My Walk to Work (I)

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?

Diary – Sunday 21 July 2002

Another day of r’n’r with R&P. Hollyoaks with tea and toast gave way to a train ride into Waterloo and a walk along the South Bank to Tate Modern. They’ve changed the permanent exhibition, which is A Good Thing seeing as I’d felt I’d explored the previous collection as much as I could. I’m no art connoisseur, but I enjoy wandering around museums and galleries, and Tate Modern in particular is a great space for modern art.

We all enjoyed the Czech animations on Level 3 – agreeing that it reminded us of children’s TV fillers from our youth (aka the 70s) when we didn’t have much truck with the strange silent 5 minute movies. Looking at them today we were struck by the effort which must have gone into coming up with the ideas, and actually making the short films.

Crossed the Thames by the (not) Wobbly Bridge, and took the Thames Path West to Blackfriars Bridge and thence back to Waterloo and home for High Tea.

Pottered after Ruth and Pete departed for Hatch Warren, making a stab at my tax return (and deciding to try out the online submission, which justified deferring any calculations until I’ve got all the paperwork), doing some washing, ironing the half of my wardrobe which had got stranded in between washed and wearable. Flicked between Frontier House and Where are they now … The Waltons which was a rather strange experience of too many asynchronous parallels finishing up with psychology hour on Big Brother.

Spoke to Hazel before she headed out to Heathrow for (hopefully) her final trip to Sydney, and emailed Phil.

…. and felt guilty about having missed Barney’s Arty Party 🙁

Diary – Saturday 20 July 2002

Ruth and Pete came to stay for the weekend. Lovely and relaxing, easy and fun – in fact all those things that come together when old friends have good times.

Siroopwafelen on mugs of tea on the roof terrace -> British Museum -> No. 168 to Waterloo -> back on the terrace for a BBQ (eventually!) -> Big Brother -> bed @ 10.30pm!!