Hammersmith has seen many changes since the 1950s, but throughout them all the Thames has flowed past with steady indifference.
Now cut off from the town by the chaotic roar of the A4, Lotte Moore's home in Hammersmith Terrace dates back to the late 18 th century and remains one of a handful in London with gardens directly abutting the river.
It is from this position facing the placid water that 74-year-old Lotte Moore recently began exploring her heritage as the granddaughter of novelist and Parliamentarian AP Herbert, self-publishing an autobiography, Snippets of a Lifetime, and a series of children's books inspired by encounters with young people.
Her latest, The Invisible Elephant, just went on sale at the Waterstone's store in Chiswick, and this time features illustrations by children from local schools, including Larmenier and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary and Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith.
Like all her books, its inspiration came from the simplest of sources.
"I was just lying in bed one day blowing my nose, and one of my grandchildren said I sounded like an elephant," said Lotte. "That's how it began.
"The idea of using children to draw the pictures came about because it's very difficult to get an illustrator.
"I write but I can't draw, so getting the children to draw is wonderful because they're so imaginative. Hopefully other children will see their drawings and do the same.
"It took a year, because a lot of the teachers said they were terribly busy and couldn't do it. But eventually after a lot of persuasion the book was put together."
Lotte's foray into children's books began just six years ago, after decades teaching music and singing to two and three-year-olds from an upstairs room in her home.
"My father was a writer and my grandfather was a writer, and when I had two young girls I used to make up stories for them in bed every morning," said Lotte. "My imagination is very powerful and I adore children, they keep me young. The things they say are so magical.
"I really don't like adults, but children are very straightforward and don't mess you about."
So far all Lotte's books have been self-funded, but she hopes that might change with her latest project – a half-finished first novel called In the Fast Lane, about a group of wealthy people in Kensington strung out by their absurdly hectic lives.
"It's about very busy people, including an autistic pianist who has a nervous breakdown," said Lotte. "It's completely from my own imagination, but I take from the people I know quite a bit," she said.
"Most of my music classes don't ever see a parent because they're so busy, it's so sad.
"Children always have time for you and you never hear them say they're too busy, but adults these days don't have any time."
An annual challenge for Lotte is to find parents of a nearly new babies, ideally between four and five months old, who are willing to hand over their offspring to perform as Jesus in her annual nativity play.
She recruits local school children to act as the three kings and wise men, and has staged the nativity for the last 35 years in the Nazareth House care home in Hammersmith and at St Mary's Church in Chiswick.
"Normally I have three baby Jesuses, but I don't have one this year," she said. "Last year's all turned out to be girls, but it didn't matter.
"The baby just sits in a car seat and all the children sing around it, and the important thing is that it's so lovely for the older people. There might be four generations between the babies now and a lady of 105, who we had last year."
The nativity play is one reminder of Lotte's theatrical background, finding success in her early 20s with small acting roles and as a professional dancer with the Royal Ballet.
A highlight was dancing in a production of Wagner's Rheingold at the Royal Opera House which starred Dame Joan Sutherland, who died earlier this month aged 83. The diva would be hidden from the audience throughout, and Lotte would have to mime the words as she danced around the stage.
"All the people in the audience would think it was me who was singing," said Lotte. "It was the most wonderful experience. She was a fabulous woman to work with."
Her most notable appearances on film came as an extra in the Roman Polanski comedy Dance of the Vampires, in 1967, and two years later as a maid-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn in Anne of the Thousand Days, when all the women on set would have to fend off the amorous advances of star Richard Burton.
"He had such power over people," said Lotte. "He would just beckon women over to him. He wanted one of the ladies in waiting, who was a friend of mine, and she said no thank you."
Lotte gave up acting when she married her husband, Chris, who lived a few doors down from her in their current home in Hammersmith Terrace. They will celebrate their 40 th wedding anniversary next year, along with Lotte's 75 th birthday.
The couple enjoy spending time overseas, but would never consider moving away from the unique riverside terrace which has been their home for so long.
"If you asked us to move we'd both have a heart attack," said Lotte. "I'm part of the walls here.
"The most beautiful thing about it is that we look out on to the water, and every day it looks different. The water and trees are my best friends in life.
The only thing is that when we come home from holiday, it hasn't got the friendliness that you get abroad. The sun makes people so much more friendly and happy, and grey skies make everyone go in on themselves."