The Cranes Come Down
One by one, having reached their zenith some time ago, the new tower blocks which we see across the tideway near completion – their surrounding scaffolding is dismantled leaving the brand new building exposed to the elements. The bold and somewhat stark façades stand out, with only their corner balconies and window frames finished in smoked glass. The adjacent brick apartment blocks look older than their newcomers and provide the river frontage with a kind of variety which one has come to expect for marketing purposes. I hope the newcomers will enjoy their Thameside outlook as it twists and turns down towards the sea. It seems strange to me that even the great, white cruise liners seem to provide passengers’ cabins with their own private balcony – it was this week that Silver Cloud passed by Greenwich from the Pool of London; well worth a visit by DLR to Tower Hill to see the great, white whale alongside HMS Belfast.
The panoramic view from Trinity House and the old PLA HQ reminds one of yesteryear glories when the fruit and butter was unloaded by cranes off ships moored up against Tooley Street’s great warehouse. The towering Shard, City Hall and More London Place office blocks puncture the once familiar South Bank.
As we returned from Tower Pier by Thames Clipper, we sidled past the ‘popsie’ stewardess’ greeting Silver Cloud embarking passengers. Full of anticipation as the baggage porters wheel their luxury baggage onto the ferry which whisks them across to HMS Belfast’s gang plank, then up on board for their two-week long accommodation in utter luxury.
However, we arrive back in Greenwich to see both escorting tugs return to nurse her through Tower Bridge’s raised bascules and tow her downstream off Rotherhithe, where Silver Cloud is turned around to face the sea adventures ahead.
The gleaming, white ship slides past the changing Greenwich waterfront – many of the passengers wave farewell from their balconies, the same size as many of the new builds ashore! The newly arrived tenants no doubt shyly return the ship-board greeting – the etiquette for this not easily explained. Alas, I await someone to notice that we are both waving like mad as she disappears around the floodlit O2 and the Manhattan style of Canary Wharf’s illuminations.
Later, as I write, the incoming congregation to the Royal College Chapel is welcomed by a tolling bell which has invited landsmen and sailors through the generations. The incoming tide brings up a bevy of yachtsmen who might well think it’s for them alone!
Newcomers would be well advised to explore historic Greenwich with its splendid institutions and artistic happenings in the town which are promoted to give a richer experience to one and all!
Information about Silver Cloud
Luxury accommodation for about 300. 75% have teakwood balconies best suited for discerning, well-travelled passengers – especially American – who will be calling at Dublin, Fowey, Leith (Edinburgh), Invergorden, Portree, Falmouth and Southampton. Sounds a nice trip!