Friday night, stopping in Kingston should have been a pleasure, marking the last night on the Thames before heading off to the Grand Union on a very early morning tide, but this weekend was not one of the best to visit. First of all it was Hampton Court Flower Show which meant the moorings there were even busier than normal. I advised a hire boater that it was proabably better to pop round to Kingston where the 24 hour moorings are much nicer, only to discover that mooring was prohibited from 10th to 13th due to the Kingston Regatta.
So went down to Teddington to discover that all the people who couldn’t get in at Hampton Court or Kingston were moored on or around the EA moorings there and there wasn’t room for us, so back to Kingston it was, where we moored just beyond the Regatta compound after all.
Looking forward to a couple of pints then an early night, I didn’t bother dressing up after the day’s boating and went searching for a pub with beer rather than one of the lager bars along the waterfront. It was not easy – but Wetherspoons Kings Tun looked like about the best of a bad bunch. Elsewhere Wetherspoons are normally more than acceptable pubs. We tried to walk through an open door but got directed into a queing system instead, where three (sober) and smartish guys were getting annoyed about having to show their ID just to go into a pub. The head bouncer moved in and quickly threw them out, which was well out of order. The last time I had to show ID to enter a pub was probably more than 30 years ago. Having passed the ID check, chief bouncer moved in. “No shorts after 7pm”. And that was that. Barred from entering a pub for the first time in my life. He thought it was most amusing and informed that the other customers wearing shorts had all come in before the deadline and could stay till closing time if they wanted, but somehow the manager would know if they let another in. Good to know you have such a talent mate. It is immensely clear that running a pub is not one of them, having googled for Wetherspoons Kingston and read some of the comments.
So we found a mediocre pint elsewhere in a pub which seemed to be deliberately leaving half inch head gap between the beer and the top of the glass which is equivalent to stealing 20p per pint, topped off with the most foul sausage and chips from a town centre chip shop. The foam box would have tasted better and was certainly fresher. We crossed the bridge back to the boat and watched in amazement while the “M” night club by the bridge was operating an outdoor airport style security check complete with metal detector and five staff. Just how bad does Kingston get on a Friday night to warrant this level of security!!? Passing a Police Incident sign which asked for information following an unexplained death below the bridge a couple of weeks ago probably answered this question though.
And if that’s not enough, how about this … Serious assault on riverboat which has just been reported today even though it happened last weekend!
So here ended a lovely day’s cruising down the Thames from Staines but I think I will give Kingston a miss next time. Set the alarm for 04:30 and slept like a log despite the laughter and noise of the shortless and security checked revellers, carrying across the water.