Standing at the Thames riverside with the Autumn sun shining is a great way to start the working day. The ripples of the Thames reflect the dappled light to the Autumn leaves and moored pleasure boats along the pathway. Together with the sound of rushing water over the nearby lock, it evokes a pleasant and idyllic scene.
I soon spot the men in a boat, drifting lazily across the river, staring intently over the gentle scene. Walkers who have stopped to take in the sights and stand in the warm sun. I can see a man and a woman sitting on the grass next to the river, arm in arm, giving each other a gentle hug as they watch the passing boat in the water....
So you think i am trying my hand at writing a romantic novel? Describing the scene as two lovers sit in an idyllic landscape, as i write the words to a resounding romantic crescendo? Maybe i am here to film the beautiful surroundings for a soft news item about the pleasures of living by the river in outer London...?
Well, No. As the scene unfolded in front of me, i can see that the men in the boat are wearing Police and rescue services uniforms, and that the boat has a blue flashing light. They are staring into the water, not across it. The walkers taking in the sun are concerned passers by, the usual crowd who stop to see what is going on. The rushing waters of the lock contain Police divers on a search for the body of a man whose Mother and Father sit on the riverbank, arm in arm, giving each other gentle hugs, as tears stream from their faces as they wait for the inevitable, tragic outcome of the searching that is taking place directly in front of them.... Listening for the shout out that the Police finally have their man.
So i stand there, with my camera on my tripod as i roll on yet another story that on the face of it, looks like a normal Autumn day by the river Thames. But as is all too often in the news cameraman's life, i roll tape on another family's tragedy, on the working lives of those who look for the dead and take notes for the coroner. I roll tape on a Mother and Fathers worst day which is taking shape not 20 yards away in front of me, and i roll tape on the grim faces of the men and women who stand and stare....
This, by the way, is the end of the story which started the day before. Two men, walking their dog beside the river, stopped as the dog jumped in and couldn't get out. One man went in after the dog, but he himself soon became trapped by the swirling river currents. His friend went in after him and he too, soon got into difficulties. The bodies of both men have now been recovered, into the care of the families who now have funerals to plan.
The dog got out on it's own.