Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The melancholy of the late evening hut - # 101/2011

"It's time to pack up now, dear!":  that dreaded statement at the close of a lovely childhood day on the beach at THE HUT!  The smell of the interior of the hut, the warm cosiness, the packing up and plodding back home on foot. The lingering smell of egg and cress sandwiches and smell of Daddy's war time infantryman's primus stove for boiling water in the whistling kettle. The smell of salty sea air and the shock of discovering sea borne fuel oil stuck to your feet and swimming trunks. 

Friday, 22 July 2011

a Strong Woman - # 100/2011

...........a "feminist" term that seems to be increasingly popular these days.  I've nothing whatsoever against "strong women", but I sometimes find the term a bit annoying.

Anyway, here's a good metaphor for a really "strong woman". It's a massive and immensely strong, traditionally built wooden "clinker hull" fishing boat; on the beach at Hastings, alongside the old bulldover used to push it down to the water and haul it out again when it comes home. 

Hastings is the home of a very large beach-launched traditional-style fishing fleet that works the English Channel and catches fish in a sustainable and ecologically sound way. That's also a popular term these days, but it certainly does not annoy me! 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

End of the day - end of the line - # 99/2011

At the end of a long sunny day at Hastings I came to the west end of the beach where the town has petered out and things seem to get a bit less busy.  I found a few enthusiasts' fishing boats and this line of huts. (Heaven knows what the huge shed behind them is for - actually I never noticed it, I was so engrossed by the huts and the boats! Strange but true!).

I can't explain why I like this scene. I just do. It might have something to do with the quietness and the "end of the line" atmosphere. I don't know.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Little Venice - # 98/2011

Before the railway age great canals were built to carry goods from the industrial midlands and the farm lands into London.  The Grand Union canal entered the Thames at Brentford near Richmond, but a spur was built to travel around the northern edge (it is no longer "the edge") of London to connect with the docks and the canals serving the eastern side of England.  Here at "Little Venice", close to Paddington Station, in West London the Grand Union met the Regent's Canal and a Y shaped basin was created. This is a delightful spot in the Capital. It's a "must see" for any tourist or even resident.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Police on call - # 97/2011

The photo shows a London River Police boat streaking down river, blue lights and sirens wailing, past the 1980's Docklands apartments towards the distant towers of the mighty Canary Wharf finance district.

In the late '70s and early '80s the derelict docks of the old Port of London were developed into funky flats and "loft apartments" for City bankers. Rupert Murdoch busted the Printers' Union stranglehold on Fleet St. and moved to a brand new Dockland site, using modern computer technology in old dockland Wapping.  A little later the financial "Big Bang" lead to the construction of a gigantic addition to London's financial district in the Canary Wharf development, on more derelict dockland, about 3 miles away from the old City Square Mile 

The power of London as a world leading financial and news information hub was re-confirmed, and its might grew even stronger.

Move forward a few years - not so long after the flawed British politician, Gordon Brown, heralded the opening of Lehman Brothers offices in Canary Wharf the "toxic mortgages" crisis in America brought down Lehman's and triggered the current world financial crisis. Bankers were justifiably vilified, and now Rupert Murdoch's empire is under police investigation in Britain, America and Australia.  

30 years is a long, long time.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Batman's London - # 96/2011

You'll have noticed a lack of "content". While looking about for a bit more inspiration and something "different" I've been spending some time trying to take a look at "the new London", and trying to see what I can make of it. Richmond itself will come back one day, but I need a rest.

This week end took me to the area around Tower Bridge and London Bridge where they are building  the new "Shard" tower  all around there is stunning new architecture with creative view points and vistas. This is indeed 21st Century London, straight out of a 1950s Marvel Comic; and one expects Batman to turn up at any moment, or maybe Superman to snatch somebody to safety, away from an oncoming red London Transport bus. I like it.

And it's very photogenic.