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A couple of days in Marlow

Our next target destination was the town of Marlow but first of all we had to get through Henley on Thames. As we have done on recent days, we got up and got going by eight o’clock, this time hoping to get through Henley when the level of river traffic would be low. Expecting the worst, with the regatta only four days away, we made our way into the town and under the bridge. Once through the middle arch of the bridge, we followed the sign which directed us to the left hand side of the river and then we kept to the left hand side of the channel allowing the rowing teams plenty of space between us and the main racing area. It was quite hectic despite the early hour but it all went smoothly and we were glad to reach temple island, knowing that we had reached the end of the racing area and had run the gauntlet successfully.

There had been the odd light rain shower in the first hour of our trip but they hadn’t amounted to much so overall our journey to Marlow was a pleasant one. Finding a good mooring on the Thames is not as easy as on the canals so we couldn’t believe our luck as we passed the park above the bridge. A cruiser pulled away and left a space that looked as if it might just be long enough for us. We turned midstream and attempted to make land in the space between a narrowboat and a small motorboat sitting behind a large cruiser. As in Wallingford, there was little room to spare but we got in although Sue had to move and then re-tie the motorboat before we could finally secure our mooring.

Marlow is another of those places that neither of us have been to before. In fact, I don’t think that we would know anything about it if I hadn’t accidentally driven through it a couple of years ago and thought that it looked like a lovely town.

Our mooring was adjacent to a park and we could see that there was some sort of event going on. Upon further investigation we discovered that there was going to be a triathlon taking place the following day with proceedings beginning with competitor registration between 5.30 and 7.00am! After exploring the town’s main shopping streets, we returned to Caxton and had lunch on the front deck. Our parkside mooring meant that we were part of the scenery and also a tourist attraction so once again we found ourselves being observed by and commented on by visitors to the waterside.

Caxton’s Marlow mooring.

Sure enough, on Sunday morning at the prescribed hour, we were awoken by a tannoy announcement letting us know that we could register for the triathlon event. Within minutes, Sue jumped out of bed and was getting herself ready, determined to be among the early starters. Her bike was sitting gleaming on the bankside ready for the cycling section, she had already pulled on her wetsuit ready for the swim in the Thames when suddenly something didn’t seem quite right. I opened my eyes, and realised that after the initial tannoy announcement I had fallen back asleep and Sue lay still slumbering next to me, completely oblivious to the dream sequence that I had just experienced.

We got up at seven and watched the swimmers who passed between our boat and a couple of floating markers in the water. One swimmer passing by asked Sue if there was any chance that she had a bacon sandwich for him!

Triathlon swimmers just outside our side hatch.

We pottered about indoors until just after eleven when we set off into town and found our way to The Coach. This restaurant is owned by the TV chef, Tom Kerridge and has a slightly unusual approach to serving food. There were very few customers when we arrived at 11.30, lunch service doesn’t start until noon so we had our pick of places to sit. We chose a couple of bar stools in front of the kitchen and had a chat with the head chef who had studied at the University of Leicester. The dishes are varied and are ‘starter’ size and we were told that most people would order two or three dishes each. We had difficulty in choosing from the menu, the dishes all looked appetising but you can’t have them all so we decided to order five of them and share. The dishes were brought to us one at a time and in no particular order. Sitting where we were, we could see the food being prepared before being hand delivered to us by whichever chef had put it all together – very intimate indeed!

After lunch we returned to Caxton and just took it easy for the rest of the afternoon and evening. The structures that had housed the organisation of the triathlon were being pulled down and the crowds were dwindling as we reflected on our couple of days in the wonderful town of Marlow.

A Red Kite hovers above us.

On Monday morning we decided to stay for another day and explore the town more fully when there were fewer people around. We wandered over the bridge and visited the Compleat Angler hotel and spent a bit of time on their terrace overlooking the river. At lunchtime we visited the Marlow Bar & Grill and had another lovely meal in lovely surroundings.

We eventually returned to our mooring and sat in the sunshine just watching the world go by.

Sue keeping a watchful eye on the activities of the river.

This swan bossed the others on this stretch of the river.