I must be the luckiest of enthusiastic river waters on duty every moment of day and night – the outlook through our windows changes according to the state of the tide affecting the amount of shipping and other craft.
When we first came to live in Greenwich high on the Heath, we just heard the hoots and toots of passing vessels. But the reality of living over the river wall is that we hear the break of waves forever changing with the state of tides – beyond one’s dreams of a young man who couldn’t keep away from tidal waters.
It’s some twenty years since we did a house swap from Diamond Terrace to Crane Street – from the Greenwich home of John Masefield to an ancient river-side alley way which has grown into a pedestrian and cyclist escape from busy Trafalgar Road. Now with the amazing growth of East Greenwich with its multitude of multi-storey apartment blocks, runners mix with the strollers and the kids going to school – we old folk having to dodge the plugged speeders who pass without a word!
Our two neighbouring taverns have increased in popularity since the lock down. Many more young fathers taking over from the working mums – so it’s pretty lively with those who rely on a quick half or two! Now the evenings are drawing in, the lights twinkle even more as offices empty. Do come down and see the remarkable changes in the riverside scene, be drawn to the hanging baskets of wonderful flowers adorning the Trafalgar which Frank Dowling has installed, as well as maritime decoration including a formidable parade of Royal Navy emblems which ships were entitled to display. Venture inside to see his amazing collection of maritime paintings and artifacts, surely the most elaborate on any shoreline! Visitors can dine or wine at grand riverside tables both within and on the quayside adjacent to the Old Royal Naval College – now the campus of Greenwich University. What an ideal venue to impress our failing empire!! Let’s hope that the lights of commerce continue to sparkle as tugs and lighters serve the riverside engineers building new tunnels and the remarkable new sewers which become even more essential to our financial investments along Father Thames.