A special boat ride

Today morning, I woke up with an overwhelming desire to go on a boat ride. I don’t know why, but there was this yearning to be on water and allow for its soothing motion and rhythm to take over. But today was also a Wednesday, a weekday and a working day. It didn’t feel right to give in to the temptation to take leave from work and go to the Gateway of India for the nearest boat ride I could take.

Instead, I went to work. But thoughts of the boat ride kept intruding between editing documents and meetings, and during lunch and and coffee breaks. Well, if only thoughts were boat rides, I would have gone on a real one … So, I did the next best thing — photograph therapy.

Once I reached home, I raided my digital photo library to look at all the trips that I have taken on water. One of the trips stood out for sheer novelty and beauty — a boat trip on the River Thames from Richmond (in Southwest London) to Hampton Court in July 2009. The novelty lay in the fact that this the first time I got the opportunity to observe how boats navigated river locks. This boat ride was part of an explorer day organised by London Walks to first explore Richmond, then take a boat trip along the Thames to Hampton Court Palace, for the second part of that day’s activities. It is a journey that took about an hour-and-a-half through a very picturesque route and in typical English weather It — sunny, cloudy, and rainy at the same time.

Come on, join me, as I take that boat ride from Richmond to Hampton Court once again with some photographs and a video. 🙂

The Thames riverfront at Richmond

After a brief walk through Richmond and a visit to Richmond Palace, we set off for the riverfront. The walk along the riverfront to Richmond’s main quay, where we were to board our boat, had a more European feel than that of an English one.

I don’t know what these purple flowers are, but they looked absolutely gorgeous
The Yarmouth Belle, our ride on the Thames
Along the Thames…
Approaching the Teddington Lock.

The Thames is a tidal river and until a couple of 100 years back the tide used to come only till the Tower Bridge area in central London. But due to embankment in the London city area, the river has become deeper and the tide now goes up to a place called Teddington, about 22 miles away. This necessitated the building of a lock there, which is a device that raises or lowers boats between stretches of water of differing levels in rivers or canals. The Teddington Lock is manned 24×7 by lock operators who allow for the smooth passage of boats and barges.

As our boat approached the lock, I managed to get a vantage place on the boat to film the lock in operation. The almost 6 minute video begins at the point where the Lock Operator has just set the mechanism to let the water in to raise the level. t’s rather difficult to explain the experience of watching the boat rise, rise, rise and then the lock gates opening and going through them. It’s just incredibly indescribable.

The view on the other side of the Teddington Lock is one of calm and relaxed luxury, at least that is what it looked like to me. We passed beautiful houses, landscaped grounds, moored boats, people watching the world go by, rowing teams hard at practice…  The ever-changing weather was a delight to observe too !

Private boats moored at various points along the river
I kind of decided that this was my house on the Thames. Do you like it?
Enjoying the world go by …
Isn’t this a rather cute and quaint mooring point ?
And this photogenic boathouse was too good an opportunity to miss photographing !
The clouds add a hint of mystery to the riverscape, doesn’t it? We took the right-handed river path, negotiated a rather sharp curve further downstream…
… and after a few 100 metres or so saw our destination — the Hampton Court Palace
As we landed, the sun came out and the mood of the riverscape changed. I can never forget this sight for as long as I live…

What a vastly superior experience that boat ride was. The changing moods of the riverscape, the smooth gliding motion of the boat, the birdsong, the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds, the cool river breeze — all contributed to a sense of well-being that I had not felt in a long time. And as I relived the memories of the ride with the help of the photographs, the same sense of calm and well-being I had experienced then returned.

Three cheers to photograph therapy. It is really good and I should, perhaps, try it out once in a while. So, tell me, what do you think of photograph therapy? Do you also indulge in it? 🙂

50 thoughts on “A special boat ride

  1. Impulse…Sudhagee..impusle…:P I just loved the pics…whenever I see your pics, I feel, Oh when am I going there? 🙂 The gate opening was sooo neat…I can imagine how thrilling it would be to see it in real..btw, I liked your house too….does it have enough rooms for all of us? 🙂 I liked the quaint mooring point too..somehow, I always had a fascination for the houses that has decks to the rivers or bordering the rivers…Thank you for sharing


    1. Thank you, thank you, Latha. The lock operation was quite something and I’m glad you liked it too. As for the house, there will always be room for like-minded people 🙂 While planning holidays, people don’t think of England or the UK. Big mistake for, in my opinion, it has a lot to offer in terms of nature, culture, heritage…

      And when are you going to buy a riverfront house with its own mooring point? 😉


      1. Oh Myyyy!!!! I have to either win a (may be 10) million dollar lottery and jump with the money, without telling my hubby or have an old BF who will die in the next 5 years and leave a bigggggggg trust amount for this dreamy brown eyes lady….lil bit too much huh? that’s ok..only dreaming right? no harm…heheh 😛


  2. I loved seeing how river locks work. Have been curious about them for a long time and reading about it really never made much sense. The video was really neat. Love your choice in houses, very similar to mine. It will work really well for when we run away to lead a Bohemian lifestyle. Btw, the purple flowers are Salvia, have quite a few in my backyard and they come in very pretty pinks and whites, too


    1. You know, Meera, I hunted out that video keeping you in mind. You had commented on an earlier post where I had mentioned locks, that you had never seen them at work. I’m so happy you liked it. 🙂

      Thanks also for identifying Salvia. I didn’t know they come in other colours too ! That entire pathway was lined with these purple flowers just growing wild. They looked so beautiful and I felt pretty special walking down that path.

      That house is ready anytime, Meera. A bohemian lifestyle and that of a riverfront bum awaits us 😉


    1. Puru ! This was supposed to be photo therapy, not bring up morbid thoughts of death. Of course, you’ll see them just as I’ll see all the places you keep writing about and making me jealous 🙂


  3. Wow Sudha that is so beautiful! And I actually love the idea of photo therapy! 🙂 The whole line about the next best thing – photo therapy brought a smile to my lips 🙂 Looking forward to more of yours 🙂


    1. 😀 Glad you approve Deepa. As a child, I could be kept occupied with photographs for hours waving stories and personalities out of the pictures. I must confess that I’m not much different now. 🙂 The only difference is that many of those photographs are mine !


  4. Oh yes, I indulge in it fully. My hubby is a professional photographer so it gives me all the more reasons to enjoy it 🙂 wonderful pics btw…


  5. First of all, I love your house and want that room on the first floor in the extreme left and no sharing please 😀 I had heard of the lock and how the gates opened but never knew about the water levels and how it rises. That was wonderful. Wish I were a qualified photographer or even one who shoots out-of-focus ones, but not being one, will be content with therapists like you. Maybe I might ask you for a session soon 🙂

    The English weather is exasperating most of the times, but once you make peace with it, it can be the most enjoyable one I guess.


    1. I am very happy you liked the therapy session, Zephyr in spite of the rather dark photographs, which are partly due to the vagaries of the English weather and partly my own camera skills. I do photo therapy sessions on request, so do holler when you need one.

      I have noted you exact room request, Zephyr, and am very glad to tell you that the room is yours and you won’t have to share it with anyone, except perhaps with a lizard or a spider. Hope you won’t mind. And since I plan to lead a bohemian lifestyle, you might have to put up with that as well. 🙂


  6. Thank you for this wonderful virtual boat ride, it was informative and soothing to eyes and the mind! Photograph therapy……hmmm…..interesting topic for research! You’re sure giving ideas! Loved this post as it makes me smile at the comfort of nature!! 🙂 🙂


  7. Now this one I can say I have done it .. phewwwww at last he he hehe usually i have to say this is on the To do list 🙂

    Reminded me of the time we went to see Stratford for a visit to Shakespeare county.. di the boat ride there and all.. then even near Birmingham we have a lot of places .. The photos are really beautiful and hey the THERAPY worked I am smiling ..

    the day has just begun and I say COME ONNNN 🙂 he he he he


    1. It’s wonderful to know that this therapy worked, Bikram. 🙂 I really regret not having visited Birmingham during my year in the UK, I came up to Coventry but not any further. 😦 Maybe when I finally shift to London to lead that bohemian life, I’ll make that visit to Birmingham.

      PS: I visited Stratford too, and came back with mixrd feelings. What did you think about it?


  8. What marvelous photographs, Sudha!

    The purple flowers are stunning, and the little mooring is, as you say, very cute!

    Are these locks the same as the system used in the large canals [Suez/ Panama] ?


    1. Thank you, Manju. So happy you liked the photos. Yes, the locks are the same as in used in larger canals, only smaller in scale. Just imagine huge ships being lifted by the water’s buoyancy or brought down at the Panama and Suez canals. Gives me goosebumps …


  9. Boat rides and Locks had, hitherto, symbolized hilarity to me thanks to Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three men in a boat’. Now it has come to symbolize beauty as well.

    Likewise, if I were the photographer, photo-therapy would also symbolize only hilarity (Laughter is the best medicine sort of therapy? 🙂 ) Now I know it can be other types of therapy as well 🙂


  10. I just love photograph therapy. Often I find myself browsing through old albums and reliving memories. It is truly therapeutic. The boat rides that I’ve taken are mostly in lakes on various vacations. I find it serene and so calming going slowly in a boat, quietly watching time go by. One of the memorable ones was in Goa in the river where we turned from the placid waters of the river to the sudden current of the sea. At that moment of the sea and the river merging, it was an incredible sight. So loved your photos and memories.


    1. Thanks Rachna. Glad you liked the photos and the memories.

      I know what you mean, Rachna, when you say that going through old photographs is so therapeutic. I do it whenever I have the time. I love old photographs as they are a peep into an era I knew nothing about. I remember visiting the house of a friend whose family came to India after partition. And the history that family and their community over the years from before 1947 to present times is there for all to see.


  11. Aaaaaa the British countryside… Perfect for a boat ride. I haven’t to that many places, but I love the narrowboats in Birmingham and boating in Stratford-Upon-Avon and lastly punting in Cambridge.


    1. The British countryside is perfect for a lot of things 🙂 Though I haven’t travelled in a narrowboat, I have gone punting in Cambridge and loved the outrageous stories and gossip that the punter had to share. The incredulous looks on the faces of an American couple on the boat made it even more special. 😉


    1. Unfortunately, I never managed to visit the Lake District during my year in the UK. 😦 But your beautiful photographs and wonderfully written post made up for it. Thank you for sharing that link here and for my own personal photo therapy session.


    1. Thank you, Sabyasachi. Yes, I had placed the camera on the boat and filmed it from that level. Yes, the water rose by about 6-7 feet in my estimate. At the beginning of the video, you can see the waterline or the level upto which the water level rose.


  12. The ‘Yarmouth Belle’ looks every bit of a royal ride! And about that *your* house on thames, I guess that’s my retirement house now. btw, great pictures. So, what’s your next destination


    1. Welcome to “My Favourite Things” and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. And nice, retirement home, I must say. And oh ! you can catch fresh fish every day if you so wish to. 🙂

      This trip was made in 2009 and since then have been to many places (you could check out the travel page on my blog to read more about it). As for where I am going next, it is most probably Rajasthan


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