Things always look better when it's sunny and warm... so we took the opportunity to walk along the River Lea towards the Olympic Park to see (again) our rapidly changing landscape. Starting at Millfields we passed the barges that seem to be multiplying along the towpath, our own somewhat disheveled Little Venice. Trees decked in blossom, verdant river banks and swans sailing serene on the water reflecting flawless blue sky fused with the jagged edges of the demolished Lesney's factory as the industrial terrain and compact housing blocks lined the way to the huge development that is the Olympic Park.
It changes weekly, burgeoning in it's advances upon 2012 - the enormity of this development clearly emerging behind the tall fencing and surveillance cameras.
Stopping briefly at the Big Breakfast house by the Old Ford lock we carried on along the Greenway (a public footpath along the southern boundary of the site) where we enjoyed a panoramic view across the park ... the main stadium in the foreground, the aquatic centre, the velopark and in the distance the Olympic Village and Westfield Shopping Centre.
Groups of tourists were being herded around the area near the View Tube ( a visitors centre/building made from recycled shipping containers) by tour guides. We browsed the art project mounted along a corrugated walkway. A series of wooden crates each created as a personal window on local life.
Having marveled at the progress of our 2012 site we ambled back over the river to nearby Fish Island, a hive of industrial activity with creative aspirations at Hackney Wick - so called because all it's streets are named after types of fish.
We stopped for brunch in Roach Road at the incredibly cool Counter cafe on the Hertford Union Canal, where some artsy folk were enjoying lunch al freso amidst manoeuvring juggernauts and general commercial bustle on the pavement outside. One was wearing a tricorn accessorised with a blue plastic clothes peg and another sported a fabulous handlebar moustache. We joined them outside to sample eggs benedict (and great coffee!) and flicked through the Stool Pigeon music paper before meandering back along the riverbank to Clapton, much inspired by our fascinating Hackney habitat.