The Polish/Latvian or whatever waitress knew nothing about the reason for the hotel name Great Expectations when I asked her this morning. To give her her due she disappeared and then returned to tell me the building was once a theatre and the great man came there to give readings.
A good start saw me off at 7:00. I soon realised that the Kennet and Avon is combination canal and river having occasional shallow rise locks to sort the levelling, and weirs going off to let the river have its way, so I was getting a bogof.
Getting clear of the town there were plenty of cyclists, presumably on the way to work.
Roads that crossed the canal were also busy, and I marched along feeling smug about the benefits of retirement. There had been a suit sat near me on the train with his laptop, mobile, and a file of papers, no doubt from Head Office, advising him in 150 pages how to conduct appraisals on his staff. Oh, the bullshit and tedium of all that stuff.
It was about 11:30 when i started getting thirsty and a shop attached to Aldermaston Wharf appeared and I bought Oasis fruit drink and found a deserted boatyard workshop with a stool, so I trespassed and sat there in cool shade from the heat outside.
I had a friendly welcome here at The Swan (Thatcham), and then joy of joy, the en-suite had a bath, then doom of doom, there were no towels. I had already run water in the bath and undressed. Back in the pub i was told "not to worry", their laundry delivery had let them down, but "towels will be here later". What is the first thing you want to do on arriving at an inn after walking 15 miles in 27 degree sunshine? I was beyond making a fuss and went back, managing to dry myself with a lonely bath mat. The towels arrived half an hour later to wake me up from my post walk nap.
Reading centre. Modern architecture pleasantly displayed wirh all the multiples individually styled along the canal.
WW 2 machine gun post.
On this canal we also have barges as well as narrow boats.
The towelless Swan Inn at Thatcham where I am now.
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