Sunday, August 31, 2008

The beauty of the Thames at the barrier

On Friday I went to London to visit my brother and my sister. As I flew in very early (the price you pay for cheaper flights is being dragged out of bed at uncivilised hours), I had some time to spare. Landing at London City Airport also meant that I was close to the Thames Barrier, which I'd never seen before, as well as to Docklands, a region of the city I remembered from my childhood but had never re-visited.

At 7.30 in the morning, I was the only mad soul wandering next to the Thames. It was a grey day, but even so, at low tide, the river was extraordinarily lovely. It has an untamed quality that our Maas here doesn't have, and I love the mud flats and the waders. Below are just a few of the photos I took that morning. The Barrier itself is strange but also rather beautiful in this soft water colour light.

We're back in Rotterdam now, and it's back to work tomorrow. Lots to do on the home front as well with Maryssa arriving next week, but I'll keep you posted on that front too. xx

Here are more of my pics if you'd like to see them. They are totally unedited so no lines or horizons straightened. Sorry.


  1. Hi Val, I just love your new profile picture. You and Sindy are beautiful.

    These Thames pics are great too, it must have been peaceful that early. Hope your brother is well.


  2. The photos really give me a feel of the water, mist and mud flats.
    At least I'm spared the odour, as I've never quite been able to savour the smell of low tide...

    By the look of those pidgeons all fluffed up, it seems like a rather cool morning.

    What actually is the barrier?

  3. Thanks Grace! That's really sweet of you. My brother is doing a bit better, but is still far from well, I'm afraid. I think it will be some months before he stops having the headaches and neck pains caused by the haemorrhage.

    LOL Dale, I was also reminded of a certain opera house down south. Luckily for me, there was no smell at low tide. It's all quite clean there these days. I think the pigions were fluffed up because it was still so early and they hadn't actually woken up, as it was actually quite warm. The barrier is there to prevent flooding when the tide is very high, or when there is a lot of water coming downstream. They close it to prevent the effects of surging in both cases as it's an estuary.

  4. I hope your brother is resting well.

  5. LOL it just dawned...

    Of course you'd seek out the place that is closest to home for you.
    One that holds back the sea!

  6. Hi Vally - i't's lovely to come back and catch up with your news, though I am sorry o see that it's not all been good. I hope your brother recovers well - it must have been quite a shock.

    I agree with you on the Thames Barrier. It's very sculptural. It does look a little like one of our better-known architectural trophies from some angles. Mind you, the Sydney Opera House was designed by a Dane, Jorn Utzon - we just had the foresight to pick his design over the other competition entries! Credit where it's due.

    The house looks beautiful - I love that colour combination too. Sorry to hear you've had continuing troubles with little Hennie H though - and I didn't know you were doing so much work on your barge either. What you need Vallypee, is a hobby to keep you occupied.

    Things here have been, as you will have guessd from my long absence, very busy here, and after the hectic week of the youth theater production, I succumbed to a filthy cold / flu thing that has laid me low for almost a whole week now. Still, it's back to work tomorrow and all better in time to arrange a seventeenth birthday party for Emma with a guest list resembling the cast of a modest Biblical epic. Hope they all like loaves and fishes.

    Love to you and Koos xx

  7. Haha Dale, yes, I am irresistably drawn to all things aquatic! My brother will need to rest for several months, but that may not be possible given the position he holds at the school where he works. I fear he will be persuaded to return before he's actually ready.

    Margie, why didn't I think of getting a hobby? Do you think that would cure my hyper activity? Seriously, though, next year I am planning to take six months off work just to give myself some me time. I will just have to work doubly hard for now to make sure I can afford it! I'm so glad your youth theatre production was so enjoyable, although I agree, it must have been exhausting. No wonder you have come down with a cold. Look after yourself, my friend! xx

  8. Hi Val,
    first of all, I want to extend my own good wishes to your brother for a full recovery. Speedy would be an added bonus, but I hope he resists the lure to return to work before he's ready.

    I love the pictures- I didn't know what the barrier was, so thanks for the lesson.

    I hope you get some relaxing writing time soon. I am knackered from the first day back, and am planning a return to Port Dover for the weekend. It's gorgeous and hot here, and I am hoping for a little writing time on the beach in a few days. The dogs are depressed from the return to the city- can't say I blame them!

    Love to you and Koos!

  9. Hi Val,

    I want to extend my own best wishes to your brother for a full recovery. I too hope that he resists external influences to return to work before he's ready.

    I too didn't know what the barrier was, so thanks for the lesson. That's one thing that's so great about these blogs.


  10. Ahh, Vallypee, exquisite photos..

    Hope your Brother is feeling better..xx..

  11. vallyp:

    Great new picture, great!

    The Thames stuff...though really, really interesting, convince me there is no sunshine over there....

    --Dan L.

  12. Thanks to you all for the kind good wishes for my brother. He is making progress but it's slow.

    I'm glad I've given you all something you didn't know about before too ;-)

    Anne Marie, writing's having to take a back seat again now I'm back at work, but I'll keep at it.

    Lesley, great to see you again, and you too Gypsy and Dan.

  13. Hi Val,

    never before I visited this place at the river Thames. Hope to see the Dooklands this October.

    Have a great sunday.



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