Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Bridge of the five arches..

The air wears the colours of autumn. I take a small diversion to walk to the beat of the crunch of crisp autumn leaves. Am pleased with the effect. We are thankful for the sun, Days like these a rarity in Autumn. Our mission to walk London has seen us discover many hidden treasures.  We follow the jagged course of this merry river , Cray - A tributary of Darent. Am still amazed at how close his beautiful walk into the heart of Footscray meadows is  from where we stay. The trail is busy with amblers.

We first catch sight of Cray but she soon meanders off and we need to walk around a bit to actually catch up with her, Her waters thick with floes of autumn leaves.  There is still a lot of green. But we can see the yellows and golds pushing through. Before long it will be winter.
Autumn never ceases to amaze me. I come from a country of two seasons - Summer and Winter , or rather Summer and mild summer :). The vegetation back home heavily deciduous, our trees let their leaves go every summer.  The festive colours of Autumn always holds me in a trance.

First sights of River Cray..
We don't think the river is very deep from where we stand. I tentatively touch the water. Its cold as expected. Just ahead a dog jumps in , in pursuit of a stick thrown by the owner. He doesn't seem to mind the cold and paddles back eager to resume the game.

Walking along..
Sun Kissed, and Autumn ravished the path stretches invitingly ahead to the accompaniment of a gentle breeze. Its beautiful. We walk into this rolling woodland, our pace gently and unhurried.

The path stretches ahead..

Markers of Autumn..

Walking along..

The Footscray meadows have long since been designated  as a nature reserve.  If I had known I would have got some bread along.  Slowly we see others of the more striking plumage, native to the habitat here- Swans, Coots, Gulls, Mallards and Moorhens.

We first discern black shapes. They are not blackbirds we decide. They seem too big and their beaks too bright. We later discover they are Moorhen. We cautiously approach as not to scare them away. They oblige and we get the pictures we are looking for.

A swan preens itself..

Not too far a swan preens itself , resplendent in the sun, the whites of its feathers bright and its beak beautiful in its orange, every movement full of grace. I know better from previous episodes along the Thames that these are birds not to be messed with and content myself with the pictures I get..

A swan sails gracefully past..

A mooorhen...
As we walk down the bridge of the five arches emerges into view, charming and quaint, sitting on the river fussed about by trees and birds and people along the banks.

The renovated structure of the Bridge of five arches..
First built in 1781, this structure was renovated later to what it stands today. We stand on the bridge and survey the flowing river. Do still waters really run deep? The river doesn't seem to give any aura of deception rather it seems plain faced and honest and content with the way things are going..
The Lake

The Local flora and fauna..

The bridge of the five arches..

A different view..
The view is beautiful. As always bridges seem to capture the drama of life. Rather they become a backdrop against which things are played out- people strolling, families happy in the moment, picknicking on the grass, owners with their dogs and dogs with their owners.
We watch as one sunny black lab looses sight of the stick that has been thrown into the water, trashes about wild and happy in the cold waters, refusing to give up chase. And so his owner in an attempt to get him out throws another one in. Very easily pleased he clambers out, with the trophy in his mouth, proud of himself and seeking approval from his master standing a little away from the bank.
I have to find that stick..

Dog days..
The bridge seems to divide the river in half, one lower than the other, Its waters cascading through the arches.
View of the waters from on top..

The waters cascade through the bridge...
Time flies when you are having a good time. We realize we have been standing here a while. Its a  gorgeous day, the sun still high. Under the cool shade of a neighboring tree we can feel the constant chill that seems to be hovering around London, banished only by the presence of a yellow sun. It wont last long we know.  Visions of a busy week momentarily surface and we remind ourselves that we can't linger on any longer and we walk back turning every now and then to catch sight of the bridge of five arches.



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