Sonning Common Village Gardeners Go in Search of The Flowerpot (and Enjoy Messing About on The River)

Version 17/3/19


Saturday 3rd November 2018 - First Annual Autumn Jaunt

A group of four complete rowing novices from Sonning Common Village Gardeners went aboard the whale-boat ‘Molly’ for a row down the Thames.

This was the result of a suggestion by one of their members, Paul W who accompanied and led the trip from Upper Thames Rowing Club to Aston, for lunch and back.

Molly At Aston
Click any image to enlarge

It was a beautiful Autumn day, and despite being told that no experience or special equipment was necessary, there was an anxious air at the beginning that soon dissipated after some excellent, clear instruction from Paul.

Aided by four Henley Whalers (including our helmsman) we were soon underway, rowing as a team and concentrating on establishing a very relaxed rhythm.


It proved to be a most enjoyable day; a perfect way to “introduce an ageing beginner to the joys of rowing”. “Seeing wildlife at such close quarters” was very special.

It was something that all felt should be repeated!

Molly is a delightful craft. She is a lightweight 10-oared whale-boat and “feels very stable and safe”. She is ideal for non-rowers and beginners, and no particular fitness is necessary to try her out.

VGs row 2018

The journey downstream to Aston was easy because of a following wind. It was great fun negotiating the lock too.
At The Flowerpot in Aston, the Gardeners’ forks were soon busy as they dug in to their delicious lunches.
The extra energy was useful for the return trip upriver against the increasing wind.

As we rowed back we felt we were relaxed and rowing together in harmony as a group of hardy gardeners.
One member of the gardeners felt “very proud of our achievement”, and said she “could understand the draw of water”.

Once back on dry land we all felt exhilarated to have been a part of Molly's world for the day”.
All agreed it was an exhilarating and fun day out, and hope to repeat it next Spring.

The distance was 2.3 miles each way.

Molly EnRoute

Click any image to enlarge

"A very big thank you for a great day out yesterday. It was lovely! You got us all rowing together with great skill and encouragement and it was so relaxed and easy. We all had enormous fun. Many many thanks" JG.

"We had a really lovely time and feel very proud of our achievement under your excellent guidance!


"I can now understand the draw of being on the water especially those moments when you feel in the 'zone'." SH.

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity for the great experience of rowing in the 'Whaler'.
Your clear instruction and enthusiasm made it a day to remember
". JE

Molly Resting
Click any image to enlarge

Sonning Common "Village Gardeners"

A friendly group of volunteers who meet twice a month, year-round to sustain the attractive appearance of communal areas around their village.

They are supported by Sonning Common Parish Council, and are also grateful for donations and sponsorship for the provision of resources.

New members always welcome. No gardening knowledge or skills are required but will be a bonus if you have them.
Village Gardeners' Website.
Contact = Jillgrwood {at} aol . com.

The Henley Whalers
"Provided such a magnificent and fun day out"

They welcome new rowers of any age
and all abilities or none.
Everyday clothing is fine.

"It is not rowing as you might expect it,
but very different; accessible to a wide range of people

"Definitely worth a try"

More details at Henley Whalers' Home Page .

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ADVICE - Bring:-
• VGs green tabards - We'll look smarter in "uniform"!
• Gloves
• Hat?
• Waterproof/Windproof top
• Waterproof leggings?
• A bag for anything taken off. Not your best one - parts of the deck/bilge (land-lubbers call it the floor) can become "damp" and mucky. There are spaces for spare kit.

• Comfortable Street clothes will be fine
• Warm layers
• Sensible shoes. Soft soles are good but not essential. No boots. No metal bits! No high heels!

LOCATION – Upper Thames Rowing Club. - Meet at the boat, or at the clubhouse if raining.
How to find it - Map here, or:-
• From Sonning Common to Henley, and over the bridge.
• First LEFT, just before “The Little Angel”, Remenham Lane.
• 0.7 mile. Left into Upper Thames Rowing Club car park.
• Toilets in the clubhouse – Say you’ve come to row “Molly” – Ladies upstairs.
• Walk to the river.
• Turn Left up the towpath.
• 90 metres. “Molly” is immediately before the footbridge.

DESTINATION - Lunch, probably at Aston.
Imagine the headline; Gardeners expedition to find the Flowerpot” - Better suggestions welcomed!

This link may answer any other questions.

PW. Mobile (see the recent VG's email)

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