Urban picturesque with Shard

Same formula as the previous post. Ooh that’s nice:

But puzzle. What is it? We see the Shard there, but where are we? What direction are we looking at the Shard from?

Context:

We are at the Dome end of the Dangleway, looking across the Greenwich Peninsular towards the towers of Docklands, with central London beyond. The City cluster is not visible, but the Shard is.

I still don’t know what that blob in the middle of the sky is. Mercifully, it isn’t to be seen on any of the other photos I photoed at this time.

The tall pole with sticking out bits in the original photos is for hanging banners, saying things like: “London Olympics 2012”, 2012 being when all these photos were photoed. Now, there are Machines-For-Living-In Things in the foreground, next to and just south of the Dome, and a great many more bigger Things in the Docklands Tower Cluster.

The photo on the right, featuriing the Dome, was photoed as I began a Dangleway journey across the River to Victoria Dock.

I love that part of London. An essential part of that being because it keeps on changing.

More London

Back in March 2019, on the same day and just before I photoed these photos, I photoed this photo:

What I like about that is what I also find weird about it, which is the way that this metal circle of 3D map information kind of hovers weightlessly over the pavement.

Luckily I soon found another photo which explained this weird effect with logic:

But now, there was another mystery. What is “morelondon”? Turns out it’s More London, which was the place where I was.

Here are some more photos I photoed at the same time as the two above:

The reason I made them look so small in this posting is in the hope that you will be deceived about what is going on, in photos 1 and 4 there, 1 especially, 4 in a general way, but 1 in a very particular way. Click and you’ll surely see what I mean.

The strange coloured-in statues are, I now learn, by Stephan Balkenhol. More about him here. At the time I recall wondering if they were Art, or just advertising of some kind. Art, it would seem.

The view from The Point

I’ve already done several photo-postings about that walk Alastair and I did, from Blackheath to the Dome. There was that posting that rhymed. There was a cat. There was that amazing photo of the River that Alastair did. There was Lord Nelson. Well, time for some photos taken at our Official Designated Destination. Our actual first thing we decided to visit which would supply me with plenty of photo-opportunities, after we had met up at Blackheath Station, was this:

Beyond the Point Hill sign is The Point. We got to that by walking up … well, here are a couple of maps. On the left, how to get from Blackheath Station to The Point. And on the right, why you would bother, the point of The Point being what you can see from The Point:

The point of this first photo is to explain why the photos that follow are the sort that you might not consider to be that great:

This was not the first photo I photoed from The Point, but it makes my point, which is that what you can see from The Point is most of it a really long way away. The photos that follow are all very zoomy.

For me the most striking Things to be seen were the Docklands Towers. There are now quite a lot of them, compared to how many there were when I vaguely recall last visiting this spot.

First, two views of the entire Docklands Cluster:

And next up, a couple of close-ups of this same cluster:

The light could have been better, but it was what it was.

I really like how Docklands is turning out. One or two of the towers there have a bit of distinction about them, especially One Park Drive. But the sum is greater than the parts, I think. This is because almost all these towers go straight up. There are no Gherkins, Cheesegraters, Scalpels, Walkie-Talkies or Cans of Ham. Just gravity following towers done in the most efficient way possible. And the result is a classic spontaneous order of skyscrapers, all done in the modern vernacular. Without gravity, there’d be little logic. But with gravity, and without the starchitectural urge to defy it, it is all starting to look rather impressive. I like the City, with all its weirdness and eccentricity, but I’m glad London also has a classic skyscraper cluster in the form of Docklands. It can only grow and only get more impressive.

I like the idea of people looking at photos of it, and saying: Where’s that? “London.” London? I’d never have guessed.

Off to the right, we can see the Dome:

The stuff to the left of the Dome is the muddle on the other side of the River, to the east of Docklands. The sooner that muddle gets gobbled up by the Docklands Tower Cluster the better. To the right of the Dome, south of it, on the Greenwich Peninsular, there’s already more stuff rising up, with more to come.

Off to the left, all the eccentricity of central London is duly on show, but even further away:

Let’s take closer-up looks at bits of that:

The photo on the right is a different photo. But the image on the left is a detail cropped out of the bigger and more panoramic shot. In that left hand shot you can clearly see the BT Tower in the distance there, as also One Blackfriars, looking very squat and far less elegant than it might have. For which, Alastair reminded me, we can thank Prince Charles.

And speaking of way in the distance, Alastair also helped with this next photo. Basically, he directed it and I just pushed the button, what with his eyesight now being so much better than mine:

Now that I’m home and looking at a screen twenty inches or so away from me, I can clearly see both The Wheel, and … the new Wembley Arch. I could dimly perceive the Wheel on the day, but the Wembley Arch I totally took on trust. Yet, there it is, way off in the distance on the right, being hovered over, like waiters, by two cranes.

And on the right, a new central London architectural eccentricity, in the form of that strange white triangle that is often to be seen now in photos of London from the south east. It looks like something you might click on to get video to play. But that’s the Scalpel.

So, there it is. That’s how the Big Things of London are/were looking during the Lockdown of 2020. Will London continue to develope, or will it pause for a decade? Or longer? We shall see. Or I will. I hope.

Memo to self: Go back there on a sunnier day. In a few weeks time, after it’s cooled down a bit.

Taking off from London City Airport in 2014

There’s no way I’d be inflicted the job of sticking up these thirty photos upon myself, let along the actual photos on any of you, were it not for the magic of WordPress Gallery, which enables me to shove them all up in one big lump, and you to click through them with just twenty nice clicks. Or not. As you please.

As if often the case, I display them in spite of their photographical quality, but because what they show is so interesting. My plane that day took off right over my favourite clutch of places in the whole world.

Here’s where the plane took off from, flying from right to left:

And here is what I photoed from it, presumably in defiance of the instructions of the people bossing the plane, from just before take-off until we arrived, I’m pretty sure, at the English Channel. I was on the left of plane, pointing my camera south towards the River, at any rate at first:

I particularly like the early ones there, of the territory between the western bit of the Victoria Dock and the River. We clearly see the Thames Barrier, and the Dome of course, but I love all that ever-changing muddle in between. I may well, although of course I promise nothing, be using some of those photos again, one at a time, when discussing the details of how this part of London has changed, is changing and will change. No way does it look the same now.

Later you can see, I think, the Walthamstow reservoirs (which call themselves the Walthamstow “Wetlands”), a golf course (which one, I have no idea), a very particular road intersection (ditto), and an aerial view of The Scream, that painting of a woman screaming, with a friend. Then, would that be the Isle of Wight? Don’t know. Commenters who like this kind of thing can, if they wish, elucidate.

If that’s right we did a 270 degree turn, first going north and then going south, on our way to Brittany. Presumably this was to make sure we kept well clear of anything to do with Heathrow.

A tube line that never was

From the ianVisits Unbuilt London category, this never built figure of eight tube line:

Eight? More like the Infinity Line.

And actually not a bad idea. It would have connected all the big London mainline stations.

I remember a time when I was constantly trying to get from Victoria to Waterloo. Can’t recall why, but I was. Very annoying, for such a short distance. This says 6 minutes, if you change at Westminster Tube. Fantasy. Often I just walked.

But guess what. Victoria-Waterloo would have remained a nightmare on the Infinity Line, taking you either via Kensington and Paddington or via Kings Cross and Liverpool Street. Which is why the name would have stuck.

New River walk with GodDaughter1 from Bounds Green to Enfield

On April 2nd 2016, GodDaughter1 and I went on a photo-expedition along the New River. It was most enjoyable, and I prepared another of those big photo-clutches that I could seldom bother to do on the Old Blog, so that you can now, if you feel like it, click-click-click through them on this New Blog. But I also wanted to link back to an earlier posting I did about a rather exotic looking duck that we had encountered that same day.

For reasons explained in this posting, all postings on the Old Blog linked back to from this blog have to have been transferred to the New Blog. So, here I am linking back to What sort of duck is this?

But, problem. That posting itself linked back to a posting about Trees pruned into strange sculptures, because GD1 and I encountered a really strange piece of tree surgery (photo (6.2), on that same expedition.

Which, in its turn linked back to Losing the leaves in Victoria Park, because, well, because it did. So that had to be transferred across too.

When I put it like that, it all seems pretty simple. But following the link chain backwards and then forwards again, opening up each posting about four times over, was the Grandma of all muddles that I had not seen coming, and muddles you do not see coming can get really muddled.

Anyway, it’s all sorted now, and here are all those photos I mentioned, at the top of this:

My favourite is the plate-shaped foliage that has been emptied upside down into the water (photo 28 (4.4)).

There’s lots more I could say about all these photos, but this posting has already gone on far too long, and I confine myself now to saying: See also the plaque about Sir Hugh Myddelton (photo 37 (5.5)), who designed the New River. Designed? You don’t design rivers. They’re just there. But yes, he designed it. The point being it was designed and built, to supply London with fresh water, right at the beginning of the seventeenth century. So, at a time when so many stupid things were in the process of happening, something truly creative also happened.

Well, one other thing: the occasional interpolation of extreme urbanness (e.g. a newspaper headline about Ronnie Corbett (photo 27 (4.3)) and the van covered in stickers (photo 21 (3.5)) is because when you walk along beside the New River, it sometimes dives underground and you have to go up to regular London, until you get to the next bit.

June 6th etc. in ten seconds

I like this:

But I’d like it a lot more if it was slowed down. Or at least slowable down. The early stages when it was fairly static work well. The later bits, when the Americans raced around the south, creating the Falaise Pocket, and then how that Pocket emptied, are too quick to tell the story. You have to know it already.

Even so, what a story.

The first two photos on the old blog

I have resumed copying old postings over from the old blog to the New Blog. The situation with linking to the old blog has got worse. It used to be that it merely said “Dangerous” in scary red lettering, at the beginning of the link. Now the entire destination is turning bright red. You can still find your way to the old blog if you really want to, but the red screen is decidedly offputting. All the more reason for me to shovel stuff over to here.

This time around, instead of just picking postings at random, or because I wanted to link back to them, I simply started at the beginning. Mostly it is highly unrecommendable housekeeping babble, although don’t let me stop you looking at it if you really want to. But, the first two photos on the old blog struck me as really good and worth another look.

First, this photo, of a photoer, photoing away in Parliament Square, featured in this posting:

What’s so good about this is that (a) the camera is now so antiquated, but that also (b) we can observe a now obsolete tourist habit, that of staggering around London with a camera in one hand and a big old map in the other. Now, all of the above is done, and done much better, with a tiny little thing smaller than the camera she’s using.

There’s even a Parliament Square statue in the background.

I’m pretty sure I chose this photo quite carefully, for the honour of being the first photo on the new blog, as it then was. But even if your opinion of this photo differs from mine, then and now, you’ve got to agree that this second one is pretty cool:

The bridge of the century so far, and no sign of anything better coming any time soon.

Sadly, the third photo is pretty crap.

Out east – one year ago today

I looked at what I was doing a year ago today, and came across these photos, of a great little expedition I had out east:

My wanderings began at West Silvertown DLR, from which there is a great view of the Tate & Lyle factory or refinery or whatever it is, the one with the giant can of Golden Syrup attached to it. Other local landmarks included: that cruise ship next to the footbridge, which is actually a hotel; a superb crane cluster off to the north; the Dome; that skilift Thing that goes across the River; and the Optic Cloak. (Where the Eastern God (Buddha?) was, I don’t recall, but I like him a lot.)

This is the area I was exploring:

It’s a place that is palpably in transition. Go back today, and it’ll be different. A year from now, it’ll be different again. In ten years, unrecognisably different. The landmarks in the distance will still be there, but the foreground will be transformed.

The weather that day (unlike the weather today) was a bit grim and grey, but I remember really enjoying this expedition.

I also, that day, photoed nesting birds, cranes, and a book of the week. That last posting having been done as soon as I got home.

By the way, behind the cruise ship is the ExCel Centre, now in the news because it was turned into a hospital. A hospital which had remained mostly empty, and now seems like it will soon shut. Which is good.

Photo-question answered

There I was, sitting in a window seat of a Ryanair 737-800, trying and pretty much failing to photo photos out of the window. But I did succeed in photoing this photo:

When I looked at this photo again, I wondered just exactly what that elongated rectangular bit in the middle was, surrounded by darkness, that looks like a word spelt out in an unfamiliar alphabet? I cranked up Google Maps, and searched, all around Stansted. Nothing. The key to it was that highly idiosyncratic motorway intersection at the top. Couldn’t find it anywhere, until I started casting the net wider, and I found it, way out west of London, where the M4 and the M25 cross.

It was here:

There really is no doubt about it. All the details fit. The rectangle of weird lettering is Heathrow Airport. At first I thought this was going to be another mystery posting, for Commenter Chuck or Commenter Alastair to solve. But, no need. Already solved.

So, Ryanair planes fly from France to Stansted, right over Heathrow. I guess the airplanes landing at and taking off at Heathrow are way too low to be bothered about airplanes like the one I was in.