Mick suggested that today we do the Thames river cruise that came with our hop-on-hop-off bus ticket. I half expected him to refuse to leave the boat today after his big day out yesterday. We started off walking to Marble Arch down the side streets. We enjoyed seeing all the houses along the way.
We chose a bus route with a live commentator which is easier listening than a headset. The plan was to get off the bus by the Houses of Parliament and take the river cruise back towards Tower Bridge. We had hoped to time it to possibly pass nb Chance on their big trip down the Thames. The bus was slow as there were several traffic holdups. It was held up for so long near Trafalgar Square that we got off and walked down to the river. Looking at the time we decided to take the Tube back to the Tower of London and wait for nb Chance and then take the river cruise back the other way.
Today was the day Doug and James, plus James and Debbie from nb Lois Jane were taking nb Chance from Limehouse to Teddington. We'd come so close to taking our boat on the adventure with them until we found that we wouldn't be able to leave at the same time as them and turn off at Brentford instead of going on to Teddington.
We had a bite of lunch by the river and a walk over Tower Bridge. We chose a point on a jutting out section beside one of the pylons to look out for Chance to appear in the distance. We had a fair idea of the timing and thought they'd be not far away. This morning I chose the brightest top I could find - a bright pink hoodie. As we stood there on the bridge I started a text message to Doug on nb Chance to say we were there ready to take photos and that we'd move down to the river bank to get a shot of them as they emerge from beneath the bridge. Before I had the message complete Mick spotted them. Goodness, they were a tiny dot in the distance. A moment or two later the other boat that went through the lock with them appeared behind. I took a couple of photos and Mick was frantically hurrying me saying that they were moving at such a speed that we'd need to make a run for it to get off the bridge, across underneath it and far along the edge to get the whole bridge in a photo.
We took off. I'm no runner but we ran most of the way, weaving between the people on the stairs. In all the excitement I think Mick totally forgot about the people everywhere. I quickly completed the text message which told them we'd wave from the bank and to look for the bright pink. I could see beneath the nearest arch that they'd come into view and were nearing Tower Bridge. Of all times for a tourist to come up and ask Mick to take a photo of them. My heart was pounding as I saw them emerge through the centre arch of the bridge. I so much wished we could have taken our boat on that journey but looking at the choppy water and the wake from the passing boats I was almost glad we didn't. Bit scary but what an amazing thing to do. I waved madly and suddenly they'd seen me as we saw them waving back. Chance looked so insignificant as much larger boats passed by and then they were alongside HMAS Belfast which is moored on the Thames. Awesome!
We watched them until they disappeared from view and then made our way down to the trip boat. It's a huge thing with lots and lots of tourists onboard. We sat up on the top deck for the best view. It was an enjoyable trip and even Mick said he enjoyed it. At the other end we chatted to an American couple from Florida as we waited for the hop-on-hop-off bus. We took an hour and a half to get back to Hyde Park where we got off and walked the rest of the way. We turned down Queensway to call in at Whiteleys for a couple of things at Marks and Spencer. It's an area I'm familiar with as I usually stay in that area if I visit London. It was only a quick shortcut under the A40 and through a park to get back to the canal where we were moored.
Mick said "Hey!!" when he spotted our boat. A third boat had moored up against nb Winton's Folly. A few more steps and he was smiling. It was nb Josephine. So here we are again, three "V" pontoon moorers from Winter at Aston Marina.
In all, a great day out. Pity about the overcast conditions. It was windy a lot of the day and we had a bit of drizzle here and there. Now well into the evening the sky is blue... bit late now.
Quite a few today:
1. - 14. nb Chance on the Thames
15. Thames river cruise
16. Tower of London
17. Traiter's Gate
18. Tower Bridge
19. HMAS Belfast
20. - 21. Riverside buildings
22. - 25. Bridges along the Thames
26. Oxo tower
27. - 32. Familiar sights around London
33. Lovely old double decker bus