July 6th’s Wednesday Women’s Walk met slightly later than normal outside Crema at 9.45 for a walk further afield this time, this was to take into account the later opening time of 11 a.m, at the Tea Rooms of Sonning Lock, which was where Gisele and Claire had set their sights for our refreshments.
After a few minutes of car share discussions we made our way down the A329m in beautiful sunshine. Parking caused a little confusion on arrival as the car park was full but as we discovered you are allowed to park on the road after 10.30a.m so we stood and chatted by our cars while the ladies who’d bought their dogs let them roam free until we could safely leave them…the cars not the dogs I hasten to add!
I have been to this area only once before and had forgotten how picturesque it is; while still only a stones throw from the industrial buildings of Reading, it seems so much further. The large grass area running parallel to the river is an ideal place to set up a picnic or in my case bring a football for one child and fishing net for the other! Eventually we set off with sunglasses for many firmly in place and the river Thames on our left as we strolled along the flat path towards Sonning Lock, chatting about …ah well that would be telling…but all enjoying the company and sunshine .
Further along we took the turning right into dappled shade as the path ran along the back of Reading Blue Coats school, overhung by the swaying branches from the trees on our right. I wasn’t really checking the time but we arrived at the lock just after 11 I think (the tea room was open) and watched while we waited for the water to fill up and the gate to close so we could cross the lock on the little foot bridge and enter the gardens to the tea rooms.
What a truly great find it was too, a great selection of home made cakes and scones, teas and coffee, I’m laughing to myself as I write coffee as my word processor predicted the word “confess” instead of coffee, which given our excitement at the wonderful choice did lead to a few. The dogs sat underneath our table for 11, yes, they were allowed too which is great news for dog owners, myself included. Feeling replenished and a bit more, we made our return journey back down the path. A very enjoyable day out with some very lovely ladies, I shall definitely be returning with my family …and the dog !
If you would like to join us one Wednesday morning, please check the Beacon for dates or have a chat with Gisele or Claire T.