Tuesday, December 28th

My final day at the Creek.  It was the quietest day I have ever experienced there.  I remember when I started in January how surprisingly noisy I found it, with sirens, industrial noise and trains all in the background.

Everything seemed to have come to a halt in the lull between Christmas and New Year, I didn’t hear a single siren and the building work and industrial clamour had stopped.  I clearly heard the clock from St Paul’s church in Deptford strike the hour.  The tide was low so heard the Creek itself bickering on its way with birdsong in the background.  Ducks were out for a swim and quite a few people crossed the Hapenny Hatch; out for post-Christmas walks though it was a grey and overcast day.  In the quiet the human voices carried over the water.  Much warmer than it had been of late.  Drizzle.  Pigeons.  A magpie – the only one I have seen at the Creek.

I said goodbye.  The impossibility of really taking leave when something becomes part of your life and you have been irrevocably changed.  Even though I was able to make a formal end it was difficult to register and it was a wrench to know that I would never have the same experience again, of going to the Creek at the same time every week.  Quiet, solitude and time just to look and and think and feel the change of the seasons and weather.  Funny to think of the Creek going on its way without me visiting every week.

Fittingly, it ended on a note of farce with two policemen stopping me on my way out. It seems I had been seen by a worried train traveller standing on the Creek wall apparently about to hurl myself in.  As the tide was well and truly out it would have been a slow and lingering death in about two feet of mud but thanks anyway concerned member of the public!

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