Life in the loveliest city under the skies - and the occasional journey.
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Sunday, 10 May 2015
New vistas around old Father Thames
Through a great city like London the River Thames has always been a source of renewal and of escape. Single drops of the clear rain that falls on the hills of the west of England meet others and run together to nose finally into the great city in a great scourging snaking run all the way down to Greenwich and out to sea. This whale like monster slides by us in Fulham, conscious that it will still be doing so when the babies we push in their prams will have lived and died.
It carries on its vast back the fresh air of the countryside that makes it possible to live in London. My Mum grew up in Fulham in the 1940’s and 50’s. That was a time when its streets were those of the English working class. Flat caps for men and scarves for the women. ( Now they belong, mostly, to the global bourgeoisie and its service class ) Factories and warehouses hid the river from view.
But it’s as if the river has brought urban renewal with it too. Some things do get better. Now you can see the river in a blue blaze of glory. What were mean streets and ugly patches of derelict industrial land are now green spaces and parks surrounding brand new apartment blocks for those riding high on the global markets - while they last, anyway.
My mum, who left Fulham in 1952, was amazed and delighted. My wife and her daughter in law, as they took the new arrival to the family out in his pram, were happy. Just to stay here would be to feel renewed. And the prospect of escape and change would gently beckon as well.
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