Sunday, 3 June 2012

Thames Pageant from a spectator's point of view

We're recovering in David's house in Blackheath from the rigours of watching the amazing Thames Pageant.

Photos will follow (but mine are rubbish, I'm afraid).

We cycled from Blackheath to Lower Thames Street on the north bank of the Thames. Our position was opposite the Golden Hind, between Southwark Bridge and London Bridge. We got there at about noon, found a raised area from where we had a reasonably good view of the river, and waited.

And waited.

At this stage it wasn't raining, but we did get cold. We were sitting on a concrete bench which seemed to suck out all our body heat. David went off to find a source of insulation and returned with some discarded newspaper. I found some cardboard. It really made a big difference!

A cheer went up when a police launch zoomed past at one point, but the flotilla proper didn't come through until about 4.00 pm. The rowers were spectacular in their colourful parade, but we were all looking forward to the Queen's royal barge. We were not disappointed.

When her boat arrived Her Majesty was immediately visible standing under a canopy in the centre of the vessel. More cheers and much waving of flags from the crowds. The Queen faced our way for much of the time on her way through, waving and smiling as she always does.

Hundreds of other fascinating boats followed as the rain started to fall. The Sea Cadets made an impact in their impressive blue uniforms.

These following boats didn't hold the crowd's fascination, and the numbers by the wall thinned. We moved to the front - and then the narrowboats came, along with the heavy rain.

Andrew Phasey in Doris Katia was one of the first, but we were looking out for Indigo Dream. Steamer President was sandwiched between other narrowboats, so we didn't get a good view. Then, on our side of the river and clearly visible, came Indigo Dream.

"Oh look, it's a Womble!" said someone as Sue, wearing her greyhound costume, came into view. We waved like mad. Richard was steering, and Neil and Kath of Herbie were, we think, at the front with Sue. Jan called out to them, but I don't know if they heard or saw us.

By this stage we were all cold and mostly wet through, so we decided to cycle back to Blackheath. My shorts, which I kept on, are still damp!

Now I'm going to read Indigo Dream's and Herbie's accounts of the day.


Anonymous said...

WE were watching on the box and when the commentator mentioned the narrow boats, I immediately thought it would have been fitting if Jubilee had been among them. Still, how wonderful that your friends were taking part.


Anonymous said...

What a terrific day. Watched from St Katherine's lock next to Tower Bridge with a precious wedge view of the Thames. Jubilant even in the pouring rain. Brilliant, all of it, logistics amazing. (Maybe tooo many gin palaces!). Narrowboats worth waiting for!

Anonymous said...

We're not sure who we saw or heard! We did hear many shouts of "Indigo Dream" as we cruised past and Richard heard someone calling his name - the trouble is that we couldn't make our who was shouting in the sea of faces!

We were grateful for the support though - it was amazing that the spectators stayed out (there were thousands at 10am!). We had no choice but to stick with th paageant but spectators could have gone home and watched the telly!

Keron said...

It seems someone is telling me a beautiful moments of river Thame instead of reading. I can feeling the heavy rain while reading story. Some of my friends visited this beautiful view and got enjoyed having river thames narrowboat hire which was one of the most beautiful moment at river Thame.