Wednesday, April 25, 2007

River Thames



Thames the Father River.


Thames River image courtsey: ifa.hawaii.edu



“St. Lawrence is water,

Mississippi is muddy water;

Thames is liquid history”!

John Burns, 19th century politician.


Boasting Burns!


Mr. Burns cannot be faulted for what he has boasted, Englishmen are so proud of their dear river they can talk about it to any length because they consider Thames as their old grand father. Thames has its origin Trewsbury Mead, Kemble, just five kilometers from Cirencester. In its 344 kilometer course Thames rubs its shoulders with almost all the gems in England’s coffers like Oxford, Reading, Windsor and London before joining the North-Sea at South-End.


Both were one and the same (Thames and the Rhine!)


Long before the birth of history (about 50,000 years back) when England was connected with the mainland by a land mass by name Doggerland; the Thames was then a far bigger river it flowed through the Doggerland and joined with the Rhine! These are not fictions, just geological conclusions!


Alice and her wonderland a recent event!


Westminster abbey image courtsey: hberlioz.com



It was on its laps of Father Thames, on a skiff (a small rowing boat) one middle aged man rowed three little girls and to entertain them told the stories about another little girl who had many trysts with fairies and ghosts. The story teller was Charles Dodgson who later became famous in the pseudonym Lewis Carroll and his young heroine was Alice of the “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. This was about 150 years back, for Thames it is comparatively a recent event.


Londoner be not proud, these monuments belong to the world.





Tower Bridge image courtsey: harris-interiors.co.uk


On the way locations of historic importance like Oxford University, Westminster Abbey, Tower-bridge, The London Tower etc (not just the wealth of Englishmen but to the whole world) all line up for a voyager through the river to behold. Thames quietly flows as if these are all just destined to be on its banks and they will be there as long as history is here. To visitors (from however distant place they are) these landmarks are familiar places ever since they are students.


Tributaries.


It is just a trickle when starts from Kemble but in the course of 215 Miles there are tributaries to add strength and vigor to its flow. Avon river, Digman Creek, Jeanettes Creek, Mc Gregor Creek, Midway Creek being the prominent ones


Islands.


Isle of Sheppey, Convey Island, Isle of Grain, Magna Carta Island, Frys Island etc.

Bridges. Dent Ford, Black wall Brdge, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Millennium, Westminster Bridge Marlow Bridge, Folly Bridge etc.


One river many use.


It depends only on one’s imagination to presume whether these monuments add glory to this river or the river or vice versa. Every thing is here because of the Thames (simply called “River”) the giver all needs of life like pleasure, water, (70% of London’s water requirement is met by Thames) transportation, food (Thames is rich with exotic fish) and everything. Pleasure seekers fill the entire surface of the river and tourism related enterprises flourish on and around Thames as never before.


Royal Regatta.


Henley a small town on the banks of the Thames hosts a boat race by name “Royal Regatta” (sporting events of yachts and small boats) which is so popular an event that competitors from around the world take part in it. The popularity of the Royal Regatta has encouraged other organizations to conduct similar events in countries like USA, Canada, and Australia with the same name “Regatta”


Royal stink!


It was in 1858 the river got so polluted and the fowl smell which filled the entire are so much that the meeting of the House of Commons to be held at Westminster had to be deferred! This stink also for Londoner the “Great Stink” as all related to the Thames are for him great whether it is fragrance of stink! However the stink which reached the Westminster opened the eyes of the authorities and drastic action was taken to keep the river clean.


The grand father has many stories to tell.


London Bridge image courtsey: ce.ntu.edu.tw



In early times the river Thames was known as “Tamese” or “Tamesis” In its long life Thames has seen many invaders, many wars and many kingdoms’ rise and eclipse. This river as geologists claim is about 500,000 years old and has seen human beings in all its growth stages from a stone-age barbarian to the present computer freaks! Vestiges of skeletons belonging to stone-age animals like rhinos, elephants etc have been discovered from the silt deposited by Thames.


All have left their marks.


All the invaders who won the battles and took control of the land or those who got defeated and either vanished or just perished all have left their marks some where in the banks of the great river in one way or the other. Weapons belonging to stone, and iron ages have been recovered by the geologists.


Liquid History!


There are plenty of facilities in the offering (by numerous agencies) like Boating, Kayaking, Yachting, etc. A voyage through this river is one over the pages of history where the characters are in suspended animation, those around are not just buildings, roads, bridges or streets, they are actors of a bygone drama having played their part in the events those changed the world, Each of them with a story or two to tell of the dramatic events which shook the world.

When Thames is “liquid history” the structures on its banks cannot be anything but solid history! Go to the Thames and have a historical voyage!


26 comments:

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bye!

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