The Changing Scenes of London
In order to “squash” my “long run” in combined with one of our monthly trips to London, I was up reasonably early in Saturday. I had no real plan, having never run in the Docklands before. So I headed out with my mobile phone – with time and emergency call possibilities.
I headed out to the “green” area – namely Millwall Park. I jogged along and found myself at the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Down the lift I went with a rather inspiring man – who appears to sit all day long listening to a badly tuned radio and reading the paper. He kindly told me the times the lift and, therefore, tunnel were open – pretty much 24 hrs at the week-end. I jogged through the tunnel and met an almost equally interesting man at the other end. This one had radio etc. but was doing puzzles.
My original intention was to run through Greenwich. But something drew me to the City. I love London so much. When I lived there my favourite places were along the Thames – I guess that it sticks. I could see the city and the Gerkin – I wondered how far they really were away from me. There were signs for Rotherhithe – where we had been the day before. Would I make it there – shame that I did not have money for the ferry – that would have been a nice round trip…
I found the Thames Path and started to follow that. It was quite tricky at times due to all the building works. As I ran along – I met a few other runners as well as people going about their business and some builders painting their boards for the new building site. I said “good morning” to one and all it was so great to be out! Perhaps people were shocked to being spoken to and they nearly all spontaneously answered with the same response!
In terms of development – there is still much to be done. Some of the sad apartment blocks look over at the rich Docklands area – more and more these seem to being transformed.
I ran past tall, short, luxurious and poorer looking buildings. By traditional and very very new buildings. Through parks, over little bridges and locks. I managed to lose the Thames Path – boy you have to be sharp! and found myself running round blocks. Then through land locks to, finally Greenland Dock.
My alarm went off to signal that I was half way. So I continued round the dock. Strange the bonding between runners. I passed a runner coming the other way a second time as he was running round the dock. We smirked at each other and carried on our separate ways.
I followed the Thames Path back. This time I was as sharp as a button – heightened by the oxygen to my brain. I was nearly deviated as I started to catch up with two runners and played a “challenge” in my head to over take them. I could have done it easily but would have missed my turn!
Finally, just before I reached the Greenwich foot tunnel I saw another runner who seemed to be running with a dog. A rather sleek animal. No not a dog, a fox. And not running together but close to each other. As I passed the runner I asked him – “is that a fox?”. He turned round to look back – “s’pose so” as it was an every day occurance. The fox allowed me to run very close to her before she bounded off.
Back in the foot tunnel lift – I acknowledged that I was back. Hardly a sound from my lift companion. I used the tunnel as my sprint work – not particularly long but a little up hill as I approached the second lift with the jollier man.
By this time dog walkers were in abundance in the park. I ran once more round before returning to our flat feeling truly inspired by the changing scenes that I had experienced.
- New York on Thames [George Emsden] (ecademy.com)
- Travel into time at Britain’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- London walks: Iain Sinclair’s Thames (guardian.co.uk)