London Life Places

a short break along regent’s canal

July 16, 2012

Meditation is something i’ve struggled with for many years. Of course, there are different kind of meditation and i’ve had a go at some of them. I suppose i’m more into mindful living and trying to find ways to be in the ‘hear and now’. One of my favourite people on this subject is jon kabat-zinn who is credited with many books and talks on mindful meditation.

While having some time between meetings, i decided to take a short walk down one small part of regent’s canal i don’t often visit. This incredible stretch of london, a 14 km watercourse that extends from little venice in the west to limehouse basin in the east, is truly a best-kept secret. Usually, i’ll go for a walk along the canal and chat with friends but this time i just took my camera, wandered around and marveled at what i saw. The light was starting to change and for a moment i stood still and forgot i was in a major cosmopolitan world city. You’ll find plants rare for london and it’s a breeding ground for numerous fish and birds.

In 1992, the london canal museum was set up in a former ice warehouse on new wharf road as an educational resource. It’s really worth a visit. I think i went that first year so must visit again soon.

The famous islington tunnel, 880m long…. just standing there for a bit you see all kinds of barges coming out.

I love wildness like this. It really makes you feel you are in real nature. The canal is calming and the light was beautiful.

As i was standing there, someone actually threw this half pitta bread into the canal. The duck had one little nibble and then swam away.

On a tree trunk there were these sneakers. I wonder whether they were left on purpose and whether they were still there the next day.

I stopped and talked to a lovely man who had rescued ‘charlie’, a stray dog, about five years ago. He was gorgeous but only interested in the bread and the pigeons!

And so my little peaceful break came to an end. I felt rejuvenated, calm, inspired and proud that i live in a city that never seizes to amaze me. Even half an hour can change the perspective of your day and calm down even the most stubborn ‘stress hormones’.

Do you have somewhere to escape to that takes you out of your daily routine and transports you into the ‘hear and now’? Do you know of mindful meditation? Do you practice any kind of meditation, yoga or other discipline? Happy ‘mindful’ weekend to you all.

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  • Reply caroline @trend-daily July 16, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Fabulous shots Tina. I’d love to take the kids along some of the canal and don’t know why I haven’t done so yet- thank you for the reminder. Lovely piece, as always xx

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      Choose the right bit… not all is pretty… thanks love x

  • Reply Holly July 16, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Hi Tina! It was so nice to stroll along with you 🙂 Your images are wonderful. There is a beautiful Asian garden I discovered by surprise, right in the middle of Frankfurt. It reminds me of your story here. I was also between meetings and had some time to kill, so I just wandered down the street aimlessly and found this garden. I had my camera and spent about half an hour walking around taking pictures. It was probably a combination of the unexpected quietness and beauty of the garden that made the experience so wonderfully rejuvenating. So great when that happens.

    Actually, my escape from the busy-ness that accumulates in my head throughout the day is my bedroom, more specifically, my bed. I plug in my earphones, lie down and listen to a guided meditation. 15 minutes is all I need to get refreshed and rebalanced. I do it about three times a week, usually in the afternoon. Some weeks I need more, some less.

    From what I understand, mindful meditation is something that your are always doing. Living in the moment. Which I try to do, the best I can. I guess, these guided meditation sessions help to re-engage my mindfulness when I’ve lost it. I also practice yoga regularly, and that really helps keep me mindful, too.

    This was such a great post, right in line with your ever present message of living a healthy, creative life. Thanks Tina! Wishing you a mindful week ahead 🙂


    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      Asian Garden in Frankfurt? Do I know it?

      I try and listen to guided meditation in bed and always fall asleep:) you’re far more dedicated than me!
      I’m dying to do some yoga or Pilates. Every time I choose a far more strenuous class. It’s either kick boxing or now I’m into Zumbatonics. It’s Zumba doe with weights. I love it.
      However, I need to stretch more and look after my posture so Pilates is vital!!!

      Thanks lovely. Have a mindful week too xx

  • Reply Chi@106 July 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Wow, Tina! Your skills as a photographer never cease to amaze me. I love the darling duck and the reflections in the water you’ve captured – especially the tunnel. Truly magical!

    I find that the very act of picking up my camera to photograph makes me more mindful. Mindful of how fast L is growing and changing everyday, mindful of how light brings still lifes to life, etc.

    I really got into meditation when I was pregnant and (even though my mind is prone to ricocheting all over the place!) I found that it relaxed/focused me immensely. That said, I’m all for anything (within reason!) that produces such a reaction.

    Immersing myself in L’s world indulges my inner child and makes motherhood fun. I also do yoga, pilates and something called Nia (a combination of the aforementioned but with dance thrown in). It looks totally nuts to an onlooker but is tremendously relaxing yet invigorating at the same time.

    Have a great week, darling!:D

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Aww. thanks Chi. That’s a lovely compliment:)

      Photography is great for mindfulness as we need to really look at what we’re shooting. Also. I find it quite therapeutic and am really glad I chose to only use my own photographs on my blog.
      It makes me disciplined to go out and look, see and shoot:)

      Nia? Fascinating, must check it out. I do like these combos. Yoga and Pilates, good for you.

      Have a good week x

  • Reply noreen July 16, 2012 at 11:48 am

    hi tina,

    i love kabat-zinn’s books – “wherever you go, there you are”, and “full catastrophe living”. whenever someone is having a tough time, i always share my “catastrophe” book. they are very helpful, and not religious – you can be any religion and still benefit front the stress relief.

    joy to you this monday, n

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      An old client of mine, who sadly passed away years ago first introduced me to ‘wherever you go, there you are’. It’s always helped. I agree, religious connotations can be difficult.
      I’m glad you like kabat-zinn:)

  • Reply Catherine Bedson July 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Tina, I have to start taking ‘time out’ like this I carry around to much tension sometimes. It’s great exploring new places like this, observing life. Thanks for the five minutes of peace! Catherine x

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Pleasure dear!

      It’s not always possible but when I’m being mindful I thrive on it x

  • Reply Christine Martin July 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Hi Tina,
    Oh, this is a topic that’s difficult for me. I have a tendency to get swirled into life events and do not make time for quietude. This is a necessity for me though. My husband has a steady yoga practice that makes all the difference in his day. I dabble with yoga…not as dedicated. But, my go-to is being outside-on a walk, for a run around the lake, sitting in a sunny patch on a knoll. My life is crazed at the moment…no routine. Finding those moments for peace is what makes me hold onto sanity. Thank you for this post. Great feedback from others as well. Have a lovely week.

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Christine:)

      I know you’re in a whirlwind right now and I was in one a couple of months ago. I hate being in them because I loose all sense of mindfulness.

      I think it’s great you go for a walk, a run around the lakes. That’s so peaceful and any sort of peace and quiteness I’m always greatful for.
      Hope you’re well. x

  • Reply Theresa July 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Loving these photos, Tina. It does seem like a tranquil place to go and unwind. (Though, someone should really come back and collect those shoes. There messing with the view.) I use to practice yoga on the regular when I lived in New York. I really enjoyed it and have been meaning to get back to it.
    As you know, each Friday the kids and I have been venturing off to some new place and, because it’s new, I’m forced to pay attention, to notice details, and really enjoy the moment, rather than being on auto pilot. It’s been very helpful.
    PS~I agree with Chi, taking photos also makes me more mindful.

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      Ha. Did the shoes upset your sense of aesthetics?

      I have dabbled in yoga on and off – definitely not a yoga bunny. I know though that it’s so good for you.

      That’s why your Friday’s outings are so important. It’s the ‘seeing’, the ‘appreciating’ and the ‘learning’. We can all go into auto pilot, especially with kids (I imagine)
      I knew you would enjoy it when you first mentioned that idea. Stick with it!! Your kids love it, you enjoy it and us readers can’t wait to hear of your adventures!

  • Reply Anya Adores July 17, 2012 at 7:24 am

    I loved this walk – I used to live in close by so I know this walk very well indeed. Hope you are well and enjoying the Summer, – if you can call it that:)
    Happy week to you,

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Summer, what summer:) I forget you know London well? When are you coming??

      Meeting up with Toni tomorrow evening from Sisters Mag…. reminds me of Berlin!!

  • Reply Michaela July 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I’ve only done part of this walk I have to say, but it’s a good un, and yes it’s so important when living in a busy city to steal a bit of zen time for yourself! Really gorgeous phots too – make you feel like you are there in person(which is great when you’re stuck inside an office!)xx Michaela

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      Thanks M. Stuck in an office with this weather??? What to do, right? xx

  • Reply annie July 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I’m a recent convert to the canal. I know the limehouse bit from years ago but that’s it. Until Richard walked me along the primrose hill bit a couple of weeks ago and I was wowed, so pretty! We walked from Kings Cross to Camden on Sunday as well but I didn’t like that bit quite so much.

    I went on a narrow boat hen do on the Bath Kennet canal a few years ago. It was brilliant. I was the only person allowed to drive it. It was really good fun. I had a pirate hat. But it was March and it was freezing and the others left me out there whilst they sat inside drinking tea and eating bacon sarnies. Going over the aquaduct was thrilling. I’d really like to do a narrow boat holiday actually.

    Can’t be doing with meditation, it’s boring. Too many things to do and see to concentrate on that!

    • Reply tina July 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      A pirate hat, eh? I can imagine you driving a barge/narrow boat down the canal, a drink in one hand, the steering wheel in the other:)

      Richard, if you’re reading this, Annie would like to do a narrow boat holiday. I say romantic and sexy. Make sure you choose the right temperature, not season:)

  • Reply Lauren July 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

    It’s fascinating to read your post alongside Annie’s post about Regent Canal. For those of us who are far away, seeing two different perspectives (albeit different stretches, from what I can tell) is truly an expansive look at a piece of your city. What I like the most is how lush your photos are. And that sweet pup, of course!

    • Reply tina July 19, 2012 at 11:27 am

      I knew you would like Charlie!!!! He was adorable but ONLY interested in the pigeons and bread!! The young man who found him 5 years ago and cares for me was lovely too.

      I had no idea Annie was also writing about Regent’s Canal. Yes, it was fun seeing different perspectives!

  • Reply Gerard McGuickin July 18, 2012 at 10:32 am

    There’s nothing better than an unexpected walk, especially to clear the head and refresh the mind. It’s especially lovely to find somewhere in London that isn’t crowded.

    I love that pic with the rickety wooden steps & barge 🙂 xx

    • Reply tina July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Hello fellow urban friend! I did feel refreshed and mindful…. this weather is killing me x

  • Reply Toni July 19, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I know the Regents canal really well so these beautiful photos bring back lovely memories 🙂

    • Reply tina July 21, 2012 at 11:47 am

      You make it sound like you don’t live in London any longer:)

      Go on, take a stroll….

  • Reply Pamela June 13, 2013 at 3:58 am


    I wanted to know a little about walking down the canal, if you have to pay to walk down there, aslo how did you find the experince of looking and going past the Aviary at London Zoo? is it visible from where you were walking from?
    Also I was wondering have you visited the London Zoo of have been there to look at the Aviary in the actual London Zoo, and what did you think about it?

    Im a student in architecture in Sydney Australia (Sydney University), doing a history essay on the Aviary at the London Zoo Built by Cedric Price and just wanted to know what you thought about it and how you related with the enclosure and the rest of it surroundings.

    Thank you for your time =)

    – Pamela.

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