Paddling In The Thames

A Memory of Ashton Keynes

We used to love looking in the stream for cray fish, minnows and small creatures. We were fascinated by the clear water as we had no streams in London,where we lived. I remember telling my mum about the small creatures that looked like sticks and had bits of gravel and sticks on them, like a coat. She didn't believe me, but I later (many years later) found out they were larvae - I think of the Caddis fly. Our friends in London never believed us, that we had paddled in the clear, clean Thames either. The river they knew was a dirty, dangerous thing.

A memory shared by Dawn Smith , on Apr 8th, 2012.

Comments & feedback

Sat Sep 20th, at 2:58 pm

mjsomerville085 commented:

I use to live in Ashton Keynes with my family who owned and ran the London House stores and cafe (1951-1957) I remember well that The Thames flowed about 20 yards from the front door and on a fine summer day I would lie on a large flat stone by a bridge and stare into the clear water and see minnows easily. I could catch them in jam jars. I once caught a fresh water trout in a net and rushed into the shop to show my dad.
We used to paddle right under the small stone bridge, and turn over heavy stones to find fish

Near by was a saddlers and I would help the man, on Saturdays, who ran it by punching holes in leather belts. I remember picking up the lead base where the punching was done and being told it weighed 32 pounds, and I could lift it up over my head, when he was not looking. At Christmas the local church would visit the cafe with its choir and a portable organ and play us carols. we would come down in our pajamas and listen and sing whilst my mum gave them homemade mince pies and some punch

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