When freedom allows I like to go for a walk along my favourite footpath, Footpath 47. It's in Barking Riverside, a development area so badly named they've had to put up signs to tell residents where the Thames is, otherwise they'd never find it.
The footpath starts near a defunct power station behind a tranche of new homes. Outer London's most frequent bus service stops immediately alongside. As yet you can't get here by train although they're working on that and the Overground should arrive before the end of the year.
The viaduct's in place, its signalling is being tested and the station is fundamentally complete, having reached the "tweaking the electrics on the platforms" stage. Outside remains a bit of a warzone, however, and is not yet a bold civic focus offering freshly-brewed coffee.
Footpath 47 has led a charmed life, given it skirts an enormous building site and goes nowhere useful. The entrance tends to shift every time I visit depending on how works are proceeding, and is currently signposted off Fielders Crescent via a dirt track past a bemused security guard.
I love how abruptly the footpath hits the sweep of the Thames, offering fine views of industrial estuaryside and the Belvedere incinerator. Thames Clippers have erected a sign on the bank confirming they intend to serve this godforsaken spot by the end of the year, despite nobody yet living anywhere near.
Try not to look at the artist's impression of the pier which shows a wall of identikit residential blocks stretched along the riverfront, because nobody's started to build any of those yet. Instead focus on the real life tussocky strip between the tideline and the security fence which continues to support an abundance of wildlife.
What's special about this arc of riverfront is that it's entirely undefended - the grass slopes directly down to the water's edge. In reality this is brownfield abandoned after a power station was decommissioned, but I prefer to ignore that and pretend I'm walking along a remote bit of proper estuary.
You might see a boat go by or meet an ornithologist in the know, but most days expect to have this entire one mile strip to yourself. It's this certainty of solitude that draws me back to Footpath 47 and its unique open panorama, at least until Bellway transform it into a sanitised wetland strip with timber boardwalks and a 'coastal garden'.
The path is eventually forced to turn inland by a lagoon where the Gores Brook empties into the Thames. Take a last look downstream at the glories of Crossness, then follow the line of teasels as it hugs the security fence above the reeds. It's the only nature reserve I know where all the bushes sport scraps of flapping plastic.
A brief climb passes the foot of a mound of rubble which even now a yellow digger is attempting to make habitable. Ten years ago you could have wandered off the track to hunt for butterflies, or ridden a noisy scrambler bike across the mounds, but health & safety now restricts access to a single track.
The path ends by squeezing through a narrow gap in a spike-topped fence and emerging onto Choats Road. A graffitied sign depicts some of the birds you might have seen and lists emergency procedures should anyone become trapped in mud. A trip to Footpath 47 is never without an element of mild peril.
Everytime I return to this unique mile I rejoice that it's still here and the wall of ten thousand new homes hasn't yet reached the water's edge. They remain reassuringly far off at present and the natural environment survives, but one day all this'll be gone. You have time to wait for the train, but I recommend a memorable safari by bus instead.