Saturday 20 June

Today I resumed a walk along the River Medway. We started at Barnes Street and walked along the Wealdway till we reached the river. It was ideal walking weather, sunny and dry but not too hot. Also the big advantage, not a quagmire underfoot. Riverside walking can be hazardous at times. But today was perfect. Many anglers on the bank, and pleasure boats and kayaks on the river. At the locks there was a kind of chute for the kayaks to go down: it was fun to watch.

There were far more people around in general, and all very sociable and agreeable. Slightly irritated by 3 motor scooters on the towpath but this is a problem everywhere now it seems.

There was really no necessity to have the map, but it is interesting to see what you are walking past. Nettlestead Manor, Twyford Bridge, Yalding marina. Here we met the 77 year old water bailiff, who was checking that anglers were observing the rules (they weren’t, they were fishing at moorings which is not permitted) But he clearly adored the river and had been fishing there for many years and was only too happy to do his bit to preserve the environment.

We came across a curious place called Teapot Island. Here there is a shop selling all kinds of teapots. It is truly utter kitsch, with teapots in the shape of Daleks, the Queen, Winston Churchill, every kind of animal………however, they have a wishing well teapot and raise money for the air ambulance service. And we had a very delicious ice cream.

Along the river bank we saw some lovely flowers, purple loose strife, pink campion, but also giant hogweed. Butterflies too: tortoiseshell, and comma. I have to confess that I am no expert in these matters: my walking companion Barbara is attempting to educate me in all things botanical. A very lovely walk of almost 8 miles, totally flat of course.

So today is the summer solstice, the longest day. Downhill all the way to winter now. And the Druids have to have a virtual celebration at Stonehenge. Well well, strange times.

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