LONDON Strolls … #3. Waterloo

Waterloo Walk

On Revisiting the gentle London strolls of my Youth . . .

 

  1. WATERLOO

I set off excitedly, without trepidation, from Waterloo Station.
Via Hungerford Bridge, I briskly traverse the Thames.
At a jaunty pace, I cross The Embankment,
before enthusiastically undertaking the short climb of Villiers Street.

Swiftly crossing The Strand,
I tread vigorously into St Martin’s Lane.
Almost strutting into Charing Cross Road,
I pause to browse the books in Cecil Court’s shops,
soon afterwards  cutting through Garrick Lane.
I drift back now to St. Martin’s Lane
to take a welcome break in Goodwin’s Court Georgian Tea rooms.
 
Then on to plod the length of Long Acre
before lazily cutting through James Street to reach Covent Garden.
Ambling sluggishly, I pass the Royal Opera House,
from where I step out with determination,
although somewhat less purposefully now.

Thus I return to the Strand,
following it along into the length of Fleet Street until,
visibly wearying, I reach St. Paul’s Cathedral and turn right
to cross the Millennium Bridge over the Thames.

Now, heading languidly westwards,
I sluggishly wend my way upriver,
along the South Bank of the Thames,
past the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern Gallery,
Oxo Tower Wharf and the Royal Festival Hall.

Meandering now, very slowly and decidedly weary,
until, much relieved, and decidedly thankful,
I find myself back at Waterloo Station.

 

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Bath – The Kennet & Avon Canal

[ Photo Gallery # 85 }

Following my series of photographs of Bath on my last week’s photo-blog, I today feature a number of photographs centring on Bath’s position on the beautiful River Avon and its associated canal – the Kennet and Avon.  

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Town Bridge at Bradford-on-Avon, approximately seven miles from the city of Bath

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The Bridge Tearooms, Bradford-on-Avon

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The Beck

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THE BECK

the beck
my beck
North England
Old English bece
Dutch beek
German bach
my beck
my early life
my once-upon-a-time world

it was all things to me
my territory
my front line
against the outside world
fell in
fished out
fished in
fishes out
tiddlers
minnows
sticklebacks
 countless times
jumped it daily
dammed it
constructed waterfalls
floods flooded
floods receded
dredged
repaired
renewed

succoured my imagination
my Coliseum
 my Olympic stadium
succeeding
my umbilical chord
as my link to the world
it ran through my heart
and past my house
gave me a ballpark
my own adventure playground
complete with running water
subterranean tunnels
waterfalls
dams
stepping stones
overhanging trees
to climb
to suspend myself
dangling
over the running water
sandstone-walled bridges
for carving initials
routes to explore
in both directions
crossings to navigate
ledges to crawl along
overgrown banks
forbidden sections
Rubicon for gang warfare
Lethe at dusk

above all
suspending my belief
in dreams
for this was my reality

once upon a time

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NOTE:   North England.  BECK … A brook, especially a swiftly running stream with steep banks.

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Venice, La Serenissima

Yes, I know photographs of La Serenissima, Bride of the Sea, are everywhere. However, I thought, for my travelogue this week, I’d throw in just a few of my own photographs taken on a short visit there ten years ago . . .

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Sea Approach – note the snow-capped Alps in the background

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The Doge’s Palace and the sea landing for St.Mark’s Square

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Doge’s Palace and the Bridge Of Sighs

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San Giorgio Maggiore from St.Mark’s Square

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The rowers in the lagoon operate from a standing position

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Sea entrance to one of the minor canals

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The Grand Canal from St.Mark’s Square

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Front of St. Mark’s Basilica from St.Mark’s Square

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Al fresco entertainment in St. Mark’s Square

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St.Mark’s Square with Basilica and Campanile

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Gondolas for hire on the Grand Canal

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A Venetian Gondola in a side canal

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A canal-side ambulance station … “Aiutami”

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A Jeff Koons ‘Balloon Dog’ sculpture on the Grand Canal

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Just one of the many palaces on the Grand Canal

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THE BALLAD OF BEGGAR’S BRIDGE

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BEGGAR’S  BRIDGE

This bridge, in a traditional Pack Horse shape, has remained intact straddling the River Esk near the moorland village of Glaisdale, in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, for 400 years.   The village is about ten miles inland from Whitby, where the River Esk flows into the North Sea.
It is known as Beggars’ Bridge, and was built in 1619, by Tom Ferris, a local man, son of a poor moorland sheep farmer.   Having been turned down as a suitable suitor for his love, Agnes, by her wealthy land-owning father, Tom vowed to seek his fortune and to one day return to claim Agnes’ for his wife.  After many adventures at sea, Tom returned, now a rich man, married Agnes, and prospered, to such an extent that he eventually became the Lord Mayor of Hull.  The bridge, it is said, was erected by Tom as a memorial to his wife, and as a means for future lovers to cross the river without having to brave its often flooded waters.  The story, as it has been passed down, is a mix of fact and fiction.  The basic facts are essentially true, but the story, has become a local legend and has, no doubt been embellished over the course of time.
I have tried my hand at re-telling this story in a simple and traditional ballad style, the results of which efforts I give below . . .

 

THE BALLAD OF BEGGAR’S BRIDGE

He lived beside the river Esk
In a verdant sylvan dale;
His story I must tell you now
A truly stirring tale.

Tom loved a lass of high estate;
It was not meant to be,
For Agnes was of gentry born,
A lowly lad was he.

Her father disapproved the match,
Tom was of humble birth,
No land, no money, no position,
Of very little worth.

But their shared love was sound and solid
So secretly they met.
They shared their passions willingly
But always under threat.

Poor Tom was restless and intent
To run away to sea;
He held fast to the thoughts that stirred
Inside him to be free.

He knew one day he’d win his bride,
He would not be gainsaid;
Beyond this dale there was a world
Where fortunes could be made.

So one dark night he set off late
To wish Agnes farewell;
To promise to return for her,
To ever with her dwell.

She lived beside the river too,
But on the other side.
He therefore had to swim across,
He would not be denied.

The Esk just then was in full spate,
It coursed along the dale.
It almost took Tom’s life that night,
He knew he must prevail.

With strength of ten he forged his way
Across the raging stream;
Then dragged his aching body out
As if within a dream.

With his goodbyes Tom gave his word
That some day he’d return;
And Agnes gave her solemn oath
She’d wait for him in turn.

Tom took himself to Whitby town
And soon with Drake joined battle;
Against the Armada fleet he fought,
Saw off the invading rabble.

A rover in West Indies then
And piracy his game.
Plunder and pillage gave him wealth
And brought a taste of fame.

He felt that now he could return
To claim his promised bride;
Confront her father without fear,
With new found hope and pride.

And so to Glaisdale Tom returned
His roving days now past.
True to her word Agnes rejoiced,
Her hopes fulfilled at last.

They married soon and lived in bliss,
Or so the story goes.
Tom grew in wealth, in power, renown,
Commanding all he chose.

Throughout the north he garnered fame
His name grew ever bigger.
Lord Mayor of Hull he then became,
A well respected figure.

And when his Agnes died at last
Their story he declared,
Would with a bridge over the Esk
With all the world be shared.

A bridge to join the river’s banks
To help new lovers’ trysts;
A bridge secure from spate and flood
Which to this day exists.

The reason it’s called Beggar’s Bridge
No one is very sure.
‘Tis thought was done to prompt us all
That Tom was once so poor.

And so the story I’ve unfolded,
A famed love-lilt of old,
Remains a tale of hearts fulfilled,
The best-loved story told.

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Beggar’s Bridge over the River Esk, at Glaisdale, North Yorkshire Moors National Park . . .  Photograph – WHB  – 2002


 

THE BRIDGE OVER THE ATLANTIC

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View from the Clachan Bridge (‘The Bridge Over the Atlantic’), looking north.  Seil Island is on the left and the mainland on the right.

BRIDGE OVER THE ATLANTIC 

There is a bridge
Across a stream,
An inlet of the sea.
I see it as
Much more than that –
A link ‘twixt you and me.

It spans the gap,
It binds the space
Across the fearsome oceans.
It joins our thoughts,
And culls despair;
Intensifies emotions.

It’s name it claims
Describes its task –
To link our worlds intact;
And that it does,
But here’s the rub,
It cannot ease our hurt in fact.

A grandiose name;
A claim to fame.
If I were being pedantic,
I’d cry with shame,
And take the blame
For being so Romantic.

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The stone was erected in 1992 to commemorate the bridge’s bicentenary. An  inscription has been added which reads: “Lest our tomorrows become in time forgotten yesterdays.”  


The Clachan Bridge is a simple, single-arched bridge spanning the Clachan Sound, 14 miles south-west of Oban in Argyll, Scotland.  It links the west coast of the Scottish mainland to the island of Seil.  The bridge was built in 1793 with a single high arch, designed to allow the passage of vessels of up to 40 tonnes at high tide.

Because the Clachan Sound connects at both ends to the Atlantic Ocean, and might therefore be considered part of that ocean, the bridge came to be known as the

‘Bridge over the Atlantic’. 


The photographs were taken by me in 2007