By The River

A tree-lined section of the River Wensum as it...

A tree-lined section of the River Wensum as it flows through Norwich (Image via Wikipedia)

Following on from yesterdays poem, this is not a story, just memories of my time fishing and generally being on or near the River Thames from my early teens to my mid 20’s.

From an early age I can remember going fishing with my dad on the River Thames at Marlow, Higginson Park to be exact. We used to get up around 4am on a Sunday morning and be beside the river by 5am, watching the sun rise, feeling the warmth of the day as the mist cleared. We used to park the car in Higginson Park, then walk to the river, go under the bridge and walk downstream for maybe a half mile or so, then set up for our mornings fishing.

I don’t remember us catching that much but it didn’t really matter to us. We were out together enjoying the day, talking about whatever we thought about. Me probably talking about school work and dad probably talking about his job driving buses.

We often saw Kingfishers on those early mornings, waiting patiently on a branch for a fish to swim by, I think they caught more fish than we ever did but it was pleasure enough for us to see this wonderful bird going about it’s business.

Dad used to prepare some sandwiches and a flask of tea for our mornings by the river. This was normally taken around 9am as we sat back in our chairs, enjoying the peace of the day and before the river cruisers started up and down the river.

– ~ – ~ – ~ –

At my school we had a teacher who loved rowing, he wasn’t a sports teacher but he was something to do with Marlow Rowing Club. I remember he got several of us lads interested enough to get us down to the club and go rowing in the evenings and on some Saturday mornings. For me it never got any further than training with other crews on the river but it was a fantastic experience for me and one I wish I could have been better at. I used to love being on the water, rowing towards Henley on warm summer evenings.

– ~ – ~ – ~ –

As I grew older, a friend and I used to regularly cycle down to Marlow from the village we lived in, a distance of six or seven miles (I could check but I’m not going to, it would spoil my flow). We used to cycle there when we got bored in the school holidays, then we would simply sit by the river for an hour or two, maybe enjoy an ice cream or cold drink and watch the world float by.

One year, I was fifteen, several of us kids in the village decided we would go camping at Henley. We asked our parents if it would be OK for us to go. We got a couple of our parents to agree to stand as guarantors for us at the camp site that we had already got permission to camp at as long as the parents were willing. We then talking one parent to take down all our camping equipment as we cycled down to Henley for our weeks camping.

I remember having such a laugh with the other kids from the village. It was the first time away from our parents for many of us yet we managed to behave ourselves, having a great time along the way. We ate regular meals that were amazingly properly cooked. We cycled or walked the short distance down to the river most days, just messing about paddling in the water and generally getting soaked and having fun.

This, I’m sure, is were my love of camping holidays comes from.

– ~ – ~ – ~ –

In my early 20’s, I made a couple of friends who lived in Marlow. Every Friday evening I would go down to Marlow and we would go out into the quiet Marlow night life. It was always pubs and they rarely had anything much going on in them but then I’ve always enjoyed quiet places and the pubs we used to frequent were ideal for me. We would talk away the hours, enjoying each others company. I know these Fridays followed a very similar routine but I loved them, they were good friends and great times. I miss those friends and days immensely. Life moves on.

– ~ – ~ – ~ –

My overriding memory of the river is the calmness it brought me. I could sit by the river all day and simply be! It was my place to contemplate life (,the universe and everything 😉 ). Since I moved to Norwich I’ve found such a contemplative place once again and on warm summer days can be found by the River Yare, just a short walk from where I live, or if I’m in the city I love walking along the footpath through the city that follows the River Wensum, finding some quiet spot to sit, relax and enjoy being close by the water.

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6 Comments

  1. I love water, Rivers and seas, Trevor, something calls me and I can sit for ever, just staring and dreaming. So I loved reading this, made me feel so calm and uplifted. thank you my friend.. xPenx

    • No problem Pen, I just felt I had to write about these thoughts today, I’m pleased you enjoyed reading them.

  2. I find water relaxing, Trevor. The sea, a river, the rain – anything to do with water calms me immensely. Great post!

    • Thanks Tom, I love the way water has such a calming influence. I wish I could spend more time by a river simply watching it go by.

  3. from the looks of your post and your commentators, there seems to be a lot of water babies around this place.
    very nice reflection of how a place winds through a life, Trevor.

    • Does that mean we are a bit wet behind the ears? 😉
      I love being by the river and yes Marlow played a big part in the first 25 years of my life. It is a lovely place to be any time of the year.

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