25 February 2010

From Putney to Waterloo

My second outing In Real Life with the members of the on-line Kingston and Richmond Social Group was another physical one as we walked from Putney Bridge along the Thames to Waterloo in the centre of London.

For no logical reason I assumed that we would be walking along the south side, a walk I have done several times but always in the other direction, and I was looking forward to seeing familiar sights from different angles. So I was surprised when we set off along the north bank in to unknown territory.

Part of the reason for my surprise was that my views of the north bank from walking on the south is that large sections are occupied by industry and access to the river is limited. And so it proved to be as we wandered the mean streets of Putney and Chelsea.

But the river was never that far away and we did get to enjoy it for some long stretches that became longer as we followed the river through west London.

A food and drink stop in Chelsea also allowed us to examine the locals who entertained us with their tweed jackets (men) and tight jeans tucked in to boots (women).

There were around fifteen of us in the group and I had plenty of opportunity to decent opportunities to talk to most of them, which produced more surprises.

Firstly, most of them were not English and I found myself talking to people from Italy, Finland, Switzerland, Japan and Germany. The second surprise is that only one of the people that I spoke to actually lives in Kingston or Richmond. Most of them had seen the event on the Meet-up website and just fancied a walk.

The weather held out too and the hats and gloves that we started the walk in were gradually put away as the sun did its best to keep us warm and to brighten the views. Lots of photos were taken in gratitude.

The mix of the day was just right and I came home on the train relaxed and fulfilled. This is what weekends are for.

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