Sunday, 24 October 2021

Sonning Common Village Gardeners

Sonning Common Village Gardeners

ON Saturday, November 3 four rowing novices from Sonning Common Village Gardeners went aboard the Henley Whalers’ replica whale boat Molly for a row down the Thames.

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

Despite being told that no experience or special equipment was necessary, the novices were anxious at the beginning but this soon dissipated after some excellent and 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 or, in the words of one member, a perfect way “to introduce an ageing beginner to the joys of rowing”.

Another said that 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 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.

The journey downstream to Aston was easy because of a following wind. It was great fun negotiating the lock too.

At the Flowerpot Inn in Aston, the gardeners’ forks were soon busy as they dug into their delicious lunches.

The extra energy was useful for the return trip upriver against the increasing wind. As we rowed back, we felt relaxed and were rowing together in harmony as a group.

One member said she was very proud of their achievement and added: “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 Village Gardeners is a friendly group of volunteers who meet twice a month for an hour to sustain the attractive appearance of the commual areas around Sonning Common and are supported by the parish council.

New members are welcomed. No gardening knowledge or skills are required but will be a bonus if you have them. For more information, email

The Henley Whalers welcome new rowers of any age or ability.

For more information, visit

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