I have recently been appreciating good side of living on The Thames. I get out on it in a kayak or canoe pretty regularly, I run along it, I laugh when the bus announces the stop near my house as “The Thames Riviera”. So it seemed like an appropriate way for Emily and I to see in the new year.
At 10.00, it looked like momentum was going to win the day. We were sat on the sofa and feeling sleepy, it had just rained, it would have been mighty easy to have to open the bubbly here. But, we managed to drag ourselves out.
The river was quiet. The windows of the houses on the islands were little bubbles of other people’s new year’s: some parties, some TV, some people around dinner tables. We slid past quietly, trying to guess where the best fireworks might be.
Before midnight, we chatted to drunk people on river bank, watched Chinese lanterns being launched, and eventually settled to sit on a new pontoon and open our champagne. We’d never seen that pontoon there before, and just as we were about open the drybag of supplies when… “Hello there, mate! We need to setup fireworks there!”. Yes, we’d sat on the fireworks pontoon… Doh!
We scrabbled out of the way, and pulled up on the riverbank nearby. The fireworks began to burst right on top of us and we toasted the New Year with plastic cups. Other displays were going off all around us – the whole area abuzz with partying.
Eventually, it was time to put the leftover bubby into a Nalgene and paddle home. A lovely, quiet new year!