The Way to the Sea

Tom heard I was hoping to walk from the source of The Thames to the coast and this came my way last Christmas.

It sort of lifted me up, let me down and then put me on an even keel again!

What’s good?

Well it starts off well with the story of her parents sailing from South Africa to London, and only when they arrived were they aware of all the atrocities going on back home.

Watching the sorry state of South Africa they felt unable to return to their home nation, as the uncensored truth was too uncomfortable.

A few years later along came a little girl, the author.

When most folk would be off to sunny climes for their holidays these boat loving folk would often find themselves on the North Sea.

Most of the time they were in the heart of London, moored up for a month at a time and at times on the Medawy.

Caroline must have been “bright” as she went to Oxford and Britain’s longest river was onlya few hundred yards from her digs.

As an adult she decided to explore the course and history of this water course.

Along the way we learn about the sewage problems, numerous workers dependant on access to the Thames, and the evolution of the City of London and her ports.

Pretty soon the story becomes one of social inequalities, and covers displaced East Enders who make way for St.Katharines Docks (and get no compensation) to those who contracted cholera, and even malaria.

After tales recounted from “on foot” we occasionally end up in Caroline’s car and then on her father’s yacht.

The left wing feel was so trong at times I wondered if we’d finish the book in The Wash rather than the Medway.

In the end it all gets wrapped up rather well.

Well worth reading!

4 STARS

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