Monday, June 24, 2013
It was Sunday yesterday I don't know what you do on Sundays maybe you go out I sometimes stay in but that doesn't feel right so I usually try to go out even if it's only somewhere mildly interesting I waited until the afternoon I thought the weather might get better it's been really disappointing so far this summer it was so windy and I had to wear a jacket A JACKET in June for heaven's sake what is going on?
I thought I'd avoid the Metropolitan line I thought I'd spare you that you must be pig sick by now I've been going on and on about it why would you be interested if you don't live in northwest London sorry there'll be more about the Metropolitan soon obviously but you deserve a day off so it's not relentless and it was quite nice not to have to cross London to get somewhere for a change I thought I'd go somewhere local.
One of the big things going on over the weekend was the Greenwich and Docklands Festival I don't know why they call it that because some years it's not very Docklands at all this is one of those years almost all the stuff is in south London it's the Greenwich and Woolwich Festival more like anyway it's always good they have some amazing performers wherever they are I thought I'd investigate.
I usually get the train but on this occasion I walked that's right I walked to Greenwich even though it's miles and there's a river in the way I followed the DLR near enough most of the way the first bit through Poplar is all postwar estates and very modern flats almost nothing old at all shame it's surprisingly difficult to reach Canary Wharf on foot the railway gets in the way and then the dual carriageway and then the north dock there are so very few bridges it must be a deliberate security ploy to keep the riffraff out the tone changes once you start walking down the Isle of Dogs it's very nineties I walked down the edge of Millwall Inner Dock there were waves lapping at the banks it was a bit bleak for June I may have mentioned this.
In Island Gardens was the first bit of the Festival the Island Fair the programme described it as One of London's most beautiful riverside parks God knows where they got that idea it's a long scrap of lawn quite nice but only the view across to Greenwich is memorable for the festival various stages had been set up across the park with a couple of performances each through the afternoon they stagger it so that whenever you turn up there's something going on I got toddler-friendly theatre with four dancers spinning with metal balls and elastic the target audience seemed enthralled then in a separate act some eyeball creatures on stilts enticed volunteers into a portaloo and rocked them it was better than it sounds a highwire act started on the main stage with mats and trampolines it started slowly and I lost interest.
The rest of the Fair takes place across the Thames this is where the Greenwich foot tunnel comes into its own it was very busy the busiest I've seen it the lifts were being well used there were queues there were a lot of pushchairs even a wheelchair not many of us chose to use the stairs they're still really narrow half of them is boarded off presumably because the council's given up repairing the outer wall I don't know.
I'd now reached Greenwich Fair two artistes were performing by the Cutty Sark a big crowd had gathered much bigger than in Island Gardens they were performing in the dip in front of the ship it was nigh impossible to see what they were doing as they were lower down the crowd cheered sometimes eventually I found a thin gap and peered through two acrobats were bouncing on a seesaw and removing their clothes a Mum beside me raised her young child onto her shoulders to get a better view I don't think she would have done if she'd known what they were seeing.
In the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College there was a whale A WHALE beached on the lawn it looked very impressive I think it was fibreglass they've taken it away now sorry most of the performance areas on the grass were empty including a sign saying Next Show 4pm but one group of actors were going for it big time atop metal platforms they moved around and shouted a lot about sorting I think the whole thing was an allegory about recycling they went on for 45 minutes I didn't hold out that long.
I went and had a look in the Painted Hall instead they've done it up recently the ceiling has been restored big time I couldn't really tell the difference I thought it still looked like a magnificent painted ceiling maybe a bit brighter the tourists seemed to like it they were in here looking at the proper tourist stuff while Londoners were outside on the lawn watching the temporary performance art.
The Greenwich and Docklands Festival continues all next week in Canary Wharf and next weekend in Woolwich there's a lot of big spectacle stuff in Woolwich there's nothing in Bow this year it can't be our turn never mind and then I went home I took the train this time I didn't want to walk it twice.
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