I love my walk to work. Well, OK, so I don’t walk all the way from Clapham Junction into the City, but for the past year or so I’ve walked from Waterloo station to Moorgate on a fairly regular basis. And I love it; the opportunity to change down gear from the frenetic commuter charged melee to strolling speed along the south bank. Switching streams allows me to disengage from the cut and thrust of the Waterloo and City line and to enjoy the more varied scenes along the river.
As the waterfront buildings on the north shore gradually morph from the civic splendour of Somerset House to the gothic grandeur of Blackfriars and on into the skyscraper skyline of the City, I march past the Royal Festival Hall, the Oxo Tower, under Blackfriars Bridge subway with its fascinating tile murals, and beyond to Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge until the Globe Theatre marks the point where I have to return to street level and cross the Thames at Southwark Bridge.
Even on my most morose mornings this walk cheers me up. Thirty minutes or so to let my mind wander, when I can easily afford to enjoy being distracted by other worlds past and present which emerge. The 20th Century viewing provided by the ITV Television Centre contrasting with the mudflats and old wharves which peek out from the low water mark as you walk along Bankside.
This morning I spied PLA barges working their way upstream, full to the brim of spoils heading who-knows-where. Some mornings there are fishermen on the jetties which reach out towards the deeper waters of the Old Thames, and I’ve spied people mudlarking alond the Embankment. Between Blackfriars and Bankside, Banksy‘s stencil art contrasts with the mindless graffiti, and there are silver disks marking the route of the Silver Jubilee walkway… reminding me I meant to see what was happening about the Golden Jubilee extension.
On those days where speed is of the essence, I can get to work within 30 minutes, door to door. But I treasure my walk to work, it’s well worth the extra 20 minutes or so it takes, and what’s that in the grand scheme of things?