diamond geezer

 Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Tall Ships, and the crowds, also came to Woolwich. Not the hugest crowds, but enough to create a real buzz throughout the Arsenal site all the way up to the river. Here were the high-masted yachts, about a dozen in total, moored just off the shore near the Thames Clipper jetty. Again, no sails billowing, there being no wind and no immediate need to sail anywhere. Those on the water or on the waterfront had a good view, so long as they found a vantage point away from the queues, but otherwise the high river wall blocked much of what everyone had come to see. And yes there were queues. Punters waited patiently to go aboard some of the ships, because that was the main point of coming, even if it took a bloody long time to achieve. And they queued to buy tickets for the Thames Clipper, so that eventually they could join the separate queue for the Thames Clipper, so that eventually they could go out onto the water and see all the same ships obscured through a pane of glass. Elsewhere hog roasts and music, plus souvenirs and stalls, much as at the other Festival villages at other locations, except this one had staff from the cablecar attempting to sell tickets. The Firepower museum appeared to be doing well, indeed had such levels of patronage been common they'd not have been forced to close in 2016. And I heard at least two people express amazement at the number of flats built here, and that's just for starters, lots more are on their way.

The not quite so Tall Ships, and not quite so many crowds, also came to Wood Wharf. This is the open space to the east of Canary Wharf that will one day soon be towers but for now is a useful waterside events space. The queues here were shorter, but not many ships were letting people on board, and it was hard to get a sense of one-off amazingness. That's all four festival venues visited, and my hunch is that the Tall Ships event's not been as big a people-puller as the organisers had hoped... or maybe I just went to the wrong places at the wrong times. Still three days to go, and if the weather finally improves that could be a gamechanger.

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