Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Greenwich circular walk

It was another beautiful morning so I decided to park the car and go for a walk around Greenwich. Usually I will take public transport but I'm not convinced it is safe yet so for me it had to be the car as I didn't want to do a 10 mile walk today. Parking was a problem as parking in Greenwich Park has been suspended. However, I knew of another area where I could park legally for free. Unfortunately I had forgotten that between the hours of 9am and 10am it  is for residents only. A cuuning ploy to prevent commuters parking there. Eventually I found a space just off Blackheath where parking restrictions don't apply.

I walked through the park and out onto Park Vista

The houses will have good views of the park from the upper floors and with a rail station just a couple of hundred metres away, prices for these properties are anything from £1.5 million upwards.

A short walk away and you see another row of small terraced houses. These are what we called back to back houses. They would have a small backyard opening onto an alleyway where another row of houses would also open out onto the same alley. The streets were narrow with perhaps washing strung across them. These houses were very common in large cities at the turn of the 19th/20th cent. This street has hardly changed from the outside although I am sure they would be very different from the inside. Now fetching in the region of £500,000, they would need to be different!
Round the corner is this huge building, Greenwich Power station. It was built to generate steam  power  for London's former tram network. From 1968-72, it was modernised with the discontinuation of steam generation and the introduction of gas turbines to supplement power for the London Underground. In 1998 power for the Underground was provided by the National Grid and Grenwich became London Underground's Central Emergency Power Supply which provides power in the event of partial or total loss of National Grid supplies to the Underground network.

This is the pier for the power station

Across the river you can see the highrise office blocks of Canary Wharf.

The path takes me passed the Cutty Sark. The pub used to be called 'Union Tavern' but changed its nam when the Cutty Sark ship was brought into dry dock in Greenwich in 1954.
Ballast Quay is one of the oldest parts of Greenwich riversid with some housing dating back to the 17th and 18th century.

This is the Harbour Master's Office dating from 1853. I believe it is now the Greenwich Heritage Centre.

When I walked the length of the Thames path in 2013 this was a building site so it is of great interest to me now to see all these developments finished.

The old piers still remain harking back to its industrial heritage.

Looking back towards Greenwich I have a clearer view of the Power station

More new buildings across the river on the Isle of Dogs. No-one really knows how that part of London got its name. The most popular theory is that King Henry VIII kept his hunting dogs there. Its correct name was the Stepney Marshes  but is now referred to as Docklands.

It is not an island but is bounded on 3 sides by the River Thames as you can see from this map.

The Thames Clippers which are passenger ferries from Greenwich to the centre of London.

I retraced my steps back along the Thames path into the centre of Greenwich passing more new houses on the way.
On the right ofthe path is The Yacht, another drinking establishment which overlooks the river, currently closed because of the pandemic

This is the Trafalgar Tavern which looks glorious with all the window boxes in full bloom. The pubs are due to open next week as long as they can maintain social distancing which will be a problem for many of these old taverns.
This was the Royal Naval College built as a hospital for disabled seamen in 1696 and then used as a college. It is now part of Greenwich University. Totally deserted today.

The Cutty Sark, one of the great clipper ships which used wind power to race across the seas bringing tea from China and wool from Australia.
An empty Greenwich Market. It would normally be bustling with life at this time of the day. Let's hope it won't be too long before we can experience that once again.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Out and about in Kathmandu

These photos were taken as slides on a kodak instamatic in the mid 1970s. The quality isn't great but they are special to me and I think worth sharing.They were taken in and around the town of Kathmandu, Nepal. In 2015, a severe eathquake struck  Kathmandu. 9000 people were killed and more than 600,000 structures damaged or destroyed.
These are musical pipes that he is selling.

Swayambhunath Stupa

Spinning the prayer wheels around the stupa

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Kathmandu Valley

In 1975 I resigned my job, gave up my bedsit and went travelling across Asia. My destination was Nepal where a friend of mine was working. I traveled by bus from Istanbul in Turkey to Delhi in India. It took a couple of months and was a very stupid thing to do as I suffer from travel sickness. Prior to this trip I had only been on a school skiing trip to Switzerland and hitchhiked to Paris whilst at college. To say I was green was an understatement.  I only ever took slides on a small Kodak instamatic camera. I have managed to now download them onto a USB. Their quality isn't great but they hold wonderful memories for me. These photos were taken as we approached the airport in the Kathmandu valley. I had boarded the plane in Lucknow rather than Delhi as it was a cheaper option but I have no idea how I got to Lucknow. I remember thinking it was a scary place to land as the runway didn't look that long and the valley is surrounded by mountains.

I note from my journal that my baggage was searched on entry into the country. I wonder if it was because I was wearing an afghan coat that I had bought in Afghanistan that probably wasn't cured as well as it should have been!

I got a taxi from the airport to the school whereTony worked.  His house was part of the campus. I spent the rest of the day meeting some of the people who worked there. These two young men were gardeners and also came with us on the treks to act as porters. The following day they acted as guides taking us up the local mountain, Shivapuri (2732m/8963ft).

They took us past their home where we were introduced to their families. Everyone wanted to have their photograph taken.

It was harvest time and we saw the rice and corn being gathered and dried. Everything was done by hand.

Hanging the corn out to dry.

Digging a field by hand.

Views of the valley as we climbed up Shivapuri.

Prayer flags flying above a monastery.

Looking down the valley towards the school.
The buddhists were enjoying a meal as we walked past.

There were lots of flowers around the monastery.

Bell at  the Sankhu monastery

We decided to go back down from here as the climb was hard work.  In the evening we were taken to the British Embassy to a reception for the successful British Everest expedition. I have no idea how we received an invitation or how I managed to find appropriate clothes.

24 th September1975: First Britons conquer Everest
Dougal Haston and Doug Scott have become the first Britons to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain.
The men arrived at the top of Mount Everest via the previously unclimbed south-west face, 33 days after establishing their base camp.
The team succeeded on a difficult direct route which has repulsed five other attempts and set a record for the fastest time up the peak.
Expedition leader Chris Bonington reported the pair had reached the 29,028ft (8,848m) summit safely and were now on their way down the mountain.
He also said they were ahead of schedule and hoped more of the 18-strong group would be able to reach the top.
The south-west face of Everest has been regarded as one of the most difficult challenges in mountaineering because of its length and exposure to high-level winds. BBC website.

In my diary I wrote:  I met Dougal Hasten, a thin wiry looking bloke who was very tired! Two years later in 1977 Dougal Haston was killed in a skiing accident in Switzerland.