On 1 July, the product launch day for my friends over at Sonnet Models, the team had a small unofficial launch party (a little celebration to preempt a bigger upcoming launch party) and I got invited along. The location was set for the banks of the Thames a ways outside London in a town called Henley-on-Thames, famously home of the Henley Regatta – one of the top three UK sporting events along with Wimbledon and the Royal Ascot horse race. To my great excitement, the evening’s launch party would coincide with the regatta itself so five o’clock saw me beating a hasty retreat from the Spoonfed offices, racing across town to change into my British summer best, and hopping a train from Paddington Station towards the previously unvisited town of Henley-on-Thames.
The evening hit an unfortunate bump early off as signal failures locally had delayed every train leaving the station. After an hour sitting on the unmoving train I had been worried I’d miss, I began to wonder if the 75 minute ride would be worth it. The train finally began moving but my misgivings increased when, at the junction where I needed to change trains, I saw hordes of well-dressed revelers leaving the regatta which had ended some hours before.
Given that my only other option was to turn around and find someone to shout at in the train station I had just left, I carried on towards Henley where I finally discovered the adorable little river-side town and the Sonnet Model’s celebratory group who welcomed me with a much needed glass of Pimms. The weather in Henley was stunning and we spent the evening wandering the banks of the river, indulging in ice creams and Pimms and taking in the post-regatta calm that was probably much preferable to the chaos of the day’s main event.
While I only had a few hours outside of London in Henley, the mini break reminded me how much I enjoy getting out of the city, especially with a friendly, fun and social group of people. While of course I’m looking forward to the Sonnet Models’ official launch party, I’m not sure much could be the great weather and relaxed evening on the banks of the Thames in Henley.