By Deborah Stone
“Deborah Stone keeps an eye out for Ratty, Mole, Mr Toad et al on a journey along the River Thames.
“Poop-poop,” I felt like shoting as we set sail down the River Thames, yards from Mapledurham House, the country pile that many believe Kenneth Grahame used as a model for Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows.
Like Toad, I was setting out on an adventure, in my case sailing down Britain’s most written-about river in a cosy Dutch barge, African Queen. I was looking forward to passing any number of river folk – even moles and water rats – and pleased to be following in the wake of Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men ina Boat. First, however, to celebrate the start of out five-day cruise, we enjoyed afternoon tea on deck in the sunshine.
The British appetite for river cruises is growing so rapidly that as well as searching out new itineraries and uncharted territory abroard, we are also looking to our own waterways.
The Thames is a favoured option, although it’s unlikely to challenege the Danube or Rhine in popularity, since ancient low bridges make navigation along the full length of the river a problem. That’s why, on that first day, we sailed only as far as Sonning, where we spent the night moored by Sonning Lock…”
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If you would like to book a serene voyage along the Thames visit www.saga.co.uk/thames for more details or call 0800 056 6071 quoting AQRC2.