Haven’t been feeling my best today. So a photo from the I Just Like It File:
On the left is the photo I Just Like, photoed in June 2014, by the River, way out east, beyond the Barrier, near a sewage works. And on the right, for anyone who cares, enough context to give a decent clue about how this strange photo came about.
I actually think this photo looks better in the smaller version, because all the shadowy stuff is a bit out of focus.
Big and brand new bridges are pretty rare these days, after a burst of them (or such is my recollection) around two decades ago. So, here is a photo of an Oldie But Goldie, which I encountered on Twitter recently:
This posting is partly because I love that photo, but partly also because I am lunching tomorrow with GodDaughter1’s Dad, who is a renowned bridge engineer, and I need to remind myself to ask him about any good new bridges. If there have been any, he’ll know.
Yesterday’s Duck & Waffle socialising was with, get this, GodDaughter1 and GodDaughter2, These two favourite people of mine had, until yesterday, only met very fleetingly during parties or events at my home, and never properly connected. Yesterday, they got to really talk. And it says everything about what mattered to me about this meetup, and what didn’t, that I actually forgot to bring my regular camera with me, and had to make do with my mobile, which I had with me not to photo but to ensure that we all met up successfully. Which to cut a long and boring story down to its proper size, … we did.
Even more remarkably, I really wasn’t more than mildly bothered to have forgotten the proper camera, because I reckoned the mobile would be okay for my purposes, and I reckon it was. Here, as not promised yesterday evening, are my favourite photos from yesterday, of favourite place of mine, London, as seen from above:
These views could only be photoed through plate glass, so there were many reflections getting in the way. But, you get the pictures. Roof clutter heaven. There were some clouds in the sky (see photo 1), unlike on Saturday, but these were few and small.
The background noise in the place was louder than I’d have liked. It meant I had to shout a bit, and that now makes me cough. On the other hand, we probably had the best table in the house from the views point of view, looking out west, north and east, from its spot on in the far left corner of the floor. Plus, there was a bar which we later visited which had windows looking south, to other nearby Big Things, most notably the Gherkin, but also the top of 22 Bishopsgate, the D&W being at the top of 110 Bishopsgate.
Both these Bishopsgate towers are so bland that they neither of them, to my knowledge, have yet been awarded nicknames. But, 22 Bishopsgate. which is the biggest City of London Big Thing by quite a way, is growing on me. The view of it from the main exit of Liverpool Street Station is very fine, especially in the slightly misty sunshine that prevailed yesterday.
The Tower of London, to be seen in photo 8 above, the one with the Gherkin dominating the foreground, used once upon a time to be the biggest Big Thing in London. Now look at it. Tiny. Tiny even compared to Tower Bridge, let along all the other bigger Things.
And for me, another highlight is the way that the BT Tower stands out west, in photo 6, in isolated splendour. Isolated, I presume, because nothing is allowed to get in the way of all the signals it sends out and receives.
Castelnou is a small and impossibly picturesque hill town in the lower reaches of the Pyrenees, in the far south of France. GodDaughter2’s parents and I went by car, just over five years ago now, in May 2016, to check it out. And yes, the weather was as marvellous in Castelnou as it has recently been unmarvellous in London.
Nowadays, I find that my expeditions have as their officially designated destination a spot where I have arranged to meet up with a friend and exchange chat, rather than just a particular physical place I especially want to check out. But as my death approaches, not as fast as I feared it would last Christmas but still faster than I had previously supposed that it would, I find that mere Things, in London or anywhere else, aren’t enough to make me get out of the house at the time previously determined. Partly this is because if I fail to arrive at the Thing at the planned time, the Thing won’t ring me up and ask me where I got to, whereas people are inclined to do just that. And partly because the Internet tells you lots about Things, whereas actually meeting people bestows knowledge and pleasures more profound and subtle than you could obtain by any other communicational means.
The point of this Castelnou expedition was that it was with GodDaughter2’s parents, not that it was to Castelnou. Castelnou was just an excuse for us all to spend time with each other, plus it gave us things to talk about.
But of course, once in Castelnou, I photoed photos galore, of which these are just a few:
A few more things to say.
First, there are cats and dogs involved (as well as a bird statue), hence this posting appearing here on a Friday. The cats were very friendly and sociable. The dogs were more cautiously proprietorial, but none were aggressive. Which I think reflects well on us tourists. We all behave well towards these creatures, and they behaved towards us accordingly.
Second, what’s wrong with being a tourist? I am sure that “tourists” have been featured on the popular TV show Room 101. But if I was ever on Room 101 I would want to banish from the world “tourists who complain about all the other tourists”. Tourism is a fine thing, enjoyable for those of us who do it or we wouldn’t keep doing it, and profitable for those who cater to our needs. Many good things happen because of us tourists. Besides all the deserving people who get to earn a living from it, there are the conversations that tourists have with the locals whom they encounter, and with each other, which can sometimes have have wonderfully creative consequences. Many an economic success story has started with a conversation involving tourists. Tourists bring the world, as it were, to particular places, and places into contact with other places, and thereby are able to provoke creative thoughts that would otherwise not have occurred to anyone.
Does tourism “spoil” places like Castelnou? Hardly. I’ll bet you Castelnou is a much happier, prettier and more interesting place than it was before it started attracting tourists.
And finally, Castelnou is a fine example of an aesthetic process that fascinates me more and more, which is the way that when an architectural style first erupts, it is hated, but then when it settles back into being only a few surviving ruins, people find that same style, to quote my own words in the first sentence of this posting, impossibly picturesque. Castelnou began as a castle, which then gathered dwellings around it. And you can bet that the people in the vicinity of this castle hated it and feared it, that being the whole idea. But once the castles stopped being built in such numbers and when the castles that survived began turning into ruins, they then also turned into objects of affection, first for locals, and then, even more, for visitors from many miles away.
Tangenting somewhat, I was yesterday predicting that the next wave of architectural fashion is going to be a lot more colourful. And it is. But, lots of people will, for as long as this new fashion lasts and seems to be on the march (the military metaphor is deliberate), hate that fashion, and regret the passing of the drearily monochromatic tedium that they now only grumble about (because that is now still on the march).
Is Castelnou perchance the French, or maybe the Catalan, for Newcastle? Sounds like it to me.
Today I forced myself out, to post a letter which had to be posted, something I don’t think I’ve done in years.
My guess as to where there was a posting box, or whatever they are called, took me to the nearest post office that I am aware of, via Vincent Square, which I hoped would be looking good in the sunshine. It was:
That building is Vincent House, which sounds and looks like it might be important, but it’s just a block of flats.
And this is the middle of Vincent Square:
In earlier times, on a day like this, I would have gone a-wandering and a-photoing, but now, I’m afraid I feel the cold, and although delightfully sunny it was still cold. Also, all walks now take twice as long. So I posted that letter, and also did some shopping and then went straight back home. Shopping being another thing that has had to change recently. Big and occasionally has had to be replaced by less but more frequently, because there are limits to how much stuff I can now carry in anything resembling comfort, especially up my stairs.
Just before I went on this expedition, I got a phone call from one of the Marsden exercise experts. Apparently exercise is good for you. But he would say that, wouldn’t he?