[Taken from my blog
] I decided to get one of those leisurely boats to Greenwich today. It was boiling hot all day and I was too lazy to get the tube so I sat on the boat instead. It took about an hour to go from the London Eye to Greenwich Pier, and a bit more coming back because of all the dopey boatmen getting in our way. I never knew you could have a traffic jam on the water, but I was stuck in one on the way back.
I reckon the tour guide was a frustrated comic, testing out all his jokes on the captive audience. Half the audience were Japanese tourists so didn't have a clue what he was talking about, which might explain the lack of laughs. But some of his gags were alright, they made me laugh. I only remember a few, but here is a taster of the entertainment onboard: He pointed out the National Theatre as the ugliest building in London: "Even Prince Charles thinks it ugly," he said, "and let's face it, he should know, because he's seen a lot of ugly things." I'm guessing that was a Camilla joke. A fair point. Then he explained how we got Cleopatra's Needle for beating Napoleon's butt in Egypt. "There's a smaller one in Paris," he said, "which they got for coming second." Ho ho oh no. I think that is enough of his jokes. We had to listen to those for an hour.
He did point out a few good things though. I found out where Helen Mirren live. She's got a posh house on the bank of the Thames, just past Tower Bridge. We had a peer through the windows but she wasn't home. He showed us a few movie sets too, like that James Bond speedboat scene at the start of "Tomorrow Never Dies" (is that the one?) where he's chasing the bird through the locks. All I remember is that she blew up by the Millennium Dome, but we never got that far.
You get quite a good view of all the sights boating down the Thames. Let me give you a list of everything you go past: Big Ben, Parliament, the London Eye, Royal Festival Hall, Cleopatra's Needle, Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, St Paul's, Southwark Cathedral, Golden Hinde, The Monument, HMS Belfast, Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. That's not a bad haul for an hour of your time. But once you get past Tower Bridge there's nothing... it's all luxury flats and warehouses. That is also the bit of the journey where the water starts to get a bit choppy and all the passengers start turning green. As you go round the big bend past Canary Wharf the boat bobs up and down about 3 or 4 feet.