Friday, September 02, 2005

River view

It's been I long time since I returned from holiday yet all I have done is post a couple of holiday snaps and then walk away. Almost as if I had become disengaged from the blog and associated conversations. There have been two main reasons: the first is an effort to cut down on the amount of time I spend in front of computers; the second is a general feeling of blankness and a desire to not repeat myself too much.

The first reason is positive - something I brought back from holiday where the evenings were spent outside, eating , drinking, talking, doing stuff. It felt good and I resolved to do more with my evenings - do stuff, or in other words try to tackle my backlog of tasks. Now that I am fresh fro the triumph of decorating the bathroom I feel I can backslide a bit and do some browsing and typing.

The second reason is totally negative. In an attempt to do something about this feeling of flatness I left work early today to go to the Tate Modern. Leaving aside the artworks, it is a place I sometimes go to think. The Members Room has one of the best views in London - you feel you can almost reach out and touch the dome of St Paul's. I sat on the balcony and looked across at the city and thought about how much of my life was bound up in the place. My eyes flicked around and I associated memories with buildings and places. Blackfriars and the amazingly ornate art nouveau pub, the Mermaid Theatre and thoughts not of plays but of being in the audience to see the first performance of Metropolis by the Mike Westbrook Concert Band and the joyous noise of a freeish big band.

My gaze then moved back to the BT Tower, a building that from this distance still looks modern after 40 years. I thought about my father who used to work for Post Office Telecommunications (as it then was). Around me were people talking into mobile phones and in his working life he could never have imagined how phones could become not just important but an extension of some peoples bodies.

The age in which he tried to estimate traffic and plan capacity is a world away. He used to tell the story of how he was partially responsible for the Whitgift Shopping Centre in Croydon opening without enough telephone lines. He had surveyed the area on a summers day. The Whitgift School, which had been there since Tudor times, was picturesque and from the playing field he could hear the crack of bat on cricket ball. He thought it was timeless - at most over the next five years they would need 10 extra lines. Shortly after that the school sold its land for redevelopment planning needs were not well enough communicated and there wasn't enough exchange capacity.

I then looked down at the riverside and people strolling in the sun, enjoying themselves. There were some kids on skateboards and also a few runners. Looking at those runners in an area rich in personal associations I remembered why I write this blog - I want to talk about the engagement through physical activity with landscape through and with the imagination.

So feeling suitably pretentious I had better start posting again!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Highway Kind said...

weird

Highway Kind said...

I think I will have to turn word verification on. Sigh

beanz said...

there's been a lot of spam over the last few weeks
verification is not too much of a problem

but welcome back

I do enjoy your reflections on life

and have you been running?

Highway Kind said...

Ah yes the running

I suppose the best that can be said is that I am in a maintenance phase - keeping things going but not progressing.

Haven't really done enough to contemplate a marathon in October - looks like I will have to get stern with myself and establish a routine for one in spring.

On the plus side I have quite enjoyed being relaxed with myself

womble said...

I love London. Was born here, have always lived here and don't intend to retire to a bungalow by the sea. Your words inspire me in the description of places that I know and love too. Thanks :o)

Oh, and I used to work for BT and am still in telecoms now.

Elle said...

Welcome back HK... albeit with word verification. Funny how 'my' verification made me think of something rude. Intentional?

I would settle for maintenance phase!

b-z said...

Maintenance is all Im doing too
sometimes life is just about keeping going
ca someone ezplai about word verification

Highway Kind said...

I though word verification was simply there to stop spam.

I am intrigued to know it has a double meaning.

Laura you will have to give a poor innocent like myself a few clues