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It's spring. It's the first chance for evening walks in a neighbourhood new to me since november. You can walk behind your shadow down the New Cross Road, over the cracked and crumbling paving, past the hand car wash and the scruffy old shops and pubs.
Turn into Deptford High Street, past the Saturday market, the butchers and fishmongers and the street stalls of greengrocers, the pigeons under the railway station spooked by the dealers revving their beamers as they dash through the street narrowed by parked cars. Over the zebra crossing, turn right.
Through the churchyard, a strip of silence between main roads, unlocked until 7, when the falling sun lights up the bright Portland Stone of St Paul's baroque west face. Through to Creek Road. You can go up river, through the unrecognisably regenerated Rotherhithe, around the old Surrey Commercial Docks, to the once great Greenland Dock, now besieged by luxury apartments and mock victorian railings; polluted with floating gardens and duck islands.
Or down river, over the lifting bridge where the river barges lie stranded in the Deptford Creek, the mouth of the Ravensbourne on the Thames Tideway.
To the Thames Path where it winds through narrow roads, still shot apart from the winter weather and wear, past more scruffy pubs and fenced off riverside plots, neatly cleared of unsightly industry before the property market crashed and the anticipated apartments evaporated, through the riverside council estate into Greenwich.
Where the Thames turns on a great meander, from the city in the north west, around the Isle of Dogs and up around to Blackwall Point to the north east.
At the Cutty Sark, you can descend the old spiral staircase, heavy bounces on the steel steps echoing on the glazed white tiles and cast iron sections.
Where the buildings begin to rise, first four stories, then ten, soon thirty, forty, fifty, all the same grey steel and glass boxes, rising from the sanitised dockside where the dockers and sailors have been kicked out by sharp suited bankers who carefully preserve a selection of bollards and cranes, to add interest to the view.
to be continued: next up, down river from Greenwich...