Saturday, 30 June 2012

dogs on the marshes

I saw a Canalworld Forum discussion about new regulations to keep dogs on leads along the towpath along the Regent's Canal, with threats of fines for non-compliance. You can see plenty of the notices on the Lea navigation, alongside the Hackney Marshes. The forum discussion seems to focus on the nuisance of dogs fouling the path (not sure how pooing on the end of a lead would be any different!), before drifting off into the nuisance caused by speeding cyclists.

I was wondering about the timing of these new restrictions. As many know, Leyton Marsh has been the subject of much protest recently, over the development of a basketball centre for the Olympics. The open land alongside the canal, where people and their dogs wander freely every day, has been dug up and built on, with heavy security keeping the community out. It's not the only shiny metal and concrete structure to have sprung up along that stretch of common land, close to the canal I see. Anyway, it seems that three dogs that walk that area had toxic poisoning within a few days of each other. Of course it may be completeley unrelated but about 3 weeks later, the notices restricting dogs went up all along that stretch of the canal.
I'm guessing that the marshes hold still water almost permanently and that disturbing the soil might release some of London's pollutants into surface, drinkable water.
Here's what a Guardian article said at the start of the year:
"The Environment Agency, which has worked with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the London Development Agency and other partners on the site said it had helped the ODA decontaminate 2m tonnes of soil so it could be reused."
Another report says:
 "The main site for the 2012 bid, the Lower Lea Valley, is the largest area of derelict and contaminated land in the capital"
I'm just a bit sceptic about how efficiently you can decontaminate large areas of land without releasing chemicals and other pollutants into groundwater and air. We don't often see for ourselves the effect on wildlife, but I guess the health of our own dear dogs is very much noticed.
But hey, I'm just a conspiracy-theorist.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Poppies for Poppy

I'm on the river Lea now and starting to explore parts of my new stamping ground for the next two months. I took these photos of a gorgeous bank of poppies, using my phone. The quality isn't good but they truly were beautiful and it seemed appropriate to post them here in tribute to a much-loved greyhound called Poppy. Poppy was badly neglected and abused before being adopted by Sue and Richard ( nb Indigo Dream) and she must have thought she'd come to doggy heaven! They knew she probably wouldn't live long but as they wrote on their blog, "THIS LIFE MATTERED!" and they certainly made it a happy, secure and loving one.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Lock-in on the Lea

After much hesistation, I've decided to go up the Lea and Stort during the olympics. The exclusion zone, between Paddington Basin and Lee Bridge (or thereabouts) will be cleared on the 3rd July so I'll start heading off on Monday. I'm quite excited about it really because a) I haven't been there on my boat before and b) there are lots of lovely boaters who will also be hanging out there over the Summer. I've met a few here in London and shared enough chat and cider to know we will get on well in our 'lock-in' on the Lea :-)
It won't be very convenient for the bits of work I do off the boat, but I think that will be balanced by having good community around me when I am at home.
I'm also in a good work rhythm on the boat, greatly helped by having a proper work space and the warmer weather also helps. The back room is light and sunny for artwork with the back doors open and that bulkhead gone, it's brilliant. I need to think ahead to winter months and how to heat that space, but right now, I'm just enjoying it all.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Red Barrows

We went along to the Hanwell Carnival which claims to be London's oldest, starting in 1898. It was great to be at such a popular and well-attended event. I liked the unpretentious dog-show with prizes for 'dog looking most like owner' category. We actually persuaded a human and dog to take part, having privately decided each was just like his tall, furry companion. The man did win a prize which I was glad about as he was quite shy, but it turned out it wasn't actually his dog!
However, the highlight for me was The Red Barrows - formation wheelbarrowing of the finest expertise, including a wheel-past with red, white and blue smoke display. Beautifully done!

 Build up to a death-defying near collision that had the crowds holding their breath and cheering with relief.

A triumphant salute!

p.s Thanks to Simon for use of his photos.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Boats and bunting

Had a wander down to the Thames to watch the boat cavalcade. It was really good to see Indigo Dream among the fine craft. I waved like mad but being only a tiny dot along miles of waving people, doubt I was seen ;-) Richard and Sue posted all about it here as did Kath and Neil from nb Herbie. They seem to have had a fantastic though exhausting day.
Above are pictures I took on a wander around Brick Lane and near Tower Bridge. The street party was so lively. I was just a passer-through, like many others but I do love a community street party. Woudn't it be fun if people had them on other occasions, like the start of Spring or to welcome a new resident in a street? Well, I think it would anyway.