Marathon Day and more
Let’s all go down the prom and enjoy Greenwich upstream new delights. The extended Thames path upstream from Cutty Sark Gardens brings new, exciting vistas; a spacious walkway invites people of all ages to navigate their way to the new footbridge across Deptford Creek and beyond, eventually up through the South Bank delights beyond Tower Bridge.
Going to Waitrose for the usual shop surprised me with a dramatic close view of HMS Defender, a spanking new destroyer open to the public over the marathon weekend. I was delighted to see neighbours new and old from both sides of the park also drawn down to view this unusual visitor, both sleek and surprisingly broad with an uncluttered and steep hull and superstructure, surmounted radar and satellite gear with rapid fire anti-aircraft and missile pods which react at an instant against incoming fire.
An invitation to view from a penthouse flat owner who, so enthused with her new, ringside private view, wanted to share her enthusiasm with me as I had recently drawn a panoramic scenario of her stunning aspect ranging from Rotherhithe to Limehouse, Canary Wharf, historic Greenwich and the new world being rapidly built on the Peninsula leading up to the O2. I can’t wait to re-explore the ever-changing scene as the builders construct a new city there.
If driving to Waitrose, park in their extensive underground car park, spend a little money and remember to present your parking ticket at the checkout, which gives you a chance of a coffee from there or next door Costa, and stroll down to view the new footbridge and the Peter the Great statue close by. President Putin parked his soviet destroyer just here at the Greenwich Tier moorings. Look out for more treats as the season’s cruise ships arrive, checking in here at the PLA’s ‘Welcome’ – a purpose-built floating terminal; then dream of a world of exciting venues and luxury travel beyond our shores!!
Each year the Marathon drama is brought to millions by TV coverage, and the Cutty Sark is an iconic landmark 10 miles from the start up in the park, which looks spectacular from the broadcast helicopter, as does London town as the runners twist and turn along the river course.
Down on the foreshore visiting canoeists use the beach for a lunch break. Launching into the tideway under the strict eye of the instructor, alas a pair got into instant trouble as a tide rip drove them into the bow of a moored lighter. After a brisk capsize, they righted themselves with some skill, but provided an anxious moment as I sketched their departure. A vigilant skipper of ‘Moon Clipper’ sped from the pier to reassure the shelter of his large craft in case of further drama, joined later by the Admiralty Police Boat on guard duty around HMS Defender. A sharp look out is most necessary as the Sunday pier is always a hive of activity, especially with ‘duty’ ferries as they bus to and from the ship with anxious visitors. Amongst the attendant craft is a water bowser and a ‘gash’ lighter.
As I write, a tug towing a marine pile driver barge and an empty lighter chugged up to a City construction site (which I spotted from the helicopter marathon coverage) just by the wibbly-wobbly bridge. Thank the Lord that the course was only run close by in Lower Thames Street. As I finish a fast PLA rib slips past, no doubt to oversee the mooring of these work boats in such a narrow water way. Daren’t think about the frail canoeists as they paddle past too!! The Harbour Master follows up in a more sedate catamaran on their usual evening patrol.