Lesley and her friend Hyacinth are planning another adventure... a journey along the Thames from source to sea

HYACINTH and I are planning a Big Adventure.

We are travelling the whole length of the Thames from source to sea.

Following the triumph of our (near) cycling trip we shall, on this occasion, go by car.

There are choices. One route is a 184-mile walk and another, a 10-day pilgrimage, is 104 miles.

We wish, however, to stop at as many Michelin-starred restaurants and rosette-strewn hostelries along the way as is possible and will need to be well-dressed on arrival.

Hence, the Bentley.

To make the exploration risk-free and to maximise the pleasure, we have started recce-ing in advance of the real thing.

We started our research at Calcot Manor, a local favourite of mine.

I spent a day in the splendid spa and most of the last few years testing the food and wine.

Like any great hotel, you can take for granted the very high standards, but Calcot wins with its fabby staff.

It is local to me and feels like my 'local'.

Now those of you are picky might point out that Calcot is nowhere near the source of the Thames, which is inconveniently set in a wet and muddy Cotswold meadow.

But, we thought, a good place to start our research.

One of the difficulties of a brilliant idea is that, blow me, someone often gets there first.

Yes, Tom Chesshyre, deputy travel editor of The Times, you may well be embarrassed.

Tom has written a gorgeous book called From Source to Sea, the story of his 215-mile walk. You see he didn't skimp on mileage.

A month after Brexit (perhaps the two events are linked) he revelled in the sights, sounds and smells of this long river walk and delved into its historic past.

As he walks, the river grows and he progresses from peaceful English villages to towns and cities, and ultimately drinks wine at houseboat parties by Tower Bridge.

He meets fishermen, lock-keepers, boat builders, lifeboat men, down and outs and fellow walkers. Despite his travel career, which has taken him to 94 countries, he does get lost in a marsh, something that would be unlikely to happen with Hyacinth.

It is some testament to my generosity of spirit that, despite my disappointment, I shall be going to hear Tom speak at Calcot on February 5, when they hold one in their splendid Meet the Author series. Lunch and talk, a perfect combination.

Buy the book, preferably from the Yellow Lighted bookshops.

Meanwhile, Hyacinth and I are planning to lunch at Bray but we won't be walking there.

My fear that Trumpism is becoming normal

YOU might think, if you read reviews and headlines, that you have read the Michael Wolff book about Trump. 

Most of the daft details of the life of the chubby, sun-lamped, hair lightened, semi-illiterate, megalomaniac, misogynist who heads the US are ‘out there’. 

But the book is a great read. 

Wolff can write, which is more than his subject, and he made me interested in minor characters of whom I had never heard. 

It’s jaw dropping that Trump not only never thought he would win the presidency, but never wanted to win. 

I can believe he wanted the attention and the benefits that would have come from coming second. 

The irony of the American Dream. Any American can dream of being President, and the job goes to the one person who doesn’t want it. 

Anyone remember Mr Blobby? It’s the equivalent of him being Prime Minister. Though that might be an improvement.

If we despair of our politics, think how embarrassing it must be to be an intelligent American. 

Today I read that a 30 per cent tariff has been put on solar panels in the US. 

Solar employs more people than coal and oil combined. That will be 23,000 lost American jobs this year. 

But then he says global warming is a lie. The worry I have is that Trump and Trumpishness is becoming the norm.