Above: Sailing ship moored near Bermondsey. The inset is from a story book. (The copyright of the picture remains with the originator).
We have all watched far too much television. Along the way you have probably seen the odd pirate film in which the action moves at some point to a tropical island with the sailing ship moored in the deeper water of a bay. This leads to the inevitable view, usually through palm trees and dense undergrowth, looking out across a panoramic scene of the bay, with a large blue expanse of water and a large sailing ship (see inset).
When I saw the picture above, taken from the riverside at Bermondsey not far from Fountain Stairs, I immediately thought of the similarity. It was taken in 2014 when the tall ships were on the Thames. The spot on the Thames is just up-river of Cherry Garden Pier and the view looks west towards Tower Bridge, part of which can just be seen towards the far left. Photographing the ship through the trees adds to the illusion of the tropical island.
Sadly the sky in the picture does not quite match the blue in the ‘tropical island’ view. In the background is the the northern side of the river with the highly recognisable ‘Gherkin’ otherwise known as ’30 St Mary Axe’. In this case its the sentiment that counts.
As a postscript to this article but still on the same theme, I was travelling south on a DLR train a few years back, from Canary Wharf towards Greenwich. There were two Jamaican gentlemen sitting nearby who, from what I could hear of their conversation, were travelling on this part of the line for their first time. When the automatic train announcement informed passengers that the next stop would be Island Gardens, I heard one of the men say to his friend ‘It sounds like somewhere in the Bahamas.’