So there’s a few things I learned at the hen night I went to last weekend. Firstly, any group of girls, even if they hardly know each other, will get along just perfectly after a bellyful of wine. Secondly, there will be an awkward moment at the wedding when you realise that no-one remembers each other’s names. Thirdly, you can make a hen do the most ridiculous things because she’ll be drunk with wine and nerves and excitement after about 30 minutes and so deliriously happy to be getting married. And finally, whizzing down the Thames by speedboat is really, really good fun.
Actually, I’ll go further, it was bloody brilliant. I must admit when I heard we were doing it, I had visions of screaming girls, eyes shut, freezing cold, knees to chest, while the dirty Thames splashed across our hen night outfits. This might be because the last time I was on a speedboat, it was the quick route from Laos to Thailand, our driver cigarette in mouth, pouring petrol into the engine, ear plugs in, 2 inches of space to stretch out in, 6 hours of noise and wind and sheer panic. I’ve also seen it advertised in incongruous settings where it seemed a bit naff – see the Iguazu Falls by speedboat! Have a romantic ride along the Seine…by speedboat! It didn’t really appeal to me.
But I really, really enjoyed it. In boiling hot sunshine (oh where did you go?), myself and 19 other girls put our life jackets on and boarded two Thames Rib speedboats at Embankment, the venue for our late night Walkabout dancing, ahem. Better than a slow boat because you’re small so you can get up close to the sights (I’d never seen such a close view of the Houses of Parliament from the river) and you get both the normal tour from Westminster to the London Eye to Tower Bridge and a trip further East than other boat trips I’ve done – it was nice to see the renovated East End Wharfs and lovely new flats with their sunny balconies all along the riverbank.
But then, after we had passed far enough out to the East, amongst the modern flats near Canary Wharf on either side, our lovely tour guide stepped on the throttle and we FLEW, rollercoaster style, along the Thames, screaming and holding onto the boat in a white-knuckle ride style. Or I did at least. Sure, the slow boat up the Thames is nice n’ stuff but I bet you didn’t shriek your head off. And no ladies, you don’t get wet. And the best thing about it all? They remind you at the start when you pass the MI5 building that Pierce Brosnan zoomed up the Thames in a speedboat chase in The World Is Not Enough, and when you’re whizzing around, slanting left and right and over the waves, they PLAY THE BOND THEME TUNE at the same time. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in ages.
The Thames Rib Experience is £45 per adult and lasts about an hour. I hope my fellow hen ladies don’t mind me showing some of our photos here. I’m the blonde grinning inanely while my hair tangles in a windswept mess around my head – this might explain my interesting hairstyle for the rest of the evening. Thank you bridesmaids for organising!!