Sounds from the riverbank
Unusual calmness reigns as Father Thames slides through the capital. Only at narrow-arched bridges and weirs and, perhaps, at locks does the current become somewhat disturbed. Sleeping right at the water’s edge is usually a calm experience – sometimes the onrush of the tide backed up by a strong easterly creates drama, especially if we had received extra high tidal warnng from the Environment Agency, making one aware of the strength of wind over tide.
The oncoming wake from a passing tug or fast ferry (Thames Clipper) adds to the drama, especially at the top of the tide. The Rowing Club next door has concrete tagging which causes a gurgling and slurping as it ebbs and flows over the structure, while the tide barrier gate to the foreshore is occasionally surmounted, sometimes spraying the unwary pedestrian walking along the Thames Path.
The Thames Path is now a very busy tourist and commuter route, especially at weekends. The few floral tubs protect us from whizzing cyclists as we say farewell to our grandchildren or guests. Crane Street, a narrow and ancient traffic-free passage between houses and riverside buildings, no doubt also served the Tudor waterfront once rich with shipping; Venetian gallions once moored where today’s rowers launch their fragile craft. At weekends we awake to the crunch and slide as craft are launched. This last weekend 20 crews participated in the ‘Greenwich Head’ which once attracted not only Thames rowers but those from the Medway and Channel ports.