The Egg and associated artwork is in London until January 29th 2017. Please check http://www.everythingcomesfromtheegg for details of opening times. I will be posting on these pages soon from the environs of the lower Lea River and amazing Bow Creek.
The Egyptian Goose arrived in London as a captive ornamental species in the late 17th Century when King Charles II included them as part of his ‘collection’ in St James’s Park in 1665. Today, escaped from captivity they are frequently found throughout greater London. Originally from subtropical Africa, they were transported from ‘The Cape of Good Hope’ and today in east London they are posing before my camera close to the 17th Century ‘Good Luck Hope’ of the River Lea, on the Bow Back Rivers at Three Mills Green.
It was thought they could not survive cold British winters, but their success is perhaps another indicator of climate change. This is hard to imagine on a day as cold as this, with ice on the shadier reaches of the Lea, but something in their DNA still urges them to nest build in January and begin breeding ahead of any other goose of duck.
They are local residents, as much as the occupants of the adjacent houseboats and contribute to the avian multiculturalism of the capital.
Other migrants have arrived and stayed or moved on. When I was on Bow Creek in 2001, large concrete barriers had been erected creekside to keep out travellers, but the past is still embedded in the names of places and individual streets.
Three Mills Lock was officially opened in 2009. Its also known as the Prescott Lock, sitting as it does at the head of the Prescott Channel of Bow Creek, and adjoining the recreation area of Three Mills Green where I met Archie.
For six months whilst living in Burnley, I have made a number of films about Finsley Gate and added to the collection of drawings and other found objects that now Iive inside the Egg. If you wish to go and look, the Egg is now open for a couple of hours everyday and the film is showing onsite in the old forge building.
All day on Thursday August 11th we welcomed a small group of local people to this small section of the waterside, to sit and consider the life of the canal through fishing, conversation and sharing food. We talked a lot about maggots; of life and death and the important role of every creature in the many layered cycle of life unique to every place.
On Wednesday August 24th we gathered to observe the moths at our Finsley Gate Boatyard. They were sadly scarce on the night (there were more printed on little Dakota’s cotton dress than landed on our white cotton sheet), yet we all enjoyed the occasion and time passed in hushed conversation over hot chocolate with marshmallows.
At the midway point, two police officers enlivened the evening after scaling the wall to enquire what we were up to, alerted by another neighbourly watch of residents on Springfield Road where the houses overlook the yard to the east: “We saw a lot of moving shadows and strange blue lights and called the police”.
Signs are that things are happening beside the Egg, where we can move up to a third faster than on the street outside and time certainly flies by very quickly here. Photos are by Mick Warn (30mph) inside looking out and Sam Walsh (20mph) outside looking in.