A year in the life of the river

Mort looks back over the last 12 months

Looking the part when on the river

As regular readers of this column will doubtless have gathered by now, I’m a keen student of the history of the Thames in these parts and I love reading accounts of life on the river from days gone by.

Just where are the birds coming from?

Jackdaw – The consensus of opinion seems to be that the huge flocks of birds wheeling above the Thames morning and evening are mainly like this chap – jackdaws

It seems that many readers have also observed the huge flocks of birds swooping and wheeling over the river each morning and evening that were mentioned by Nigel Brecknell in Riverwatch a couple of weeks ago.

Tunnel vision in bid to solve waste problem

Café Gino by Walton Bridge

Not that long ago, you will recall, David Walliams swam the length of the Thames to raise money for charity – and promptly became rather ill from swallowing river water that had been polluted by sewage.

The signs of autumn


There are some sights that really bring home to me that autumn has arrived and winter can’t be far behind it – and one of those is seeing the huge flocks of rooks that wheel in acrobatic formations over the Thames mornings and evenings.

Paintings illustrate beauty of river

Walton Bridge in watercolour

Photographs are great for keeping a record of what’s happening on our lovely river – but somehow paintings capture more of the spirit of an event that even the best photograph in my view.

Lock keepers get backing from users

More than 100 people turned up to a meeting of the River Users’ Group, section eight (RUG8) at the Thames Motor Yacht Club at Hampton Court last Tuesday (November 1) and sent a clear message to the Environment Agency demanding a rethink on its proposals to freeze the recruitment of lock keepers and to rent out lock side houses left empty by retiring keepers.

Heads up on river works this winter

Sunbury Old Lock

For most of us boat owners, the winter is a time for taking the boat out of the water, snugging it down and spending hours dreaming of those faraway days in the spring when we can get back to the serious business of having fun on the water.

Will plans raise risk of flooding?

I do despair sometimes when hearing about the Environment Agency’s plans. The current proposal not to replace resident lock keepers along the non-tidal Thames and to rent out their vacant homes – including those at Chertsey and Sunbury Locks - is a case in point.

Family-orientated club

Desborough Sailing Club

We are so lucky in the Herald and News area to be served by so many great facilities on our wonderful river – none more so than Desborough Sailing Club in Shepperton.