Monday, October 07, 2013

The Far East

Sunday's adventures took us further east than I'd ever been on the north side of the river. We did a ton of walking, and used many modes of transport -- tube, bus, dangle tram and river bus -- as we made our way from Mile End, though Bow, to Silvertown, across the Thames to Greenwich and back up the river to Bankside. 

Our first stop was Tower Hamlets Cemetery. Loyal readers will remember that I'm trying to visit all of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries in London. This was number five for me. I'm not sure, but it might be the most overgrown and neglected of the seven, and I'm pretty sure its occupants were of more modest means than those who were put to rest in Highgate or Brompton. There are no grand tombs or mausoleums; gravestones are falling over and jumbled up in the undergrowth. The cemetery is now a nature park, so I guess this unkempt appearance is all part of establishing natural habitat for critters and plants. I remembered the lesson Maggie taught me about watching out for stinging nettle in graveyards, but couldn't remember what it looks like, so I just made sure not to touch anything green. 

We then trekked eastward, through a couple of housing estates, to reach Bromley-by-Bow station, where we walked through the subway under the flyover, then made a brief stop at Tesco on the way to Three Mills Island. The island in the Lea River has been the site of mills dating back to mediaeval times, and is noted in the Domesday Book. We took a fab tour of the Housemill, a tidal mill that was built in 1776 (parts of it have since been re-built after a fire in the 19th century and bomb damage in the Blitz). Or guide Tony, a local from Bow, was incredibly knowledgable and entertaining, taking us up and down steep, narrow stairways to see all the workings of the mill. He told us that the site is frequently used as a movie set, most recently for a film called London Fields, from a Martin Amis book, starring Billy Bob Thornton, which will be out in 2014. 

The journey to our next destination -- Royal Victoria -- would have been easier had it not been a Sunday and the Underground in a mess. We walked around a bit looking for a bus that would get us to the right branch of the DLR so we could get to Royal Victoria. One old woman who Roger asked kept insisting that we take a bus that would have gone through the Blackwall Tunnel to Greenwich. We ignored her and walked to a different stop and got a bus to Canning Town, then walked to the dangle tram that we could see in the distance.  The Emirates Air Line cable car was built for the Olympics, to move people from venues at the ExCeL Centre over to the O2. It's a bit of a folly, but it's way cheaper than the London Eye, and on a clear day like we had you get some lovely views up and down the river. 

The dangle dumped us out next to the O2, just by North Greenwich Pier. I'd always wanted to take on river bus on the Thames, so this was the perfect opportunity. We landed at Bankside, right in front of the Globe Theatre. Roger dashed in to be a groundling for a performance of MacBeth, and I wandered up the Southbank to the Hungerford Bridge (having forgotten what a long way that is), watched the sunset, found the new mural by Stik that I'd wanted to see, walked across the Jubilee Bridge to Embankment Station and caught the tube back to Queen's Park. 

Oh, I forgot -- we started the day with a walk up to the Queen's Park Farmers' Market, in the yard of a local primary school, which has to be one of the nicest markets I've ever been to. There was a jumble sale going on in the school hall, and Roger couldn't resist making a purchase. 

£10 to top up Oyster (used for dangle and river bus)
£2 for snacks
£3 Housemill tour
24,359 steps (9.22 miles)

1 comment:

  1. Cemeteries and "dangle tram" sound great. Wasn't that the name of an 80s band? 9 miles! Bravo.