Tigger’s on the early shift today, leaving her office at 4 pm. For once I took the initiative and suggested that we could meet and go for coffee. Tigger was happy to agree.
St John Street
As usual on such occasions, I went to the bus stop in St John Street to catch a 153 bus.
Aboard the 153
This speedy single-deck bus goes to All Hallows, where I change, and is rarely crowded.
All Hallows in London Wall
All Hallows Church stands in the street called London Wall because the city walls (bits of which remain) passed along here. Though by no means a small building, the church seems dwarfed by the overgrown City towers.
On arriving, I was early and went down to St Katharine Docks. The boat population in this dock seems semi-permanent. A number of craft have been here for several years and are familiar to me. A selection follows:
Occupying a comfortable corner mooring is Zingara. The name means “Romany girl” (in these times of politically correct strictures we are apparently no longer allowed to use the word “gypsy” and I would hate to upset the self-appointed Thought Police) but a number of vessels have borne this name, some more famous than others.
The neat little Dana is registered in Doetinchem (Netherlands) if her stern inscription is correct but has rested quite happily here for as long as I have been visiting the dock.
Libertijn of Alphen
The name is Dutch (Alphen is a town in West Netherlands) but the stern inscription says she was registered in London. How do you pronounce the Dutch ‘ij’? There seem to be two schools of thought, one saying it is “long ei” (pronounced like English ‘ay’ in “hay”) and the other saying it is pronounced like English “eye”. Anyone willing to act as referee?
This craft was presumably named by someone who liked good wine. A “gran cru” is a wine of high reputation though whether the term is suitably applied to naming a boat is a matter of personal choice.
I almost feel sorry for anything called by the overused word “excelsior” which has now, by use and abuse, become virtually meaningless. (It meant something like “higher” or “loftier” in Latin. I have no idea whether the Romans ever used this word to name ships.) I’m sure, though, that to the owners of this craft, the name is both meaningful and loved.
Still having time to spare, I ventured into the West Dock though I come here relatively rarely and don’t know the names of any of the boats or whether they too stay here long-term.
Back in East Dock
I returned to the East Dock and took the above photo looking in the opposite direction from my first photo. You can see the large apartment block that lines the dock on two of its sides.
I returned along the side of the dock by this pleasant path called by the allusive name of Sun Walk. It takes me past the boats I showed you and a good many others.
Unusual sight – empty moorings
I was surprised to notice quite a few empty moorings today in the dock, something I had not seen here before. I wonder whether it has something to do with the economic downturn.
Leaving the dock, I passed this artwork consisting of three crumpled lumps of metal. Possibly it means something to someone but it says nothing to me.
When Tigger joined me, we boarded a 100 and travelled a few stops to this street. It is called Duke’s Place (at least, that’s the name of the bus stop) but to what duke it refers I have no idea. It had now started to rain which was annoying as I had decided against wearing a rain jacket. I did have my folding umbrella but as we did not have far to go, I did not deploy it.
Update: For an explanation of the name of Duke’s Place, see the helpful comment by rescuedogdexter below.
Through the window at Black Sheep
Where we were going was a branch of Black Sheep Coffee. We found a pair of comfortable armchairs by the window. You can see what the weather is like by the gentleman carrying a brolly crossing the street.
Stopping for coffee had the added advantage that the rain stopped while we were inside. We then walked to Liverpool Street Station where we could catch a bus home, passing St Botolphe’s Church on the way.
Walking through the station
The station was very busy as it was by now the onset on the rush hour. We threaded our way through the bustling crowd to the bus station, adjacent to the railway station.
Our bus is lurking
The 153 “terminates” here, as TfL jargon has it, and the driver takes a 15-minute break. The bus lurks in the tunnel on the left. The bus whose rear you see poking out is a 153 but not our 153. It has just arrived and will wait 15 minutes before emerging. Our 153 is further inside the tunnel about to come out. A little queue had formed by the time it arrived but we all had seats for the ride home.
It has been announced that an indefinite strike involving many of London’s bus routes has been suspended while the union considers a pay offer. I mention this because good news is hard to come by at present and every crumb of it is worth savouring. Any hope of a similar suspension of train and tube strikes?