Wednesday, February 23, 2005

London Zoo

We set off on our return journey, but first to the zoo. Turn into the Regents canal from Little Venice and cruise past more pretty house boats and narrow boats. A deep cutting then goes through the short Maida Hill tunnel. Past the grand houses of St. Johns Wood and suddenly we see the Snowdon Aviary. The birds inside were less grand than the structure. The zoo gardens along the bank of the canal look very drab and in need of a makeover. Not many animals to be seen. Turned at Primrose Hill to see it all again. The canal is cut quite deep and we did not see any of Regents Park.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Paddington Basin

Left the green mooring and travelled east into the middle of London. 11 miles and no locks. The concrete jungle growing as we progressed. The first few miles were quite rural but then passed old and new industry. At Little Venice the canal opens up into a wide space where the Regents canal continues east from Little Venice to Limehouse on the Thames. There are many house boats, trip boats, narrow boats and floating restaurants at Little Venice and nowhere to stop. Bright shiny and clean in the winter sunshine.

Little Venice

We turned right, down to the newly opened Paddington Basin where we were told of good safe moorings. Found ourselves surrounded by tall steel and glass buildings and the wind seemed to concentrate and rocks the boat. The wooden pontoons provided a secure mooring but there is no grass for Molly! Several trees though, grown in pots below the surface.

At night all the lights came on and the foot bridges were illuminated under foot. The pontoons had lights shining up from below. If only we could have plugged into just one of them. 60 Watts is all we need for the lights and TV!

Paddington Basin

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Paddington Arm

Left Cowley after taking on water and using the facilities. A skip was used to dispose of much unwanted material created during the re-fitting of two boats. A morning trip on a cold bright day got us to Bulls Bridge Junction. Passing many residential boats, floating sheds and caravans on the way. An industrial landscape with rubbish strewn all over the place. Had to stop once to clear the prop of a plastic bag.


After shopping at the surprisingly large Tesco Extra we turned left into the Paddington Arm. This canal goes east across London north of the Thames. It is quite rural and after an hour we decide to stop. It was a bit shallow on the tow path side and a passing boater told us it was better on the other side. Another boat was there and the green field proved to be an exciting place for Molly. There was much screeching in the trees and Ann saw at least six large green birds. They may have been small parrots.

Bulls Bridge

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Parting company

Sue & Vic have guests on board and have turned north for a few days while we continue south. Found moorings at Cowley before the bridge and lock. The lock is the last one we will see all the way into London and Paddington. Cowley is in the London borough of Hillingdon and we have seen some red London buses already when we walked to the shops. We talked to a couple on a boat called 'Troy'. They have just come out of London and suggested we may find more space down the Paddington Arm.

Boarder sign

Friday, February 11, 2005

Creating & building

Both M2L and NP are undergoing some internal improvements. Tools and wood clutter up the space during the day and some time is spent clearing up before relaxing in the evening. We now have a Dinette. A bench seat and table which can convert to a 4 ft. bed. Just waiting for the foam seating.

Much more has been achieved in No Problem. Sue and Vic have transformed their galley with new work tops. And a washing machine is to go in the bathroom!

Molly the dog has taken such a keen interest in the proceedings I think she is my apprentice!


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Annual Easter race (1999)

Easter came early this year at the start of April and we were back on our boats again. Departed on Friday morning. Both boats going east this time. We were joined by a third boat when we got to Monkey Marsh Lock. The lock is large enough for us all. Stopped later at Midgham. The Easter canoe race sets off from Devizes heading all the way to Westminster on the Thames. The first canoe with two on board were about to pass us. We watched as they got out to carry the canoe past the lock.

Next day we cooked porridge on the fire which Ann had fed with coal earlier. As we ate it more canoes passed by. Our cat is enjoying the view from the window. Apart from seeing the canoes go by she watched a pair of ducks being fed with bread. Then Ann took Tara out for a walk with harness and lead. ‘An unusual sight’ as many passing walkers have said. It’s Sunday and there are many boats out and about.

We continue our journey east to Woolhampton Lock and swing bridge. Here you are advised to open the bridge before leaving the lock. The river once again joining the canal and at this time of year it takes your boat along with it. Both our boats bumped the bridge on the way past. Fast reverse to stop and pick up crew after they shut the bridge. Arrived at Aldermaston and turned below Padworth Lock. Then back up to moor at Reading Marine Wharf. Quite a lot of people walking by and looking in at us.

Easter Monday gives us a long weekend on our boats. We find time to chat with Bob and Jane on Hobo who keep their boat there. Terry & Myra join us on Nomad as they leave their boat at the yard for some work to be done on it. With all four back on board it was like before. Two crew and two skippers? We agreed to take turns between locks! Lunch stop half way, then back to Ham Manor Basin and home.

Canoe race

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Aylesbury Arm

We travelled down through the 16 locks on the 6 mile arm off the Grand Union Canal. The locks are all narrow so we went either in front or behind No Problem. The lock keeper had opened the paddles to let extra water through because the first pound was a bit low.  The TESCO mooring provides a useful stop before the end but old boats and buildings did not encourage us to stay over night. Took 2 days to get to the bottom and were lucky to find space for our two boats. It was safe and secure among other boats in the basin. Thanks to The Aylesbury Canal Society who welcome visitors. All the water we used goes into a river so is a 'loss' to the Grand Union. When the arm was opened it halved the price of coal in Aylesbury back in 1814.

Aylesbury Basin