Sunday, August 28, 2022
Back to Wormwood
Olga and I were yearning for a change of pace so we went back to Wormwood Scrubs for our walk yesterday. We hadn't been there in almost a year! It's a long walk -- given her age, probably too long -- but she did fine. She chose the speed and we plodded along, one foot in front of the others.
As usual, we walked along the Grand Union Canal first. Olga was intrigued by these swans, who had two cygnets in tow (just out of the frame). I was nervous enough to tell her "No!" even though she's not likely to plunge into the water and go after them. Even in her youth she never did that. But a swan can mess you up, so I'm cautious around them.
We found some rather provocative graffiti. I'm deducing that the artist, although capable of rendering some cartoonish semblance of a human breast, hasn't yet figured out how to paint eyes.
Never mind the grammar. It's a nice sentiment.
Turning off the canal, we walked to the entrance of the Scrubs. Wormwood Scrubs is known to many as a prison, and there is indeed a prison adjacent to the park that bears the same name. It's also next to the Old Oak Common rail yards, which have undergone vast expansion in recent years as part of the HS2 project to improve rail access to northern England.
You may remember part of the Scrubs was torn up for some utility work related to that rail yard expansion, and that project is still going on. A chunk of the area where we used to walk is still walled off and filled with construction equipment.
But there are several woodsy copses and some remaining forest, good for walking and squirrel-chasing. (Or squirrel-barking, really. There's less chasing going on these days.)
And the big grassy expanse of the Scrubs playing fields is still ideal for stretching out and relaxing.
Here's the view from where we lay: From left to right, prominent buildings include Trellick Tower; the St. Charles Hospital in North Kensington; the BT (or Post Office) Tower in Fitzrovia; some residential buildings in Westbourne Green and, beyond that, Centre Point near Tottenham Court Road; 22 Bishopsgate, a huge new building way off in the City; the tippy-top of the "Walkie-Talkie," or Fenchurch Building; several more nondescript structures; and finally, The Shard.
Olga seized the opportunity to roll in the grass on such a perfect summer day. (That brown building behind her is a new medical research building at Hammersmith Hospital, which is right next to the prison.)
Anyway, it was a good walk -- or "trudge," really -- but it's hard not to feel a bit bittersweet about it. I strongly suspect it's the last time we'll go to Wormwood Scrubs. It's a pretty arduous outing for a canine lady of advanced age. She's still in bed as I write this!