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December 2012

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December rolls in, the Salvation Army settles down to playing Christmas carols on huge brass instruments and the sun sets over another year. The twelfth month has the dubious pleasure of playing host to the shortest day of the year and organising trips out after a decent lie-in becomes very tricky.

To see out the year, the photography team dreamt up a walk along the Thames Path from Marlow to Henley-on-Thames with the aim of getting some nice wintery views of the Old Father matching April's fresh spring scene at Kemble. Unfortunately, it appears that the Thames is currently in spate and the path is largely under six inches of water. So the walk was suppressed, some plans for other walks at later dates drawn up and an idle hour spent pottering around Marlow's "chain bridge". It's one of two surviving structures designed by a William Tierney Clark apparently; the other links the twin cities of Buda and Pest, which Marlow duly claims to be "Bridged With". The remainder were presumably victims of the sort of modernisation and progress which seem to have nearly removed Marlow's bridge at one point; no doubt there are motorists who, having tried to cross the thing, wish it had gone the same way.

Exactly what distinguishes a chain bridge from a suspension bridge, except possibly age, is completely beyond this particular philistine. However, it is still possible to appreciate a bridge without an appreciation of what makes it exactly what it claims to be "on the tin" and Marlow's Thames crossing is particularly fine - although the little lamps in their traditional Victorian glass covers were disappointingly sedate at coming on, otherwise it would have finished off the Dickensian appearance to perfection. And courtesy of A Christmas Carol, Dickensian means Christmas and this atmospheric little evening scene, with Turneresque reflections in the Thames itself and the gravestones of the All Saints Church in the foreground, is therefore the ideal scene for December.

Even if there is no snow.

(Not in Marlow, anyway.)


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Last modified 01/12/12

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