Categories
Memories

Memories No 03 – from Walthamstow Central to West Croydon

My third blog outlining the stories behind my ‘Pictures of the Day’. For this week’s review, I travel to the ends of the DLR, Overground, Tfl Rail, Tram and the Victoria lines through July and into early September 2018.

An exciting couple of months through the heat of the summer months in 2018, and one when I was introduced to the magic of expressive art, colour and wonderful people. People ranging from a bespoke tailor, wall artists and security professionals.

Please tell me which is your favourite picture, and why through any of my social media platforms.

So here goes for week 3. Please let me know what you think.

#15: Walthamstow Central – ‘The Birds’

05/07-2018 – This is taken inside the beer garden to Mirth, along Hoe Street. The doors are open so I take a peek inside and given the time of day (early morning), there’s no trading taking place so I can walk through uninterrupted.

This painting/wall art/mural is deep inside the alleyway, but it’s vibrancy and bird motifs gives it a somewhat garish look. The birds maybe crows or ravens, certainly some type of carrion chasing the skirted woman is very reminiscent of a scene from Hitchock’s The Birds.

I’ve converted the picture into black and white but I can’t decide which image is best, so I’ve decided to include them both. Maybe you can decide…message me and let me know

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO400; Google Photo Filter – None (Colour), and Vista (B&W)

#16: Stratford International – ‘Bruno’

12/07/2018 – Meet Bruno, a two year old guard dog; part of Westfield’s security patrol. His handler explained he’s a cross between a Malinois and a dutch hunter. The Malinois is a medium-to-large breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd dog rather than as a separate breed. The name “Malinois” is derived from Malines, the French name for the breed’s Flemish city of origin, Mechelen. (This is an update from my original blog as I had misheard the breed name as ‘malinmor’ and couldn’t find any reference).

Both handler and dog were very friendly but I have no doubt Bruno would quickly jump into action on his handler’s instruction. I decided not to test this out.

I couldn’t quite get him to look straight into the lens as he averted his eyes; trained I guess to keep watching out, but this shot gives a very good impression of his poise, discipline and strength.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 33mm; Film Speed – ISO1o0; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

#17: Wimbledon – ‘Release’

19/07/2018 – On the side of Wimbledon library in Compton Road, there’s a very interesting sculpture by Mohammed Sheibani entitled ‘Release’. It’s a composition of three murals depicting books on bookshelves made out of bricks or terracotta tiles.

It’s an imaginative representation stylised to blend into the red brick wall. A simple piece, but one that speaks volumes. It’s a shame it’s on the side of the building as many passers by will miss it, and even though it’s just around the corner from the main entrance, if you have no reason to go into the side road, then you’ll miss it.

The only enhancement to the picture is that I’ve applied a green filter (Alpaca) to help with contrasting the ‘books’ within the shelving.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 25mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

#18: Paddington – ‘Hidden Rainbow’

02/08/2018 – This is taken under the Bishop’s Bridge Road flyover as it crosses the Paddington Basin just north of the station. An otherwise dark and gloomy underpass en route to several restaurants and where you’ll also find one of the Paddington Bear statues dotted around the area.

This colourful metal display has been erected to brighten up the area, and it does do that. A little difficult to capture as there was a stream of passers by making their way to/from the restaurants, or generally milling around. The first few shots using a flash failed to capture the true colour but I persevered and only slightly enhanced it with a green filter in post production to heighten the colour range.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 53mm; Film Speed – ISO500; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

#19: New Cross – ‘Life Saver’

14/08/2018 – Just outside the station, I’m reminded of my childhood days when I see what I consider to be an iconic vision of an NHS pharmacy. Maybe it’s a reminder of a pharmacy I used to see in my parental hometown, I can’t remember, but nevertheless the image is worthy of capturing as it happens to be the NHS’ 70th anniversary year.

I waited for someone to walk past, to contextualise the scene, and in some way to create a reference point showing that the pharmacy is used by those walking past. 

And as I update this blog in April 2020, it’s a poignant reminder of life’s frailty as we isolate ourselves during the current world Coronavirus pandemic 

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 36mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Reel

#20: Highbury & Islington– ‘Inside 1 Coopers Yard’

29/08/2018 – This shot is from within the Charlie Allen’s display window looking outwards with the tailored garments in relief. I wanted to highlight this bespoke tailor’s location and how its fashionable interior contrasts with its hidden surrounds: that of a back street opening onto Upper Street, one of London’s main arterial highways.

I had thought of cropping out the car, but that would have given a narrow view and the picture would have lost its sense of belonging. After all, the location is how I stumble across this gem, and that’s part of the memory. I’ve applied a slight blue filter to help enhance the cobble path.

Alternate picture names have been suggested by Twitter followers as follows: ‘Highbury One’ and ‘Man-nequine explores Islington’

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 18mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Reel

#21: West Croydon – “I have myself…”

07/09/2018 – This is one of the many wonderful public art on display throughout Croydon as part of the 2018 Rise Festival. A wonderful innovation bringing art to the masses on a grand scale, which really made my day. Not only for the diversity of art on display, but also for the opportunity to meet and talk to several artists who were preparing their own murals.

As soon as I saw this piece, I was in awe of its scale, message and simplicity which is the trademark of its creator – David Hollier; a Wolverhampton born fine artist who now works out of New York.

I stood for quite a while reading the passage, which comes from Sir Winston Churchill’s famous ‘We’ll fight them on the beaches’ speech given to the House of Commons on the 18th June 1940. Quite moving, despite standing on the corner of street in Croydon in 2018. The words make up the final two paragraphs of the peroration.

The only adjustment I’ve made to the shot is to apply a Vogue black and white filter to help contextualise the piece back into the 1940’s era.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ10; Shutter Speed – 1/500; Focal Length – 30mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Vogue

Categories
Memories

Memories No. 01 – Transforming a picture into a Story

I blogged recently about what I’ve learnt during my two years travelling to the ends of the lines, and I set out my plans for the future. But during the Covid19 lockdown arrangements, some of those plans are understandably on hold.

However, I’ve mentioned my plans to write a book which will embrace the 81 ‘Pictures of the Day’ I’ve selected from my travels. As part of those preparations, I am reviewing all the pictures I’ve selected and updating the original blogs. And from the 18th April, the second anniversary of when I started, I’m posting one picture a day on my social media channels for those interested.

Additionally, I’ll be writing weekly with the pictures I’ve posted from the past week. This time with the full narrative as to why I selected this particular picture. I’ve noticed as I’ve been reviewing, that my reasons have changed subtly over the weeks and months; maybe as I’ve become more  confident in what I want to say, or more inspired by the artistic quality of the picture, or I’ve simply become more adept at using my camera . Who knows?

Well this is where I’d like your help, as I’d like to canvass your thoughts each week on which is your favourite picture. You can reply through my blog, directly by email or via my social media platforms. And if you’d like to explain why, that will be helpful too.

So over the course of the next 12 weeks I hope to end up with the 12 most liked pictures – are you interested in helping me shape my book?

Here goes then. Week one is from Gospel Oak to Lewisham

#01: Gospel Oak – 18/04/2018

This is an exciting day in many ways; not least because I’m returning to a long forgotten passion of photography and I’m armed with a brand new camera. But it comes with a lot of trepidation as I have to re-learn how to blend all the components that make up picture taking. To be honest, my first set of pictures are not that unique, BUT I have made a start.

The walk over Hampstead Heath on what turns out to be a scorcher of a day makes the light very harsh, and I’m pleased with how the auto settings are taking care of the basics for me. But as I approach Kenwood House, the grounds are littered with a carpet of daffodils and bluebells just emerging and spreading their petals to fill the landscape with a mass of colour. The bluebells are just not ready to play their part but sufficiently in abundance to show their intent.

This, my very first picture of the day allows me to get close to nature. I’m lying on the ground, oblivious to others walking past, and I capture this isolated bluebell trying to make its way amid the carpet of blue behind it. I haven’t quite mastered the autofocus, but nevertheless this will always remind me of my very first outing: a new found freedom; and the excitement of rekindling my long forgotten love of taking pictures.

A Lonely Bluebell

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Auto

#02: Ealing Broadway – 19/04/2018

An easy pic today, simply because of the Welsh connection. This display is of a pink neon sheep which symbolises the shop’s name. It is an interesting experience and one that helps me overcome the feeling of embarrassment whilst taking pictures surrounded by passing shoppers. 

Pink Sheep

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ11; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO2500; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

#03: Elephant & Castle – 25/04/2018

Why a yellow lock? It simply caught my eye as the colour stood out against an otherwise tired and drab lock up garage on a dull day. The picture is taken at the entrance to the garage lock ups on Rockingham Street

But as I took it, I wondered if it somehow symbolised my ‘end of the line’ theme as who knows what’s inside? A lock is definitive in that it states that whatever’s inside it’s at the end of its use: be that daily or permanent. And because of this I’ve adopted the symbol as my social media avatar.

Lock Down

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ25; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO2000; Google Photo Filter – Auto

#04: Edgware – 03/05/2018

This is taken in the car park by Sainsbury’s wandering around a florist’s pop up stall; seems like a regular event though as this was quite a well established stall. Nevertheless, the trader was happy for me to wander around and capture his stall.

This is an amusing shot as it took me a while to realise the florist had ‘painted’ on the black eyes to give the illusion that these are ‘happy smiley’ faces on these succulent, mat-forming alpines. Nevertheless the illusion works as it draws in several shoppers to buy them.

Smilie

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO125; Google Photo Filter – None

#05: Edgware Road – 09/05/2018

This is a view from inside the station looking in a southerly direction at the adjoining building: Griffith House which is one of Tfl’s training centres which was originally built as an electricity substation for the tube network.

The side of the building is covered in this elaborate and colourful “Wrapper” of vitreous enamel cladding created by Jacqueline Poncelet and the variegated station roof edging creates an interesting shadowed feature set against the brighter colours in the background. This is one of those images that as a commuter you may not normally see as you are busy rushing to/from the train…just look up!

Colourfull Cladding

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/250; Focal Length – 30mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

#06: Waterloo – 10/05/2018

This is one of many graffiti/artworks on display in Leake Street, also known as the Graffiti Tunnel or the Banksy Tunnel. For those unfamiliar with the area, don’t feel intimidated, but take a walk through the cavernous underground space under Waterloo Station. The street runs from Lower Marsh Street through to York Road where the smell of spray paint lingers in the air and is one of the homes of legal street art in London.

I can guarantee the images change frequently. I’ve chosen this as my picture of the day as a representation of what’s on view here. It’s vibrancy and scale draws me in, but to be honest I could have chosen any of the images I’d captured. I hope it inspires you to go take a look?

The Kiss

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4; Shutter Speed – 1/60; Focal Length – 25mm; Film Speed – ISO3200; Google Photo Filter – Palma

#07: Lewisham – 17/05/2018

This is a short pedestrian bridge over the Ravensbourne River at Waterway Avenue headed towards the main ring road at Molesworth Avenue. The bright sun casts a dark shadow through the geometric designs of the railings onto the footpath, and creates an interesting mirror image.

Although the original picture is taken in colour, the Vista filter transforms the image into a strong Black and White landscape.

Ravensbourne Shadows

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ7.1; Shutter Speed – 1/400; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Vista

Please vote for your favourite picture. Reply to this message or through any of my Social Media channels:
YouTube, Instagram, Google Photos, Twitter, Facebook, email, www.theendoftheline.blog, Triptipedia –  here I share some tips I use when travelling around London. A different twist on my ‘end of the line’ story

Categories
Blog Update

#83 – Transforming a Picture into a Story

So that’s it!  

Almost two years to the date when I set off on the 18th April 2018 with some nervousness, trepidation and a great deal of excitement on an exploration. An exploration in which I didn’t know what I’d find, who I’d meet or what (if anything) I’d learn. And what an amazing two years it’s been!

Royal Oak station 18/04/2018

Having now reached the end of ‘theendoftheline’, I’ve set out in my last blog what my plans are for the future. But before ploughing ahead with those plans, I thought I would write about: what I’ve learnt; explain my motivations; and thank those who have helped and inspired me along the way.

Barking Riverside (under construction) 10/03/2020

Before doing all that, here’s a small list of the the things I’ve achieved:

  • I’ve visited 76 ends of the line stations; 3 bonus ‘under construction’ stations; and attended two special events
  • I’ve travelled across all sixteen Tfl transport modes embracing the underground (11); overground; tramline; Emirates airline; TflRail and the Docklands Light Railway
  • I’ve travelled the ‘A to Z’ from Abbey Wood to Woolwich Arsenal
  • I’ve walked over 700 Kilometres; an average of 9 kilometres per station visit 
  • I’ve taken almost 7,000 pictures and shared over 4,000 through links in my weekly blogs, and shared a selection through my Instagram account
  • I’ve created 62 videos and shared them through my YouTube channel
  • I’ve written 81 regular blogs and published through Twitter and Facebook
  • I’ve occasionally published on Triptipedia

What have I learnt?

My original intention was to bring together three aspects of my work/life experiences over the last 40 years: commuting, photography and digital exposure. I believe I have successfully fulfilled this aim.

Secondly, as I was new to blogging, I wanted to develop my digital skills. I believe I have achieved this through learning how to use and digging a little deeper into several social media tools: WordPress, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google Photos and Bit.ly. I’d no longer call myself a digital virgin.

I was also looking to invite feedback, but this has not been the success I had wished for, so I still have some work to do here.

What’s motivated me?

Rekindling a Passion for Photography

As a photographer, I wanted to and needed to embrace the digital landscape as this was one of the reasons I fell out of love with my hobby over forty years ago. I felt the onset of digital cameras took away the creative element of combining composition, lighting, speed and aperture. 

But in conversation with others I’ve learnt to accept that today’s world simply makes a fifth dimension that would otherwise have been carried out in the darkroom more accessible to all: that of photo manipulation. This is where the picture is transformed into a story. Be it through software manipulation or lens filtering, or both.

What I do know is that it’s brought the joy and excitement of photography to millions of people that would otherwise have been left in the dark. 

My trusty camera for the two years has been my Canon ES200D using predominantly a Canon EF-S 18-55 mm zoom lens (1:3.5-5.6)), and occasional use of a Canon EF 75-300 mm zoom lens (1:4-5.6). Since the start of the New Year in 2020, these have been replaced by a Sigma 18-200 mm zoom lens (1:3.5-6.3). All lenses are protected by a UVc lens filter.

My shoots over the years have seen me try out techniques and settings using the camera’s software applying different filters. Predominantly I’ve used black & white, grainy black & white, high definition art, and close up settings. Some more successfully than others, but what I do know is that I still have a lot to learn but I feel more confident in applying these settings now than when I started off on the 18th April 2018.

Aldgate 14/01/2020

The one thing I absolutely respect through, is to remember the composition, because that’s where the real story lies. As an artform, I continually ask myself ‘what is it I’m trying to say with this picture?’ and as long as I can answer that question, then I’m happy.

Paddington 10/04/2019

Don’t be afraid to explore

One of my late father’s words of wisdom, which has stayed with me all my life is ‘if you don’t ask, you’ll never find out!’ Read that in any way you want, but at the end of the day it’s been one of my life lessons and motivators.

And with this in mind, I resolved not to let a moment pass where I thought there would be a good story to tell or a great photo to capture. This would sometimes manifest itself as an awkward moment or a conversation to be had to capture someone’s emotion, or a moment in time never to be repeated, or even delve down the alley to see what’s there.

Now to follow this through I’d assess the situation as best I could and weigh up the personal risk of doing so, but to my delight I’ve often been rewarded with meeting some colourful characters. Equally, the people I’ve met have been as interested in me and my experiences, or the alleys and corners I’ve explored have yielded some unexpected results. 

And I now find that if I ever walk past a scene and ask myself ‘I wonder what if…’, I do a quick u-turn to explore that moment as it’s likely never ever to happen again.

How to keep the costs down without compromising the Quality

My hope was not to spend any money, but  where this was unavoidable, to keep it to a bare minimum. I’m not averse to spending money (although close family members may disagree with me), but it has been more about showing how to sustain and develop this hobby without digging too deeply into the pension pot. Let me explain a few things.

  • Travelling: now as a 60+ London borough resident, I’m entitled to free travel on the majority of transport systems right across the Transport for London (Tfl) network. This includes the underground, overground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and London Trams with reduced fees on the Emirates air line cable car and River Boat services
  • Since the incorporation of Tfl Rail and by extension those stations that will make up the Elizabeth Line, their stations are also open to free travel. From the east in Shenfield and Abbey Wood to the west in Heathrow and Reading
  • I can’t say thank you enough to Tfl who provide this fantastic resource and with it the opportunity to explore
  • Website management: I’ve adopted WordPress as my platform of choice for which I pay an annual fee of £55 for my domain name and the hosting services
  • For all other digital tools, I take advantage of the free versions to manage my social network. These include Google: for Mail, Storage, Photos and YouTube; Facebook: for Facebook and Instagram; and Bit.ly for URL management

So all in all, I reckon I only spend between £60-£100 per year. There are however some limitations to what I do, which are mostly self imposed as I decided in my later years at work, and since retiring, not to work on a Windows PC or an Apple Mac.

My device of choice is a Chromebook and thereby I wanted to show how easy it is to exploit today’s cloud services. This does mean I’m limited to the applications I can use as the storage and memory on a Chromebook are limited. BUT that’s my point, and with no exceptions, I’ve not been prevented from doing anything. 

Clearly I am not using the finest device based photo editing software that’s available, such as Photoshop, but I do find that the cloud Google Photo service sufficiently helps me transform my pictures by applying filters, allowing me to crop and to individually adjust the lighting, colour and intensity of the pictures. For more creative adjustments, which I rarely do, my current application of choice is befunky.com (but there are so many others out there).

The advantage of using today’s cloud services is that being on the go, I’m able to do most of the things I need to on my Android mobile device although I do tend to review my photos, and write my blog in the comfort and solitude of home. Access to free wifi across London and within the Tfl network is also a bonus as this helps to reduce my dependency on my mobile provider’s roaming data provision.

The free storage of my photos in Google has a limitation in that the files are compressed when being uploaded. By way of example, an original JPG file size of 4.5Mb is reduced to 217Kb; and a RAW file size of 35Mb is reduced to 448Kb. I’ve not yet found that this compromises the quality of my photos, as the largest print size I’ve used is A4 where the quality and integrity is very good. This may, however, be an issue for larger displays, but it’s not one I’ve had to consider just yet.

There are of course other options; I could upload the full file format, or use other cloud storage services which offer free space. Canon and Amazon are two I can think about; there will be many others too. So whilst in the main I rely on free cloud storage, I will always keep the original photo on local removal storage.

But what I’ve set out here works well for me, so if you’re thinking of following in my footsteps, I’d be more than happy to guide you through.

Thank you’s

It’s inevitable with so many travel writers in London, there comes a point where we write about similar locations or similar experiences, and over the two years I’ve grown to admire a number of other writers. But the beauty of how we present our material is that we each do so from a different perspective and we each have a Unique Selling Point (USP).

Some do so from a commercial perspective, such as those who rely on tourism for their living; some do so from a historical perspective, some from a rail enthusiast’s perspective and some as hobbyists. What I’ve grown to appreciate is that whilst we are all different, our collective knowledge and experience is far greater than the sum of our individual offerings…and this provides for a wealth of information to those eager to explore and learn about LONDON and beyond.

By way of a public thank you, here’s a roll call of some of the travel writers who’ve inspired me through their stories and insight into how they see life, and London differently. 

A London Inheritance

Geoff Marshall

Ian Visits

Katie Wignall – Lookup London

Laura Porter – About London

LondonIST

Nigel Harris

Sue Hillman – It’s Your London

Tim Dunn

Likewise there are a number of photographers I follow closely as I admire their style and  I appreciate their content and stories. I’ve never met any of you, but again my thanks for being out there.

Chris Close

Jimmy Lee

John Dawson

Linda Wisdom

Matt Hardy

Tube Mapper

My final thanks goes to my wife, for humouring my passion, obsession and indulgence in what I do, and for her honest and positive feedback as my critical content editor and proofreader.

30th March 2018 – 1st day of retirement

Onwards into 2020 – but for now:

Categories
Blog Update

#82 – A New Beginning and What Next?

Is this the end of ‘theendoftheline’?

I set off on the 18th April 2018 with some nervousness, trepidation and a great deal of excitement on an exploration. An exploration in which I didn’t know what I’d find, who I’d meet or what (if anything) I’d learn.

And what an amazing two years it’s been, full of wonderful experiences, meeting new people, enjoying new and colourful locations and artworks, and rekindled a thirst to learn again.

Stratford (DLR) 28/12/2018

For the last few months, as I started to approach the end of ‘theendoftheline’, I turned my attention to’ What Next?’ I had some ideas, but not the opportunity to make them happen, until now. But before explaining more about these, here are a few of the things I’ll be doing in the next couple of ‘socially distant’ months.

Immediate Plans

This blog has remained unchanged for a couple of years so I’ve refreshed its look and feel by giving it a new theme. I may also play around with this in the coming months trying out new templates so if there’s one you particularly like, do please let me know.

I’m also crafting a survey in the expectation that I can understand from my readers and followers what you’ve enjoyed; and what you might like to see.

And as it’s my second anniversary, and given that I’m currently unable to travel, I’m going to publish each of my 81 ‘Picture of the Day’ every day from the 18th April for the next 81 days. I’ll do this in a number of ways: I’ll change my featured blog picture daily and I’ll post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Reading (Tfl Rail) 04/02/2020

What next?

I have absolutely enjoyed my travels around London, seeing it in all kinds of weather, and I’ll write another blog shortly as I have many to thank for their kindness, support and inspiration.

Beyond that, there are of course extensions always being considered to the Transport for London (Tfl) network, so I’ll be keeping an eye open for those. Here are a few I know about, but let me know if you’re aware of others:

And of course, let’s not forget the River Boat Service too.

Memories

Of the 7,000 or so pictures I’ve taken, I’ve indirectly shared over 4,000 of them through the links in my weekly blogs. And for every visit over the two years, I’ve selected one picture as my ‘Picture of the Day’. However I didn’t include this feature in my blogs until mid-November 2018, so I’m reviewing all my early blogs and updating them to reflect this.

I’m also collating ‘Picture of the Day’ into a book: my working title is ‘Memories’. More on this later in the year as I may ask you to select your favourite picture and why so that I can feature the most popular reader’s picture in my book.

Over the last year I’ve also been compiling my photos into thematic albums. I’ll be writing separate blogs, so watch out for these, featuring: People; Art & Sculpture; Stations; Landscapes; Night Time and others.

‘theendoftheline#02’

Once the travel restrictions have been lifted, I’ll be embarking on a new end of the line plan. One where I’ll be visiting Network Rail’s ‘ends of the line’ within the Tfl travel zones; and travelling on other Network Rail lines as far as I can within the Tfl travel zones. Why these limitations? Because I can still travel for free using my 60+ Oyster Card.

There are 63 stations in total to visit, so I hope that will see me still travelling and writing and taking photos into 2022.

What’s in a Name?

And finally, I’m contemplating a change of name. Whilst ‘theendoftheline’ has served me well, I’m mindful that I’ve not been able to use that name across all the social media platforms I use. My blog and YouTube are the only sites that carry this name. Facebook, Instagram and email accounts are under the name of ‘theendofthetflline’ and for Twitter I use my personal account.

Any thoughts will be gratefully appreciated.

But for now…

Categories
TfL Underground Victoria

#53: Brixton – 28/05/2019

Brixton is a vibrant collection of people from different cultures and nationalities. Whilst predominantly associated with the Carribean culture, as I walk around and dig into the corners, there are surprisingly many other cultures present too. Don’t just take my word for it, go and have a look for yourselves.

The Station

This is the southerly end of the Victoria line and my visit today completes my exploration of this line. Nothing unusual or spectacular about the station, but I sense an air of expectation as the visitors alight and make their way to the surface. At platform level, the walls are adorned with tiled murals bringing some colourful relief to the otherwise drab creamy facade.

But as I make my way to the surface, I look behind as I exit into the daylight and enjoy the recently revealed mural created by Aliza Nisenbaum and commissioned by the ‘Art on the Underground’ movement. The mural will remain on view until September 2019, so get along soon to enjoy it.

The artist has included a self portrait within an image of a small circular mirror found at the end of the platform (top right hand corner), and bizarrely just before I exited the station, I had done something similar whilst trying to capture some movement at platform level. Spooky or what?

Markets, Markets and Markets

Within a short walk from the station, my senses are bombarded by all things Caribbean as I wander through Electric Avenue, Pope Street and Brixton’s collection of Markets. The link explains how Electric Avenue established itself as a part of London culture and gained notoriety within Britain’s social history and subsequently immortalised by Eddy Grant in his song in the 1980’s.

I can’t begin to do justice to the sights, the smells and the colours on display throughout Brixton Market and Brixton Village Market, so go and have a look and lose yourselves in the maze of shops and stalls. You’ll see some curious foods on display and wonder what on earth they are. Even the invitation to try some coconut milk as the cure all for all ills from a street vendor added to the sensory experience.

Pop Brixton

This venue is made up of local independent traders, priding themselves on having a strong charitable commitment and a close community spirit which was evident in abundance when I chatted with the gardener caring for the Pop Farm. I shared my own experiences of cultivating a veg patch with him and we exchanged our own gardening secrets too.

It’s also the home of the local radio station, Reprezent, and hoping to speak to those working I made my way up to their studio, but alas I was asked to leave as it seemed I wandered into a private area – oops.

I’m also in awe of two young gents, Raj and Sandeep, who have opened a Pizza store called Share a Slice. Not unusual or uncommon you might think, but when I stopped to take some pics and they invited me in to chat, I learnt of their passion for making pizzas, having spent time in Napoli learning their craft.

But most importantly they shared their desire to help the homeless as they have undertaken to match the number of pizzas they sell during the week and donate them to the homeless. Today, being a Tuesday, is their ‘closed day’ for doing just that and they were busy weighing out the dough for the pizzas they were about to bake and deliver to their linked charities later in the day. A truly moving story, and if their pizzas are anything like their passion and enthusiasm, then they’d be well worth tasting.

Social History

The following is an eclectic mix of places I walked past that I felt drawn to; and there’s a story behind each, thus making up a part of Brixton’s colourful history. So here goes…

Southwyck House – looking vastly like a prison with a concrete zigzag to delineate the frontage with its co-joining staircase looking like a caged pen to keep the inmates in. A housing complex built in the 1970’s in anticipation of a motorway flyover which was never built. One commentator records that it is known locally as ‘Barrier Block’ as indeed that was its design purpose. Hideous to think that this social housing was considered acceptable enough to be built. The architectural design whilst creating some features, does nothing to uplift the feeling of isolation and incarceration the building exudes.

Walton Lodge: Sanitary Steam Laundry – across the road from Southwyck House, this building’s name describes clearly what went on here. For 119 years up to 2014, it provided the home for a thriving business until its location and other competition factors conspired against its continued success. Now converted into fashionable commercial and residential properties befitting the Brixton of the 21st Century.

A memorial at Windrush Square – the memorial is to those service men and women from Africa and the Caribbean who served alongside the forces of the British Commonwealth and her allies during the two World Wars. The popularised ‘Windrush’ name comes from the arrival of the Empire Windrush from Jamaica on 22 June 1948; the ship docking at Tilbury from the Caribbean carrying 492 immigrants and, for many, symbolises the beginnings of modern British multicultural society. The open square now overlooks the Black Cultural Archives, the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.

St Matthew’s Brixton – built in the early part of the 19th Century, this grand Doric style building has over the last 40 years fallen on hard times. Its grandeur, once celebrating the wedding of former Prime Minister John Major to his wife Norma, has had many an internal change with much of its space now being used as community and office space. I was taken aback when I walked inside expecting to see an ornate and decorated church, but I found what I can only best describe as a ‘reverse Tardis’…a small church inside a monolith of a building.

Universal Pentecostal Church – few words here as I feel the picture speaks for itself. I felt compelled to take this picture as the sight of the sleeping vagrant seeking solace on the steps of this church epitomised the meaning of ‘hope’ (or maybe ‘desperation’).

Brixton Rail Station

But I close this chapter with a sculpture of Peter Lloyd, a young man who has been immortalised in Bronze and is believed to be the very first bronze statue of a black man in the UK when it was created in the 1980’s. It stands, somewhat eerily, but proudly on the westerly Platform – No 1, and I think the story behind the sculpture deserves to be told more widely. Please read and share…

Journey’s end which neatly concludes in a manner to that at the start of this visit, with a mural adorning the entrance to one of the platforms.

Picture of the Day

This was a tricky shot and is one of a sequence taken to get the right composure. I’m standing under the main railway bridge just by the station, on the west side of the road looking at the ‘BRIXTON’ mural on the wall on the east side. Traffic is coming from both directions and people walking by from the mainline station and underground. As the traffic lights turned red, there’s a double decker bus just out of shot on the left hand side – you can just make out its yellow wing mirror above the ‘B’. And I was trying to line up people walking by making the upright of the letters.

Judging the timing was crucial to get that juxtaposition, and as I saw the girl in the green top, she was ideal to colour complement the mural. Some shots got quite busy with people walking in different shapes to the letters, but this one was perfect. There are three people whose movements coincide with an upright part of a letter. The lady on the left just entering the ‘B’’; the guy on the right making the ‘N’ and partly hidden by the traffic light post, and the lady in green making a perfect centrepiece forming the upright of the ‘T’. I think it works…

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ/4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 32mm; Film Speed – ISO200; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

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Overground TfL Other Services

#52: Crystal Palace – 14/05/2019

This is the last of the Overground destinations to/from Highbury & Islington, although I’ve still some of the other Overground lines to get to. The story of the day is primarily a 6.5 Km walk around Crystal Palace Park which is adjacent to the station, with a slight detour down Anerley Road and up Anerley HIll to the main drag, although nothing sensational to report from either end of town. But first…

The Station

For those who have recently been following the Victoria series on ITV will have seen the opening of the Great Exhibition by Prince Albert and the erection of the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park (London). After the Exhibition the Palace was relocated to an area of South London known as Penge Common, when it was then renamed Crystal Palace. The station was opened in 1854 to serve the millions of annual visitors to the relocated ‘Crystal Palace’.

The station is typically Victorian, combining intricate ironwork, high ceilings and attractive brick work, and on a bright sunny day like today, the sun and shadows added to the spectacle. In addition to being the end of the line for the Overground, the station also serves Southern Railway destinations to/from London Victoria and London Bridge stations.

The station is also host to a Brown & Green cafe, which on first glimpse seems rather cluttered and untidy. But walk inside and it is the epitome of a moderns bijou trendy cafe with an earthy feel keenly promoting healthy eating and equally keen to promote the community.

The Paxton Centre

I reference this centre as it is the only building of interest I saw whilst walking into the village of Crystal Palace; down the slight incline from the station, it sits directly opposite on the main road. Once a hotel, it is now a community craft centre, no doubt well served by visitors to the park and its immediate surrounds. I was very much drawn to the mural with its depiction of Joseph Paxton, the Palace’s designer, and imagery of a dinosaur, which in a way advertises what’s across the road just a stone’s throw away.

Crystal Palace Park

In thinking about what to write here, I’ve been in danger of re-writing the map and highlighting its main features, which is of course what I saw. The park is clearly a showcase for the remnants of the rebuilt Palace with its Italian Terraces and Sphinxes. The Sphinxes looking vacantly over the countryside, and standing guard at what I presume would have been the main entrances. My ‘picture of the day’ below covers this more widely.

Other landmarks include the BBC transmitter, which dominates the skyline; and expanses of grassland and woodland which provides areas for quiet contemplation for those looking for some solitude.

But what strikes me the most is that whilst it’s a popular location for visitors and locals alike, and indeed it is well maintained, it feels a little tired and in need of regeneration as evidenced by the somewhat dilapidated concert bowl, the aged sports centre, even the dinosaur park and the unused skateboard park. Don’t get me wrong, each area is worth a visit as I found out whilst meandering through the park, and the community is very proud of what it has, but looking closely around the edges, there’s some evidence of decay.

People make the park, and here is no different with the paths and open spaces offering professional dog walkers with ample space to let the dogs stretch their legs. I spotted one dog walker emptying his van with his canine friends and stopped counting after 10 dogs were led out of the back of his van. He wasn’t alone either. And in comparison, I spotted a lady dressed in pink practising yoga in an isolated spot on a grassy bank: I wanted to approach her as the contrast of her pink against the green was quite striking and could have made an interesting picture, but I sensed she was intensely engrossed ‘in the moment’ and I didn’t feel it right to interrupt her.

There are children abound in the play areas, high pitched screams of laughter, and indeed screams from babies, hungry or just being babies and mums enjoying the sunshine nattering away. In contrast, and somewhat sadly, wino’s sit nearby with their brown paper bag covered bottles of alcohol sitting on park benches surveying the scene.

So there’s quite a mix of people, aware of each other but similarly choosing to be unaware of each other. Nevertheless, the park is large enough to accommodate everyone.

Miss Oopsie Ooohh

Walking through one of the many park areas, I glimpse what looks like someone practising hoola hoops, and as I near, I see a young woman going through a routine with 4 hoops. I ask if she minds me interrupting her, and she is happy to chat and pleased I’ve stopped and asked as often passers by will just take photographs without her permission. We introduce ourselves and Beth explains that as well as being a graphic designer, she also performs under the stage name of ‘Miss Oopsie Ooohh’. Today, as indeed she had the previous day, she will spend up to 5 hours rehearsing for a forthcoming burlesque show in Reading.

Beth was happy for me to take theses pictures which I took over a 15 minute period as she carried on practising her routine. Thank you Beth for your patience and I hope I’ve captured your routine adequately?

By the way, whenever I ask anyone for their permission to take their photograph, I’ll always send them the final shots, copyright free, so should they wish to use them in any promotional way, then they are free to do so. My only ask is a ‘shout out’ for my blog.

Victoria

Feeling a little sun bleached and tired, I decide on a lazy route home via Victoria station which culminates in a look around, and a quick visit to the coach station as well. Here are a few images from my final destination of the day, though I suspect I will return to Victoria one day.

Picture of the Day

As soon as I saw this sphinx at the top end of Crystal Palace Park, I knew it would feature as my picture of the day as the artwork somehow elevated the statue to something else. There are several of these sphinxes adorning what would have been the many entrances into the original Crystal Palace, but this one in particular stands out because a budding artist has stamped their own mark on the sculpture.

I’m standing on the plinth about 6” away from the sculpture, and although not in imminent danger of falling, one misplaced step could have been awkward. Nevertheless, I felt the calculated risk was worth the effort as I closed in on the face making sure I kept the neighbouring sphinx in frame. The sphinx looks South Easterly across the North Downs, and on a day like today the view is uninterrupted as far as the eye can see.

I particularly like this picture because of the modern twist given to the faux relics, and who knows, would the Egyptians have done likewise?

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ/8; Shutter Speed – 1/320; Focal Length – 24mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Auto

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TfL Underground Victoria

#15: Walthamstow – 05/07/2018

Another sun baked day with relentless heat, and today it’s a day out at the northerly end of the Victoria line at Walthamstow Central. The station also serves the Overground, and just a few minutes away, a separate Overground line via Walthamstow Queen’s Road, which happened to be my arrival point.

I didn’t know what to expect as I’ve only driven through parts of Walthamstow before, but the landscape looked unfamiliar to me at these stations as they are some way away from the main A503 Forest Road which I was more familiar with. Nevertheless, this was a surprising day, which started slowly but one that built up to be quite a rewarding, yet tiring day.

The walk from Queen’s Road to Walthamstow Central is somewhat intimidating as it takes you through a tired social housing area, and leads you through a building site. However the building site is part of Waltham Forest’s regeneration plan for the area to make the transition between stations more pleasant…time will tell, but as you arrive at the Central station, and you look closely, you’ll notice the wall mural that clearly tells you where you are.

Walking up to Hoe Street, which is the main route through the town (I think I can call it a town), I first turn right heading south but quickly realise there’s little to offer and u-turn to walk in a northerly direction along the length of Hoe Street. And this is when I find the real Walthamstow.

The town’s beauty is revealed through it’s hidden historical features, diverse eateries, it’s vibrant and extensive market in the area known locally as ‘the village’, it’s colourfulness seen through its myriad of wall paintings; be they murals, graffiti or information, and it’s slightly retro feel through its architectural style.

The shops and places of interest unearth some local history with most older buildings having been converted into bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The Mirth, a converted cinema, looking dull and uninteresting during the day, but comes to life in the evening, with its doors open revealing the grandeur of a 1920’s cinema auditorium, beautifully lit and decorated where guests can enjoy its opulence.

Next door, a former dairy where a wall plaque records it as a place where Herbert Llewelyn Walton once worked as a milkman, but now a discrete bar with some interesting artwork (see my Picture of the Day).

Adjacent is the entrance to Tramworks, converted mews that amongst other things once housed stables for horses pulling trams through Walthamstow. It’s modern diversity is somewhat epitomised by a simple logo on one door advertising an online travel app sn-ap.

Further down the road I chat with a worker in Ruby Stables who was busy reclaiming a decorative garden urn, and returning towards the town, I’m struck by the artwork on display outside the Le Delice Italian Bakery. I end up spending some time chatting with the baker and shopkeeper (Manola) and I was tempted by the array of breads on display. This is a shop worthy of visiting if Italian bakery is your pleasure.

The market runs for a kilometer all the way from High Street, outside the Empire Cinema, through to St James Street and adjacent to its station; and in a way connects the two stations. But a walk through the market on a busy day is not for the faint hearted as the walkway between the stalls is full of shoppers determined to get the day’s bargain. As with all open air markets, I find the display of foods and clothes are always colourful, as indeed are the market traders themselves; some of whom challenged my taking pictures until I explained what I was doing and shared my ‘business card’ with them.

Having walked the full length of the market, I have it in mind to head for the William Morris Gallery but I underestimated the distance via Blackhorse Road especially in the heat of the afternoon sun. Nevertheless, I encounter some more visual treasures along the way

When I finally arrived at the gallery it was about to close, so that will be a visit for another day, but still there was plenty of time to enjoy the surrounding gardens and views of the house from different perspectives.

I hope you enjoy Walthamstow as much as I did and here are some more samples of the artwork seen around the area? I include them not only as as a record of my visit, but because they represent a statement of the people and their surrounds.

For more info, look up Walthamstow on Wikipedia

Picture of the Day

This is taken inside the beer garden to Mirth, along Hoe Street. The doors are open so I take a peek inside and given the time of day (early morning), there’s no trading taking place so I can walk through uninterrupted.

This painting/wall art/mural is deep inside the alleyway, but it’s vibrancy and bird motifs gives it a somewhat garish look. The birds maybe crows or ravens, certainly some type of carrion chasing the skirted woman is very reminiscent of a scene from Hitchock’s The Birds.

I’ve converted the picture into black and white but I can’t decide which image is best, so I’ve decided to include them both. Maybe you can decide…message me and let me know

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO400; Google Photo Filter – None (Colour), and Vista (B&W)

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