After a weekend of guesthouse management, there wasn't much time to do a lot of other stuff. But I did go for a walk in the snow, as I suspect you did, because it was a magical snowy day in London yesterday. I walked up to the Olympic Stadium from the Bow roundabout and back, as you do, so let me tell you about that. It'll be the same as all the other times I've told you about it, but with the addition of a lot of snow everywhere. You can probably skip reading this, to be honest.
The Bow roundabout looks much as it always does, but with a lot of snow everywhere. The planters on the central island are mostly engulfed, but with spiky leaves pushing through a layer of white. Traffic circulates almost entirely unaffected. A puddle of slushy water is apparent at the entrance to the cycle early-start box on Bow Road, where TfL's realignment has accidentally created a sizeable dip with absence of drainage. There are no cyclists in sight, they're presumably all up on the flyover. [photo]
The Lea towpath looks much as it always does, but with a lot of snow everywhere. All trace of the Olympic security gate has finally vanished, but Crossrail has moved in big time instead. They've been burrowing tunnels on the other side of the brick wall for months, but now half the river's width has become an additional building site. Scaffolding and ladders hang over from the main worksite, giving this outpost greater significance, but the notice that's supposed to show "Emergency contacts" is unnervingly blank.
Old Ford Lock looks much as it always does, but with a lot of snow everywhere. One of the locks has frozen solid, like a particularly unpleasant ice lolly, while the other is blocked by a not-so-narrow boat above the gates. The roof of the former Big Breakfast cottages is white, as you'd expect, while the Olympic Stadium rises indistinctly through the mist beyond. Two swans float around the pool near the waterbus stop, as a variety of well-wrapped snow-gawping humans walk/ride/jog by.
Fish Island looks much as it always does, but with a lot of snow everywhere. Forman's salmon smokery is still advertising itself as the Fish Island Riviera, which is embarrassing six months on, not least in whiteout conditions reminiscent of the Arctic. A blue badge guide strides through, snow-topped umbrella raised, leading a dozen tourists on a tour of the outer Olympic site. A bit late to the party, perhaps, but they're showing remarkable resilience when there's so little to see. [photo]
The Greenway looks much as it always does, but more White than Green. Footfall is fairly low, so some of the patches off the main path remain pristine. A single security guard sits in a booth overlooking what used to be the tunnel down to the warm-up track, and which is now merely a curve of traffic cones. The Olympic Stadium looks more of a white elephant than usual, cold and empty behind a hedgerow heavy with snow. There'll never be a Winter Games here, but today they could have a decent stab. [photo]
The View Tube looks much as it always does, but surrounded by a lot more snow. Pruned rose bushes and straggly stems create what passes for a winter garden, while a recycled sign promises that spring bulbs lurk underneath [photo]. Several punters are enjoying brunch and/or coffee tucked up inside the main building, while a few risk looking at the exhibition in the colder containers outside. The best view, as ever, is from the platform up the stairs, but today the snow has blown in and the panel below the window is entirely obscured. [photo]
Pudding Mill Lane looks much as it always does, but with all the usual caveats. A second arch beneath the railway has opened up, so now two sets of guards are needed to keep an eye on two sets of pedestrians crossing two sets of traffic. Trains are not running while something Crossrail-friendly involving a crane takes place on the viaduct. Meanwhile on Stratford High Street a wild banging rave is taking place inside a deserted factory on the corner of Hunts Lane. Grizzled smokers hang around the entrance with beers in hand, while a former punk in tartan bondage trousers heads off to Tesco for refills.
And back to the Bow roundabout, which looks much as it did an hour ago, but with more snow.