Thursday, 1 March 2012

Scream if you want to go faster...

It’s no big secret that I like the River Thames. Maybe it’s because I’m a water sign – I’m attracted to the sea too and love nothing more than a bubble bath on a lazy Sunday morning. Anyway, last weekend I was happy to find myself spending an awful lot of time at Embankment, on the South Bank – and on the water itself.
Sunday was nothing unusual really – a date with friends at the Hayward to see David Shrigley’s first major exhibition (Note: VERY amusing) followed by a cup of tea and a slice of cake from the Southbank Sunday market. My chocolate and peanut butter concoction gave me a good weeks’ worth of cocoa-fix and the masala chai was much kinder to my hangover than the alternative beverages of Polish lager, stout or scrumpy. After a quick mooch around the Southbank Centre Shop, I returned home a happy bunny.
Saturday, however, was something quite different. It was my friend’s Hen Do – and a boat trip on the Thames had been arranged. Now, let me explain – this was not any boat trip. This was the Thames RIB Experience. A.K.A a ride in a speedboat. Pretty cool, I figured when I agreed to come along. Well, I’ve always liked boats and had never been on one with a bit of speed to it.
Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
It started off tame enough. Yes, we were moving faster than most the traffic on the river, but it was nothing extraordinary.
Then they treated us to a little swerve. Nothing major, not even a 45 degree tilt to the boat – but enough to make us scream all the same. As our nervous laughter faded we were lulled into a false sense of security. The skipper gave us a bit of a commentary on the sites of interest that we passed, and we all got snap happy as we floated by the Tate Modern, the Tower, and St Paul's.
Then we got to Canary Wharf. And all hell broke loose.
It started with a marked increase in speed. Then the James Bond theme started to pump through the air.
It was fiercer than any roller coaster. We swerved from side to side, our vessel at a right-angle to the water. We screamed. We laughed. Our faces streamed with tears, spray and mascara. Every now and then we had to grip on for dear life.
It was bloody brilliant.
Grinning manically and hoarse from our screaming, we tottered off the boat - and headed to another one. Sadly this one was static – but it served booze, and after our adrenaline rush, we were all ready for a glass of vino or three.
The rest of the evening was really rather pleasant. We wandered over the Wobbly Bridge to the Wharf on the Southbank for dinner (I can confirm that the house burger was very acceptable to my taste buds) before staggering (well, it was getting late when we left) to the BFI bar – okay, so rather pricey, but with its comfy seats, laid back music and a good selection of all things alcoholic, it was worth it. Luckily, the blushing bride managed to avoid getting into a fight with someone over who got to a free table first (it would appear she gets feisty after wine) and we wandered back to Charing Cross more than a little well-oiled.
So, yes – last weekend, the Thames out-did itself. And yes – if I get invited to another do on a speed boat I shall be there. With bells on.


  1. Oh sounds like you had a fine time.....they have those jet boats on Sydney Harbour and my son would dearly love to go on one...but apparently it involves ME going with him. No thank you very much. I am happy to read about other people doing it. I have been down the Thames from Westminster Bridge to Greenwich on a lovely sedate river boat with Handel's Water Music playing on my iPod....much more my style. Thank you for your blog. Eleanor

  2. Oh, but you should try it! I guess you could still listen to Handel on your iPod if you don't fancy the James Bond theme... ;-)