I'm up earlier than usual on a Saturday. Partly because I'm sleeping quite well post-osteopath, partly because the bloody sun's shining.

On days like today, I can believe that we're going to have a pleasant sunny summer. One where it only really gets too hot around midday and during which the mornings are all this glorious sunny but cool and I can just sit on the balcony and watch the river go by.

On my walk back from town yesterday, I paused on Albert Embankment. Just opposite the Millbank Tower there's a boat moored that's a restaurant. I've dined on a river-moored boat (not this one) once or twice, I never much cared for the slight motion of the tide coming in or going out. Anyway, I paused because the tide was coming in and there was a group of birds gathered on the sandbank that was about to disappear - there were four geese and half a dozen gulls. They were picking through the floaty soup of plastic that gets relaunched when the water returns. I can't believe they don't accidentally get bits of polystyrene packaging along with any organic material. And blimey, their guts must be very different from ours if they can drink that river water and survive for long. The geese were in pairs and standing quite still, while the gulls alternated between sitting in the water and flying around, squawking.

Apart from the birds, I noticed two other things. There was a strange flow of water. I assume it's a sudden change in depth, a bank of some sort underwater, and it doesn't exactly cause whirlpools but the river does flow back on itself for a bit, it was about 10 feet wide (ie across the flow of the river) and about four feet the other way. Just a bit odd. The whole river's moving of course, but that bit looks like it's more dynamic because it's going against the rest, it has a kind of outline because of it.

The other thing was the wood. There was something that looked like a railway sleeper, a couple of short stumpy logs (as tall as they were wide, so the best part of a cubic foot) and a misshapen smaller piece that looked like one of those lost but vital parts of a child's toy that you find under the sofa, only this too was about a foot long. And all four pieces were making their way upstream with the tide. They'd been stranded by the boat and I watched as the water rose and gently picked them all up, one at a time, and carried them off towards Vauxhall Bridge.

05/31/14; 08:10:12 AM

Last built: Wed, May 6, 2015 at 6:46 PM

By Lloyd Davis, Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 8:10 AM.