There has been a resurgence of interest in the underground rivers of London of late. Great romantic tomes have been concocted about the Fleet and the Wandle, almost to the detriment of the overground rivers. I suppose the reason is the allure of the unknown, the hidden. Plus London is a city which is based on a river, and run by the Underground. You figure the reason for the interest.

But what about the rivers you can see. Okay, there is plenty written, even here, on the Thames. But what is the nature of the Thames as a city river. It is certainly not the widest. And it has a pedestrian flow, unlike the hurry-hurry or the Seine. Bridges a plenty, some lovely (Tower), some unloved (Southwark). But like the underwater rives that feed it, the most telling aspect of the Thames is its brownness.

People read this colour to stand for dirt. They would be wrong. The Thames is one of the cleanest metropolitan rivers in the world (of late, it used to be a festering cess pit of death merely thirty years ago). I am not going to bang on about the “salmon found in the Thames” stories, because these are probably shit coloured salmon and I would not eat one, but the Thames has a bad name due to this colour. But the colour of the Thames is what I think the colour of London it. It is certainly the colour of the London sky on a cloudy London night, viewed from my living room window. The dark blue of the night, mixed with the sodium orange makes a particularly murky brown. A brown that is nevertheless clean.

And Thames Water. Best tap water in the country (okay, fite, but for colour, taste and life, it beats others I’ve tried hands down). So lets hear it for the Thames. It splits London, it wends, it throws that London “Eastenders” shape and you can see it. Go look at it today. Its lovely.