I am sorry I haven't been around much, either posting here or commenting on blogs. It's life getting in the way. Some good news is that T's back is getting better. He's not bent over at a weird angle any more.
And we had fun last weekend, when we were invited to an event in Hermitage Moorings, near Tower Bridge. There are residential boats on the moorings. Most are large, sea-going or estuary vessels. It is a fantastic place to live, right in the centre of the city.
That was the view I clicked with my camera phone as I walked (and T. hobbled) along the gangplank which led to the pontoon on which was the sort of clubhouse where we had our get together. You see the Olympic rings hanging from Tower Bridge beneath the stormy sky.
Nigel of Bermondsey (click on the link) had organised an evening of seagoing stories and songs. There's something so good about singing with a load of other people, and a scratch band with squeezebox and guitars led the music.
Some songs were very well known, like the shanty "Drunken Sailor" to be sung when hauling up the sails. Others were unfamiliar, like "Old Maui," and Nigel had written a new song "We flow with the tide." AS it got darker, the rain began thundering down, harder than anything I've known. Soon the deck was awash, the wind was howling the boats were rocking. Full of atmosphere. As the light faded I went out to take a photo. As you see, Tower Bridge had just been illuminated. The deck was awash with water.
I was fascinated by a guy called Tony Malone who talked about sea legends. His boat, the SV Iceni, is moored on the River Medway in Kent. He told us bloodthirsty true tales of pirates, ghosts and folklore, people being walled up in bridges or encased in tar or flogged to death, all of which put me TOTALLY off living in the past.
He also added that Iceni will be leaving leafy Kent in July 2013. It will be heading for the world's most northerly city, Longveearbyen, with a mixture of able-bodied and disabled crew. He devised this idea when he was recovering from cancer, and he is also looking for virtual travellers to "accompany" him on an alternative imaginative voyage. So if you are creative and want to join in, read about it here.
When we left, it was dark. Little A admired the view as we left. (You may be able to spot him in the photo, towards the right.)
He liked seeing Tower Bridge and also the Shard, London's new highest building. "What a topping view!" he said enthusiastically. T and I cracked up. I think he's been reading too many old "Beano" books.
(For those of you who don't know "Beano, " it is a comic that's been going since the 1930s. I swear the slang used in the comic was out of date then. I don't know if the modern Beanos are still full of ancient slang, but the old "Beano" books which little A specially loves, certainly are. Full of talk about "chums," "pals" ... and indeed the word "beano" itself means having a good time.)
A. will spend half a day reading old "Beano" annuals ... but actually I don't know a kid who doesn't enjoy them. (a small part of our family collection of scruffy old annuals, acquired over many years, above). My favourite was always the "Bash St. Kids" and their long suffering teacher. Here are the kids, planning to drive Teacher off to some horrible fate. But first they must persuade him to get into the car...