|Rivers of London
||[Apr. 18th, 2015|11:32 am]
For context: we are in London for a family event; some of our plans for the rest of the weekend have been rearranged to accommodate building work. Both of these things may be explained at a later time, if the opportunity arises.
Which is why yesterday GirlBear took me and durham_rambler for a birthday walk along the Dollis Brook, leaving BoyBear at home with the telephone. It's not a big river, and it runs through a strip of parkland that is not very wide, but you find yourself walking for several miles through a London from which the city is surprisingly absent. Not completely so: there is traffic noise, and train noise - the tube follows the line of the river for much of the way - and constant glimpses of houses through the trees, but the immediate surroundings are green.
We took the tube to Totteridge and Whetstone (only a few stops beyond East Finchley, where we once lived, but not a station I have ever used before), so we started the walk doubling back the way we had come. Spring is more advanced than in the north: the blackthorn has shed most of its flowers, and is coming into leaf, the hawthorn shows tight little buds but is not yet in bloom - but there were many trees of a kind I couldn't identify heavy with white blossom. At times we had to cross roads which sliced through the greenway, and once we passed under a high viaduct. We sat on a bench to eat our lunch bagels and drink our coffee, and watched the children and the magpies.
Crossing a track, durham_rambler was ahead of me and GirlBear, pointing and hushing us, because he had seen:
This is a very urban heron, living within yards of the A1, so perhaps it is accustomed to passers by. It paced slowly around, offering us first one profile then the other, and gave us time to point it out to the next couple who came along (they were as grateful as if we had provided the heron ourselves), before demonstrating its take-off. You couldn't top that, and we left the park at the next exit (just by a street called Crooked Usage) and caught a bus home.
GirlBear had very kindly invited some of our long-standing London friends to join us for the evening, so we picked up some shopping on the way home, and the rest of the day was preparation and then partying. It was a lovely evening, and although there's never as much time as I'd like to talk, I did, by jumping into a seat every time one was vacated, manage at least to say hello to everyone.