Friday, 12 June 2009

Blog Extra (or…Oh I do Like to be Beside the Riverside)

Here’s David with a last minute suggestion for this weekend – Beachcombing the River Thames:

“London nodes. They’re the London equivalent of quarks or singularities (those wonderful Physics terms). Places where things come together that have no business coming together. And the very conjunction of these odds and ends – these contrarities or singularities – is extraordinary. ‘What inexhaustible food for speculation do the streets of London afford’ was how Dickens put it.

There’s more. London ‘nodes’ aren’t always places. Sometimes they’re times. Wide-ranging times that quark together.

Today – June 12th – is a good example. It was on this day in 1616 that Sir Walter Raleigh embarked on his ill-fated expedition to America. The expedition that cost him his son. And then his own life.

And extraordinary to think that this weekend there’ll be London Walkers who will pick up – and pocket – clay pipes that haven’t seen the light of day since Raleigh’s day.

Indeed, that were last held by one of Raleigh’s contemporaries. Someone who, smoking that same meditative pipe in the early 17th century, might well have passed a few words with a fellow Londoner – who presumably was also having a puff – about that self-same comet who streaked across the skies of Tudor and Stuart England, Sir Walter himself.

Time nodes – let alone ‘souvenirs’ – don’t come a whole lot more extraordinary than that. How will it come about? Very simple: Fiona – should say Dr Fiona, really, inasmuch as she’s now London Walks’ new-minted Ph.D. – will be conducting two of her Thames Beachcombing Walks this weekend. And there will be people on that walk who will find Elizabethan clay pipes. And mediaeval roof tiles. And – probably – Roman stuff. Perhaps even Meslithic stuff.

What’s more, it’s going, going, gone. Because Fiona’s about to set sail on her ‘voyage’. Heading off to the Middle East to do a summer’s worth archaeology there.

(Okay, there’ll be one more – on June 28th – after this weekend. But that’ll be it until she returns for the September 13th outing.) So get it while you can. Get your sensible
shoes on (and a bag for your swag) and point ‘em toward and head on over to
Mansion House Tube (exit 1) at 11 am on Saturday, June 13th. Or 11.30 am on Sunday, June 14th.”

(And while you’re at it, be sure to see the little film about our Greenwich Walk at – look for the link (top left) to London Walks Films. Sir Walter makes a cameo appearance! See the entry for the Greenwich Walk on Tuesday’s page. Or Thursday’s. Or Sunday’s.)

Join the London Walks Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE


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