The Cutter Meander began at the Eton Masters’ Boat House in bright sunshine, but that did not last long. As we rowed down some stunning stretches of the Thames, with overhanging trees and lovely riverside homes, so the black clouds bubbled up followed by torrential rain. We may as well have had a shower with our clothes on! However this did lead to an unscheduled stop at Wraysbury Rowing Club, which kindly put the kettle on and warmed us up.
After a day that seemed to pass very quickly we stayed overnight at Chertsey and had a really very jovial dinner at Thames Court, a lovely pub by Shepperton Lock. The building was previously the Dutch Ambassador’s weekend residence. Those were the days! We managed to have everyone back on board by 0830 on Sunday, not realising that we had a tough row ahead. There were some long stretches between locks and we didn’t have time on our side. But the sun had come out and sun tans, or in my case redness, were in the offing.
At Hampton Court we picked up our regular cox , Oliver Lee, who could not join us for the whole event due to GCSEs. He did, however, have a summer job interview with Turks Launches (Thames pleasure boats) and we thought that it would be a good idea if he arrived by boat. After bringing us alongside perfectly just outside the Turks office in Kingston, he had his interview and got the job. Well done Oli.
From there, we raced on to our next stop, the garden of Sir Don Gosling. He showed us some wonderful hospitality, providing champagne (his own label) and sandwiches. Just what we needed in order to carry on. Thus fortified, the Cutter crew ploughed on to Ham and joined fellow Barbers for a most welcome picnic. A number of people, including the Master, then came out in the Cutter for a paddle around Eel Pie Island, before we all retired back to Richmond and the end of our first, and I should like to think, very successful meander.