Category Archives: Water

In praise of…the river

A meeting of cloud, sky and sun over the Thames

A meeting of cloud, sky and sun over the Thames

Yes, yes, it’s an obvious choice and hardly needs pointing out, but then again it’s perhaps because it is so obvious that it does need praising. Aren’t we just so lucky to live on the River Thames?

Growing up far from London the idea you could live within strolling distance of the Thames would have been met with incredulous scoffs about price, availability of places, and other derision, and many friends in other areas of London often seem surprised by the closeness of the river when they come to visit: “What, it’s just down there?” “Yeah, come on I’ll show you.”

What’s so nice, so engrossing, is the endless change that it brings to the area. Any stroll down to the banks and you’re greeted by the tides in various states of rising and falling, sometimes pouring over the edge of the pavements, other times leaving huge expanses of dry shingle shore expose for dogs to charge along and children to play on, even runners to jog across.

Heading across Putney Bridge, on the tube or on the foot bridge, always brings pleasure, even surprise, no matter how often you do it, that you should be greeted to such fine views from a tube carriage – so often that clichéd-comic concept of sweaty armpits shoved in your face. Those people have obviously never travelled in through the back street houses of Fulham and out onto Putney Bridge to be greeted by the beauty of an ebbing tide and a long, slow sunset flitting between the cast-iron fittings into the carriage as you rattle home from work.

River Thames on New Year's Day 2013

River Thames on New Year’s Day 2013

Then, for running, walking, cycling, as you curve up and around to Hammersmith Bridge, as the road gives way to a woody, earthen track, perfect for a feeling of escape and wildlife, the rowers stroking in sync,  the birds circling around. You can follow it for miles if you wish, or just loop back around through Barnes, Putney Common, or back on the north side past Fulham FC.

The boat race – we’ll save that for another time – and the boats you can ride up the river to Embankment, Blackfriars to get to work – we’ll also save that for another time…there’s so much to enjoy and be intoxicated by, to help you ruminate, to escape the London that can get you down – the mad, over-the-top, over-priced, endless-battle city it can sometime seems.

But there, at the bottom of the hill, Old Father Thames – the same river the Romans saw when they first arrived, the same river generations of Kings and Queens have ruled over, the same river that has inspired Shakespeare, Dickens and Wordsworth, just keeps rolling in and rolling out.

We should remember this, and praise it, because right now in all that rich span of history, stretching out over millennia, it’s ours.


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Filed under Good Putney, Sunsets, The Thames, Tides, Water, Weather

Time and tide stay for no man

super high tides in PutneyOn St Mary’s Church at the bottom of the high-street is a small sign beneath the clock bearing the words “Time and tide stay for no man”. Certainly living in Putney the tide plays an integral role in the mood and feel of the area. It rises and falls to create vastly different impressions of the river and the areas along it. The low tides leave huge expanses of beach exposed, letting you stroll right down along the edge of the river, where as the high tides give the river much more majesty – the contrast between the two really underlines just how much water is moved up the Thames each day.

Occasionally  they reach such heights that they flood over the embankment and toe-path along the south side of the river West of Putney Bridge, catching those out not aware of the impeding flood. We saw several cars were caught out, and The Putney Paper saw plenty of runners and cyclists come to a slow, gradual halt as they peered in front of them and realised the way was blocked and alternative routes were required.

The super high tides are actually quite a common occurrence throughout the year, as this list on the excellent shows. This year they’ll be at least 50 this year. Today’s hit 7.38 meters but the highest will be on 25 July, at 04:54am, reaching 7.54 meters. A date for the diary. It’s a strange sensastion when the boats moored on the river appear higher than the road on which you’re walking.


Interestingly, the Jubilee river flotilla event took place on a day when the tide would have usually flooded the bank but given the need for normal access on that day the flood barriers were shut upstream to help keep the tides at bay.

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Filed under The Thames, Tides, Water

After an amazing 2012, what does 2013 have in store?

In many ways it’s going to be hard for Putney to have a better 2013 than it did in 2012. We didn’t just play host to one world event, but two.

Firstly there was the brilliant Diamond Jubilee celebrations that saw thousands of boats pass under Putney Bridge, with many mustering and setting off from our fair shores down at the slipway, which made the river a huge mix of colours and noise, giving some impression of what the river of old must have been like when it was  festooned with all types of working boats and river taxis.


Then, as if that wasn’t enough, we had the women’s and men’s Olympic road cycle races come careering up the high street, make a quick right at the crossroads and then pass down the Upper Richmond Road, bringing out millions of spectators and letting the world see our lovely piece of London in all its glory.


So what events can we look forward to in 2013? Well of course there’s the boat race, althoguh that will also have to go some to beat the drama of 2012 when that nutter Trenton Oldfield jumped into the river and almost got his head caved in by an oar, but even if that doesn’t happen, it’s always a top weekend.

Other than that, though, there’s nothing marked in our calendars but perhaps we’re overlooking some key events, so if you know of something big going on, or are hosting an event at any point this year, let us know and we’ll add it to our events calendar for the year ahead!

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Filed under Culture, Good Putney, History, London, Sport, The Thames, Water

2013 – starting as we mean to go on

For various reasons beyond our control The Putney Paper has been in hiatus for far too long. However, with 2013 now upon us and the pressure of resolutions to be made, we will return bigger, stronger, faster than ever before, with a guarantee of at least one blog a week! Stay tuned and make sure you’re following @theputneypaper on Twitter to be informed about the weekly posts as soon as they’re live!

To celebrate here’s a lovely New Year’s Day photo of the river.

River Thames on New Year's Day 2013

River Thames on New Year’s Day 2013

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Filed under Good Putney, The Thames, Water, Weather

The Putney Paper returns!

Hello! The Putney Paper is back! After a too-long hiatus due to reasons beyond its control, the blog of SW15 has, admittedly, been a rather quiet place, but now everything should be back to normal, with regular updates, insights and photos to come from all the comings and goings of this fair suburb.

What’s changed since we’ve been gone? We’ll HMV has gone, and been replaced by Poundland, which doesn’t quite seem in keeping with the more salubrious nature of Putney but it does offer some pretty good bargains – for £1 surprisingly – so we shouldn’t complain too much.

The Boat Race came and went without much incident…oh wait, no it didn’t, a chap jumped in the river, almost got his head bashed in by an oar, then one of the boats’ oars broke, and a chap collapsed after the race had ended, and a submarine surfaced right at the finish line. Well, the last thing didn’t happen, but the rest did, making it one of the most interesting and enjoyable races in recent memory.

Elsewhere a burst watermain caused some middle havoc to Putney Hill, along with some fun it has to be said as people had to leap a full metre to cross the road, while since then nature has done its best to show it’s still better at sending gallons of water cascading downhills, with about a month’s worth of rain falling in a few days. Still, once it’s all done the greenery of Putney Common, Putney Heath, Wimbledon Common and the rest should look spectacular, something to look forward too.

Also, The PP noticed we’ve received quite a few follows on Twitter, which is great, as we’re now up to 143. So if you’re reading this and following us, please say hi, and if not, you can follow our updates and various musings via @theputneypaper on Twitter.

Let us know if you have any comments, questions or ideas of what else we should cover, or if you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to write for us, drop us a line at – we’d love to hear from you.


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Filed under London, Water, Weather