#TodaysWalk in #SquaxinPark: beautiful leaves, baby ferns growing up a tree trunk, a branch like a giant wishbone.

#trees #autumn #OlympiaWA #walking #parks

Photo of a large branch shaped like a wishbone against a backdrop of autumn leaves on the ground
Photo of a Japanese maple with bright red leaves. Some carpet the ground, some still cling to branches that have mostly lost their leaves.
Photo of three large oval leaves pointed at the end. The one in the middle is mostly gold, the two on either side are half gold, half green.
Photo of a tree trunk covered in moss with baby ferns growing out of the moss of the length of the trunk.
2 days ago

#TodaysWalk was for groceries, so here's a picture from yesterday of the Thessaly Road Bridge which is a really a railway bridge - it just happens to go over Thessaly Road.

Originally Thessaly Road was called "New Road", owing to a lack of imagination. By 1871, however, it was thought old enough to need a new name and "Thessaly" was chosen as, pertinently, that area had just been handed back to Greece.

The bridge's decoration is more recent, having been done by Yinka Ilori in 2019.

A low, concrete bridge looms over a gloomy stretch of road. The bridge is a two-layered affair, carrying railway lines at two different levels (eight in total, I think).

The upper deck is concrete with a functional green fence across the top of it. The lower deck has a green-painted fence, but the concret has been painted mainly pink, with a lower geometric margin of in red, gold, white and blue.

Across the pink portion is written "Thessaly Road Bridge" in large turquoise letters. Between the first two words, in the centre of the bridge, is a large rosette of purple and yellow. In the centre of the rosette is a white, round, red-bordered warning sign declaring 4.2m and 13' 9".
1 week ago

For #TodaysWalk I went to Burgess Park to see if there were any shovelers on the lake, but I didn't find any.

There weren't any shovelers in Dulwich Park, either. Which is strange, because there's usually at least one pair. Perhaps they were hiding.

A view of a lake under grey skies. In the lake are seven little wire-mesh enclosures, possibly designed to protect plants from geese, but there are no plants in them.

Upwards of two dozen cormorants are perched on the the sides of the enclosures, which may be why several of the posts have bent and some of them seem to have sunk.

To the left, and behind the cormorants, two swans are paddling purposefully in the direction of nothing in particular.
2 weeks ago

The weather seemed a little better than forecast so, for #TodaysWalk, I set out grey and early to see the Isle of Dogs, by way of Deptford Creek.

They have a little farm at Mudchute, where they keep budgerigars and goats (I didn't ask) and cheerfully remind visitors that animals are just like people.

Deptford Creek is a small river that runs reluctantly through a sea of mud that's held between two high buttressed walls. 

On the left bank is a large development of luxuriously appointed dwellings with windows and balonies that afford suitably expensive views of the creek, as does the terrace of an adjoining bar.

Run aground on the sea of mud is the black hull of a gravel boat, with empty holds and a cheerful yellow cabin.
A sign that reads, implausibly, "Mudchute East London Countryside" followed by the heartwarming advice that "Animals carry germs that can make people ill"
2 weeks ago

Today was one of those depressing clear autumn days when the sun lurches briefly above the shrubbery to touch the world with a feeble glimmer of hope, but does nothing to dry the streets, leaving them smeared with the treacherous detritus of inconsiderately deciduous trees.

I'm not yet old enough to write to newspapers to complain about wet leaves, so #TodaysWalk was to Penge, in search of abandoned optimism, though I found most of it in Crystal Palace Park.

A broad avenue, perhaps, interrupted by a circle of low grey concrete barriers topped with irregular castellations that might, or might not, serve as backrests should the barriers be used for seating.

In the centre of the circle are three rectangular monoliths, roughly four times the size of tombstones, which each are skirted by flat wooden benches, presumably in the hope that people might gather here in happy, chattering crowds.

There are no happy, chattering crowds. Just a lamp-post, rusted and stickered, which has lost an inspection cover so that its meagre electrical entrails are exposed, and a small and straggly tree, looking as resignedly neglected as the whole.

On the far side of the circle, silhouetted against a washed-out sliver of blue sky, is the back of a vast stone head mounted on a  massive rectangular plinth.
2 weeks ago

It eventually stopped raining, so #TodaysWalk was taken at twilight which, in England, lasts from the end of August to May.

It had rained earlier and the drains were clogged with leaves, so the the sidewalks, and the lower parts of any pedestrians, were continually sprayed with the mixture of oil, water, gravel, and what's politely known as 'mud', that traditionally grouts the lycra'd cracks of cyclists.

And I saw other things, besides.

A view of the Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower looking lit up and washed out. It has a number of red lanterns on it, presumably to ward off flyers, which might look dramatic against a dark and star-sprinkled sky, but here does not as the sky, the tower and its sweet little lanterns are outshone by unseen streetlamps, whose harsh glare is scattered by the evening drizzle.

The trees beneath, that once fluffily embraced the tower's legs, are looking threadbare now, their skeletal twigs reaching out in scratchy desperation.
Sydenham Hill (a road, not a hill) once bordered Sydenham Common. But Sydenham Common was evilly enclosed, and common people barred from it, between 1816 and 1819.

The Corporation of the City of London, a plutocracy some four miles to the North, still owns some of the land and this stone, I think, still stands as a celebration of their robbery at a place called, not without irony, Lammas Green.

The stone is a stout grey tablet, perhaps eighteen inches tall, bearing the date 1816. Above that date is a curious cipher, a large X, with a horizontal line joining the bottom vertices.

In the centre of the X is a circle with a cross on top, like a sketch of a royal orb.

What the cipher is meant to signify, nobody seems to know, but it looks, and may have been intended to look, sinister enough.
3 weeks ago

It's been raining again today, so #TodaysWalk was just a run for damp groceries.

So here's a picture from the weekend.

A plaster plesiosaur, perhaps, an eight-foot, sun-dappled pudding with flippers, rests at the edge of a lake, its long neck supporting a small snake-like head which is roughly the size of a small gull.

On its head, coincidentally, stands exactly one small gull, looking directly downwards, as if wondering if there's anything inside worth eating.

Behind the two, a red-nosed moorhen is paddling as indifferently as a bureaucrat heading to the office.
Mark@RCR 🌀
4 weeks ago

“Check out our fun new list of 8 of Scotland's finest ‘hidden paths’!

There's everything from short urban woodland loops to longer rural hill walks.

We think it's the 1st time they've ever been mapped, thanks to our award-winning Scottish Paths Map!” #walking #TodaysWalk #scotland #rambling #rural #walks #nature

4 weeks ago

The rain cleared this morning, mostly, so #TodaysWalk was to Crystal Palace Park, where there are dinosaurs, including a new one I hadn't seen yet.

The "Palaeotherium magnum" is allegedly a forbear of the horse but an ancient mix-up with a tapir means it's gained a trunk, arguably of more benefit to sculptors than the animal, making it look less surprisingly extinct.

Less so the equally fictional hump-backed Megalosaurus, which, having done nothing since 1854, should be an example to us all.

A model of a creature that would look like a small horse, but its legs are too short, it has a short, cylindrical trunk for a nose, rounded ears like a rat, and a bulb-ended tail like a donkey (or, if you prefer, a lion).

It is a uniform grey in colour, and very clean, so it looks like it's been made out of plasticine. It's standing in a small copse or spinney, behind a fence of green railings, and bears a blankly mournful expression.
A view of mostly trees, in various shades of green, yellow and ocher. 

In the middle-distance, through a gap in the trees, is the grey concrete bulk of the Megalosaurus, which looks like a humped iguana, with a scaly skin, plier-like teeth and powerful-looking front legs.

According to dinosaurologists, the real Megalosaurus was a more elegant, bipedal beast that would shimmy through the woods on tippy-toe, though that's hard to imagine on the evidence of this model.

#TodaysWalk I discovered new-to-me trails in the nearby park, kicked through fall leaves, and saw a whole new batch of mushrooms that sprouted up nearly overnight. #SquaxinPark #fall #autumn #walking

Photo of tree with multiple bars branches forking off from the main trunk, standing by a path covered with fall leaves.
Photo of a gravelly beach inlet
Phot of trees leaning in from either side framing the water, which is grey to match the overcast sky.
Phot of several large mushrooms, tops orange in the middle with white spots and lighter yellow around the edge.

#TodaysWalk: I nominate big leaf maple for the most on point tree name ever. In other news, the tide at the bay was super high when I got there, a fallen madrona has beautifully intricate branch structure, the rain stopped, sun came out, and it smelled like wet pine needles. #trees #maple #BigLeafMaple #walking #OlyWA #SquaxinPark #GetOutside

Photo of two giant gold and orange big leaf maple leaves set on a bush. On top of one, the left hand of a white woman wearing a wedding ring is placed, showing how much bigger the leaf is than her hand by at least 6 inches.
Photo of water lapping at the foot of a bluff. Ripples show in the water and in the distance, a low line of hills. The sky is gray and overcast
Photo of the branches of a fallen tree, bare branches with silvery bark on many of them peeling off in a few places to show an underlying blonde or reddish tone. The tree is on a pebbly, sandy beach with green undergrowth in the background.
1 month ago

#TodaysWalk was two walks and I got wet on both of them.

The first was dry enough, in part, for my Hallowe'en pilgrimage to what might have been the Monkey Puzzle of Old London Town if only it were old enough and not four miles south of the river.

The second was a walk I'd rather not talk about, thank you.

Under a blue but cloudful sky stands a young but tall monkey-puzzle tree.

In front of it is a lamp-post bearing a glazed lantern at the top, in the old Victorian style. It is a modern replica, being too shiny and new to be Victorian, and likely too tall for a Victorian lamp-lighter to bother with. Why it is there, I don't know, except that councils seem always very eager to chuck such gimcrack gewgaws at high-toned streets, presumably so they've something to point to when the complaints about taxes roll in.
1 month ago

The forecast predicted rain this afternoon, so #TodaysWalk happened this morning.

It rained this morning.

Crystal Palace Park was very wet, but South Norwood Country Park was wetter.

A mid-sized oak stands in a wide puddle beneath a grey sky. It has not yet lost its browning leaves, but it might be forgiven for losing hope.
A view of a lake. Its dull grey waters, pockmarked by rain, reflect a dull grey sky except at the farther shore where they're darkened by the impenetrable shadow of a threatening troop of threadbare trees.

Three dispirited mallards float in the middle of the lake while, to the right of them, an offshore signboard reads:

London Borough of Bromley
No fishing or use of boats
No swimming or dogs in water
1 month ago

#TodaysWalk took me to Camberwell via Champion Hill, a hill that is also Denmark Hill and Herne Hill and was formerly Dulwich Hill and King's Hill, but is also a road, unlike Herne Hill, which is also a parish.

On the way I found some wooden sheep and some mushrooms which were feasting on some bark-chippings that had been used in place of gardening.

A small patch of lawn, overlooked by a simple bench and a few trees and shrubs, hosts a pair of wooden rams, mostly painted white, with their black heads bowed and touching, as if in some symbolic battle. As no ewes are visible, this is presumably a territorial dispute though, as the land in question is McDermott Gardens, which is not much bigger than the lawn, there doesn't seem much point to it. That said, I've seen worse tussles over parking spaces and, though those are futile too, people seem to enjoy having them.
A view of a fair cluster of mushrooms with gently pointed light-brown caps, each about an inch wide, very slightly ridged, and with smooth edges. The cluster is lurking under a railing, like a bunch of slimy lampshades.

The cluster is densely packed, about five caps tall and ten caps wide, and a few cylindrical white stems can be seen among them. At least fifty caps are visible, so I guess there are around a hundred in this cluster.

I believe these are Mycena inclinata which I gather are technically edible, though it's not recommended so I didn't.

A collection of walking poems for you in Walktober:

If you have a favorite poem about walking I'd love to get a link to it.

#walking #poetry #TodaysPoem #PoemADay #path #TodaysWalk #Walktober #WalkPoems #WalkingPoetry

1 month ago

#TodaysWalk was nothing special.

The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower stands in a gentle morning drizzle, its latticework dark grey against grey clouds. The trees beneath have clad themselves in various shades of drab as they prepare to add their precious leaves to the mucus-like slurry that smears the sidewalks.
The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower stands in the bright sidelong rays of the evening sun, its latticework gilded against the stark blue of the sky. The trees beneath are wearing various shades of gold as they frolic in the embers of the summer.
1 month ago

#TodaysWalk took me to Bridgehouse Meadows, a patch of land which, after serving time as a greyhound stadium and some sort of depot, has been turned into an apparently artificial hill that affords, to whoever can find it, a view of mostly the South-East London Combined Heat and Power facility.

Though its name contains three things it hasn't got, the nearby Surrey Canal Road suggests it had a quieter past before it was trapped between two railways and Milwall's stadium moved next door.

A cylindrical chimney rises from behind a bush to loom above the plain white cube that is the main hall of a garbage incinerator.

To the right of the bush, the towers of the Docklands cower in a grey huddle.

Above, the sky is full of chubby, self-satisfied clouds, taking a break from raining to feed on the rising damp.
A view south over the featureless lawn of Bridgehouse Meadows towards the slender silhouette of the Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower which, being four miles away, looks much smaller than it is.

Above is a gang of hefty clouds which, being backlit by a workshy sun, are looking as threatening as they can.

#TodaysWalk at lunch included exploring a new to me Squaxin Park trail that gave me a #ForestBath, comparing my hand size to the leaf of a big leaf maple and confirming there's a reason it's called the big leaf maple, and finding a puffball mushroom I wish was definitely safely edible because it's such a big one. #trees #autumn #mushrooms #forest #walking #MapleTree #SquaxinPark #OlyWA

Photo of a bright yellow maple leaf on the ground with a woman's hand on top of it. The lobes of the maple leaf project out about 5 inches or so past the end of the fingers. The woman is wearing a couple of rings on her middle and fourth fingers and the lime/olive green sleeve of a jacket extend to her wrist.
Photo of a stand of trees with the brightness of the sun peeking out from behind the upper branches. On the ground sword ferns abound. The ground is covered with pine needles and fallen maple leaves.
Photo of a white person's hand holding a large solid looking puffball mushroom with dirt on its top.
1 month ago

#TodaysWalk took me to Brockwell Park and Peabody Hill which both felt very damp.

On my way was Dulwich Park, which was also damp, and there I found rhododendrons that thought it was Spring, and funguses that didn't.

A picture of part of a rhododendron bush, its leaves both green and wet. Among the leaves are about ten gaudy pink flowers, opening ripely in the face of drizzly despair.
The picture is slightly blurred as the greyness of the day was matched by a persistently unpleasant breeze.
A pair of stacked bracket-fungus brackets emerging from the stout-looking trunk of a Turkey Oak.

They are semi-circular in shape, the upper surface mostly a dark reddish-brown, rippled with smooth, leathery folds, as if they were very old indeed but had kept themselves well fed.

The margins are a lighter tan colour, blotched with white.

Here and there, the upper bracket is sprinkled with the shrivelling leaves of the host that they're enjoying.
1 month ago

Inspired by other posts recently, I took #TodaysWalk in search of autumn colour, meandering via Streatham Common, Norwood Grove, Biggin Wood and Horniman Gardens.

Maybe I'm harder to please than I think, but at least it didn't rain.

Streatham Common is mostly grassland, but there are wooded areas. Here is a look towards such a wooded area, where each and every tree is in leaf, and resolutely green.
The rolling lawns of Norwood Grove are fringed by trees which are all in leaf and nearly all green, except for one which looks a bit brown. Between the trees can be seen some rectangular towers which rise temptingly from the grey splodge on the landscape that is distant Croydon.
A view from the floor of Biggin Woods, a gathering of many tall trees whose trunks are brown and whose leaves are green. There is not much to be seen but the trees, which might explain the proverb. Except for a footpath that leads from the foreground into the background, as footpaths are apt to do.
The Horniman Gardens boast a tree-fringed lawn and a spectacular view of lots of famous, but tiny, buildings in Central London.

The sun is setting somewhere to the left, so the clear blue sky has a band of pink to it, in which fluffy clouds are idling. The trees seem all complete with leaves, and the ones on the right seem green. The ones on the left might be, too, though the light's not good enough to tell.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me to Brixton, or possibly Herne Hill. At any rate, it's whatever has the Dulwich Road in it (which isn't, obviously, Dulwich) where, following a whole week of diligent searching in what I thought were likely places, I was pleasantly surprised by an unexpected monkey puzzle.

A monkey puzzle tree, about three and a half storeys high and taller than a lamp-post, also pictured, stands outside a three-storey house on the Dulwich Road.

The lower two-thirds of the trunk are bare, but the top third is a large pudding of branches, all as fat as each other, that's as wide as the house and just as tall.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk was an ill-advised quest to discover the difference between Manor Park and Manor House Gardens. Which is, broadly, that one was once a pig farm, and the other has a Manor House in it.

No pictures of pigs, sadly, but here's the Manor House, which is now a library.

And a plaque that, though it fails to explain why some bollards were turned back into cannons, strongly suggests Lewisham College's Typography Department has yet to lay off the sauce.

The Manor House is a large two-story house, eight windows wide on the ground floor, five windows on the first, with a three-window bungalow perched on top. A pretentious tetrastyle portico is at the top of the front steps, bearing the words "Manor" and "House" on the pediment.

In front of the house stand a pair of yellow traffic cones and two less explicable cannons.
A rectangular blue plaque, screwed to a lump of concrete that stands between the two cannons. It bears an inscription in which several of the letters seem to have moved around, making it disturbing to read.

Still, I've done my best, and I think it says:

French Naval Guns

A pair of French six-pounder cannon made in 1764. Both have an anchor marked in the centre of the top surface. They were used as bollards at the entrance to the former Armoury Mill/Silk Mills site in Conington Road, Lewisham, until 1983.

Restored by students from Lewisham College April 2001
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk started damp and so, though it brightened up for a while later, here's another snail.

I also remembered to take a look at one of those odd little plants that don't look like they have leaves. If it is a plant. I've no idea what it is, apart from a #MysteryThing, though there are so many about that I'm sure I must have known once.

And, as a sort-of bonus, a picture of the Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower. Because it's there.

A snail with a yellow shell that, having munched on a bright green leaf, is contemplating the void beyond, as if mustering the courage for a leap into some dead-looking twigs.
A blurry, lilac-coloured flower is held out of focus on a thin red stem. The stem emerges from a tangle of similar stems, like a nest of tiny snakes, that seem half-buried in the soil.
The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower, arguably one of the seven wonders of South East London, stands, as it does.
The trees gathered around its metal legs are turning to a brownish green, like the shores of a stagnant lake, and the fluffy white clouds appear to be still. In reality, they were hurtling through a temporarily blue sky to make room for the thundersome rain to come, but images, as house-buyers know, are meant to be deceptive.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk was not as damp and miserable as tomorrow's is forecast to be, but some creatures seemed to enjoy it.

A snail, its shell decorated with brown marks on a yellow background, munches on a graveyard railing.
A clump of green moss, sprouting rust-read capsules at the ends of long red stalks. On some of the capsules, water droplets cling, glittering damply.

Faint lines of spider-silk can be seen, stretching sideways and downwards from the stalks, as if providing support.
A flat ceramic tile in the possible shape of a bug-eyed, small-nosed turtle with a floral shell and four apparently hoofed flippers.

It has been placed to cheer up a walkway somewhere near Herne Hill and is part of a larger mosaic, apparently designed by a number of local schools whose names escape me.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk was a grocery run, but I didn't let that stop me admiring the natural wonders on my way.

Which amounted to this #moth, which may not have been alive. I didn't know what sort of moth it was so, when I got home, I looked at a few hundred pictures.

That left me none the wiser but, at a guess, it might be a very dull variant of a Jersey Tiger Moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria), which are common in these parts. But I'm not sure.

A moth on a paving slab. The moth has long straight antennae, bent at the ends like handlebars, and two apparently beady eyes on a grey-brown, furry head.

The forewings are grey-brown with a slightly darker spot near the fore-edge, and are almost closed, though open enough to show the abdomen, a pale grey-yellow with slight brown stripes, and part of the underwings, which are a dull golden-yellow with a strong, nearly black, border.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me up Round Hill, which is a road Upper Sydenham. It is also a small housing estate, with a generous cedar tree that once stood in the gardens of Round Hill House, which no longer exists, and now just stands.

It also boasts, less congruously, the spire of St Antholin's Church in the City of London, which was transported to Sydenham to serve as a folly, which is what it's done since 1829, though the church wasn't demolished for another 46 years.

A large cedar tree looms over the two-storey houses of a small estate. Beside it, in the middle-distance, a bright limestone spire, with a gilded weather-vane on top, basks pointily in the sunshine.
A church spire standing not on a church, but a hexagonal brick plinth. The spire was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is made of light-coloured stone, and is suitably ornamental, with decorative niches near the bottom, and geometric panels on the sides leading up to a capital with ionic volutes, supporting a gilded orb at the base of a simple weather-vane in the shape of a pennant, or, less plausibly, the head of a crocodile.
2 months ago

The first part of #TodaysWalk was an early one, taking me over London Bridge to Liverpool Street and thence, on wheels, to Wickford and beyond.

The second part brought me back again.

A view of the City from London Bridge, under a sky the colour of hangover.

In the foreground is the Thames, which curves to the left, towards a sun which is struggling to rise over Tower Bridge.

Behind the river is a familiar cluster of city buildings, all glass panels and plastic wrapping concealing omnipresent scaffolding. Further along is the Tower of London, now shrunken in comparison to the financial behemoths upriver, as if reflecting a decline of power or treachery or ravens or beef-eating.
Wickford Station, looking along the London-bound platform in the direction of Essex, from whence an electric train approaches.

Across the tracks, on the Essex-bound platform, another train waits, having just offloaded a crowd of day-trippers (including me).

For some reason, the lights have been switched on over the Essex-bound platform, but not on the one I was standing on. I could have asked why, but I had a train to catch.
The view from my seat. For most of the journey, this was filled with what I gather is called moquette, the hard-wearing fabric which is used to cover seats, and the backs of seats, in trains, buses and the suchlike.

This particular example is intended, I expect, to encapsulate the hopes and ambitions of the Greater Anglia railway company, the result of a financially pleasurable coupling of a management-buyout remnant of a Netherlands transport company and a trading corporation in Japan.

The fabric is mostly grey, with highlights in the form of horizontal stripes of variable length, in red, beige and a mixture of the two. I'm sure they signify something deep and profound and commercial, but I strongly doubt I'd want to know what.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me through Crystal Palace, or Upper Norwood, yet again. So here's a picture of the Transmitter Tower, which never seems to get old.

The sun is always low in autumn and the Shard, four miles away, stood tiny under the sky, garing both annoyingly and desperately, its expensive profile bloated and distorted by the rays of reflected gold, almost as if it had been built as a metaphor.

From over the pricey rooftops of the downhill bits of Upper Norwood an object, shaped a little like a bullet, shines as brightly as a particularly nasty accident.

That is the Shard which, in construction, has a more triangular shape, but appears to have a wider profile here, the panels of which it's made reflecting light at a range of different angles. Presumably that varies according to how accurately they were fitted, and the composition of the glass.

Above it is a placid but darkening sky, the clouds gently empinkened by atmospheric dust scattering the light in proportion to the fourth power of its wavelength.
The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower, quietly demonstrating that it really is possible to make a tower that looks elegant and purposeful.

It may be under the same sky as the Shard, down to the pinkish clouds, but it's from a different world.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me to Bromley and along Deadman's Walk which deftly, and appropriately, skirts the Field of Hope.

It was warm, but as grey as any autumn day could wish to be, and the only incongruous splash of premature Christmas Cheer I saw had given up already.

The lake, incidentally, might be the remnant of Peter Pan's Pool, or perhaps Southend Pond. It was once part of an early sort of children's theme park, but now serves as a moat for a home "improvement" store.

A view, almost, over the Martin's Hill Open Space in Bromley, looking in the direction of Elmers' End.

In the foreground is the Field of Hope, which gently undulates in the foreground before falling away steeply beyond an empty bench. The view beyond is mostly of the treetops. Elmer's End perhaps fortunately, isn't visible.

The sky is littered with scrappy sheets of cloud, some rumpled enough to let in some light, but not much.
A view of a lake, whose steely waters are gently ruffled, probably by the passing traffic. In the foreground, three Canada Geese are circling with insouciant menace. 

Behind the geese, on an artificial island, an inflatable red-nosed moose is lying on its right side, its rubbery face a picture of indifference, dipping the end of an inflatable candy cane in the water.

Behind the island, and to the right, a hidden fountain spurts weakly but incontinently before the bleak grey wall of the store beyond.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk was disappointingly repetitive as I'm now old enough to go for a grocery run and forget to take my money.

So this afternoon I thought I'd stay at home and scrabble about in Desert of News for something to cheer me up. It was a long and arduous hunt, but I did find this which, if nothing else, reminded me that, despite most evidence pointing to the contrary, not all ideas are bad ones.

2 months ago

#TodaysWalk followed an edgy route between Camberwell and Peckham in the London Borough of Southwark.

Shortly after passing the extremely disappointing Cactus Close, I walked along McNeil Road where, either for a reason or the lack of any, this has happened.

I am sure there should be a word for this sort of thing, but perhaps I was brought up too nicely to remember what it is.

A view along the southern sidewalk of McNeil Road, in the direction of Camberwell.

To the right is the carriageway, as grey as an elephant and twice as dull.

To the left is a verdant bit of pasture or something, mostly made of dandelion plants, with a few young trees shaggily growing in it. Along its right edge, adjacent to the sidewalk, is a line of around ten large pale boulders, disappearing purposelessly into the distance.

Central, on the left side of the sidewalk, but taking around half of its width, is a mobile-phone mast with a cluster of cabinets which are immediately followed by a recently-planted tree on the right side of the path.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk had an autumnal clamminess to it, and the Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower, after a few months of unusual visibility, was looking like itself again.

On the way, I found some hawthorns, including a prune-leafed variety used for a street tree.

The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower is a four legged steel-lattice tower often visible in good weather.

In this picture, thanks to the lack of light and presence of fog, the upper parts are not visible.
The round red berries of a prune-leafed hawthorn, nestling among the serrated, oval leaves which are still mostly green and shiny, though are beginning to yellow round the edges and accumulate red blotches.
The round red berries of a common hawthorn are a little less bright, and a little more purple, than their prune-leafed cousins. The leaves they frolic among are small and characteristically three-lobed, like the hands, or possibly feet, of a cartoon duck.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me to Brockley. Specifically to Brockley Cross, a collection of the ends of left-over roads that survived the installation of Brockley Station.

Thereabouts I found something that might be a gang-related tag, a cry for help or an off-grid entry for #BadHorseSaturday.

Whatever it is, and it might even count as "found art", it was there and, for all I know, still is.

A blue and white estate-agent's sign, advertising "Horses To Let".

"Horses" seems to be a later, possibly unauthorised addition, executed in a brown sort of ink, together with a small portrait of a long-necked horse looking unsettlingly solicitous.

The artist, assuming there was one, has left neither signature or documentation, and so, in the absence of CCTV footage, its provenance may remain as eternal a mystery as its significance.
2 months ago

In all excitement of butchering a pineapple this morning, I forgot #TodaysWalk, which might happen this afternoon, and my flaky-bark pilgrimage.

Sycamores are in the news today, sadly, so here's part of one I found the other day, and a few of the mosses and lichens that depend on it.

The tree of a sycamore has a rough surface which have here attracted drifts of white-green lichen and cushions of fruiting mosses, so it looks   a bit like a satellite picture of a mountain range, complete with forests and glaciers.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk was a shortish one, but I found two critters and a tree, so my time wasn't entirely wasted.

The lightly rippled bark of a tree, is coated with a thin layer of moss. In the centre is a bright red creature with perhaps eight legs, or maybe six legs and two antennae, which is probably a sort of mite, given how very, very small it looks.
A photograph taken up into the dark and branchy canopy of a tree where, from the shadows, a suspicious-looking squirrel peers down, as if caught doing something it shouldn't. Though what that might be I have no idea.
A view from under a wingnut tree, its spreading canopy still bright green, though some of its little wingnuts, which are hanging down in strings, are turning brown.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me to Downham Playing Fields, through which Spring Brook disconsolately flows.

The consortium that runs the Lower Fields on behalf of the London Borough of Lewisham describes them thus:

"Separated by Glenbow Road, the area of the space protected is located to the east of the road where there is also a car park serving the entire space. For public use on foot, the grounds are open during daylight hours".

It wasn't the only thing that didn't make sense.

Spring Brook, a very small and shallow stream, meanders away between its shallow, grassy and shrub-bordered banks towards a field with a tree in it. Two magpies are flying into the middle distance.
This, for the record, is in Shaftesbury Park, which is adjacent to Downham Fields.
A view from the bridge over Spring Brook at the Downham Playing Fields. The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower is a faint upright stroke on the far horizon behind a pair of goalposts and a distant row of houses. 

In the foreground are clouds of brambles which have grown either side of the brook and closed above it, hiding it from view.
A view of a section of Glenbow Road, a minor thoroughfare that bisects the Downham Fields. To protect any pedestrians who might dare to cross, the fields on both sides are enclosed by ten-foot mesh fences except at narrow openings, which are protected from themselves by sets of stout guardrails and obstructed by pairs of peculiar metal frames that curve inwards towards each other, as if to exclude the fat-headed.

I imagine the defences are aimed at deterring marauding packs of scooterists from the neighbouring Borough of Bromley and so may well be justified, but they still feel very wrong.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk was a bit haphazard, but I kept an eye out for more flaky-barked #Trees all the same.

One that I found (pictured) is called Persian Ironwood, or Parottia persica, and lives in, as well as on, Brenchley Gardens (also pictured).

The branched trunk of a Persian Ironwood tree, looking up towards the canopy. The leaves are about the size and shape of beech leaves, if a little rounder and floppier, and the bark is a greenish-brown, flaking and peeling in places to reveal the fresh beige surface below. A large flake of bark, about eight inches long, curves across the foreground, but isn't much in focus.
Brenchley Gardens is still a road. It is roofed by a thinning canopy of leaves, still green in the early autumn, formed by trees from Brenchley Gardens to the right and, on the left, the supernumerary woodland that frills the bottom of One Tree Hill. The asphalt is lovely and smooth, with recently re-painted lines although, for this one blessed moment, there's no traffic to enjoy it.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk had a bit of a #Trees theme to it, aside from all the groceries, as the paper-bark maple of Cutcombe Road had reminded me of something I'd seen in Dulwich Park.

I didn't get as far as Dulwich Park, but I did find what I was thinking of, Betula albosinensis, or the Chinese red birch, on Park Hall Road, where there are at least two. I didn't manage to get a good picture there, so here's one from the park that's been maturing in my archives for seven years.

A tree with a many-branched trunk and smallish green leaves. The bark of the stems is red and is naturally peeling in many places, as birch bark often does.
2 months ago

#TodaysWalk hasn't happened much this week, mostly on account of rain.

But I still managed to get out and about and yesterday sheltered under a paper bark maple and, today, dodged a downpour on my way past a nearly-local landmark.

#AfterTheRain #Trees

The red papery bark of a paper bark maple peels on purpose, like that of the silver birch, so though it looks like it might be diseased, it isn't. The presence of a hospital in the background is mere coincidence.
The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower stands proud in the evening sunshine beneath a smear of emptied clouds.

In the foreground lies Crystal Palace Parade, a tree-lined avenue of potential loveliness, slick with oily water and a garish selection of steel-and-plastic mobility aids.
Deborah Rose Reeves
2 months ago

Well, this was delightful to happen upon on my Sunday rambles 🙏🏻

#TodaysPoem #TodaysWalk

Photograph. A wood and glass frame mounted to a tree in southeast Portland, which  displays a new poem every week. This week’s poem is: 

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths. 

By Dan Albergotti
3 months ago

It's Friday, so #TodaysWalk took me along some well-trodden paths.

There was nothing along them I hadn't seen before but as I had time to take a snapshot that's exactly what I did.

The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower, leaning against a temporarily cloudless sky and facing a sidelong sun. 

Its several antennae, of various shapes, look bright, as do some of the supporting cables, normally too thin and grey to be visible, that help keep it upright. The metal spars of which the main tower is made are tinted slightly orange by the tired and dusty sun.

The trees around its base look tired and dusty, too, as their leaves begin to thin and turn from green to brown.
3 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me to the backwaters of Peckham, where I admired the Consort Park Imaginarium.

On the way I came across an cost-effective solution to street clutter that has achieved results more quickly than any number of campaigns, meetings, strategies and carefully-considered reports.

It's not the most democratic approach, admittedly, and landowners and topiarists might not approve, but that's surely just a question of numbers.

An area of lawn has been dug out, flattened and covered with coloured asphalt. Two irregular patches of blue, presumably to rerpresent lakes, are surrounded by concentric borders of gold, beige, red and green.

The ground rises at the back of the area, and this has been provided with ten or so stumps, a few inches high. Behind the area lurks a mature tree, under which three well-camouflaged bicycle stands are hiding.
Behind a green steel cabinet cemented into the sidewalk stands a low, white wall behind which, in turn, are a number of large, dense bushes carved into voluptuous, abstract forms.

Adorning the bushes are two mobility aids, of the sort called e-bkes, in the livery of some grifting hire company. Also, two large blue wheelie-bins. Presumably they've all been lodged there for safe-keeping while the sidewalk is being used by pedestrians.
3 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me through the margins of Nunhead, where I found an impressive, if thought-provoking, example of Active Travel infrastructure.

A pavement (sidewalk) curves into the sunny distance. In the foreground is a tree trunk that's overgrown with suckers that almost span the pavement.

Beneath the growth the paving slabs bear horizontal ridges, as commonly used to deter cyclists from the pedestrian lane of a shared-use pavement. Directly beyond that is another slab, square, and decorated with a picture of a bicycle, as commonly used to indicate the cycle lane of a shared-use pavement.
3 months ago

#TodaysWalk was damp in parts, and humid, so I kept it unambitious.

Not that ambition is something I much treasure. It's hard enough just to be there, as this little plant may know.

A dandelion has set itself up against the white-painted end of a small wall, growing from a tiny fissure where it joins a concrete path.

It has arranged itself as nicely as a colour plate in an old botany book. Though, being somewhat ragged and flattened against the wall, it also looks posed for a mugshot, as if accused of some vegetable misdemeanour.
3 months ago

No #TodaysWalk today, as my foot's gone wrong and I can't find a replacement at the weekend.

So here's a picture of a plaque in a clock tower, put up to celebrate the clock-winder being replaced by an automaton six years earlier.

The clock is 136 years old, still tells the time, chimes on the quarter and isn't in Maldon, but in Burnham on Crouch.

Despite that, Maldon District Council laid claim to it for decades before ceremoniously returning it to Burnham, which it had never left, in 2017.

A wooden plaque, stuck to a white-painted brick wall.

At the top is a municipal coat of arms above the date 1989, both encircled with the inscription "Maldon District Conservation & Design Award"

Below that, in black letters on a brass plate, is written:

"The Clock Tower

This plaque is erected in appreciation of Mr Sidney Harvey who has served this town as clock winder at the tower for 44 years from 1939 until his retirment in June 1983.

Maldon District Council"
The apparently official website of Burnham on Crouch Town (as opposed to the Council's website, which demerged in 2021 for reasons I prefer to think of as mysterious) describes the clock tower as "a red brick octagonal clock tower with black brick quoins and diapering, of four levels, topped off with a fish-scale-tiled, ogee roof", which might be about right, and possibly cribbed, if you're willing to ignore the weather-vane, which seems to be in the form of a lyre-tailed arrow. And that is what's in the picture.

The website also claims it was erected in 1877, the result of an "outpouring of grief" by public subscription at the passing of a Mr Laban Sweeting, who traded in oysters and was a SuperIntendent of Sunday Schools.

The crowdfunding efforts were so successful that they raised enough not only to buy a clock, but also to build a tower to put it in. I don't know what they'd have done with the clock if they hadn't, but that's probably another mystery best left to its own devices.
3 months ago

It's raining, so #TodaysWalk has been delayed and I have no fresh pictures for either #FensterFreitag or #FingerpostFriday.

I did go walking yesterday, though, and took one picture that suggested a happy compromise.


A view, taken from London Bridge, looking towards the two towers of Tower Bridge, and the more numerous towers of Canary Wharf behind that, which are tall enough still be lit by the setting sun.

In the foreground, a riverboat luches merrily towards the camera, while behind it lurks the retired warship HMS Belfast, whose grey hull blends discreetly with the gray-blue river reflecting a mostly blue evening sky.

In the very foreground, to the far left, is the pink and blurry edge of my finger.
4 months ago

Today it's raining, again, so #TodaysWalk probably won't get me further than the postbox.

Yesterday, however, I ventured further, passing a school somewhere to the West. At the entrance, zip-tied to the security railings, was this plasticated message.

It's intended to be inspirational, I presume, but it reminded me very much of the mottos my own schools had, which more-or-less amounted to "never mind the misery, you'll be rewarded when you're dead".

To cut a long story, I wasn't inspired.

A laminated notice which bears, in a circle, at the surrounded by cheerful rays of pink and blue, the message:

"I want you to know that there are brighter days waiting...Even if it's impossible to see that right now."

The words are apparently hand-written, with "brighter" emphasised. As, curiously, are "waiting", "impossible" and "right".
4 months ago

#TodaysWalk, being combined with yet another act of errandry, took me to Molesworth Street in Lewisham which, though it's yet to be immortalised in song or legend, is at least a bypass for the High Street, which is well worth bypassing.

On my way I stole a minute to stare into the waters of the Ravensbourne, where I saw no ducks or herons, but a moorhen and a carp (not pictured).

A short stretch of the Ravensbourne River as it oozes, ripplingly, under trees. In the foreground, where the trees give way for a bridge, the water reflects a blue sky and some clouds. Further along, it more dimly reflects the shrubby foliage that grows around it, in various shades of sludge.

The river seems shallow and sluggish, having several dry-topped stones visible in it, but there are parts where moorhens have to paddle, and ten-inch carp can meander.
4 months ago

#TodaysWalk was mostly in search of plumbing supplies but also brought conversations with cats and a detour to Brenchley Gardens by way of the Old Kent Road.

The Old Kent Road features in song and may even be picturesque in places, but I didn't go to any of those places, so here are the twelveish beeches of the Grand and Only Avenue of Brenchley Gardens.

A short stretch of footpath, maybe ten yards long, leads to an empty metal bench.
On either side close-planted, smooth-barked beech trees grow almost vertically until their leaves meet, far overhead.
The rays from a sinking sun, about half-way up the picture, penetrate the foliage and dapple the footpath with a few splashes of light.
4 months ago

#TodaysWalk isn't yet, but yesterday's found me nine questionable miles from Hounslow.

I didn't test the claim, but I did notice the coat of arms, which should feature a cross flory (a cross with split ends) and five martlets (footless birds, like a certain logo).

An iffy logo is the badge of a counterfeit, but why fake a milepost?

Is Hounslow trying to make itself look more significant - or nearer - than it ever has been? Or is it a trap laid by local footpads?

Being unsure, I went home.

A milepost, apparently made of sheet metal, roughly rectangular but with a round top, and apparently fixed to a brick wall.

On it is written in gothic text "City of Westminster" above a coat of arms.

Below that, the metal is bent to form two angled panels. On the left side is a hand pointing right above the words "To Hounslow 9 miles". On the right-hand side is a hand pointing left above the words "To London [Hyde Park Corner] 1 mile".

The coat of arms is supported by two slightly comic lions sticking their tongues out at each other. The crest is a portcullis sitting on a wreath from which grow two stalky roses, both red.

The arms themselves feature two red roses either side of a simple three-beam trellis, all above another portcullis.

These are similar to the arms of the real City of Westminster, except that one of the crest roses should be silver, or white, and the trellis should be a cross with birds around it.
5 months ago

I nearly forgot to post #TodaysWalk, so here's a picture.

To be fair, it was a very forgettable walk, apart from the wind, which filled my eyes with dust and my face with twigs, like something from one of those children's tales that come with an uninspiring moral about tying your shoelaces or not answering back.

But, all the same, I took a picture and, because it's vaguely in focus and not of my thumb or feet, I'm happy to release it into the social wilderness of Mastodonia.

The Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower (an unconvincing knock-off of the Eifel Tower, with dull things hanging off it and no restaurant). Today it was standing at a jaunty angle in the howling winds. Or perhaps I wasn't holding the camera straight. I can't tell as it's surrounded by trees and it was blowing a gale.
5 months ago

It's a cold and damp day in London which ever since Brexit has been largely insulated from European heatwaves.

And so, for #TodaysWalk, I climbed Forest Hill, not so much to see the forest, as there isn't one, but the Forest Hill Radio Site, a transmitter built in 2003 in the teeth of local opposition.

I gather it mostly handles emergency-services traffic but local folklore, doubtless fuelled by much independent research, has gifted it many darker powers.

A tall, narrow steel lattice, narrow and very tall, stands grey against a grey sky. A sparse assortment of boxes and antennae, that presumably send and receive radio waves, have been haphazardly bolted to its sides.

It is really not very pretty and looks more like the decapitated stalk of a crane than a proper transmitter mast.
5 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me via the railway footbridge in Sydenham which, after 148 years of rotting and rusting, was replaced last November.

The work involved felling a plane tree to get a crane in, sparking a small petition that claimed the tree had "stood for easily a century" and insisted that "there must be a[nother] way".

By the look of things, there wasn't.

A view down the staircase of the Sydenham Park Railway Footbridge. The stairs, and the narrow path beneath them, are flanked by trees and shrubs, with the frondy branches of the Ash pressing in from the left and a less forward horse-chestnut on the right.

The stump of a one very large branch. almost a trunk in itself, of the horse-chestnut can be seen just to the right of the stairs, about half-way down. Presumably it was pruned to make room for the span of the bridge behind to be replaced.
5 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me through the foothills of Brockley and Sydenham to the majestic heights of Forest Hill via Shaws Cottages, a humble street that boasts an iron post, and over a bridge from which the trains look peculiarly furious.

The Iron Post at Shaws Cottages in Forest Hill is like a slender, round-topped bollard, perhaps three feet tall and six inches wide, of unpainted, gently rusting iron.

Corroded inscriptions read, on one side, "… y 5 feet 6 inches south … the centre of this post" and, on the other "St Olav …  Stredt … London".
A train, seen from above, bears toward, but beneath, the camera. The front of the train has a yellow lip and white cheeks, so it looks like the face of a wasp.

It is a long train, probably of eight carriages, but I'm afraid that's the best I can say for it.
5 months ago

#TodaysWalk was to Croydon, which is to photography what Mona Lisa's sisters were to painting.

So here's a picture of something else.

Yes. It's the Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower again, this time with slightly different clouds. I expect the leaves on the trees around it have grown slightly bigger, too, but that's mostly speculation.
6 months ago

#TodaysWalk hasn't been to anywhere, but I was running some errands yesterday and just happened to notice this.

A tall transmitter tower, known as the Crystal Palace Transmitter Tower, rises on steel legs into an azure sky from behind a clump of trees in full leaf.
6 months ago

#TodaysWalk has yet to happen, but Thursday found me at Fairy Hill Park. Or maybe Recreation Ground.

Though it might equally be "Fairy Hall", given the name of the erstwhile manor house that's now part of nearby Eltham College, and the absence of a hill.

Still, the council's right to describe it as a "medium-sized park" with "an outdoor gym installed as part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich's Olympic legacy" which, at least when I visited, was serving as a silent memorial to good intentions.

A bright red sign, fixed to railings that have been overgrown by privet, with small, glossy green leaves and small white five-petalled flowers.

It reads: Welcome to Fairy Hill Park
A fingerpost signing the Green Chain Walk. To the left is "The Tarn", a link to "Mottingham St'n", a quarter-mile away. To the right are Southwood Park and Avery Hill Park, three-quarters and 1.5 miles away, respectively.

At the top of the post is a ring around which runs the legend: "Fairy Hill Rec. Ground".
6 months ago

#TodaysWalk was to Beckenham Library, which is now run by Greenwich Leisure Ltd, a charitable enterprise that masquerades behind the trademark "Better" and has a turnover four and a half times that of Eton College, because the council couldn't be bothered.

The council could be bothered to install some rocks on the property, though, so I looked at some of those and, to be fair, they looked very much like rocks.

Two voluptuous grey rocks, half buried between a red brick path and a grey larch-lap fence, coyly protrude from a bed of playful dandelious and the lubricious twiglets of a much-abused shrub.

To the right stands a prudish parking notice, standing stolidly vertical despite its screed of po-faced small print, just four inches from the ground, being impudently tickled by thrusting grasses.
An intimate menage-a-quatre of grey rocks cavorting in a bed of riotous grasses. Behind them is a low wooden barrier that apparently protects them from incursions from the neighbouring parking lot where, I'm sure, nothing inappropriate happens in the hours of daylight.
Two more grey rocks, in a small grassy bed, between a red-brick path and a parking lot, separated by the stem of a parking notice, stand with their backs toward each other, as if waiting for their lawyers to apply for a decree.
A proud, solitary rock stands grandly and triangularly erect on a square bed of subservient pebbles on a neatlyish mown lawn.

On its face, if a rock can have such a thing, is a rectangular metal plaque that, illegibly in this picture, declares it to be a Bromley Millennium Rock and thus of some significance, if only to itself, and also not from Bromley.

Instead it is from Scotland, whose people sent it to Bromley as a gift, in the way a distant great-aunt might gift a cauldron or a mangle. The rock is, apparently, even older than the clay that holds up Bromley, but how that makes it relevant to the millennium, or even Bromley, is not explained. It is a small plaque, after all.
6 months ago

#TodaysWalk took me, by way of other places, to St Norbert's Road which, despite being mostly flat, is in the Telegraph Hill ward of Lewisham.

St Norbert, a former bishop, is big in Prague, where his remains, after something of a tussle with the abbey he founded, are kept in a glass coffin (which you can watch being opened on YouTube if you fancy).

That abbey once owned all of Brockley, until Henry VIII thought different, so the street's, in effect, a celebration of a former landlord.

Simon Wilks
10 months ago

After a period of deep reflection, I've concluded that #TodaysWalk did me no good at all.

I wasn't sure - am still not sure - if the public is ready for that message. It rubs, after all, against the profitable optimism that shouts its wares from all the heaving self-help shelves in all the literate world.

But still. A January walk through London, a traffic-choked slough of despond whose concrete trophies shimmer wanly in a clammy brown mist, as if in mouldy aspic, won't always lift the heart.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a squirrel walk.

Skitter? Yes.
Dart? Absolutely.
Spoing? Of course.

But just walk? I don’t think so.

#RandomThoughts #squirrels #TodaysWalk #hmm