Coffee and some boats

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
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
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 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.

East Dock
East Dock

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:

Zingara
Zingara

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.

Dana
Dana

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
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?

Grand Cru
Grand Cru

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.

Excelsior
Excelsior

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.

West Dock
West Dock

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
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.

Sun Walk
Sun Walk

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 berths
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.

Art, predumably
Art, predumably

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.

Duke’s Place
Duke’s Place

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
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.

St Botolphe’s
St Botolphe’s

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
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
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?

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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14 Responses to Coffee and some boats

  1. Dukes Place was the Anglican Parish of St James until the Dissolution under Henry VIII. It seems to have originally been somewhere people could get married outside the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. The land was given to Sir Thomas Audley which passed to his son in law, The Duke of Norfolk, from where the name Dukes Place comes from.

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  2. BFG says:

    “ij” is pronounced “eye” – as in “Nijmegen” or “tot kijk” –Peter in FtL

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    • SilverTiger says:

      Thanks for your input.

      There’s a lot online about the correct pronunciation of this digraph but no consensus. It seems, too, that it is pronounced differently in the Netherlands and Flanders.

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      • BFG says:

        I was schooled by a couple of native speakers back in the 80s when I attended a specialist computer workshop in Nijmegen. I suppose pronunciation might have changed in that time. But then, even native Englishmen (and women) pronounce English words differently depending upon their dialect – let alone the different pronunciation produced by English-speakers who are not native Britons (such as citizens of RSA, Oz, NZ, Canada, and so on)…

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        • SilverTiger says:

          You are right that there are variations of pronunciation even among native speakers, including those considered to have an “educated” speech. Moreover, new variations can appear for all sorts of reasons. There are likely to be differences within the Dutch-speaking community, as witness the documented differences between Flemish and Netherlands Dutch.

          One popular guide to the “correct” pronunciation of ‘ij’ says it is between “ay” and “eye” – try to get your tongue round that!

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          • BFG says:

            I checked out Google Translate (which has a facility to speak word/words it can translate) to get some idea of how they should be pronounced, assuming no trolls have interfered – it happens – and it’s inconsistent.

            For “Nijmegen”, the pronunciation is as I’d been taught, but for “tot kijk” (a sort of “see-ya!”), the pronunciation is the combo “ay” and “eye” that you describe, which Wikipedia’s guide to pronouncing the IPA symbol(s) involved – “ɛi” – suggests is closer to “air” (so “tote keg”, sort of). Other sources I checked also seemed to present the same way – Nijmegen pronounced “eye”, tot kijk pronounced almost like cake. Ooh, cake. Yum.

            We now return you to your regular program… –Peter in FtL (the part of Florida that didn’t seem to get battered and drowned recently)

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            • SilverTiger says:

              Yes, sources on the Intenet are inconsistent as you have found. That suggests to me that this phoneme is in fact pronounced differently across the Dutch-speaking community and that what is “correct” depends on who you ask.

              P.S. I’m glad you didn’t get battered and drowned!

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              • BFG says:

                That was my point though – all the sources were consistent, but “ij” wasn’t. I guess a better comparison would be trying to explain to someone learning English why it is that “ough” gets pronounced differently depending on the word: bough, cough, dough, rough, sough as a (contrived) example. And my better half and I are glad we didn’t get battered and drowned, too 🙂 –Peter in FtL

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                • SilverTiger says:

                  Your comparison is possibly apt but I don’t know enough about the Dutch language to judge. Two of the languages that I know – English and French – have exceptions to the supposed “rules” of pronunciation and suggest you may be right. The third – Spanish – was revised in fairly recent times and is therefore, I think, a special case.

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              • BFG says:

                Oops. Just as I thought it was a good example – sough – it turns out there’s disagreement on its pronunciation. I was taught it is “sigh” (the noise the wind makes in the trees – aside from rustling), but multiple dictionaries state it is “suff” (so like “rough” and therefore redundant in my example list; dang!). Back to the drawing board.

                Dare I offer “ghoti” – one of my favourite examples of English inconsistencies lumped together? Not a real word, but pronounced “fish”… –Peter in FtL

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