Kingston on Thames is a great town and we thoroughly enjoyed our overnight stay there. It is an ancient market town where Saxon Kings were once crowned. There were markets on both the Friday and Saturday and it was great seeing all the lovely fresh produce at terrific prices. The atmosphere here needs to be experienced, with market stall holders spruiking their wares and trying to outdo other stall holders with their specials. Five avocados for £1 quickly escalated to 7 avocados for £1 and 3 eggplants for £1 went to 5 for £1. As the day progressed and the stall holders wanted to go home a box of vine ripened tomatoes that was £3 a kilo suddenly became £3 for a whole box!
|List of Kings crowned at Kingston|
We set off from Kingston at midday on Saturday, with our crew of Kevin, moi, Ryan, cousin Roger and pilot Bill, to meet the last of the incoming tide. Consequently progress was slow but once the tide turned our speed quickly picked up and we were hurtling ( well as much as you can on our barge!!) down the Thames. Against the tide we were struggling to do 3 knots but with the tide we were hitting 8knots.
|Westminster Palace and Big Ben|
It was interesting seeing the sites along the Thames from the perspective of our boat rather than from ground level.
|Tower Bridge and the Shard|
Once we passed the O2 Arena, our next hurdle was the Thames barrier but as the tide was still running out there was no issue. As it was now nearing the end of the tidal run and we had been going for about 6 hours our pilot decided it would be prudent mooring on a Buoy off Gravesend. We had to be pretty secure as the tide would turn twice before we took the challenge of the Channel.
|The tide is out at Gravesend|
|Our mooring for the night|
|Sunset on Day 1|
As the sun set on our first day we had dinner and planned the strategy for the coming day - it was going to be a long one with a departure from Gravesend at about 10am and arrival in Calais predicted to be about Midnight.