Snaking its way through inner-city London, the Regent’s canal silently slips past a veritable confusion of locales adorning the quiet water’s edge.
Long urban lengths stretch through Paddington basin like blood grooves, the canal-side brick walls adorned with a myriad of street art and dead pigeons.
The graffiti reads like nonsensical conversations between unrelated people, yet is a powerful and poetic voice imbued with public thought, grievance and joy. A voice rarely heard outside these boundaries.
Little Venice offers an alternative glimpse of the river lifestyle, with its private moorings and beautifully preened canal-side gardens inhabited by tea-sipping, dog-toting eccentric residents. Hazy wood smoke floats all around this little paradise, puffing columns lazily tumbling from rusty piping atop each individualised longboat.
Tree-lined sections dominated by flitting moorhens and weekend cyclists signify the approach to London Zoo, a gently curving section skirting the northern edge of the Regents Park. Here the canal turns to animal territory as you pass under large, covered aviaries only a stones throw from ravenous packs of African dogs.
Finally, to Camden Lock – a gateway to exuberant colour, electric sounds and an intense mishmash of scents on a truly multicultural scale. Never in all my years of travelling have I ever found an equal to Camden Lock in terms of diversity, a unique place indeed.