Keen readers will know I recently took up a new job. Before I did that, though, I had to use up a fair whack of my shift worker’s holiday allowance. Accordingly, March consisted of some long weekends, a trip to Berlin, and hanging out at Claire’s house a fair bit. Usefully, she lives out in east London and goes to work very early. Essentially, this meant I had a handy base to explore some of the things that happen over on the other side of the town.
One place I needed to visit was the Old Ford Lock, on the River Lee Navigation, in Bow. The lock keepers’ cottages will have a special place in the hearts, minds and early morning memories of a generation: they were, of course, home to Channel 4’s Big Breakfast. These are the cottages in which Chris Evans fell over a table, where Paula Yates met Micheal Hutchence, and where Richard Bacon and Amanda Byram managed to get everybody watching GMTV instead.
So. It was an overcast and glum morning when I joined The Regent’s Canal, just where it meets Mare Street. The towpath hugs the southern boundary of Victoria Park for quite a distance, heading south-east before heading north-east to meet the East Cross Route. To those with a cartographic tool at their disposal (like the A-Z I was carrying, or the Google Maps on my phone) it should be obvious that this, perhaps, isn’t the most direct way of doing things. Have a look and see what I mean.
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When the destination is north east of the starting point, walking several hundred metres to the south unnecessarily lengthens the journey and uses valuable time that could be better spent burning parsnips or failing to eradicate a colony of ants. Just so you know. I am now, in Hackney parlance, ‘proper well schooled’ on the matter.
So, jolly amounts of over-walking aside, Old Ford Lock is accessed from the end of Dace Road. It’s possible to walk over the lock to the cottages, but it’s not possible to walk far down the Lee from here. Something about a development that’s costing us about the same as a Walnut Whip (although I don’t have the precise details). Here’s a view of the cottages from the middle of the lock:
There’s another picture on Flickr, too, but it’s just of sign. You can still go look at it, though.
There’s not much else to say, really. Not much can be seen through the security fence, the bricks are painted on and there’s a mobile telephone number on the gatepost in case of deliveries.
More soon. x