Friday 24 March 2023

Friday Photo #37

For a few days before flying out to New York to visit my cousin, I stayed with her mum in London. While there I ticked off a few odd jobs around her house, took her out for a pub lunch or two and dealt with an unexpected breakdown of her freezer. I also went out alone to walk The Greenway, an embankment footpath that runs from Beckton (where my cousin's dad worked for the North Thames Gas Board in the 1960s & 70s), through East Ham (where her mum has lived alone since losing her husband in the late 1970s), Plaistow (where my dad was born), Stratford (where my mum was born) and on to Victoria Park in Hackney. It also passes directly alongside the church where my mum and dad were married in 1955. The disparate strings of my immediate family, all pulled together over the course of one 4½ walk. 

To the untutored eye, The Greenway looks for all the world like a reclaimed railway track, though this is not the case. My mum, dad, aunt and uncle all traversed The Greenway regularly when they were growing up in the area, but they knew it (and my aunt still refers to it) as The Sewerbank, a slightly less salubrious, but accurate moniker for the manmade embankment that hides the Northern Outfall Sewer. It was re-christened in the 1990s.


Here's the frankly magnificent 1980 Tom Jones cover, from Rock n Roll's Greatest Failure.


Ernie Goggins said...

I live very close to Victoria Park. Next time you're in the area I'll treat you to a coffee at the overpriced cafe by the lake or a pint in the Eleanor Arms, whichever you prefer.

Charity Chic said...

A tough choice there Ernie!

Alyson said...

Gosh, that's quite a cover version. Very John Otway is all I can think of to say!

Quite a bit of history in that short walk and I know how much you like such reminiscences so must have been lovely for you. Nice thing to do ahead of the reunion in NYC.

Khayem said...

A great post and photo, TS. My folks used to move around a lot when I was growing up, though never too far from Bristol, and it would take a very long and meandering circular walk to take in similar landmarks of memory. I lived near a decommissioned railway line when I was at primary school, specifically a long dark tunnel.

A few of used to go there after school, make dens on the embankment and go through our hail from the local newsagent, not all of it always paid for. But then, that was probably karma for selling cigarettes to 9 and 10 year olds...the days when "it's for my mum/dad/grandparent" used to be enough. These days, you're more likely to meet an untimely end via the cyclists that hurtle along the reclaimed track!

C said...

What a great walk with all its special connections. Good for the soul. As is John Otway!

Greatest Hits