Thursday, 18 September 2008

homeward bound

It had turned into balmy evening by the time I left the office, so I was tempted into taking a stroll home via Richmond Park. Entering the park at the Kingston gate I decide to take the footpath as this follows the contour gently up and I wanted to bask in the early evening sun and enjoy the view west as I gained height. Green parakeets and jackdaws competed in their cacophony as they perched in the trees as I passed along the path. I picked up the Capital Ring just south of Pembroke Lodge and as I followed this the stunning view west down the Thames valley appeared from behind the screening horse chestnut trees. Late in the day the long sun painted an autumnal picture across the valley. The Capital Ring path drops steeply down to Petersham gate from Pembroke Lodge, and at the gate I gave some directions to a pork pie hat wearing Japanese guy who's evening walk in the park was to be fortified by a coffee and a pastie carry out from that Cornish pie shop chain.

I'm glad that the local council has put a pelican crossing here because it's always been a difficult place to cross especially as at the lights 50m to the right aren't set to allow pedestrians an easy crossing. Zig zagging around the Dysart and the church where George Vancouver lies buried (the mariner who the island and city are named after) the path crosses Petersham meadow where cattle graze in an echo of more bucolic times before.

Entering Buccleuch Gardens where the Capital Ring joins the Thames Path and I hold open a gate for a cyclist. We swap smiles and pleasantries as she passes through. I realise that I've been lucky with the tide, I can see that the grass area close to the river has had sights of recent flooding and as I pass the rowing club the tarmac'd towpath it is wet and greasy. The Thames flows with a sense of urgency down stream but being aware that the tide has been and gone I can relax knowing the route home is without detour.

The riverside pubs and bars of Richmond have a returning collection of punters mopping up drink, and the dregs of the evening sun as the river retreats.

The sun finally disappears as I pass the Asgill Beech and without a cloud in the sky I know that the temperature will start to drop. And as I walk along the towpath that edges Old Deer Park before crossing Richmond Lock, a short distance from home, I can smell the inevitable change in the season.

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