High Summer

Early mornings are a delight as the light breeze cools the foreshore after hectic party nights all along the narrow pathway.  Our recently erected scaffolding hasn’t helped, owing to the roofing works on our Crane street house.

Sunday morning was a relief – the ebb, laden with the recent high tide ‘flush-out’ of creeks and locks, brought flotsam and jetsam in the swirling eddies – a hazard for the early morning rowers too!

Our resident cormorants and visiting geese and a pair of swans, however, seem completely disinterested.  The intrusion of UK shipping surprised us all as a flotilla of work boats from the Firth of Forth and a tug from Cork chug up the Thames with a pontoon-mounted crane, aided by a brand new pusher tug bearing the SWS Walsh logo (based on Denton and Thurrock) which have become much more noticeable as outside help is much required on the Thames Tunnel engineering.  The vast new tunnel under Central London’s transport infrastructure is requiring work sites up and down the Thames shoreline, as can be seen from the DLR Lewisham line as it snakes over Deptford Creek.  There the Baselgette’s original sewage pumping station is also steeped in scaffolding, just like us!  This week our roofers have stripped the slate and are now installing much-needed insulation into our dust-ridden hidden cavities – no wonder we felt the winters’ cold!

Puffy clouds skit across the capital skyline obscuring the pattern of aircraft vapour trails as they carry vacationers around the world.

Our Friday visitors from Sydney and a young family of New Zealanders – one of my godsons, a master yachtsman, came to view after an excellent Zizi lunch on Greenwich Pier.  Staying in Central London, they just loved the tripper boat journey from Westminster Pier down to Greenwich through the heart of the capital – a complete contrast to their NZ home on a North Island Creek.

As the morning tideway narrows with the falling tide, an old Dutch houseboat chugs by outward bound.  Perhaps for a family holiday to the Medway and to see the treasures of Chatham Dockyard or perhaps the peace and quiet of an isolated creek!


The reality of uncertain weather was forecasted by lumpy, black clouds over the City.  A sudden breeze through the open window sent my model J class yacht flying; an elegant craft more suitable for the Solent, she had to be sailed down Romney Road from the Nauticalia sale – too big for the car and not welcome on buses either.  So I tacked along the pavements down into Crane Street, past the Yacht pub where previously a fine collection of Beken photos were once on display.  She now graces our top deck with dignity and elegance once again!



Just handing this piece to belle Helen Othen, who transcribes my scrawl into more literate form, I received a blog from Mike Ellis who had spotted a piece in the press re the forthcoming America’s Cup which states that the first recorded yacht race was from Greenwich to Gravesend.



However this Sunday Tony Othen, after months of early morning sprints around SE London, takes part in the Prudential Ride London 100 mile cycle event. The Kents wish him well. He tells me that he whistles down an empty Crane Street at the crack of dawn on his 20 mile daily practice run well before we are awake.

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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