Spooky Thames bike ride

Warning: non-Bongo post!

When you think about cycling along the Thames most people think of the South Bank or pootling along Hampton Court. However the easterly Thames cycle path from Greenwich to Erith has much to offer albeit in a slightly gritty industrial manner.

While Scott took SC swimming this morning I dusted off my bike and headed out in the fog. I have cycled this path in all seasons and it was particularly lovely and appropriately spooky today.

Favourite moments on this ride include Anthony Gormley’s quantum cloud rising up from the mist (at 30m it’s taller than the Angel of the North you know) and the Thames flood barrier disappearing from view.

It was proper water-droplets-on-your-eyelashes foggy but it was lovely to be out and working up a slight sweat (it’s pretty flat, obviously). Just before I turned and headed for home I got chatting to a bloke who claimed that the last time it was so foggy he saw the Woolwich ferry get lost and veer drunkenly about for a bit. He had his brand new out the box 5 day-old baby in a pram so I was pretty impressed that he was dressed and speaking coherently in sentences.

I only got as far as Thamesmead as I had an appointment with a pumpkin and a five year old to get back for but further along I do know there is a splendid sludge burner and you can see seals off the pier in Erith.

Happy Halloween šŸŽƒ

Bernice sets sail in Norfolk

More often than not it seems my birthday falls on the bank holiday weekend (I’m sure that’s not technically correct but don’t work it out for me!). So you’d think that I’d be prepared for one thing and that thing is rain, I’ve had more wet birthdays than I can remember.

Omens were not good as our wheels hit the drive at Sandringham Camping and Caravan club to an accompanying rumble of thunder. Our camping neighbours confidently claimed it would “blow over” just before it went dark as night and this:

Despite many happy years of tent camping I offered a silent prayer of thanks for the wonder of having Bernice as we shut the door on it and put the kettle on.

Weather aside the campsite is a lovely spot in the grounds of Sandringham Country Park. It’s busy, pricier and manicured in the typical “Camping and Caravan Club” way but hey, I like a clean, heated shower block as much as the next person. It’s attractive and wooded with some nice little quirks like occasional wood sculptures and a pretty garden with an insect hotel. There’s a shop for the essentials and the staff are friendly and helpful.

For short campers there’s two playgrounds and a natty noughts and crosses set with stones painted as ladybirds and bumblebees. We requested to be near the playground and virtually had our front wheels touching it which made for a noisy but effectively child-free two days.

Don’t worry, the site is big enough to also be far away from the playground if that is your wish…

The only disappointment on the site is the lack of commitment to recycling. All rubbish gets put in together, the staff at reception said it gets sorted at the plant “allegedly”.

When the storm abated we navigated the lake which had formed outside Bernice and opted for the fish and chip supper option, a local van visits the site regularly. Although the chips are excellent, this is not an option for the hungry. We ordered our chips at 6.10pm and finally picked them up at 7.45pm.

The long wait did mean there was plenty of time for queue chat, how others’ tents had fared in the rain, Ā are caravans better than camper vans (obviously not…) and what IS a trailer tent?? We also picked up some great tips for activities for the following day.