Just past Ferry Bridge, this huge narrow boat came chugging past. About a mile on, I wondered if David was around - he lives on the narrow boat Essex Buoy.
But it looked shut up. David must be busy working. The walk is almost all towpath along the Lee and Stourt canal. It's an odd mixture - for most of the walk there's enough green to keep the human London softly at bay. But every so often, there's a reminder of what we get up to.
I rather liked this graffiti, while deploring the spelling. Still, patched up, it would be a good slogan for a food blog.
For quite a while, I was walking past the site of the Olympics, but it was hard to get a decent picture. Here are the lock gates at Old Ford Lock, deep into Hackney. And just around the corner...
...clear site of the evolving Olympic stadium, just visible above the canal. I can't wait. I'm a big athletics fan and I've been glued to the Berlin World Champs this week. I signed on to volunteer for 2012 as soon as we won the games.
This sums up the walk for me: cranes sprouting like improbable flowers above the vegetation. You're never more than a literal stone's throw from some wharfs or houses. As I walked, I wondered how nature would take this route back. I'm reading The World Without Us, and it seems that Earth will get along pretty well minus humans. If we don't get our climate act together, this will all be under water.
Around noon, I arrived at Three Mill Island. It's a lovely collection of buildings, including what was once the largest tidal mill on the Thames. Shortly afterwards, you get to the Limehouse Cut, a couple of miles away from Limehouse. Sadly, this is the most boring part of the walk, unrelieved by any greeness. But the curve into Limehouse Basin is great.
And all at once, you're into the flowering of modern flats and stowed narrow boats. And then over to Narrow Street and a clear view of the Thames in its full majesty.
This walk always reminds me how huge the Thames is to the east: a world class river.
I followed the Thames path round to Canary Wharf and slumped on a grassy knoll to scoff my pesto pasta. Then it was back home, mostly overland, via the Docklands Light Railway and a train from Liverpool Street.
And at home I had a pot of crabby goodness waiting. Last week, my Abel and Cole box arrived with a flyer promoting the yumminess of crab from Seafood and Eat it. Enough persuasion already - I love crab, so put in an order for brown Cornish crab. It arrived this morning and I've been mulling over the possibilities. Then I pierced the plastic pot and stuck an eager finger into the goey browness: fab. There's a Tamasin recipe I've memory marked and this was the occasion to use it. I've adapted the quantities for the amount of crab meat.
Little Crab Custards
Mix together 110g crab meat, 2 beaten eggs, 210ml double cream, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, a knife tip of cayenne, 1 tbsp Parmesan, a good pinch of salt. Pour into ramekins, or in my case, the lovely soup dishes I bought on a walking weekend on the Isle of Wight.