A warm sunny, spring day had us on the River Thames on a cruise from Windsor to Bray. The cruise took us past Windsor Race Course, which, though the course covers several thousand acres, is in fact, an island encircled by the Thames.
Our cruise took us through Boveney Lock to Bray Film Studios, home of the Hammer House of Horrors series of films. We had an excellent Ploughman’s Lunch before our return journey, passing Monkey Island. Monkey Island is reputed to get it’s name from when it’s wealthy owner commissioned an artist to paint a Sistine Chapel type of mural on the ceiling of the main room of his mansion on the island. The mural consisted of angels and cherubs. After a dispute the owner refused to pay the artist.
When the owner was away at his home in London, the artist broke into the mansion on the island and painted monkey faces on all the angels and cherubs.
Great stretches of the north bank of the Thames in the Windsor area are owned by Eton College, one of the most prestigious public schools in England. Eton has produced more senior statesmen than any other college, in fact a high proportion of the present government were educated at Eton. Though the land is owned by Eton College, the towpath can be used by the public for overnight mooring.
A pathetic little prank that amused those who were destined to become leaders of the nation was to, at night, cut the mooring ropes of boats moored on Eton land. Many a crew woke in the middle of the night to find themselves drifting down the Thames to Windsor Weir, where only the weir barrier prevented a serious disaster.
When the cruise arrived back at Windsor we had a few hours to explore the town and castle before our coach returned us to Old Coulsdon