Holiday over, it’s time for work again, but walking into the office from the car park this morning, I thought how very lucky I am. It was a fine morning, there was no-one else about and there were just so many interesting things to see. Come with me and I’ll share them.
I can see where I’m heading and yet the pathway appears to be taking me in the wrong direction to begin with.
But my attention is grabbed by the wondrous visual texture in this watermeadow. Lovely, fat bullrushes stand tall amongst creamy grasses which blow in the wind. Further on there are some lighter green bushier plants which I can’t recognise at this distance, and there are the poker straight heads of the purple weed whose name I’ve forgotten too.
I’ve no idea what this lovely seedhead is – I thought at first it was a thistle, but no spikes to be found anywhere on it.
Who would imagine that all of this is in the heart of the city, just alongside a main thoroughfare and only five minutes walk from a honeypot for tourists?
First, I need to cross the river over this skinny bridge. It has quite a hump in the middle and I would imagine it to be great fun to ride a bike over.
From the bridge, there are lovely views over those watermeadows.
Next, there’s the nasty road to cross in a place where it’s tricky to see both ways. All wits are needed to listen for oncoming traffic and I need to be prepared to run over to the other side quickly. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to head a car coming over that bridge. There in the background is the city jail.
Safely over the road, turning into the docks area, there’s a huge wicker planter outside the Arts and Crafts centre. Hadn’t noticed that one before, but it’s looking glorious in what is a fairly dull corner.
My next bridge is more interesting! These are the lock gates which connect the docks to the river. I’ve never seen them in use and assume that nothing uses this entrance to the docks now.
I always enjoy a close look at this great old crane, part of the heritage collection which remains around the dock area. There are bits and pieces all over the place and I smile when I think of the message which was delivered to a meeting I was attending one day:
“Someone has chained their bicycle to a museum exhibit”.
It’s not always easy to tell what is an exhibit and what is a piece of street furniture around here!
The sign on the crane is interesting because my meeting today is all about literacy and numeracy and I know that at least some of the discussion will be about metric measures. I am glad I don’t have to learn how many pounds in a hundredweight, hundredweights in a ton and so on!
More bridges, this time inside one of the old warehouses. These look pretty spectacular and it would be interesting to see inside.
Nearly there now and I see the swing bridge is up. The docks are busy these days with narrow boats moored here and the pleasure boats which offer trips up and down the river and the canal.
One of these, the cream coloured steamer at the end of this arm of the network, leaves at two hourly intervals and when the office windows are open, the loudspeaker address system can be clearly heard with the same chunk of commentary each time it leaves. This usually includes a warning of what will happen to unaccompanied children who are found to be running around and resulted in one colleague inviting alternative suggestions (keel haul?).
But here, on the fifth floor of the warehouse is where I am to spend my day. After enjoying the fresh air and such an interesting walk through a greatly improved and regenerated industrial area, I’m as ready for work as ever.
Whilst we were in New York, we walked a short part of the High Line again and marvelled at the great planting and stylish urban renewal. So often, it takes a trip to a less familiar, faraway place to remind me that there are interesting and similarly exciting places on my doorstep. It’s just that they are so familiar, I sometimes forget to look at them.