Day 7 – Marlow to Henley

Day 7 of the #185milewaffle – Marlow to Henley accompanied by Otto.

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In the morning I set sail for Kingston to meet Otto, a distinctly friendly Cocker. We were on licking terms within seconds but apparently not entirely reliable in terms of coming back when off the lead. This was the first day where the lead would be in use all day.

Not a huge problem as such, but it does somewhat constrain both dog and walker. There is the ever-present dilemma of whether you stop at every scent and sniff or whether you cut short your four-legged pal’s pleasure and endanger your shoulder with continual restarts.

Given the distance from Kingston, we set off rather late from posh Marlow the situation eased by a handy Costa in the park from which we left.

Another lovely stretch of the river and once again a largely sunny day.

The tow path dives inland after Frogmill and 3 or 4 miles before Henley through some spectacular parkland.

It then returns to the river beside a pub that I’ve known for years but never visited– The Flower Pot at Aston; it actually proclaims itself to be a hotel and we duly got our photo taken under the sign.chrisdog5

A reasonable steak baguette, of which Otto approved– In contrast to his scornful rejection of my dog treats.

Having left the pub I fell in with Jim and Jean Watkins on the walk into Henley. Serious walkers both with a couple of friendly Golden Retrievers (who thought the dog treats were just fine….) Our conversation ensued and they were kind enough to make a donation. Newly retired and slightly bored, he’s contemplating an interesting project for 2017– Paddle boarding down the Thames from the Source to Teddington with his daughter. I wished him luck and promised him reciprocal support if he let me know.

There is no doubt that the walk goes faster when one has companions and conversation. This was an experimental venture in every sense, but I think I would recommend to people that having company is great.

I like Henley and have various historical connections, including having rowed in the regatta

However, as this was the shortest stage on the Thames Path itinerary, I actually wanted to push on and do some more miles to reduce the two following stages which looked to be the longest.

We got to Shiplake where we were picked up by the same taxi driver as had returned Mike, Billy and I to Marlow the day before. He was slightly confused that while I was the same person, I had a different dog and no walking companion…

From Marlow back to Kingston, the traffic was a total nightmare. The walking is reasonably demanding but, on this day, I also ended up spending five hours in traffic which, in the vernacular, really did my head in. While in no way diminishing my gratitude to Amy and Otto, it did reinforce the desirability of the dogs being close to the river as well as the supreme luxury, where possible, of having them delivered and picked up.

And so late to bed, hoping that a lurking discomfort wouldn’t turn into a proper cold and sore throat the next day

Upwards & Onwards.

Chris.


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