Thursday, 30 July 2020

Greenwich Park

My walk today took me to Greenwich Park, always a favourite.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Slave sculpture

Very early on Saturday morning I decided to travel into London. It has been 4.5 months since I was last in town. Normally I would go into London two or three times a week. As you can see the train was almost empty, probably because it was just after 7am. When I left the station the only people I saw were security guards, builders and a few homeless people. During the Covid crisis, the homeless were found places to stay in hostels or hotels but some people can't cope being trapped inside four walls. I did chat to one man who said he was happier living outside on the streets. 
My plan was to walk to Whitechapel, the next underground station I wanted to visit. This meant a walk through the City of London, the financial district, which is always quiet on a Saturday anyway. I walked through Fen Court which I hadn't noticed before. Fen Court is the site of a churchyard ' St  Gabriel's of Fenchurch Street'. In the centre was a sculpture that I found intriguing. It is called 'Gilt of Cain' by Michael Visocchi and Lemn Sissay. It was unveiled by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2008. The sculpture commemorates the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in 1807, which began the process of the emancipation of slaves throughout the British Empire.
The collaboration of the sculptor and the poet (I think) were trying to link history with the present day as there is a connection between the abolitionist movement and the rector of St Mary Woolnoth.  John Newton,, who was the rector from 1780 to 1807 was a slave trader who became a preacher and abolitionist,  working alongside William Wilberforce.
The sculpture is composed of granite columns surrounding a podium which looks like a church pulpit or that of a slave auctioneer's stand. The columns surround the podium like a congregation. Extracts from Lemn Sissay's poem 'The gilt of Cain' are engraved on the columns. The poem cleverly intertwines the modern language of the stock exchange with that of the Old Testament
The Gilt of Cain
By Lemn Sissay, 2007
Here is the ask price on the closed position,
history is no inherent acquisition
for here the Technical Correction upon the act,
a merger of truth and in actual fact
on the spot, on the money – the spread.
The dealer lied when the dealer said
the bull was charging the bear was dead,
the market must calculate per capita, not head.
And great traders acting in concert, arms rise
as the actuals frought on the sea of franchise
thrown overboard into the exchange to drown
in distressed brokers disconsolate frown.
In Accounting liquidity is a mounting morbidity
but raising the arms with such rigid rapidity…
Oh the reaping the raping rapacious fluidity.
the violence the vicious and vexed volatility.
The roaring trade floor rises above crashing waves:
the traders buy ships, beneath the slaves.
Sway machete back, sway machete again
cut back the Sugar Rush, Cain.
The whipsaw it’s all and the whip saw it all
The rising market and the cargo fall
Who’ll enter “Jerusalem” make the margin call for Abel?
Who will kick over the stall and turn the table?
Cain gathers cane as gilt-gift to his land
But whose sword of truth shall not sleep in hand?
Who shall unlock the stocks and share?
Break the bond the bind unbound - lay bare
The Truth. Cash flow runs deep but spirit deeper
You ask Am I my brothers keeper?
I answer by nature by spirit by rightful laws
My name, my brother, Wilberforce.
This project was initiated by Black British Heritage and the Parish of St Mary Woolnoth and was commissioned by the City of London Corporation in partnership with the British Land Company.


Tuesday, 21 July 2020


The walk I did last week to the Lavender fields started and finished in the village of Shoreham in Kent. It is not that large but I counted three pubs and it is a popular destination for walkers and others who want to escape the larger towns. It also has a station although that is about a mile from the village.

The River Darent runs alongside the village and it was this river I followed on my walk.

There are many farms surrounding the village.
Here you can see the hops growing.

The railway viaduct.

The flint cottage dating from the 18th century.
There are a number of listed buildings in Shoreham including this early 19th century one and the one above.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Fallen tree

This is the view from my granddaughter's bedroom window of the neighbour's tree which split in half  this week and came down onto my daughter's garden. We were so lucky that neither my grandchildren nor my neighbour's children were playing in the garden at the time.

Half the tree remained but was leaning over into another neighbour's garden.

The  tree surgeaon came as soon as he could to make it safe and remove the rest of the tree.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Lavender fields

This week's walk in Kent took me close to the lavender fields. They are at their best at the beginning of July so I just about made it before they are harvested.

Every cottage I passed seemed to have Lavender in full bloom.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday