My older daughter's decided to ignore the EU referendum, since she feels her peace of mind is worth more. The torrents of emotive words cascading from TV, radio, emails and the internet are quite disturbing, but thank goodness most people I meet face to face are fed up of it all too, so it doesn't get discussed much.
Exercise is a good distraction, but the weather has not smiled on us - mainly dark clouds or torrential downpours - ah, the English summer! But one day it was sunny and we got in a bike ride from Camden Lock to Hackney Marshes via the Regents Canal. And how nice it was! This canal has always been full of quirky things to see, and has been rapidly changing of late.
Anyway, this time, the first new thing that met my eyes at Camden Lock was Amy Winehouse and God, (I suppose), who was directing angels to carry Amy up to heaven.
She looks relieved, I'd say.
She looks happy about it, which is good. A little further down the canal, I reached a canal bridge. The picture below was taken in 2010, and shows the view as it was then. These evocative gasometers were seen beyond the Camley St. wildlife park, with the pinnacle of St Pancras to the right.
In 2012 the same scene looked like this (below). The gasometers were gone, they were being moved over to the other side of the river to have - yes - luxury flats, of course, built inside them,
And NOW, here's the photo I took the other day showing that those flats are complete. To me they seem to make nothing of the wonderful shape of the gasometers.
However, a tiny circular park has been built inside one of the gasometers. You're not allowed to sit on the grass - well, I hope THAT will change! and it is surrounded by mirrored pillars and a pierced roof covering the path. I quite liked it but couldn't help wondering whose job it will be to polish all the mirrors after they've been out in the rain for a few months!
It's always fun seeing the narrowboats on London canals. A nice thing about them is how you can use the roof as a sort of garden, like this blue haired lady relaxing with her book.
Maybe she got it from the boat bookshop
It has a cosy old fashioned feel to it, inside, and the books aren't expensive.
A bit further down, there was a mini garden for mini children, their tiny shoes were neatly ranged along the side, with a washable Astroturf lawn.
These plants were growing in boots and shoes. I was trying to decide what I'd plant in the ladies shoes on the right but then discovered that I don't actually like the idea of plants growing in shoes. I don't know why, really..
Had to smile at these kids, it was obviously their first time on the water and they were paddling themselves into walls and into the side of bridges, and into each other, but having a great time.
They probably came from the Pirate Castle. (this mosaic was snapped in 2012, I hope it's still there)
Their HQ is actually shaped like a castle..
There are some fabulous mosaics along the canal, but my favourites were always the Laburnum Rd School mosaics. When I first went down the canal, they were intact and glittering. Over the years, they fell into disrepair, and the wall on which they were mounted has started to fall to bits and get overgrown. I've searched for photos of them in their prime - I know I took some - but even though my filing system is good, I can't find them. I felt a bit like an archaeologist uncovering the ruins of some wonderful civilisation. These are two of the Laburnum Road kids, still just about visible.
The mosaic pieces were particularly beautiful, all kinds of shades and mother of pearl.
Trees have grown on top of these walls, so their roots run right along the wall, looking weirdly like the trees have feet.... or tentacles
like Kang and Kodos in the Simpsons...
At Islington, the canal goes through a long tunnel.
Two narrowboats can pass each other in the tunnel with a few inches to spare. In the days when the boats were pulled by horses, the boy that led the horse would lead the horse to the other end of the tunnel, and the boatmen would leg it through - lying on their backs on the top of the boat, pushing at the roof and/or sides of the tunnel with their legs.
I've always liked old forgotten places, and I'm fond of this mostly derelict group of houses as you approach Hackney.
The bow fronts of the ones on the right show that they were once part of a bow fronted Regency terrace
It would have looked a bit like these houses (they're not in London but are built in that style..) I think they'd have been charming in 1825. Very Jane Austen. Now the place is a coach depot. I think it's beyond rescue, though there is always hope (and pizza)
We left the Regents Canal at Victoria Park, Hackney. It's a good park, but I'll write about the onward journey some other time. We did spot someone settled in for the day in the park with his laptop, papers, phone and in fact entire office. He said that he preferred working in the park to being inside.
And just where we left the canal, I spotted a moorhen flying along with a large orange carrier bag in its beak. By the time I'd go the camera out, it had returned to the water. It busily dragged the bag behind a boat and left it there. I don't suppose moorhens really have a litter patrol, so wondered what it thought it was doing!