diamond geezer

 Sunday, June 06, 2021

A week in photos...

Sunday (SE1)

If you're a Monopoly player, UK version, I thought you might appreciate seeing what the Old Kent Road actually looks like. The whole thing's almost two miles long so I'm giving you a very atypical stretch, especially the dual carriageway vibe, but the street does have two Lidls so at least that's properly representative. Old Kent Road is well known as the cheapest property in Monopoly but prices have moved on since the game was published and £2 would now barely pay for an hour's rent in a typical flat. As for hotels I can only find a drab block with 53 rooms called the Eurotraveller Hotel Premier (Tower Bridge), whose displaced branding confirms that the brown end of the board still lacks prestige.

Monday (IG11)

This is the Charlton Crescent Subway beneath the A13, one of the pedestrian escape routes from the Thames View Estate in Barking. It was given this colourful makeover in 2005 as part of the council's Artscape project (which is also responsible for the landing lights at Lodge Avenue and the witch's nipples at the Goresbrook interchange). The interior's painted cyan at this end, blue in the middle and purple at the far end, interspersed with contrasting concentric rings. The bands of LED lights used to flash like you were stepping into some futuristic launch tube but I fear that effect has been switched off.

Tuesday (E16)

This is not what you expect to see walking along the Thames waterfront. It stopped a few of us in our tracks when we spotted it, a bobbly pink confection pacing along the promenade at Royal Wharf. I did later confirm that the feet belonged to a woman, not to the balloons themselves, but only when she turned the corner into the main body of the estate. I never worked out where she was delivering them, presumably to an apartment hosting a socially distanced party, but it did seem a somewhat extravagant helium flourish.

Wednesday (RM12)

When in Upminster I like to drop in and see how the Underground's largest swastika is getting on. On my first visit of the day a group of TfL staff were having a meeting standing on top of it, like you do, so I returned to Upminster Bridge station later in the day for a clear shot. Alas the tiled design is now despoiled by two socially distanced stickers saying Please Queue Here, on the off chance that passengers at this little used station simultaneously want to purchase tickets. It's worth pointing out that the design was added in 1934, post-Hitler but pre-war, and that the swastika has a much longer religious history.

Thursday (E3)

This empty painted rectangle has appeared outside Bow Road station, heralding the dawn of London's first e-scooter trials. Today it's illegal to ride one on the streets of London but tomorrow the law changes and a select few boroughs will permit hired speed-limited scooters on roads and cycleways. Four are in West London (Richmond, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea), then out east there's the City of London and Canary Wharf. The rest of Tower Hamlets is taking part only as a "ride-through" borough so I'm baffled why Bow Road has a parking space. You shouldn't be able to start or end an e-scooter ride here, and we're hardly on the way from Docklands to the City, so I expect this space'll remain empty. Long may our pavements stay that way.

Friday (E15)

Blimey, it's a Wendy's... in the process of taking over the former Pizza Hut restaurant on Stratford Broadway. Wendy's are the world's third largest chain of burger restaurants, after the obvious two, but closed all their British branches in 2001 and are only now creeping back. Reading got the first this week, and Stratford and Oxford are vying to be second later in the year. I had my first Wendy's at their flagship in Oxford Street in the 1980s and remember being entirely underwhelmed, I suspect because I'd been allowed to select my own ingredients. The latest menu is bacon-obsessed and unlikely to set foodie tastebuds alight, but Stratford may well bolt it down.

Saturday (E14)

This is Sun Pavilion by Morag Myerscough, the latest art installation at Canary Wharf (in Montgomery Square, opposite the other entrance to the tube station). It features striking patterns in vibrant colours, which are very much Morag's thing, plus a few plants and a rack of seating. It certainly dazzled when I walked by, but only because the sun is high enough at this time of year not to be blocked by the surrounding skyscrapers. From one side it's symmetrically Insta-friendly, whereas from other angles it's just somewhere colourful to sit down with a locally-purchased drink. There's invariably an ulterior motive.

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