Three hour walk around the Olympic and Paralympic Games site

                            Three hours in the humid heat joining in Mapping Your Manor with the Newham Striders and picking up others on the way. What a lovely bunch of people to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon with. Lucy greeted us well as did John and Chris and Ross was recording sounds while Jane was our camera one.

Well, let’s face it!  The backstreets and the high roads of Leyton and Stratford aint all that and the trek on the tow path down to Bow is not scenic. The Greenway is nothing but a white concrete path although homage today to the many colours of wild weeds showing off amongst the litter. Fish Island is a waste of space. There are no buses down that Dickensian way and the newest cafe is £2 a cuppa. Not up any of our streets. We did inspect the temporary Folly for a Flyover. Whoever knew that was just there on the side of the River Lea under a bridge?

I dunno, she sighed deeply. But I say it like it is.

We fulfilled the point of Mapping Your Manor with travellers reading excerpts, sharing memories and poets doin’ their thing. Here’s my poem I was proud to read on a project which gives voice to ordinary folk.

                               The Coming.

Age old white clouds, surveyors of all beneath them

slid behind the unnatural and perfect

concrete wedges of new- built Olympian blocks

high as skies                 

and yawned.

Down on puddled  paths I was open-mouthed and amazed.

Only the unsettled wind and my camera shuttering

made noises

as I counted without counting

the storeys.

On the roads outside the Park

in earshot  of the  booming  Gala bingo- caller’s voice

under  perfect  Edwardian arches and invisible gargoyles

now womanly in their aspects, feared by no man

boys on bikes

together in a crowd

rode furiously

chasing the wind and their tails

indifferent to  rising shapes and Olympian realities.

Their street was  a century away

wrapped in guarded  terraces,  clung onto tested ways

yellow-bricked, Primark- clothed , home and known.

The Olympic Games site was their parents’  neighbour

not quite settled in,  watched through Bid Up TV curtains

and  rising steam from Basmati rice in curried kitchens.    

By 8pm the stadium was drenched in a slow drowning

in glorious sun down.

The youth shielded their caps and eyes from the sting

looked up to see who  shone the torch

realised the invader and planned a way to jump its wired fence.

Someone’s screech  of “house”  escaped and cadged a ride on the DLR.

Stratford Cars’ minicab- master emerged from the darkness of his firm

looked up the road towards Bow and lit a cigarette.

The smoke trailed upwards from his mouth blurring the sunset.

In  a second, his wife’s voice came crashing  from the sky:

“Where’s E20? Hamid! Where is it? Can’t see it.

He fingered the beads in his pocket.

“Tell them it’s not ready. It’s coming”.

                                    Excellent turn -out of seniors experienced in walking regularly.

                                   Carpenters Road has been transformed from the murky oily dirtsville it once was about 6 years ago, and no amount of romanticising can convince me of a different history.

                              Where’s the Radox?

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