Traffic Calming and Other Sights…

My hairdresser friend from upstairs invited me to go on a walk along the river front.  That’s the Thames River front in case you’re wondering.

If it was pouring with rain, as it had been doing for weeks now, we decided we would not go.  We are not completely mad!

Happily the day dawned dry, mild and cloudy.  We caught the train to Victoria which set us on our way to Tower Hill by tube where we began our stroll.

I call it a stroll because compared to my daily walks it was…this was going to be a real joy.

We headed away from the Tower, which has the look of a child’s toy castle, despite being a symbol of oppression since its founding by William the Conqueror in 1078.  As a prison it must have struck terror into the hearts of Londoners.  No more!  For me it is a breathtaking sight as I step from the darkness of the underground.

Hanging from Tower Bridge I noticed the Olympic rings.  A reminder that London was once more going to be the backdrop for a surge of visitors, this time for the games at the end of July.


Looming from the mixed development of Southwark, The Shard stood tall and bright in the distance.


It opens to the public on July 5th.

My friend said,

“It’s not finished yet.”  I was able to show off a bit by sharing what I’d read about the skyscraper,

“It is supposed to look broken to give the illusion of disappearing into the clouds and going on forever…”

In the telling I was reminded of the Tower of Babel, man’s attempt at reaching heaven and making a name for himself and instead incurring the wrath of God who confused their language.  (Genesis 11:1-9)

We started our stroll to Limehouse about two or three tube stops along the Thames.  The Shard staying with us at every turn,


sometimes reaching into the clear sky other times lost in the cloud.


The river path stopped at regular intervals and we had to walk along parallel roads through the East End of London and what used to be the busy Docklands of the Thames.  In the day this was an undesirable area, littered with derelict buildings and high rise council flats; now million pound properties line the waterfront, the area is quiet and deserted.

My friend remarked,

“This area always had a soul-lessness about it which it hasn’t lost despite the influx of wealth.”

We wandered through fashionable St. Katherine’s Docks where we stayed when the children were very young.  The boats moored here in the harbour were large and impressive, this Chinese one in particular caught my eye.


The whole area seemed to have an oriental flavour.  You can just see the luxury flats peeping over the top.

We watched one of the canal gates open releasing a flood of water into the Thames, with it rushed empty bottles and discarded food wrappings.  As we gazed the gates closed causing an upsurge of water and the floating debris returned to the canal.

I was reminded that the Thames is tidal,

ThamesTideOutresulting in not such a pretty outlook for these flats a couple of times a day.

Coming alongside Westferry we passed a Water Sports Club and found these youngsters in their colourful safety jackets and canoes.


In another hour or so we caught sight of the Cutty Sark and Maritime Museum on the opposite side of the river;


We had reached Greenwich where time is kept.

We headed back inland not wanting to cross under the river, had a quick look around a theatre called The Space which uses a converted Methodist church to execute an impressive repertoire of Performing Arts during the year.


Amidst dedicated runners I came across this sign,


a cryptic caution for drivers that there are Sleeping Policemen in the road…I imagine this term is now deemed to be derogatory, I wonder who came up with the alternative, Traffic Calming?  In America we are more explicit, Speed Bumps says it all!

Then there was this sign that raised the question,

“Can dogs read?”

Judging by the Dog Toilet sign I saw in the park a few weeks ago, I suspect, even if they can’t, my fellow citizens believe they can!



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