Yesterday afternoon had the quiet but interesting light that is just right for photographing water. I needed to top up various supplies -- printer ink, again -- so headed down town, and after doing my shopping walked down to a waterside park, where a good view of the docks may be had.
When I first came here, thirty years ago, you could access the dockside area pretty freely, if you had the necessary chutzpah: no-one would challenge you. I shared a house just over the railway line from the dry dock (with this guy, now in Australia, who has some interesting things to say about the state of universities), and you could cross over a footbridge and wander alongside the gigantic moored hulls and busy cranes. Now, with heightened concerns about public safety, theft, terrorism, and the smuggling of contraband and people, the place is inevitably shut off behind gates and tall fences topped with razor wire.
Venice it ain't, but there is a certain serenity to a broad view of the docks. But, I hear you ask, what is that silver dome that keeps cropping up in these pictures of Southampton Water? Why, it is the Marchwood Energy Recovery Facility. Not everything around here is about polluting the seas with fossil fuels. In fact, there are a number of eco-friendly energy schemes, including the Southampton Geothermal Heating Company, right in the centre of the main shopping area.
The sea and ships and the shoreline have a mysterious pull, and even on a chilly mid-week October afternoon a few people can be seen sitting around -- on benches, on the grass, in parked cars -- staring contemplatively out across the water. A waterfront park is one of those liminal places where the normal rules are in suspension, and it's OK to spend the day quietly doing nothing in public.
I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay