My walk in this morning was characterised by blazing sun and blue skies. Quite the change from yesterday’s incredibly awful conditions!
As I walked along the Thames path, the new buildings (pictured above) in Canary Wharf contrasted sharply against the blue sky. They’ve been building these new offices and homes for what seems like an age. The noise, dirt and general disruption to the neighbourhood has been a real headache. And with more new buildings on the way, I don’t think it’ll end any time soon.
That said, I’m keeping an open mind to what it’ll look like when it’s all done – I’m hoping it lives up to the beautiful artist’s impressions we all saw when they announced these developments. At street level, at least!
Here in the City, I’ve just popped out to grab a sandwich for my lunch and spotted another benefit of looking up. Here, right in the centre of London’s financial district – the Bank of England is effectively my next door neighbour! – there is an incredibly juxtaposition between the old and the new. The established Georgian buildings right next door to gleaming glass towers.
You can see the stark differences when you look up from street level. And it pays to look up! Road safety aside, you can get to see some wonderful details on the older buildings that are just lost at street level.
Looking up and noticing more of my surroundings is something I’m consciously trying to do on my walks to and from the office. There are so many details to see, from the swans and herons on the ornamental canal in Wapping, the ever rotating set of barges and yachts in St. Katherine Docks, to the looks on tourists’ faces as they see the Tower of London for the first time.
And looking up means you’re far less likely to walk into a bike, another pedestrian or a piece of street furniture.
Walking through the City of London is also the best way to find where everything is. It’s a real maze of streets, lanes and short cuts – almost impenetrable to the newcomer. I’m enjoying finding my way around and taking slightly different routes to my office to learn a little bit more about my neighbourhood.
Culture aside, it’s also one of the best ways of finding new pubs!