That day was better. Linden dust, cool breeze, skipped the news, went for a walk.
Category Archives: The South bank files
Ranger’s House in the morning light.
A young garden in the hood. A young community-built garden tucked away behind old houses, with a recent eviction notice attached to it.
Most times I walk to Greenwich village I take the longer route via Royal Hill street simply because this neighborhood still feels like a community. People don’t rush, they stop for a chat, try the fresh produce in the local shop, greet and smile. It still looks like a residential area with a bit of heart, a flower shop, a couple of family friendly pubs, grocers.
The community garden popped up a few months ago. When I discovered it, on a grey late January Sunday, it still looked lovely. A big yard where everyone chipped in, brought a flower pot, a rake, a bench. And the less visible, but easily detectable additions: attention, time, patience, and care. The eviction note and ensuing quarrel on the walls is not in the least surprising. By most standards, this is a good location, and in London, that’s both a curse and a blessing.
Given similar examples in other parts of the city, it’s a matter of time until the whole row of independent shops will be pulled down or “cosmeticized” to look like any row of stores in the western world. You know, hotel-supermarket-hotel-corporate-flats-chain-cafe-hotel-supermarket-overpriced-fast-built-flats like.
I can only hope those in power realize that this city needs maintenance too, not just building (thank you, Mr. Vonnegut).
Oh yeah, I do know Greenwich park is nearby. It does close at sunset though, and you can’t have any humans tell stories around an open fire. Or plant mint.
This too is a form of resistance.
I hope they win.
Try this on a sunny Sunday afternoon: walk on the south bank from Putney Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge. Start around 4 pm (in summer, 1 pm in winter) to make the most of the sun. And sunsets. At Hammersmith Bridge cross and stop at a river pub, get some more sun while hugging some zingy blonde ale. When appropriate to leave, bid goodbye and walk on the north bank back to Putney. The sun sets on your right side, and will warm your back. I’m not gonna tell you much about what you’ll see along this rather short but mighty walk. But yes, it’s a story with gardens, forests, new developments, old pubs, palaces, churches, swans, wild ducks, boats and strolling humans. Joy! I mean, enjoy!