Exausted but happy after a two hour snow walk capturing a bunch of gorgeous artwork care of the Siberian winds invading London.
Frozen lake with frosted snow.
Trees from the old flooded gravel pits emurgingthrough the ice – surreal!
Path between one of the lakes and the river (the only thing not frozen).
That’s not land but frozen water!
The wind tried its hand at sculpture here (notice the icycle sculpture formed on the branch hanging from the weir.)
The river resisting all attempts at transformation.
Farm at the canals side busily wheeling supplies – no animals out today!
Boats on the Grand Union Canal. The ice was melted in little circles around them – at – 4 deg. doubtless they had the heating full on!
No heating on this boat!
We so often take things for granted. The winds change, and suddenly we are engulfed in freezing weather from Siberia! Blissfully complacent, our mild winters delivered endlessly to our shores by the gulf stream and its accompanying warm air currents, we forget we are actually on the same latitude as Siberia and, but for the manifest blessings of God, we would be engulfed in snow, blizzards, and icy temperatures every winter. English weather, so often malined, is actually a miracle of design. The interuption of our wonderful Carabean air currents is a great reminder to count our infinate blessings!
My sister made one of her seasonal London day trips today. We had a great time together with a topical cruise down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich narrated in traditional style by one of the crew. I grew up and worked here for quite a while when I was young, but I was surprised to learn quite a bit from it . We then looked over the Maritime Museum and had lunch in the little cafe there before getting the boat back . It amazes me how you can think you know a place yet have missed a very obvious facet of it.
I’d not really thought much about London’s history from the point of view of the river, but really the river began it all in the first place!
Some fun Thames facts for foreigners.
- I know its spelled Thames but it’s said Tems (how we cringe when we hear its name mispronounced).
- Though originally a beautiful pure river teeming with wildlife it became so smelly (due to its use as general sewer and dumping ground) that Parliament was unable to function for the stink (that’s when the London sewers were created). Happily it’s now once more one of the freshest rivers in the world.
- From the river you can see “Traitors Gate” the notorious river entrance to the Tower of London (few ever made it back out).
- With London’s old muddy clogged roads, the river was once the fastest way to get around and abounded with small craft ferrying folks here and there.
- The previous London bridge (there have been five!) was found to be sinking in Thames mud so was sold and transported to the USA.
- A river cruise is a great way to see London passing lots of famous landmarks, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Shard, St. Pauls, and Big Ben, to name but a few.
- The Thames is a tidal river rising several meters, so the current changes in different directions throughout the day (making it tricky to navigate).
- Pirates were once executed by being chained to a post against a wall of the river for three tides.
- The Thames police were the first British police force (even before the Bow Street Runners).
- On the celebratory opening day of Tower Bridge the bridge failed to open and the first ship crashed into it.
- These are just a few items to wet your appetite. So if you are ever in London take a cruise. You can go anywhere between Henry VIII’s Hampton Court in the west to the Thames barrier in the east on anything between a speed boat and a leisurely wine and dine dinner cruise. It’s all great fun!
My faith in humanity got a recent boost when one of my daughters asked to add her partner’s sister to our pub steak night, explaining.
“She’s really nice. You’ll like her.”
Like her we certainly did!
First there was her appearance. the dramatic black topped dress blossoming into a bright gold and black bell shape worthy of a stage production, set off by long waist length plaits and minimal make up.
Her answers to the “usual questions” were far from usual. She lived in a converted warehouse, home to many artists, musicians and travelers, (and those just seeking a cheap place to live in London). An aspiring artist herself (waitressing to pay the bills)she showed me some of her work. I was impressed by the vivid, exuberant colour (beginning to feel already an affinity due to my former art studies etc.)
She understood, to become a success in the sordid world of art there had to be compromises, major compromises! (I recall my same realization.) Not prepared to do that, she planned to study physiotherapy in her mother’s native Finland. An enterprise I encouraged her in as a worthwhile and rewarding profession.
She spoke of the social community in which she lived, the fun they had, blossoming against all odds in London’s cosmopolitan hierarchy.
She was free! She reminded me of myself long, long ago and hope blossomed. There were still people like that around, whole communities of them that saw through the fabricated rat race of society, that wanted no part of it. My heart blossomed with joy for this wild flower growing amid the city streets.
On the way back from my school drop I saw …
I love to take in the daily changes in the trees and lakes.
I love this time of year when the buds begin to open as if sleeping eyes woke to the sun, so sudden from one day to the next.
Silver birch- one of my favourite painting subjects.
Cool, still waters of the lakes.
Trees in blossom everywhere!
In spite of “severe cut backs” still alive and greeting the sun, somehow reassuring.
An old man walking his dog told me “there’s a black swan here now. Don’t know where it is, maybe the other lake.”
I hadn’t seen it yet but promised I’d keep an eye out. Right then it appeared from behind a tree conveniently preening it’s self just a few steps away. There are many swans on the lakes and river here but the black one is a first!
I love to peep between trees at the water (hard to get the effect on camera though.)
Finally , not as pretty, but often my port of call after walks or photography (they serve amazing hot chocolate, or, now it’s spring, home made ice-cream or smoothies!)
A warning of severe blog delays and disruptions for the next two weeks has been issued due to forecast family visitations (my daughter and grand-kids). This current of warm and loving air, arising in the Far East is due to hit London in the early hours of tomorrow.
Imminent precipitation of get-togethers, dinners and wine drinking, followed by long chats and deep conversations, preceded by heavy showers of love and affection are predicted.
A heavy fall of good times may temporarily prevent communications and blog updates.
(Wishing you all a similarly great time with your loved ones near or far.)
I’m going to try my first blog challenge (fingers crossed!)
Day 1 is a recent photo and intro. this is about the nearest I can get as unlike most ladies I have an aversion to cameras. This one is about a year old.
Very brief intro. (I’m keeping things in reserve against the 20 things about you day lol!) I’m 63 years old, retired and live near London in a beautiful old English town. I love to write, paint, and learn new things (like blogging!)
No, it’s not really snowing here in London but I can dream! (I did in fact dream it snowed but then I woke up!) Messages from family and friends are coming in fast now, Christmas is here and I must pack up, close my lap top and head off to explore my daughter’s finally completed new house renovations and my son in law’s incredible cooking ( he wont let anyone else in the kitchen!) So I wish you all a great Christmas full of joy, love, hugs, kisses, fun surprises and happy memories. God bless!