Wednesday, 18 January 2017

In Search of Space, in Hook

Well, not as promised, but possibly as expected I have once again neglected my blog. I have recently started a new job and the first couple of weeks have been a little hectic, getting used to my new commute, and orientating myself around the work. I had hoped to travel by train, but after the first week it became clear that it would take twice as long as driving so reluctantly I have abandoned public transport and taken to my car.

I've managed a couple of lunchtime wanders from my new work location in Hook. The first couple of wanders were simply to stretch my leas and get some lunch, and were not particularly inspiring, but more recently I found a footpath that I'd spotted on google maps, and discovered a more rural setting, and as the title of my blog insists, some space. I only managed a short wander, but this route definitely calls for a bit more exploration, in both directions.

Anyone who has read my blog before will know that I'm a bit of a sucker for railway bridges, especially ones no longer in use, and whilst this one is most definitely in use, carrying the main line between Basingstoke and Waterloo, the bridge is an old brick arch, which is very much to my liking.

Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire

Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire 

Farm track off Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Farm track off Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire 

Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire
Railway bridge across Holt Lane, Hook, Hampshire

Tomorrow I'm off to London, so with a bit of luck I'll get an opportunity for some early morning urban wandering before my meeting, so maybe this week will see another blog post ... but then again maybe not. We'll just have to wait and see.

In other news, I am desperately trying to find time and energy to read a book I got for my birthday last year called Timekeepers, How The World Became Obsessed With Time, by Simon Garfield, partly because I want to finish reading the book, but also so I can start on a more recent purchase, Post Punk Then and Now.

  

Monday, 21 November 2016

An Urban Wander along the Gloucester Road in Bristol

It wasn't until my phone storage had become full, and I was forced to upload my pictures to my PC, that I realised I did have a few other blog-worthy pictures to share. A few weeks ago we visited one of our kids who's at university in Bristol. Living just off the Gloucester Road now, we walked from his new house down the hill and into the city. The weather was a bit overcast so I didn't take anywhere as many photos as I would have had the weather been a bit brighter. The few pictures I did take however are of a recent passion of mine, doorway mosaics. I'm constantly, and pleasantly, surprised at just how many of these are still intact, and have not been destroyed as part of some modernisation scheme. This is a particular sore point for me at the moment as recently we visited the centre of Nottingham, again paying a visit to another of our kids at uni, and had cause to go to the Victoria shopping centre. I knew at one stage it was the location of a station but it wasn't until I returned home and did a quick internet search that I realised just how magnificent it was, and what a travesty it was to have bulldozed it in the 1960's to be replaced with a shopping centre. There's a good article on it on the BBC news site and a curiously intriguing book called Nottingham Victoria: The story of a slum, a station and a shopping centre. Sorry, I digress and seem to have become a bit melancholy, so back to the more upbeat purpose of this blog post, doorway mosaics.

Doorway mosaic, Gloucester Road, Bristol
Doorway mosaic, Gloucester Road, Bristol

Doorway mosaic, Gloucester Road, Bristol
Doorway mosaic, Gloucester Road, Bristol

So, just a short post today, but hopefully I'm back on the path to more regular blog postings.

    

Friday, 18 November 2016

A late afternoon wander along the River Thames from Battersea to Putney, London

Well, I am doing a pretty poor job of posting to my blog this year. Theoretically I have more time now as am working closer to home, and only rarely staying away from home, but my spare time seems to be getting eaten up with other interests.

Firstly I am still hunting down 1970's and 1980's punk, post punk and new wave vinyl that I used to own as a spotty teenager which now, as a 50 something, I am desperately trying to find again. Plus there are records that passed me by at the time which I'm discovering for the first time, wondering how I missed them first time around. Punishment of Luxury for example ... this was precisely the sort of music I was listening to in the late 1970's and early 1980's post punk movement but somehow never came across them until this year.

I've also discovered Netflix. Well, this isn't so much of a discovery as we've had it for over a year now, it's more of an addiction to several Netflix series, like House of Cards, Gotham, Hemlock Grove, Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Luke Cage. I used to tut at the kids as they binge-watched their way through series after series, but now I can see why.

Finally, I changed jobs back in April and am now working out of a pleasant, semi-rural, business park. The environment is tranquil but means my lunchtime wanders are restricted to the river. This isn't to say that the wanders along the river are not enjoyable, but they don't have the opportunity for the seemingly endless discovery that my urban wanders through London gave me.

So, where does all this rambling leading me? I guess it's just a reason for my posts being somewhat sporadic this year, but I do have some recent pictures to share. These were all taken late on a sunny, winter afternoon along the River Thames in London, as we walked from Battersea to Putney.

River Thames, looking towards Lots Road power station
River Thames, looking towards Lots Road power station

River Thames, looking west into the setting sun
River Thames, looking west into the setting sun

River Thames, looking west into the setting sun
River Thames, looking west into the setting sun

This was the night of the super moon but unfortunately my phone pictures don't really do it justice.

River Thames, looking east towards the rising super moon
River Thames, looking east towards the rising super moon

River Thames, looking east towards the rising super moon
River Thames, looking east towards the rising super moon

River Thames, looking east towards the rising super moon
River Thames, looking east towards the rising super moon

So, that's all folks. Hopefully my next post will not be too far away, but you never know what my next distraction may be.

    


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A Wander Along the River Thames near Reading, Berkshire

I thought twice about posting these pictures as although, to my mind, the subject matter is interesting, the sky was overcast and the photos do not perhaps give the impression I was hoping for. However, I eventually managed to persuade myself to share them. They were all taken on the short stretch of the River Thames between Thames Valley Business Park and Reading. It's got a gasometer, a railway bridge, a water tower and a ghost sign ... what more could one ask for.

So let's start with a ghost sign, on what I assume was a former pub, or maybe an off licence.

SIMONDS ALES & STOUT, WINES & SPIRITS


Ghost sign of former pub along the River Thames, near Reading
Ghost sign of former pub along the River Thames, near Reading

And now on to various pictures of the gasometer against an unfortunately dull and dreary sky. Although looking as though it's seen better days, the railway bridge in the foreground of this picture is still in use and carries the line south from Reading. Just peeking out behind the gasometer a water tower makes its presence known.

Gasometer and railway bridge, near Reading, Berkshire
Gasometer and railway bridge, near Reading, Berkshire

The next couple of pictures give a better view of both the gasometer and the water tower.

Gasometer and water tower, near Reading, Berkshire
Gasometer and water tower, near Reading, Berkshire

Gasometer and water tower, near Reading, Berkshire
Gasometer and water tower, near Reading, Berkshire

Perhaps not obvious in the previous pictures, but these structures are massive, as the next couple of shots hopefully illustrate. And for anyone with an interest in gasometers, I can highly recommend the book London's Lost Power Stations and Gasworks.

Gasometer near Reading, Berkshire
Gasometer near Reading, Berkshire

Gasometer near Reading, Berkshire
Gasometer near Reading, Berkshire


    

Friday, 19 August 2016

A Rural Wander along the Kennet and Avon Canal

One of the last rural wanders I managed before I started my new job was out to the west of where we live, along the Kennet and Avon canal. I'd cycled this route many times but generally veered off from the canal beyond Great Bedwyn, so this was all new territory for me. The weather was perfect, we had no time constraints, so all we had to do was enjoy ourselves.

Kennet and Avon Canal, near Crofton
Kennet and Avon Canal, near Crofton

As with many of my rural wanders, I'm constantly on the lookout for disused railways. I knew there were a couple in this area but was surprised in how much was still evident after all the years. This is the former Midland and South Western Junction Railway, built as a north-south link between the Midland Railway and the London and South West Railway. There's not much of the track bed remaining south of Marlborough (north of Marlborough it's a cycle path extending to Swindon), but plenty of parts of former bridges to see.

Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal
Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal

Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal
Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal

Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal
Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal

Track bed of the Midland and South Western Junction Railway
Track bed of the Midland and South Western Junction Railway

Shame about the focus in this next picture, but this happy little chaffinch was singing his heart out in the trees alongside the canal towpath.

Chaffinch
Chaffinch

Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal
Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal

Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal
Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal

Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal
Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal

Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal
Remains of a bridge carrying the Midland and South Western Junction Railway over the Kennet and Avon Canal

Not a railway bridge this time, but a small bridge carrying a farm track across the canal. There are plenty of these along the Kennet and Avon Canal, but I never tire of seeing them.

Bridge over the Kennet and Avon Canal, near Burbage
Bridge over the Kennet and Avon Canal, near Burbage

I'm not sure what building these ornate tiles were on. They have definitely seen better days but it just amazed me at how much intricate detail went into what is essentially the outside corner of a garden wall.

Ornate tiles on a wall near Burbage
Ornate tiles on a wall near Burbage

East Grafton village green
East Grafton village green

Old street lamp, somewhere between East Grafton and Wilton
Old street lamp, somewhere between East Grafton and Wilton

We finished the walk in Wilton where we stopped for a wonderful pub lunch and a well deserved pint.

    

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Doorway mosaics from Guernsey and the Isle of Wight

Once again it's been far too long since I've updated this blog. I thought it had perhaps been a couple of months but was somewhat surprised to discover that it was in fact way back in April, so pretty much four months. Rest assured I have been urban, rural and coastal wandering during this time, but I have been very busy outside of that, moving from being a long-term, permanent employee to a freelance consultant, setting up my own company, landing my first contract, etc., and have just not found the time to blog.

I've amassed a fair number of photos from my wanderings over the past four months and have been considering how best to lay them back here. I think that rather than producing what might come across as a travel diary, I'll focus on common themes covering several locations. So without any further delay, here's my first post for a while and it features doorway mosaics from Guernsey, Isle of Wight and Somerset.

Doorway mosaic, St. Peter's Port, Guernsey
Doorway mosaic, St. Peter Port, Guernsey

Doorway mosaic, St. Peter's Port, Guernsey
Doorway mosaic, St. Peter Port, Guernsey

This was probably the most impressive doorway mosaic I saw in Guernsey but unfortunately there were a couple of black bags of rubbish in the doorway. It was quite a bust street and I would have felt a little conspicuous taking the bags out to get a better picture.

Doorway mosaic, St. Peter's Port, Guernsey
Doorway mosaic, St. Peter Port, Guernsey

On to the Isle of Wight now. This was the first time I had been to the Isle of Wight since I was at junior school, far too many years ago to reveal. The whole place really felt like stepping back in time, to a 1970's England, in the days before out of town retail parks, and where high streets still had shops other than charity shops. And in terms of doorway mosaics I suspect I only scratched the surface, I felt the island had many more to offer.

I'm not sure that this first one from Cowes is strictly a mosaic, but it's close.

Doorway mosaic, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Doorway mosaic, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Doorway mosaic, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Doorway mosaic, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Doorway mosaic, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Doorway mosaic, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Doorway mosaic, Newport, Isle of Wight
Doorway mosaic, Newport, Isle of Wight

In other news, I have been managing to find some time, although again not as much as I'd like, for reading. Two of my recent reads include A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit, and the wonderful Common Ground by Rob Cowen. I really cannot recommend the latter enough.

    

Sunday, 10 April 2016

An Urban Wander from Primrose Hill to Kings Cross via Camden

Interrupting my suburban wandering along the London Loop Recreational Walk I had an opportunity to visit the area around Primrose for a couple of hours before an appointment. The Primrose Hill area has always been a bit of a favourite of mine, although I don't think I've ever really posted any pictures of it, apart from one possibly from the top of Primrose Hill overlooking London. So, with an opportunity to put this right I set about with my hand-me-down phone whose camera is unfortunately nowhere near as good as my old phone.

Painted houses, Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill, London NW1
Painted houses, Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill, London NW1

I hadn't ventured very far but was already in need of sustenance when I stumbled across this wonderful café, Chloe's Espresso, on the bridge crossing the railway line out of Euston. The road is actually a continuation of Regent's Park Road but cars are prevented from accessing this part of it, making it an interesting pedestrian thoroughfare linking the distinctly upper class Primrose Hill with the more edgier Chalk Farm and Camden.

Chloe's Espresso, Regents Park Road, London NW1
Chloe's Espresso, Regent's Park Road, London NW1

Chloe's Espresso, Regents Park Road, London NW1
Chloe's Espresso, Regent's Park Road, London NW1

I've walked along this stretch of the Regent's Canal plenty of times before but had never looked at it from above.

Regent's Canal, Primrose Hill, London NW1
Regent's Canal, Primrose Hill, London NW1

Quite a contrast looking from the bridge in the opposite direction, across the railway lines, towards Camden.

Camden from bridge over the Regent's Canal, Primrose Hill, London NW1
Camden from bridge over the Regent's Canal, Primrose Hill, London NW1

This wheel is not going anywhere, unlike it would seem the rest of the bike. Unless of course this is an installation.

Art installation or unfortunate cyclist?
Art installation or unfortunate cyclist?

Having wandered around Primrose Hill, poking my way through as many different streets as I could find, I dropped down on to the canal tow path and made my way towards Camden.

Former wharves lining the Regent's Canal, Camden, London NW1
Former wharves lining the Regent's Canal, Camden, London NW1

Former wharves lining the Regent's Canal, Camden, London NW1
Former wharves lining the Regent's Canal, Camden, London NW1

The old and the new, Regent's Canal, near Camden, London NW1
The old and the new, Regent's Canal, near Camden, London NW1

Always a bit of a sucker for a gas holder, mainly through reading London's Lost Power Stations and Gas Works I was pleasantly surprised that the former Kings Cross gas holders have been kept and have been incorporated into the design of these new apartments.

Gas holder, Kings Cross, London
Gas holder, Kings Cross, London

Gas holder, Kings Cross, London
Gas holder, Kings Cross, London

And so another urban wander reaches its end. Despite this one being through some fairly familiar territory, I once again saw it with new eyes inspired by Psychogeography.

    

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...