Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard and the RGS

In Victorian times, the square was a canal basin. Barges unloaded their goods here for transportation onwards to the homes and businesses of London. This aquatic history has been worked into the new design in the form of the four banks of fountains.

The strong, simple design and the use of salvaged materials respond to the historic context and are a reminder of the site’s industrial past. Planting has been kept to a minimum to reflect the original industrial character of the Goods Yard. Townshend Landscape Architects designed the square, the fountains are designed and built by The Fountain Workshop and lighting design.

Coal Drops Yard is an area redeveloped to make a new district features of 50 one-off concept stores from exclusive brands.  The sunken Lower Stable Street offers spaces for smaller pop-up and experimental stores to host brand workshops, events and immersive shopping experiences. Alongside this development the gas holders have been developed into accommodation, the interiors have been fashioned and crafted by Jonathan Tuckey Design a leading advocate for remodelling and radically transforming old buildings for modern uses.

The day started at King's Cross exploring Granary Square area and then we ventured to the Natural History Museum to see the Wild Life Photography exhibition which was amazing. Eventually we arrived at the Royal Geographical Society for a lecture evening on Arabian Tahir and Nubian Ibex in Oman's Mountains' given by active field-scientists from the Oman Office for the Conservation of the Environment.  Haitham Al Rawahi, Taiur Al Said, and Hadi Al Hikmani presented their scientific work. A big thank-you to Nigel Winser for my invitation.


Sunday, 14 October 2018

Ipswich - In Search of Bird Life Along the River Orwell

Magic Map

I thought of Swallows and Amazons when I considered my plan to sail along the River Orwell.  Arthur Ransome's eighth book in his series of children's books, Secret Water is set in and around Hamford Water in Essex, close to the resort town of Walton-on-the-Naze.  It is an area of tidal salt marshes, and low lying islands. Ransome sailed the Nancy Blackett from the River Orwell to Flushin.  Our trip was planned with Top Sail and the focus was Birdlife.  We hoped to see a variety of birds described as "of international importance, such as little terns and wintering dark-bellied Brent geese, wildfowl and waders.  Weather conditions made sailing challenging with a force 7 wind so we were unable to broach the Stour River channel or get nearer the banks. Photography was challenging as the birds were far away. Cormorants were in abundance as was juvenile gulls.  We sawa few Mediterranean gulls, Oystercatchers, Snipe, Herons, Green Shank and some Seals. I must remember the recommendation from a fellow passenger, that Mistley situated along the Stour is an ideal place to closely observe the bird life.  
There was interesting architecture in derelict and newer constructions in view as we made our way to the boat.  We passed through a lock and alongside different industries until we reached Felixstowe Port with the huge tankers with many containers. We watched some being loaded and stacked.