I HAVE to confess that I’m not a big fan of politicians.
Most of them seem to delight in avoiding answering straight questions and a significant number probably wouldn’t know the truth if it hit them in the face.
But just occasionally, I’m forced to tip my hat when one of them does something great — and such is the case with Mayor Boris Johnson’s Thames Festival which will run from September 6 to 15.
It’s fantastic that we get the chance to celebrate our wonderful river in style each year and dear daft Boris is laying on another spectacular event for 2013.
This year, the festival is being expanded to 10 days and t will include the non-tidal Thames as well as the centre of London.
There are all kinds of events, including a relay by a combination of boaters, walkers and swimmers who will take it in turns to transport a symbolic artefact — a bottle of Thames water — all the way from the source to the sea with groupers taking responsibility for carrying it along reaches of the river.
Keep an eye out for them as they come through Runnymede, Spelthorne and Elmbridge.
For those who enjoy a wander beside the water, there will be a series of Thames walks hosted by people who have written about the river and by experienced blue badge guides.
Other highlights include talks covering the river’s history and it’s possible future, and the literature which has been based around the Thames, its architecture and its industrial heritage.
If art is your thing, there will be a free exhibition of artwork inspired by the Thames River Pageant at the Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park from September 4-15.
But, of course, one of the best things you can do with the river is get out on the water and there will be a host of opportunities to do just that during the festival.
From paddling a ‘moo-canoe’ under Tower Bridge to taking a majestic trip on the Thames sailing barge Lady Daphne or a white knuckle ride on Shaken Not Stirred, the speedboat that was featured in the Bond film The World is Not Enough, there’s something to suit most tastes.
Or if you want to take a look around a modern Royal Navy ship, there will be one moored in West India Dock during the festival, which will be open to the public.
In St Katherine’s Dock, itself an historic area, there will be a collection of interesting vessels, including the newly-restored fireboat Massey Shaw.
For a full list of events, timings and costs, visit the website at www.thamesfestival.org.
It’s a splendid way to see just what an amazing facility the river provides for millions of people.
I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but well done Boris…
LOTS of people have been contacting me about the problems caused by selfish people who overstay their welcome on the 24-hour moorings provided by the Environment Agency.
News that the EA is planning to clamp down on these people has been welcomed by all those who have got in touch.
Remember, if you spot any of these cowboys, report them to the agency on its hotline number 0800 807060 (Freephone, 24-hour service).