Tuesday, September 13, 2011

London Festival – 10 September 2011

The annual Mayor's Thames Festival is, not surprisingly, based along the Thames, with lots of activities and previously we have watched the Festival Parade at the conclusion of the weekend. This year we went to see the Dunkirk Little Ships, displayed in the St Katherine's Docks. It was truly amazing to see these relatively small boats, who rescued soldiers from Dunkirk. Some would not have been able to hold many men, but that was the secret of the successful evacuation – all types of boats doing their bit.

The North Bank of the Thames was full of people, out enjoying sunshine, a bonus on a day when rain had been forecast. An extensive street market of stalls selling an excellent range of handcrafts were very tempting as were the many foodstalls which lined the Thames Path. We were very taken by a ship skeleton, built from timber rescued from the Thames, and covered in artwork by school children. The festival is one of Europe's largest free festivals.

The Thames Parade of Boats was due to start at 3pm, so we stood at the end of a pier to get a good look. Something obviously went wrong, as we had enough time to swap life stories with the couples either side of us, before the first boats appeared. Sadly, it was not worth the wait, although it won't put us off waiting for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant boat parade next year.

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