Closing Time, Thames Barrier

img_0635
The gates of the Thames Barrier are called Alpha to Foxtrot. This is Alpha, on the south side, which closes first with Echo and Foxtrot on the north side. The bigger ones in the middle then close one at a time

UPDATED with new new pictures, taken by Deon. It’s easy to tell which are his. There’s more of his stuff here

Because they only carry out a routine closure of the Thames Barrier six times a year, it is treated, in a small-scale, very English kind of way, as something of an event.

There are already a handful of spectators when we arrive at just after half eight on a Sunday morning – middle-aged couples in the main and some young families, cameras ready. Continue reading “Closing Time, Thames Barrier”

Closing Time, Thames Barrier

Glad and ruins on the Thames

Me and The Goff walked the Thames from Woolwich to Rotherhithe on a sunny Sunday. It’s a stretch of the river neither of us have much cause to visit and it’s fascinating, not least because so unlike the London of our everyday lives.

There’s still industry here from an age of rust and clank sitting besides new flats that by comparison seem more modern than they already are.

It’s a place of dead and ruin, of abiding and of the future. Perhaps appropriately it crosses the Meridian Line.

And the river is wide, spanned at the east by the Thames Barrier, which shines beautiful in the sun, keeping greater ruin at bay.

Continue reading “Glad and ruins on the Thames”

Glad and ruins on the Thames

Parkland Walk With Steinbeck

Platforms at the old Crouch Hill station
Platforms at the old Crouch Hill station

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck is an account of a road trip the author undertakes across the US with his pet poodle, whose name informs the title.

It begins with a description of the restless spirit – the want for wandering we feel from youth and suffer into middle age and maturity. The need to be a bum sometimes.

Having decided to hit the road, Steinbeck says the bum must settle on three things. A reason for going; the route to be taken; and the means by which it will be covered.

I like this description: the bum within us wants to leave; our higher aspect seeks the reason.

Continue reading “Parkland Walk With Steinbeck”

Parkland Walk With Steinbeck

The Old-Timer – Basketball On The Hill

Tools of the trade. Seen better says
Tools of the trade. Seen better days

On Sunday mornings I play basketball on a court up a hill not far from where I live. It’s a walk away and the path up takes me through a park and, more often than not, past an old timer sitting on a motorised wheelchair.

It’s late spring at least but he is dressed in layers of clothing, rubber boots and a wooly hat above his cornflake face and big grey beard.

Continue reading “The Old-Timer – Basketball On The Hill”

The Old-Timer – Basketball On The Hill

Midnight Ramblers: A Walk Across London From The Witching Hour To Sunrise

Honor Oak
Honor Oak. Not far from the beginning

‘Look at the lucky cat. Over there. The lucky cat.’

Given she looked high as a kite it wasn’t the most unusual thing she could have said. She had pink powder dusting her hair and her face. Her fella didn’t look the healthy side of sober either.

Continue reading “Midnight Ramblers: A Walk Across London From The Witching Hour To Sunrise”

Midnight Ramblers: A Walk Across London From The Witching Hour To Sunrise

Wapping Old Stairs — The Last A Pirate Might See

In his exhaustive portrait of the capital city, Peter Ackroyd described London as ‘the city of gallows’.

The location of one such set was Execution Dock in Wapping. The precise spot is unknown but a good contender is next to the Town Of Ramsgate pub on the high street, down what have become known as Wapping Old Stairs.

Continue reading “Wapping Old Stairs — The Last A Pirate Might See”

Wapping Old Stairs — The Last A Pirate Might See

What does sound look like? The weird world of cymatics

psychedelic painting

It was promise of a free screening of celebrated trip-out movie Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas that took us there.

Otherwise, we’d still be in the dark about cymatics or, in plain language, the study of visible sound.

That’s right.

Visible. Sound.

Continue reading “What does sound look like? The weird world of cymatics”

What does sound look like? The weird world of cymatics