Moving West #capitalring #walking

I left off the other day, in Eltham Park North. We lunched in Eltham, an odd place that mixes large 1920s housing aimed at the newly affluent city middle class with a residue of the footpads and gangsters of the 19th century. It feels fifty percent laundered. There’s this picture I took

juxtaposing expensive horse flesh with the distant central London towers and some shitty pebble-dashed tick-tacky boxes in the near background. Sort of sums up the contradictions.

In the midst of all this is Eltham Palace, country home of Kings up to Henry VIII’s time. It’s grand as are the houses around. This one

built in the 1500s was occasional home to Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell and other greats-and-goods. The moated palace is modest in scale but given its setting rather splendid.

part of the water system – also 16th century

We wandered away, along King John’s Walk deciding the irony came in the idea of that particularly egocentric King walking anywhere. Beyond and across the thundering A20 heading the the Channel Tunnel we entered Downham.

Downham will never be gentrified in the same way Tony Blair will never be believed about Iraq and Germany will never lose to us on penalties. It comprises an array of houses that simply defy prettification.

However and as odd as it seems, running through the middle of this urban equivalent of acne scarring is a strip of woodland – the Downham woodland walk – which if you ignore the artfully placed shopping baskets and focus on the shrubbery is all rather jolly.

At the end are more shops and offices in a sub Breaking Bad kind of kitsch before you somersault through a wormhole in the space-time continuum and enter Beckenham Place Park. This is fine in anyone’s book and living, as it does, cheek by butt-crack with Downham only adds to its unexpected splendour.

There’s the Ravensbourne river, gorgeous woodland dappled in late afternoon sunshine and an, albeit tired stately home once residence of the Cator family at the entrance. Many thousands are being spent on restoring the lakes that used to grace this park. When that work is finished – I guess next year – it will be quiet an attraction.

Beyond Beckenham the streets rather crowded in for a while (the odd lovely church notwithstanding) before, with the sun beginning to set we reached our destination.

And Dog?

Dog was still bouncing – we weren’t – though later, after a long snooze his arthritic from paw did put in an unwelcome appearance and I was accused of breaking him. As if. I wouldn’t dare…

crystal palace… natch

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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22 Responses to Moving West #capitalring #walking

  1. Ritu says:

    Great walk and pics…
    Just don’t quite get the Sphinx!
    And well done for not breaking The Dog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Seli says:

    Beautiful place! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    More insensitive to return home and show her around πŸ’œπŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary Smith says:

    Lovely walk and pics but those beautiful parks seem strangely deserted. Does no else use them? I thought they’d be full of dog walkers and joggers and people out enjoying the place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charli Mills says:

    Another leg of a historically invigorating walk capped with a shot of dog-dace. What’s not to like?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love all the juxtapositions – but that ‘sphinx’ – yech! Mylo is a trooper – all that way on an arthritic paw. Such a Good Boy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Terrific walk, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. trifflepudling says:

    🐾 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Widdershins says:

    Another magnificent wander πŸ˜€ … that last Dog photo is a trifle, ‘I have an owie, please fix it’ though. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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