Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Rain/ Rein/ Reign


This naughty-but-nice political poster caught my eye yesterday, ripped edges flapping flamboyantly in the breeze – ‘Mistress May Make You Rue The Day’.

When it comes to Theresa May’s continued reign as Prime Minister, she may still have the reins of the country in her ‘strong and stable’ hands – just – and she certainly has the bit between her teeth when it comes to Brexit, but she may find she needs to rely on the three line whip a lot more now she’s lost her parliamentary majority, especially as there are a larger-than-ever number of MPs who may be more than happy to rain on her parade! 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Rain/ Rein/ Reign

London Stadium, Stratford, East London


Looks pretty in the distance, doesn’t it? The London Stadium, previously known as the Olympic Stadium, looking deceptively calm and quiet. This was as close as I came to it earlier today, but I’d planned to come back from my walk along the River Lea from Stratford to Bow right past the foot of the stadium, a shortcut I take regularly.

However, I seriously miscalculated, because on my way back a few hours later I found the tow-path blocked off – in fact, the entire stadium was cordoned off due to a Robbie Wiiliams concert being held there tonight. So not only did I have to take a thoroughly inconvenient detour the long way round, but also I found myself in a contraflow of one, walking in the opposite direction of 70000 excited Robbie fans looking forward to the show.

Oh well, c’est la vie! To be honest it was really good to see security so tight around such a major venue, with no traffic allowed within a surprisingly wide cordon. And from the heavy bass beat thudding in the distance as I write, it sounds like it’s all going really well… 🙂

River Lea Rust


Today’s wander and ponder took me along the Lea River from Stratford to Bow, and I took loads of photographs of anything and everything along the way.

It’s only about a mile and a half in distance, and yet there are remnants and relics of old London, multiple layers of new London, with masses of construction and regeneration along both river banks.

No doubt there’ll be a lot more images to be shared later, inevitably in a lot more than one post, but for now here’s my first batch…

Wherever there’s an urban waterway, there’s rust close by, and I just love the patina of rust-spotted old iron… ❤

Daily Prompt: Commit


I saw this grafitti message on temporary hoarding still wrapped around a newly-constructed waterfront housing development along the Lea River in East London.

It’s not exactly a feel-good mantra to commit to, and yet it’s a pretty accurate assessment of how many of us live our lives within our Western capitalist culture… 🙂

Daily Prompt: Commit

Daily Prompt: Paper

paper-and- pens

In spite of me owning a plethora of electronic devices (mobile phones, laptops, kindle) you never have to look far in my house to find old-fashioned paper, and multicoloured pens, and pencils, and of course a couple of highlighters.

I always have a varied selection of A4 loose-leaf pads, A4 and A5 wire-bound note pads, and A4 and A5 hard-bound notebooks, all lined with no margins, all used for different things. And there’s always a well-used scruffy-looking reporters notebook and at least one pen kicking around in my handbag, just incase.

I just really like to write stuff down longhand, ideas for poems and snippets of conversations and memories jogged – and not forgetting the joy of lists… oh how I love a good list! 🙂

Daily Prompt: Paper

Red Pillar Boxes – Minus the ‘Curly George’

While completing this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge with the theme of photographing everyday things taken locally, I chose ‘V for Victorian Pillar Box’ and with fingers crossed went in search of the perfect contender. As we live in Leytonstone in East London which is mainly Victorian-built it seemed a reasonably achievable task to set myself.

As it happened I found one relatively easily, but until I particularly started looking I realised I’d never really paid attention to the different Royal Ciphers on the pillar box doors before. In Scotland where I come from, all pillar boxes I’ve ever seen have the Scottish crown on them, regardless of when they were made, so being able to chart the history of pillar boxes through Royal Ciphers really captured my imagination.

Scottish Pillar Box


I was intrigued, and so began my self-appointed quest to find an example of each successive monarch’s insignia on local pillar boxes all within a reasonable walking distance from home, from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth through King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI. And suddenly I have become a pillar box nerd, checking out every one I see…

Victoria Regina (1837-1901)

Apparently the very first post boxes to appear on our streets (from 1853 onwards) were a variety of shapes and colours, all with a VR cipher on them but as far as I can see none of these are to be found around Leytonstone. However, I suppose as many of the houses around here weren’t built until the 1880s, it’s possible they simply weren’t needed much before then.

The earliest example of a round red Victorian pillar box I found is actually only about 100 yards from our flat, and is one of the so-called anonymous boxes that were cast in 1879. This was apparently a mistake, as a new standard design of pillar box had been drawn up with a blank door plate to accommodate whichever monarch was to be on the throne, and the manufacturer, misunderstanding the instruction, simply cast all the boxes with blank doors – oops!



The mistake was eventually rectified and the later round Victorian pillar boxes from 1892-1901 again have the delicate VR intertwined, like the one I used for my A-Z Challenge



Edward VII Rex (1901-1910)

This old pillar box on Leytonstone High Road clearly shows the EVIIR of Edward VII – it doesn’t seem to have been painted very often which actually helps – over the years lots of coats of thick paint tend to mean lost definition of the underlying design.


George V Rex (1910-1936)

This lovely rotund example on Leytonstone High Road with its very solid GR (but no V, for some reason?) originally sold stamps, too.


Edward VIII Rex (1936)

Although Edward VIII was never actually crowned – he abdicated the throne in order to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson after only 11 months as King – there are still some pillar boxes surviving with his insignia and I found this one just outside Wanstead tube station.


George VI Rex (1936-1952)

Apparently George VI has an entwined GVIR in a cursive script – I’m imagining something that looks rather similar to that of Edward VII – but so far any locally-situated ‘curly George’ pillar boxes have eluded me… I’ll keep looking, though, and will report back with an update as and when I find one.

Elizabeth II Regina (1952-present)

This early EIIR box also has an oval-shaped sign-holder on top – not sure what the original sign would have said, though.


So there we have it, a very short history of Royal Mail red pillar boxes courtesy of examples found locally in Leytonstone and Wanstead in East London (apart from the Scottish insignia, which was taken in Inverness).

And as all these Royal Ciphers are set into the pillar box doors, I thought they might make for a novel Thursday Doors post, too! 🙂