Statues, Skeletons, Salters and an Empty Seat

Since my serious accident in January my running has been, initially non-existent and now a little hit and miss as my soft tissues attempt to remember what they used to do before a Fiat Punto re-arranged my life.
My first run back was far too optimistic and ended with being almost confined to bed with back pain.  A lot of physio and some gradual building up from just over a kilometre to around 5k now had gone well, but my left calf wasn’t convinced by my first fairly gentle ‘speed’ (3 x 400 metres @ 7:15) session on Blackheath during the week and tightened up.  I guess I need to be a bit more patient in building up my speed.
I have been continuing to revisit some of my running routes along the Thames by a slower form of pedestrianism – walking.  A couple of weekends ago it was downstream from Woolwich – starting at the Arsenal by Peter Burke’s ‘Assembly‘.  Each of the figures is three out of the possible four assembled mould sections of a body cast ‘allowing the viewer visual entry and an opportunity to perceive it from the outside in, as if casting ones own body’.
 Further on there were a series of rusting steel carcasses in the sand and mud of low tide along with almost forgotten wooden skeletons rising out of the water.


Today’s walk was a partial repeat of a run that I posted about over a year ago, albeit in the opposite direction.  We started close the the the now piped outfall of Earl’s Sluice, part of the water comes from the River Peck and its springs high up on One Tree Hill.  It used to the boundary of Kent and Surrey, as well as the boundary between St Paul, Deptford, and St Mary, Rotherhithe, as the (slightly moved) stone indicates.


St Mary’s Churchyard in Rotherhithe, once had to have a watch house to prevent body snatchers, and adjacent to there was a Free School, endowed in the early 17th century.

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On Bermondsey Wall though, was a sight that gave me enormous pleasure – the return of Alfred Salter.  His bronze statue had been stolen, presumably by scrap metal thieves a few years ago – last time I passed in early 2014 there was just a space on a bench, but since November there has been a recast statue of Alfred, the restored statues of his daughter Joyce and his cat returned.  Importantly, there was an addition, Ada Salter, her work was important in its own right and there is a real dearth of statues of women in London – Ada was the 15th.


Before heading back for the bus home, we wandered a little further upstream to, perhaps, my favourite view of the Thames, looking towards Tower Bridge and the City with the houseboats of Shad Thames in the foreground.

Yesterday was the end of my team’s football season – after a terrible start, it turned into one of our best ever.  It is emotional business being a football fan and this season I have shared the emotional roller-coaster with the woman who sat to my left.  We both come from northern towns and have adopted the red and blue stripes of Crystal Palace and we have also shared our life threatening health battles since January, mine an accident, her’s an aggressive cancer. Sadly, seat 163 was empty yesterday, Rita had passed away on 17 May.

Rita McGuinness 1958 - 2015 RIP

Rita McGuinness 1958 – 2015 RIP

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