Cranes and boats and trains: my day at the Docklands

I’m not sure what it is about the geometric lines of cranes, the billowing of chimney smoke or the hard hemming of iron fences but, at least as far as I’m concerned, there is something very poetic about industry. The Docklands in London are basically post-modern pornography and yesterday, being photography freaks, me and @jessonyip went down to the Docklands and started snapping away at the desolate beauty of Canary Wharf and beyond.

We disembarked the DLR at Heron Quays and walked along the river’s edge in the general direction of Greenwich. Tourist types should be made aware of the fact that this is not a picturesque route. It’s all grey, grit and grime. It’s building sites and too many lamposts; rubble piles and McDonald’s Drive-Thrus that are only frequented by local workmen. It’s isolation and void. If you want urban cheer go to Covent Garden or China Town. You won’t find anything but your own reflection and a backdrop of unforgiving concrete to keep you company at the Docklands.

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You’d think photographing cranes would be enough for me, but no. I happened across a small patch of sand and decided that it was very important, in my best child-like scrawl, to write the message I HEART CRANES. Just in case anyone was in any doubt about the fact. Unfortunately I’m not the best sand-artist in the world, or artist for that matter, and consequently it looks a little bit like I’m writing I HEART GRANS. I do heart Grans. I particularly liked Super Gran as a child and apparently cried when the series ended. Still I would like to make it clear that my sand-art was not a declaration of love for senior citizens but for the mechanical magnificence of cranes.

Of course once you reach Greenwich, via the tunnel that runs under the Thames, the whole mood changes. The sky gets bluer, you hear the sound of laughing; the clinking of glasses in pubs, the juvenile ruckus of children playing on the steps of the Maritime Museum. The darkness and gloom of the Docklands is behind you and you can stand pensive amongst the pillars, roam the green expanse of Greenwich Park or even stand on the edge of time – and that’s exactly what we did. I was a woman on the edge of time for about 10 seconds during my visit to the Greenwich Observatory. Unfortunately messing with the time continuum can have catastropic effects as you will see from the last couple of photos. As if this world can cope with more than one me!