Tales of the riverbank

There’s been much talk in Bath lately about bringing life back to the river bank. Well, on the bit of river where I live, one could safely say that all life is there already. And it’s not quite like the glossy brochures published by the various stakeholders, which show what we used to call Letraset people enjoying their spikily elegant riparian lifestyle.

True, we have cormorants, kingfishers and even an otter. We have friendly holiday boats and jolly dog walkers. Happy families enjoy picnics on the new lawns and skateboarders have set up a ramp that enables them to somersault into the water on hot days (haven’t they heard of Weil’s disease?) I even managed to gate-crash a waterside champagne and canapé reception!

But we also have shrieking on-board hen parties, drunken youths who leave mountains of litter, pill-pushers and their customers skulking in the shadows and a brand of thoughtless boat-dweller who moor up for months despite the signs saying overnights only (and the lack of toilet facilities…it’s wonder those artfully landscaped bushes have survived). The last lot of those scallywags revelled in sunset parties, moonrise parties and greet the dawn parties, whilst I invested in some earplugs. Luckily they disappeared when Glastonbury started up and never came back.

As for you students who think you are the first to tap-dance across the adjacent bridge at 3am…hilarious though it might seem, everyone does it guys.

There have been police raids, a man howling like a wolf into the small hours and one malicious loosening of mooring ropes, an occasion that involved searchlights, a great deal of shouting and the rescue launch dashing up and down most of the night.

Anyway, there I was this morning, a glass of Prosecco in hand, feeding my favourite swan from my sunny flower-bedecked balcony, breathing in the scent of mimosa and lavender and thinking, actually, this is the life. What a lovely peaceful spot I’ve found myself in. In fact, I probably looked exactly like one of those Letraset people in the brochures!

Then out of nowhere another swan appeared, grabbed mine by the neck and proceeded to try and kill it.  Blood and feathers everywhere! Give a scallywag an inch and he’ll take a mile. Or in this case, give him a few yards of riverside path…

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