Expat Learnings

Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #33

The River Thames is a tidal river.

The River Thames – or “the tems” as it’s known and pronounced in British English – is a river that slices through London and England to the west. Peter and I have never lived more than two miles from the Thames. In Maidenhead, I’d walk Dexter along the Thames and along a purpose-built flood-prevention tributary (?) of the Thames.

In Chiswick, Peter and walked down to the northern bank of the Thames one time looking for a pub and it happened to be as the tide was coming in and also happened to be on the highest tide day of the year. We nearly got stuck along the bank because the tide came in so quickly and there was almost no where to go to escape it.

In Islington (located in north London), well, we aren’t as close to the river as we were in Maidenhead and Chiswick but we are still close enough to consider it close, or whatever.

About a week ago, Pete came across an article on CNN about four stone horsemen sculptures being installed on the River Thames. I must state that this CNN article is likely the least informative and most inaccurate article written about the sculptures, known formally as The Rising Tide by Jason deCaires Taylor. First, it states there are a group of suit-clad men on the horses. The truth is that there are two adults and two children on the horses and one child is a girl.

Second, the article does not offer any information as to where the sculptures are located. In fact, no article I read provided a map or clear written instructions of where they are located, so I had to locate them myself by studying the angles and landmarks in photos in articles. I found the physical task of locating the four horsemen unchallenging but requiring a significant amount of walking.

This step total includes a trip to the vet, a trip to the p-a-r-k, walking to/from the horses, tube stations, and the balloons in Covent Garden.

Without further adieu, I offer to you the location of the four stone horsemen. They will be on display through 30th of September 2015.

091715 Horsemen Location

The easiest way to get to the four stone horsemen is to alight at Vauxhall station, walk down the A202 (aka Vauxhall Bridge) toward the water and then turn right when you get to the south bank of the river. The walk time is less than five minutes from the Tube station. Use post code SE1 7TW if you dare to sat nav it.

Vauxhall Bridge from the south bank of the River Thames looking east.

The artist stated that the four horsemen represent humans’ desire to control natural forces but their placement on the shore of the tidal River Thames demonstrates our fragility against those forces. The horse positioning is also to bring awareness to rising sea levels and the “oil extraction machinery” horse heads are to bring awareness of our dependancies on fossil fuels and how our dependency on fossil fuels will affect future generations (represented by the two children).

Yesterday, the lowest water level of the river occurred at 9:42 PM with a depth of 0.58 m /  ~2 ft and the highest water level occurred at 2:56 AM with a depth of 7 m / ~23 ft. Note that these measurements were estimated from Tower Pier which is the closest measurement point to where the sculptures are located.

I set out with the goal to get photos in low and high tides and to do that, I needed to visit the site twice. The photos below are in chronological order.

Taken at 1:48pm, all four horses are resting safely on the shore.

Shortly after I took the above photo, I illegally walked down to the shore (it’s private property) and met an older couple who “were in London for the day to see the horses” because “the horses were constructed in a garage in their village”. The gent was kind enough to take a photo of me with the horses.

Fashionably taken at 1:52pm, four minutes after my first photo.

After photo-oping, I walked back up to the riverwalk and took the photo below from a slightly different angle from my first photo. Note how much the water level has increased in the 10 minutes from when my 1:48pm photo was taken.

Taken at 1:58pm, the hooves of all four horses were submerged.

Once I felt I had an adequate amount of low-tide photos, I fled the area for Covent Garden to fulfill my next mission which was to see a bunch of balloons. More on that in my next post. On my way back to the horses from Covent Garden, there was a “passenger action” on the Piccadilly line to the west of Hounslow West station. In other words, someone jumped in front of a Piccadilly train and single-handily halted all London Underground trains bound for Heathrow Airport for several hours. Note that it was only 15 days ago when I was last affected by a “passenger action”.

I reached the horses for the second time at 3:39pm and all four horses were almost fully submerged.

Taken at 3:39pm, all four horses were almost fully submerged.

Overall, a pretty cool exhibit that brought me to an area of London I’d never explored before.

For the next learning in my Expat Learnings mini series, go here. Alternatively, go here to read this mini series from the beginning.

1 comment on “Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #33

  1. That is super cool! Thanks for sharing!

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