Sunday, 17 January 2010

Black Hawk Dawn

Trafalgar Square early morning ©WEM

Erbie woke at 3ish last night and complained for an hour until we all got up at 4ish. ‘Jungle Book’, colouring and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ again, whilst I drifted in and out of consciousness on the sofa. I woke at 7ish and had a filter coffee pulled Erbie’s jeans over his sleepsuit likewise myself and set off for a walk down to Trafalgar Square.

I love a city when it’s just waking up, damp and dirty from the night before and if you are lucky turning into a bright crisp morning. You see so many things when the streets are empty that are usually lost in the bustle of people.

Soho Square was locked so we walked around the North side which is being dug up for Crossrail, past three laughing blokes on the dog end of their night out, and 2 men loading what looked like unexploded WW2 bombs from a pile inside the French church into a white van – (couldn’t have been right?). 

On consideration they may well have been removing WW2 shells, which could explain why all the buildings at the top end of Dean Street have been closed while works are carried out. The GR, Kendal, and I have all been discussing their vacancy... On further checking, there are actual unexploded bomb maps (UXB) and the high risk areas are in red. We’ll take that as read then!

Continuing down Charing Cross Road I saw this street art - a possible Banksy in the gated entrance of a block of flats. 

Banksey? Charing Cross Road. ©WEM

Trafalgar Square after a night of rainfall. ©WEM

Tools of the trade! ©WEM

Trafalgar Square was tranquil but for the tinkle of tiny bells, tiny bells tinkling uncannily like those strapped to the ankles of Morris men, but they weren’t strapped to the ankles of Morris men they were strapped to the ankles of a great dark Harris hawk which swooped down onto the arm of a unassuming man just in front of me. 

Harris Hawk with handler, Trafalgar square. ©WEM

Ha, so it’s true, they do have hawks to keep the pigeons numbers down. I went to talk to him. My she was a beautiful bird, Harris hawks are from the US, he got her when she was young but she was raised by her parents in captivity in the UK. He flies her in the square every Sunday to scare the pigeons away not to hunt them, it is not their intention to kill. The handler told me they make sure of this by keeping her weight at a certain level, feeding her just enough to come back to the fist for more, but so that she isn’t hungry enough to chase the pigeons or as he says why would she come to my fist for a piece of cold meat when she could have nice warm pigeon. The mere sight of her flying round the square keeps the pigeons away. And the square is clear of pigeons, not a one sir. There are several seagulls squawking overhead which he tells me is because they are pairing up at this time of year. He does have to contend with the pigeon alliance who feed them, yes apparently not just mad old ladies and tourists feed pigeons they have their own alliance going round putting down food. After flying her for a couple of hours he takes her home and gives her a small quail and a rat and puts her in her avairy happy as Larry. The things you see when you get up early!

NB: Pigeons are all right by me except the crab footed specimens one usually sees in London have rotton feet from nesting in their own acid droppings, yeah those not so nice droppings play havoc with listed buildings too.

Pigeon alliance feeding Orange Street

I walk back through Leicester Square and like the minature Central Park feel of winter trees against the large cinemas.

Oscar Deutsh’s flagship cinema built in 1937 on the site of the Alhambra theatre. His motto was ‘Oscar Deutsh Entertains Our Nation’ giving the acronym ODEON and between 1931 and his untimely death in 1941 he installed an Odeon cinema in most major towns and cities across the country, bringing great British films and Hollywood movies to the masses.

What’s on? Two films with ladies over 40 - blimey!

Above: Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law at the Empire.

Below: Our Kate.

Chinatown is empty save a few delivery trucks unloading outside restaurants.

By Old Compton Street the walk has had its desired effect on Erbie.


Even Bar Italia is empty...

I walk back through Soho Square which is still locked and see these.

Why do shoes end up in trees like that? 

Soho Square, West side, early morning reflection.

Poster on the corner of Rathbone and Oxford Street (now closed to traffic – more Crossrail).

 Photographer not a terrorist .org poster.

I get home and pour Erbie onto the bed next to The GR sleeping peacefully, It’s turned into a wonderfully clear morning and I’m wired from the coffee so write this!


everybodysaysdont said...

Very interesting and great photos! xxx

Metropolitan Mum said...

Wow, amazing photos. It kind of makes me curious to try an early morning walk myself. Though I might have changed my mind by 7am tomorrow.

teawithonesugarplease said...

I love London that early in the morning - it feels like you own the city. Thanks for the tip re: Kartell, I bought the Lou Lou chair on sale

HelenSparkles said...

Completely agree with teawithonesugarplease, makes you feel like you own the city, & having left London some years ago now I miss that feeling. Lovely piece, thank you. x

Marie said...

Lovely photos and post. I sometimes go into work early so walk in and I too enjoy the peace and new sights. Although I still hate early mornings so shall live through yours for now :)

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