Monday, July 24, 2006

Of course, it's highly sensible behaviour during a heatwave to go out walking for a couple of hours but that's what my sister and I did yesterday. When, amid public incredulity, the UK won the rights to stage the 2012 Olympics last year it was decided to bulldoze most of the East End to make way for it, yes (massive and probably historically inaccurate generalisation alert!) what the beastly Huns bombs couldn't do to the plucky people on London during the Second World War... etc etc and so on. Actually, it's not that bad. London is, like the people of Britain, a fascinating mongrel and if we weren't radomly destroying bits and concreting over green space, we wouldn't be true to it. Without the Great Fire of London we wouldn't have Saint Paul's Cathedral, without WW2 we wouldn't have Canary Wharf, without Cromwell I suppose we might not have the Jewish community centred around Golders Green. Who knows.

Anyway, Newham, one of the affected (or afflicted?) boroughs, has organised tours of what will one day become the car parks of the Olympic village. To be fair to them, there does seem to be an effort to reclaim a lot of brownfield sites for this, old unused factories and the like. But it's also going to take a lot of liminal places, edgespaces, the betwixts, betweens and boundaries, which is what I think will be a shame.

There's a pdf of the route we walked here, we were following the red trail, and you can see my photos in my Flickr album. We were walking in sunlight for almost all the way with no shade. Though the morning started cloudy, by the time we had got to Newham in the early afternoon the sun was blazing once more. Though there were only around a half-dozen of us who did this walk it's generally been so popular that it's going to be extended another month into August. Maybe I'll do the walk again in a few years time, so I can see the building work and contrast it with how it was. If you want something to do in August you could give this a try, or one of the other walks in the other boroughs, but make sure you take a lot of water with you.


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