Category Archives: Sunsets

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

The longtitude and latitudes of Putney = fantastic sunsets

One of the lovely things about Putney is just how straight it seems to lie on the compass lines of East and West. The Upper and Lower Richmond roads both appear to run almost due West (or East depending on the way you’re facing, of course) which means there are some wonderfully clear lines of sight for wonderful sunsets over of a long summer evening.

Tonight was one such night, with a beautiful sky shimmering under the heat and haze of a long sunset that glinted over the river and in to the rattling District Line tube The Putney Paper was sat on trundling home.

As the  banner header on the top of this page proves, gorgeous sunsets over the Thames are not a rarity in Putney, but every time you catch sight of one, with the sky a clear sweep of blue shades, from dark to light as East becomes West when daylight draws itself out of the day, you can’t help but feel somehow uplifted, improved but the sight of it.

Click on the picture to enlarge, resolution not the strongest as taken on my camera phone, but still pretty good, you hopefully concur.

Not all tube lines provide these sorts of views

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Filed under Good Putney, Sunsets, The Thames, Weather