We took our boat out for the first time last weekend - and it was bliss. There's something hugely relaxing about being on the Thames. Maybe it's because you can't go faster than 5km/hr on the river. So you're forced to sit back and watch the wildlife (including ducks, geese, swans, grebes and - if you're lucky - kingfishers); look at the houses and enjoy the sunshine. What was shocking, however, was to see the tide marks on the trees and garden sheds. The river level must have been up by over a metre (3-4 feet) at times. And the silt it left in it's wake has coated all the plants, shrubs and reeds in a thin white dust, conjuring up images of what Miss Haversham's garden would look like if she had one. We were thinking of leaving London and buying a house on the river last year. But after all the rain we've had - and the damage that's been done around the country - I think we'll stick to boating for now.