Finding Serenity at Kingston upon Thames (Again)

Posted on 17/07/2022 By

Kingston upon Thames

Trevor in front of Kingston upon Thames bridge.

Kingston upon Thames Bridge.

Bertie: “NO! NO! NO! I’m not going. You must be bleedin mad!”

Bobby: “You aren’t invited, Bertie. I am taking Trevor, to introduce him to Al-Anon and the Angel.”

Bertie: “Good! Bet you don’t get there! Don’t forget its not just the train strike, but the tube strike too.”

I was right, of course. They didn’t get there. But, as Bobby told me, His higher power gave him a day of serenity instead and he didn’t waste it.

But first. Leave home 06:45. Trevor fits neatly in the rucksack. Take a flask of cold drink. Drive to North Cheam and the start of the 93 bus route. To Putney Heath. Change to the 14 to Russell Square. Walk to Islington. Simple.

Bobby's digital radio showing 6:20am

Time to get up, Bobby!

Bobby's card from Diddley. "Love ya, Bobby Ballcock. Hope you're having fun. Diddley."

Read Diddley’s card. (He does this every single morning).

Trevor waiting patiently on the gate, with Bobby's car in the background.

Hurry up Bobby.

Trevor sat on the back seat of Bobby's car.

“At last. I really like my Fulham scarf. It was knitted by Carol, for watching Daisy play for East Preston. But now she is at Brighton and the scarf is perfect for Fulham.”

Five big red double deckers blocked the shops at Priory Road, North Cheam. It was 07:30 and Putney High Street was already gridlocked, according to a driver. “You have no chance of getting there mate.” said the first driver. So he jumped on and went to the next stop to catch a 213.

In Al-Anon, we believe in service. You can’t really fail if you do your best. He had got up early and done his best. So now the day was his. The sun shone and the riverboat at Kingston beckoned. Although not a drinker, a glass of ice cold cider on the Yarmouth Belle as it glided down the river to Richmond was most inviting.

The closed and graffitti strewn HG Wells pub, Worcester Park.

From the 213. The HG Wells pub at Worcester Park. Looks like the Martians have been there.

“This bus terminates here. All off” broke the daydream. Congestion was building up in Kingston. They all got on the next bus and got into Kingston eventually. So just a short walk to Turks Pier to catch the riverboat.

Sign at Turks Pier saying no service until 22 June 2022.

“SORRY NO SERVICE UNTIL 22 JUNE 2022” The next day!

The Yarmouth Belle. White paddle steamer, with blue trim.

The Yarmouth Belle. Saved for another day.

Strangely, he wasn’t even annoyed. Serenity was just round the corner. A seat by the river, to watch the world go by. On land. On water. In the air.

And, an amazing choice of book for Islington, had he got there early. “Caught by the River”. A birthday present from stepdaughter Amber, probably ten years ago. Like many others, lost in the numerous books on the bookshelf until he decided to have a clear out a few days before.

There it was. Brand new and suddenly inviting. And now, through some coincidence, higher power, whatever you choose, he was reading about the River Thames and other rivers … by the River Thames.

Finding Serenity at Kingston upon Thames

Eamonn in Kingston.

“I like days out.”

Canada Geese on Hogsmill River, in a man-made channel through Kingston.

Hogsmill River.

Clattern Bridge, Kingston.

Clattern Bridge.

Blue sign: "Clattern Bridge, which crosses the Hogsmill River, is one of the oldest bridges in Surrey and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The earliest known referenceis in a deed of 1293 and the medieval name, "Claterynbrugge", is thought to have been descriptive of the sound of horses crossing the bridge. The stone arches on the downstream side are the oldest parts of the bridge which until the mid nineteenth century was only 8 feet wide."

Trevor looking at six cygnets.

Six cygnets.

Sign on top of a boat requesting people not to throw their cigarette ends onto the boats or pontoons!

Oi! Don’t chuck your fag ends at all. Give up smoking!

Narrow boat with synthetic grass on the roof along with flower-filled planters.

Whacko boat.

Swans and a couple of Canada Geese on the Thames.

And all the Queen’s, apart from two Canada Geese.

Trevor, with Bobby's book "Caught by the River".

Lovely book to read by the river.

Jackdaw sat expectantly on a bench by the Thames.

Jackdaw. Waiting.

Three OAPs rowing on the Thames.

OAPs… Staying alive.

A rowing boat on the Thames with two older people in it alongside some Canada Geese with some boats moored on the opposite bank.

It’s easy downstream. But have they got to comeback upstream? Shouldn’t think so.

Trevor on the Thames riverside walk.

Lots of pushchairs and families enjoying the riverside walk.

Trevor on the Thames riverside walk.

Oldies too, in their electric scooters.

The stuffed toy in the dog's mouth.

Any idea what his soft toy might be?

Couple cruising in a motor launch on the Thames.

Surrey with a fringe on top.

Small motor boat in Ukrainian colours with a Ukrainian flag.

Lovely old boat. Anyone know what type it is?

Trevor looking at a sign on a bench: "David John Lefebvre 1940-1993 My gentle giant. To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is never to die."

Ummm? Lovely words.

Singapore Airlines A380.

Singapore Airlines A380.

Party hire boat, the Clifton Castle.

Clifton Castle. Built 1926. All the way from Hampton Court to Kew and Westminster. Umm quite fancy that. Old age has a certain soporific affect for lazing about. But, it’s a hire boat for parties of people or just parties. Turks Launches are the boats to just jump on at Hampton Court, Kingston or Richmond.

Trevor on the Thames riverside walk with a smart cruiser going by.

Posh boat.

Canbury Gardens, Richmond

Sandwiches from Waitrose and then onto beautiful Canbury Gardens on the Richmond side of Kingston Bridge. The hours slipped by, and it was seven o’clock before they dragged themselves away for the surprisingly uneventful journey home.

A serene view of the Thames, with boats, Swans and Canada Geese.

He had found Serenity at Kingston upon Thames (again). His higher power had given him a god-sent day and he wasn’t going to waste it.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley

A candle lit for Diddley.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

(Serenity Prayer using “God” as the god of your understanding)


  1. Dave says:

    Many memories for me on your journey. Sad to see the HG Wells in such a sorry state, I remember it as the Drill back in the day, a Courage house then. Fishing the Thames at Canbury Gardens, when there was a power station, pushing warm water out into the river.
    Happy days.

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