The Royal Henley Regatta was starting the following week and, in preparation, Henley-on-Thames had thoughtfully banned street parking, created no entry streets, and cordoned off vehicular access to the river except for the main bridge in and out of town. This was, no doubt, to punish anyone not traveling in an amphibious craft of some description.
We parked miles away, near a supermarket on the outskirts of town, and walked back through a throng of tourists, would-be royal watchers, and assorted gawkers. Like lemmings, we followed the crowd towards the river. At the side of the bridge with its constant flow of noisy, smelly traffic, we glimpsed lawns that led to the river’s edge, perfectly run-down looking boathouses, and creamy white riverside mansions that looked like slightly wilted wedding cakes waiting to be cut.