Ea­gles by the Thames

Canal Boat - - Letters - JACK REAY, via email

I EN­JOYED READ­ING Neil Bar­nett’s let­ter ( CB, Apr) re­gard­ing us­ing his boat to get to Birm­ing­ham City Football Club. It re­minded me of a trip I made a few years ago.

I had tick­ets to see the Amer­i­can rock band The Ea­gles, who were ap­pear­ing at Twick­en­ham Rugby Sta­dium. Hav­ing checked that the Thames tides were okay – not per­fect, but ac­cept­able – we de­cided to make the trip by water.

We left our home moor­ing in East Lon­don on Satur­day morn­ing and we were at Lime­house to lock out at mid­day as the Thames was on its fi­nal ebb.

What I hadn’t re­alised was that the trip co­in­cided with the Queen’s of­fi­cial birth­day and Troop­ing of the Colour. As we passed un­der Tower Bridge, we were aware that a Gun Salute was tak­ing place at the Tower of Lon­don. As we sailed past, close to the can­nons, they fired (thank­fully blank shells) over the top of us. Next, we were ap­proached by the river po­lice, to check whether we were up to no good. Happy that we in­tended no harm, we were al­lowed to pro­ceed on our way, just as the fly­past for the Queen’s birth­day went over­head.

We made good progress as the flood tide caught up with us, but that didn’t stop us run­ning aground in mid-chan­nel outside Ful­ham’s football sta­dium, much to the amuse­ment of the (then) man­ager who gave us a wave. After ten slightly em­bar­rass­ing min­utes, we floated off and were un­der­way again, up to Ted­ding­ton.

Twick­en­ham Sta­dium is a short walk from Ted­ding­ton, and we had a great evening at the concert, fol­lowed by a glass or two of wine on the front deck when we got back.

Next morn­ing, we found our­selves in the mid­dle of a boat gather­ing, rais­ing money for the RNLI. Sadly, we couldn’t stay as we had to catch the ebb tide to get us back to East Lon­don. The re­turn trip was un­event­ful and we were back home by early evening.

An amaz­ing week­end, which will live long in the mem­ory.

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