August bank holiday weekend


On the August bank holiday weekend, I stayed with my parents and we did a bit of walking. Rather than do separate entries, I thought I might as well put it all on one page.

Thames Path: Abingdon to Oxford

First, in light rain, we looked for the abbey remains in Abingdon. There aren't any, but we walked through the park where they'd been. Incidentally, the abbey had diverted the flow of the river to benefit their mills; it used to go somewhere else. Abbeys around the area seemed to make a habit of that.

The actual path took us beyond the lock and across a weir bridge, then snaked in confusing directions through some kind of swamp. The rain picked up, so we had water on basically all sides plus above. It was interesting.

Eventually the rain paused and we ate lunch on a convenient bench beside a private school's boathouse.

Floating walkway.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′11″N 1°13′20″W

The next part of the path went by farmland and planted trees.

Clouds in one direction...
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′19″N 1°13′20″W
...and very black ones in the other. (Dad turning back to look at them.)
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′38″N 1°13′33″W

Rain soon resumed, and we came to a railway bridge on which a long train of anonymous blue wagons had halted. The complete lack of names or information on the side looks kind of sinister, but I eventually discovered the reason. It's a rail branch that only goes to a BMW plant. Presumably putting a logo on the wagons would encourage people to steal the cars out of them.

Train, nice bridge, rain.
1/250 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200 51°43′16″N 1°14′33″W
Train again.
1/125 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200 51°43′16″N 1°14′33″W

The train pulled away again and we continued under another bridge with impressive Paddington Bear graffiti, and then to the lock at Iffley where we crossed over to take a look at the town. Oh, and it stopped raining properly this time.

St. Mary's Church. Apparently it's Norman.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°43′38″N 1°14′18″W
This pillar is supposedly made of black marble, although it just looks like knackered wood.
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Iffley Parochial School, winning the 'which date requires most Roman numerals' competition.
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Weir by the lock.
1/60 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°43′43″N 1°14′23″W
Bridge over portage channel.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°43′47″N 1°14′25″W

We returned to the path, getting pretty close to Oxford now.

A beautiful pea-green boat.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°43′51″N 1°14′28″W
Salter's Steamers (pleasure cruise company) boathouse.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°44′4″N 1°14′31″W

A line of college boathouses made clear that we'd got to Oxford.

Distinguished brick-built ones (the others are mostly ugly).
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°44′31″N 1°14′56″W
Reflection and poles. (This is some kind of backwater.)
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Kind of looks like a railway bridge, but I think it's for pedestrians. Graffiti: SOAK FLIE 2010 BWS.
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Nice buildings.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°45′5″N 1°16′20″W

We reached the station, and got a train back. Evidence suggested that it had also rained in Staines.

As the famous rhyme states, 'the rain in Staines falls mainly on blocked drains'.
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800

Oxford to Eynsham

No I've never heard of Eynsham either; it's actually the halfway point of a Thames Path section, with two advantages over walking the full section: first, unlike the actual end point it has regular buses, and second, we didn't really feel like a fourteen mile walk that day.

Along the first part of the path, there were absolutely zillions of cyclists. Not surprising, perhaps.

Graffiti: SOAK again (to right, don't know left one).
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Looking across the river.
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We reached Godstow Nunnery, which apparently was an abbey of somewhat ill repute. Only a chapel (?) remains, and it isn't in terribly good condition, but you can go inside.

Outer wall and storage container.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200
Scaffolding shadows.
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Another corner.
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Door to precincts.
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1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200

The river did crazy S-bends for a bit which the path faithfully followed (we could have cheated by following a more direct farm track, but didn't) until it reached a lock, where Mum and Dad went to look at their new environmentally-friendly building with some kind of exhibition, and I stood outside in the (fairly brief) rain.

Further on, we had lunch sitting on a confusing but comfortable tangle of felled tree.

River and narrowboat.
1/250 at f11, 23mm, ISO200
Tangle against sky.
1/500 at f4, 23mm, ISO200

The rest of the path basically ran through pastureland for some distance to Eynsham.

Weir flowing out of the Thames.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200
Yellow sign (interesting typography).
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Another weir.
1/30 at f16, 23mm, ISO200

Eynsham looks like a tiny town/village in the middle of nowhere, but actually has an impressive amount of what you could almost call industry.

Siemens Magnet Technology (claims to be world's leading manufacturer of superconducting MRI magnets).
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Odds and ends outside it.
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Vent pipe.
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BOC facility supplying liquid helium/nitrogen for magnet plant.
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On the other side of the town, there's more; another helium gas depot (Air Liquide this time). There's an industrial estate (some parts empty) where the old railway station used to be.

Large new fence protecting the empty industrial building's car park from the public right of way behind.
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1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200

After that we went back to the pub in the market square for a drink before getting the bus back to Oxford.

Capital Ring: Richmond to Wimbledon Park

On Sunday afternoon Mum and I walked some of the Capital Ring. (Dad was taking pictures at carnival.)

We started at Richmond and walked to Wimbledon Park.

An auspicious start: it poured with rain. (Loads of people were sheltering under this bridge.)
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°27′27″N 0°18′19″W

The rain didn't last too long, but I didn't find very much to photograph anyway. Still, it was a pleasant walk through Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common.

1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′13″N 0°14′11″W

Wimbledon Common has a windmill in. There's a museum with small scale models of windmills from all over the country, and an unspecified modern wind turbine to the same scale which is rather less small. And you can climb up to what used to be the working part of the mill. (If all that doesn't appeal? The shop sells 'rare' Wombles soft toys for £8.)

Notes recording work on the windmill.
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Looking up further into the cap part. (You aren't allowed to go up the ladder on left.)
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO1600 51°26′15″N 0°13′53″W

Later, we saw people playing tennis in Wimbledon, which is a first for me (okay, I might have accidentally caught a glimpse of it on a TV at some point). I suspect the public tennis courts in Wimbledon Park are not actually where the tournament's played, but who knows.

We got the District Line from Wimbledon Park station, Mum to South Kensington where she was going to one of the Proms concerts, and me back to Richmond and then Staines.

Earl's Court station.
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My niece

On Monday morning, my brother and his wife came to visit with their baby.

Rose x2. (Thanks to the marvel that is depth-of-field, the pink Rose in the background is slightly blurred. But the one in the foregound is quite sharp.)
1/250 at f4, 23mm, ISO200

After lunch we went for a short walk. Well, some of us walked. The baby got pushed.

Security grate.
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Staines Tinware Mfg. Co. Ltd. (as per sign; probably the business was actually called something else of late) closed a few years back; thanks to the recession it hasn't yet been turned into a whole estate of tiny, ugly houses.

Office reflection 1.
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Office reflection 2.
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All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.