Sunday on the Tideway
It’s great to take it easy, armed with my binoculars on the ‘top deck’ overlooking the incoming tide with its white horses as the wild wind from the west attempts to impede incoming craft , creaking bow waves and spray as the super-wide barges are pushed upstream to service the numerous super sewer working wharves.
A whole new fleet of gaily painted lighters and their attending pusher tugs. This huge project has necessitated the Thames watermen to re-equip with new, purpose-built kit and, of course, fully trained crews – a real stimulus. The vast number of Tideway super sewer projects is dependent on skilled watermen to keep the tunnellers going on this massive enterprise.
Dodging this traffic, waterfowl patrol their food chain. A flock of cormorants gathered to celebrate their annual courting event at this busy stretch of water (just off Enderby Wharf). They show off to one and all their white flash of feathers just aft of their wing ‘mountings’ as they dip and dive before the oncoming fleet of tugs. Amongst all this activity, a family of four swans traverse the river walls feeding off riverside plants. By chance I came across the same family up at the head of Deptford Creek just where fresh water of the River Ravensbourne reinforces the saline tideway at Deptford Bridge. Having had a Sunday lunch at Efe’s café in Trafalgar Road, a homeward bus bound for Peckham gave me the opportunity to inspect the new Creekside gardens, part of a Fairview residential development open to all! This was the subject of a public meeting convened by the Ashburnham Residents’ Group to put pressure on planners to adopt this type of public garden to all of the new Creekside developments.
At the Friday evening meeting of Ashburnham Triangle residents (once an area of marshland adjacent to the Creek which forms a desirable residential zone full of interesting folk!!), Mick Delap – a poet and BBC World Service retiree – is still a great communicator and held his audience of 120 spellbound. Thus inspired, I have added a graphic illustration for those who don’t know the whereabouts of this hidden seaport of yesteryear.