A pleasant trip up the river looking at the desirable residences
and then on our left watching the trains passing on the GWR main line from
London to the west, which is one of Brunel’s great achievements, unfortunately
not a single Castle or other steam locomotive appeared; sadly, you cannot have
everything but we were to get a watermill, a grand house and a cream tea.
The boat moored at the island
below Mapledurham weir on which the mill
stands. Waiting there to greet us was the
miller, Mildred Cookson, and we were soon inside
the working mill and being told all about the
machinery, the history of the mill and how high
the water came in during the winter months.
After checking the quality of the flour compared
with ours at Longbridge we wandered all over the
mill, looking at the exhibits.
There were pictures of the mill
when it was being used as a film set for “The
Eagle Has Landed,” a 1976 film about German
paratroopers who had taken over the village
dressed as Polish soldiers with the intention of
kidnapping Winston Churchill who was nearby. I
well remember the film and the lovely shots of
the mill and the wheel working but then
disappointment, to find that the film set had
been a replica mill and wheel, constructed in
front of the real mill.
Having spent nearly an hour in
the mill and purchased some flour, 85% and
100%, I went outside to look at Mildred’s 1100
which she had brought along – it is in lovely
condition and just looking at it took me back to
memories of many decades ago.
I wandered off to find many of
our group were already enjoying their scones and
cream outside the café – I found the scones were
a little on the heavy side, not quite like
Grandma used to bake!
Others went on a trip around the
house or visited the church, which also had
appeared in the film, and wandered across to
look at the weir – lots of photographs were
taken and then it was time to go. The boat
returned, we boarded for a very leisurely trip
back to Caversham Bridge and were surprised how
many boats and cruisers were also out on the
river for an evening trip.
Then back home having had a
marvellous day out capped by the only working
mill on the River Thames. Thank you Mildred
for spending so much time explaining everything
and to Andy for organising it all.