The next morning, we made our way down to the Thames for a River Cruise with river tour operators, French Brothers. During our coach ride to the River, we glimpsed an antique shop in Thames Street whose windows were simply chock-a-block with tempting items. Promising the group an impromptu visit to the shop afterwards, we continued on to the River.

A large bevy of swans were on hand to welcome us. Although they look regal, when competing for treats,  they are quite fierce.

The swans on the Thames are all owned by the Crown, the Worshipful Company of Vintners, or the Worshipful Company of Dyers. In July, each one is captured and marked for ownership, a period called swan-upping.

Young swanling, or cygnet, still with grey feathers

Excellent advice!

As the cruise begins, we pass the Eton Playing fields, upon which the Duke of Wellington said the Battle of Waterloo was won, although there is much debate as to the truth of this anecdote. 

Bucolic scenes abound along this stretch of the Thames. 

Long Bridge, entry to the Cuckoo Weir Stream, home of a Swan Rescue Center,

Above and below, the Boveney Lock, as far upstream as we cruised. 
It is one of 44 locks on the Thames.

The Royal Windsor Racecourse above and below.

Below, the landing for race-goers arriving by boat.

We were afforded occasional glimpses of lovely homes along the River.
Moored tour boat.

Canal Boats can also be found on the Thames.

A glimpse of the railway viaduct that carries the railroad into Windsor.

Interesting vessels…provided for the tourists?

Views of the Castle from the River

Near the Dock is Alexandra Gardens with the nearby Diamond Jubilee Fountain,
installed in 2012.

Our River cruise was a relaxing interlude, but the group had not forgotten our pledge to take them antiquing afterwards, so we made our way back to the shop, whose name we cannot, alas, recall, and in we all trooped. As is her usual modus operandi, Kristine asked the proprietor whether they had any Wellington items for sale and was disappointed when told they had not. No matter, we browsed at a leisurely pace, with each of our group seeking out treasures reflecting their own individual interests. Before long, our adorable Ki pointed out a particular display case, in which sat a miniature of none other than the Duke of Wellington. This case, it transpired, belonged to one of the many dealers who rented space in the shop and so the man on duty had not been aware of this miniature, which Kristine scooped up without further hesitation. Score!

Reader, a fabulous morning was had by all. Especially Kristine. Thank you, Ki Pha!


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