walkers, being amazed at the fitness (and the free time available to do this at 11 am) of the joggers, or, I should say, runners, since there was not one amongst them that ran less than 15 km/h. I, in comparison, strolled to the point of walking backwards.

South Bank

My body started complaining moments before Putney Bridge came into view. Timing! And as my body started complaining, I had my first (and only) run-in with a kamikaze cyclist, resulting in me stepping to the side, right into a patch of really hard, really sharp thorns! Ouch! Blood everywhere! But no matter, I persevered and all that.

mario barrels

Having decided not to go to the GBBF, and having only arrived at the tube at 2:15, I headed to the British Library for their Comics Unmasked exhibit.  Interesting, and all-consuming, and occasional naughty bits.

I intended on going to the mass signing at Forbidden Planet next, but I arrived early. Aha! I thought. I will walk to the theatre to pick up my ticket for Perfect Nonsense, have dinner and walk back to the bookshop! This way I’ll know how long I can stay without missing the play. It turned out that while it was only a 10 minute walk, my feet did protest too much, and I ended up sitting outside St. Martin’s for a bit, people-watching and starting to draft this. I didn’t eat in the crypt this time. I went, but nothing appealed. Instead I ate at Chandos, an opera bar near the theatre.

The play was a treat. I’m working on a proper review of it, which I’ll post later.

Finally a trip on a double-decker home (or, to the DLR) and to bed!

Note that the TL;DR is more to the point this time, as I actually wrote it last! Ha! In fact, I haven’t written it yet as I type this! Ha! Hopefully I don’t forget to put it in now! Ha?