Friday, 31 May 2013

Reached top of the Stort.

Sorry no photos of Scots grotto, wasn't able to look a round after all.
Here we are in Bishop Storford, really pretty trip up here. Much more rural than the Lee, very winding and narrow in places. Marshy fields with great swathes of buttercups and cow parsley.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Reached the top of the Lee.

Did last two locks on the Lee up to Hertford. Found interesting Gazebos at the waters edge in Ware, but no one really seems to take much notice of the river, which is a shame as most of it is very pretty.
Celebrated in Hertford by having our hair cut!
Visiting Scott's grotto tomorrow??! In Ware , hopefully photos to follow.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Lee and Stort.

New waters again for Emily Bronte! A great trip.
The canal was interesting from the start. We passed Bow creek.which locks down onto tidal waters and out onto the Thames. It looked intriguing but I'll think we'll leave that adventure for another day.
Passed an old mill ' Three Mills' with its cone shaped roofs , a  brewery perhaps?
Soon we reached the Olympic stadium which was so close to the canal, there's no wonder it cost £1000 to moor here when it was taking place.
Passing through Tottenham was such a contrast of cultures with Jewish families dressed in their Sunday best, washing hanging from balconies, people lovingly tending tiny gardens, small children waving from high tower blocks to rowing fours and eights flying up and down the river.
The rowers ment we had to keep our wits about us, staying hard over to the right side bank.
The locks were all different , often in pair's, side by side, giving us a choice, we found the right hand side one was usually powered though.
Some had powered gates at the bottom but were manual at the top. At every lock we had to take a key and a windlass just incase!
We watered up at Picketts lock, which took us back in time slightly, with its lock cottage, displaying lots of bright coloured pansies. The lock keeper had a sign, requiring a bounty bar in way of payment for water. We met his wife , who told us she had lived there 30 years and had never been on a boat, of course we offered to give her a trip up the cut, but she she said she wasn't dressed for it! May be on the way back ,she'll have time to put her best frock on for the occupation.
Reached Waltham Abby and moored outside the white water centre, water meadows and bike trails surround us.
The Lee and Stort, well worth a visit.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Moored in Limehouse basin.

Beautiful evening, sun warming us as we eat our meal. Very pleasant cruise along the Regents canal, lots of people out enjoying the weather, especially at Camden , met by hoards of gongozlers.
On to Victoria Park , where a concert is on , the thump thump of a base is drawing the crowds.
Managed to pick up someones  off cut of carpet on the prop at Mile end lock which ment a trip in the weed hatch for Brian ,not very pleasant! unfortunately large population equals large amounts of rubbish.
Met someone who remembered us from the Kennet and Avon , and two small children! Yes we said now large adults! He was a teenager last time we met, how could that happen ?
Next new waters tomorrow the Lee and Stort here we come.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Investigating the Regents canal.

Cycled from Little Venice to Limehouse basin. Very grand on the way to the zoo, canal passes right through, monkeys must be constantly on the look out for the banana boat!
Double locks all the way, got to Camden, just opening their shutters , ready for the hoards of punters, lots of boats moored here too.
Isslington looked like it was good for shopping, lots of smart shops plus a market.
Got to Limehouse after a couple of detours around two tunnels.we decided to cycle back through the centre, passing Tower bridge, with its bus loads of foreign tourists. 50 p here to us the loo!? Then along the embankment , cycling along with city types on their Boris bikes complete with umbrellas sticking out, making it impossible to pass them.
Big Ben was chimming as we whizzed on through the traffic , got to Buckingham palace for changing of the guards.
Really enjoyed this exhilarating ride, slightly scary but great fun.
Still can't decide if we will do the Lee and Stort?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Paddington Arm.

Found a mooring on the Paddington arm, last time we came to Little Venice we could only get here by dingy!
Very busy here with commuters rushing by.
Had a visit from Hilary yesterday , she gave us a grand tour of the architectural kind around London in her car, it was really great wizzing around Regent park. Then on to Greenwich to see the river side garden, it was really pretty.
We had to find our own way home , first we walked through the tunnel under the river ,then along the river path to Limehouse basin ,where we are going to moor in a couple of weeks. This is were we stopped for refreshments of the alcoholic type.After walking about 5 miles we caught a bus from Aldgate this was still a  40 min ride to Paddington, we sat on the top deck at the front ,like a couple of kids!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Brentford Welcome! Clandestine crocheting.

Our trip on the tide started at 4.40am in the half light , it was a dry misty morning. We arrived as instructed. But at the lock, it was deserted! After waiting around for 15 mins , worrying  that the tide will wait for  man nor beast ! Brian rang the lock keeper who had to dash from his bed,he  was a little grumpy to say the least but forgot to charge us our overnight mooring fee!
The actual journey was very quiet and easy , cutting our way through the mist into the glorious sun rise. Passing only early morning rowers and wild life.
Managed to find the entrance to the lock cut at Brentford although there was no signage .
Our relief at this super easy trip, soon turned to dismay as there was not a sole to let us into the lock, even though we had dutifully booked our passage .
This is when the tide decided to go out , ecck! This is quite disconcerting when the water level drops by 3 feet in half an hour.
I went inside to panic quietly over a slice of toast , Brian rang the lock keeper who came eventually.Well, just before we thought about blacking our hull , while we where   stuck on the bottom.
After this very early morning excitement most of the crew had to lie down for a few mins and later drink. Copious amounts of wine to calm their nerves.
Brentford high street was a typical mix of betting shops , take aways and tattoo shops, but Jane was pleased to find someone was brightening this urban landscape with crochet ! Yes covering the benches , phone box and even the trees! Guess what ? Jane had to join in , leaving a small piece of sunflower type granny squares crocheted to a bench. This could be the start of some thing,  forget Banksy watch out for some clandestine crocheting near you! A.K.A crochet babe;-)

Brentford boat yard is very interesting with lots of inlets, dry docks, themselves made from old hulls and some beautiful barges.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Queens row barge.

Very surprised to see the Gloriana coming up Teddington lock as we were out for our evening stroll.
What a majestic image.
The boat was going to Hampton court for rowing trials, unfortunately didn't manage to get a photo of this wonderful sight as 18 oars dipped into the river in perfect time.
Early night for us as have to be up at 4am to catch the tide. Back to the canals tomorrow.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Back from the magical land of the Bashingstoke.

The last nine days ,was certainly an adventure, we gained some lovely friends , who were generous and fun to be with, even when things got a little difficult we had a good laugh.
We have never had such a wonderfuly friendly and welcoming reception on any other canal, it truely was worth the effort, even though we lost a chimney and got wedged under a bridge!
Brian's bike has died , which happened when we were 3 miles from home, he had to scoot it home , which was harder work than it sounds! Busy searching eBay!
Our next adventure is a voyage on the tideway, traveling from Teddington to Brentford. Anchor and life jackets at the ready!
This jaunt starts at 5am Thursday morning ,watch this space!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Back down the Basingstoke canal.

Set off down Deepcut locks this morning with a military drums booming through the trees , making our legs want to march along to the beat.
Water levels were good , so good infact we got stuck under the first bridge , scuffing the paint from the top of Brian's sign and only becoming free when Linda began to fill the next lock down .
We still had to be towed on and off by Phoenix , getting quite good now almost professional, without the help of that lovely crew our trip on here would have been short.
Again we were cheered along our way , this time by a play ground full of school children .
Moored by a beautiful meadow with lots of cow slips and small ponds full of ducks and coots.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Made it to Mytchett.

Set off with slight trepidation this morning but having been boosted by encouraging comments from passers by and small children
" mum come and look there's a ship coming "we set off under our own steam ! The second lock took an age to enter but after that things improved.
The locks at the top of the Deepcut flight are amazing, the canal winds around the contours of the hills , covered with trees ,Beech,Scots pine and Silver birch.The yellow flowers of the gorse, the pounds between the locks like Mini lake's some complete with islands.
Moored at Mytchett tonight under the young beech leaves with the sun filtering through.
Playing qoits on the towpath and drinking champagne with the lovely Linda and the man Matt to celebrate an epic voyage , only possible  with the help of Pheonix.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Basingstoke Bottom is too near the top!

We where off ,full of enthusiasm for a new adventure. Oh dear how we struggled, how we bow hauled, pulled ,pushed , in the end towed by the powerful Phoenix with Matt and Linda at the helm.
This canal is so shallow , we are crawing along at one mile per hour.
However it is so quiet and peaceful ,much more like going through a garden pond with wild flowers ,wildlife a plenty .
We are only the third boat up here this year!?
The big question is should we continue and do the lot about 20 miles or go back while there's some water beneath us?????

Friday, 3 May 2013

Filming at Hawe lock on the Wey.

Here we are on the Wey! To the Basingstoke:-D
We got into Hawe lock and found ourselves surrounded by a whole film crew making a drama for ITV, they had a break for lunch while we came up in the lock , we had.a chat with the director and the main actor but we didn't have a clue who they were!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Hot Day at Shepperton.

Beautiful day moored above the lock here.
Working ? Jane spent most of the day chatting to people and enjoying the sun.
Parakeets flying overhead , impossible to get a picture though, rather exotic looking and very noisey.
On to the river Wey tomorrow and then the Basingstoke on Saturday, that will be new waters for us , very excited!