Gently Floating to Oblivion

Trafalgar Tavern, SE10

So what do we make of this, then folks?

I have often looked at this floating platform (well – floating when the tide’s in, natch) and wondered about it. I wonder when it was built. I wonder who used it. I wonder what it was used for. I wonder when it stopped being used. Occasionally I even wonder what it would be like to get it restored and working again. But most of all I wonder how people managed to drink on that thing and not get extremely seasick.

Is it just me? Do any of you think it would be still enough to be able to sit out on and not get thrown about every time some police RIB or the spotty Clipper charged past? I mean – the basic idea feels extremely sound – sitting outside what I have to admit is still a beautiful watering hole on a sunny summer evening quaffing ale and looking out on a millpond Thames and the greenery of Island Gardens, gently being rocked into an alcoholic Nirvana by the soft rise and fall of the water. But in practice, would it actually be particularly pleasant?

Would you enjoy a pint on this ancient (or perhaps not-so-ancient – I know nothing about it) floating balcony – or would you just throw up? I’d give it a go – I could always take a couple of tablets first.

I guess it’s all academic anyway. I’m sure that Greenwich Inc wouldn’t be much inclined to spend the sort of cash something like that would need to get it beautiful again – and even if they were I daresay Health & Safety would have something to say about it. But as it is, it does feel very sad indeed. At high tide, it bobbles by the windows in a pleasing, desolate, slightly creepy fashion (at night my thoughts turn to ghostly Dickensian figures dancing a Victorian quadrille upon it, attended by spectral moonlit musicians) but at low tide it is a sorry sight indeed, attended only by the odd vandal pulling another balustrade from its mouldering sides, knowing that no one cares enough to stop them.

BTW – don’t be alarmed by the strange lights in the sky in the picture above. They’re not UFOs – merely the reflected table lamps in The Yacht.


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