8th May 2012 – 15th meeting of 2012

This week we are only missing one member whom we hope is still enjoying herself in China. We met up at Charing Cross and decided to have a coffee in the Crypt at St Martins while awaiting one of our group who missed her train by a whisker. After we had all gathered we walked to Embankment and caught the underground to Richmond.

After emerging from the station we walked towards the river along street lined with shops some of which were individual and different and a few sampled with a quick pop in visit!

When we reached the river we were delighted to see one of the Royal barges which will be taking part in the Jubilee flotilla in June. It was moored outside the boatbuilders alongside the restaurant boat which was gated and guarded by a security guard. He chatted to us and said he thought this barge would be used by Prince Charles and Camilla. It looked resplendent with all the gold filigree work and will be eye-catching especially if the sun shines! The boat builders are still carrying out the finishing touches to the interior and told us that besides the rowing crew there were two engines, should they be needed.

On our return along the riverboat a lady feeding the ducks who chatted to some of us turned out to be Elizabeth Bennett the actress who has featured in many TV programmes including Heartbeat, Eastenders, Corrie, Touch of Frost and Home to Roost. She also starred in the film and stage version of Calender Girls. We retraced out steps back to the station and then passing Richmond Green – a little green oasis amongst the shops and houses. This time we travelled overground to Waterloo where crossing the concourse to catch the local train, James Alexandrou, who played Martin Fowler in Eastenders, was spotted by one eagle-eyed member – 2 celebrities in one day!!

It was a good day and the bonus was seeing the Royal barge up close, but we decided it would be worth returning in the Summer and this time have a lunch facing the river and watching all the boats.