As can be seen from the syntax above, I have been brushing up on my “Estuary English” over the last few days, in readiness for our imminent arrival into London. True, we haven’t been for a “Ruby” yet, but we have already “clocked” some tasty “gaffs”, and as we approach Little Venice and Regents Park I am sure we will see a lot more. I am, for the record, a certified “City of London Apprentice”, so if you hear that Tower Bridge has been closed due to some loony herding sheep across it, that’ll probably be me.
|Our neighbour last Thursday night|
But first, the weekly rant. We are known, in boating circles, as “Continuous Cruisers” – we stay a day or two on visitor moorings before moving on. However there is another group of waterways dwellers (I would not call them boaters) known as “Continuous Moorers” who clog up visitor moorings, not moving for weeks at a time, if at all. Many of the boats just lie there with nobody on board. This is making finding a mooring a bit of an issue for boaters such as us, and I know that it’s only going to get worse as we move on to the Lee & Stort, a hotbed of dissention, of court cases and counter court cases, petitions and a general refusal to follow the guidelines laid down to protect all those who use and enjoy the waterways. The cause is the Lee’s proximity to the many railways stations which feed through to London’s Liverpool Street, thus making living on a boat very attractive in an area where property prices are crazy. As Nat King Cole sang in “Let’s Face The Music and Dance”, “There may be trouble ahead!”. Next week: Speeding cyclists. Should they be castrated!
|Our mooring at Cowley Lock. You wouldn't think you were in Greater London|
Last weekend was spent in Cowley. No, not the one in Oxford, where they still make cars (I think). This one is just south of Uxbridge and is a very pleasant spot – a lock, a pub by the lock, a tea room, that did a great Sunday lunch for £5.99, and a park, plus seven-day mooring, not clogged up by CM’s. The other very unusual thing about this spot is that the canal water is crystal clear. True, it’s not that deep, but I could clearly see the stones on the floor of the canal, bits of old hose, house bricks and various other detritus , from the side of the boat.
|Not much water around, but it certainly is clear at Cowley|
|Trying out our new Wallace & Grommit "Washamatic" clothes line in Uxbridge|
Last Sunday was also decision making day. We have been ummming and aaarhing about where to moor TCW this winter since we came back from our travels in March. Sunday morning, we bit the buller, and booked TCW into Mercia Marina for six months. Mercia is on the Trent & Mersey canal, in Willington, close to Derby and Burton-On-Trent. We will now leave Hertford after the August Bank Holiday and spend two months getting back there.
The other big spend was to book our tickets to New Zealand. We aim to go out towards the end of January and come back mid-April. It’s a bit more expensive than last time, but my accountant says “all is well”.
On Monday we cruised into “Coconut Country”: an area of London dominated by the capital’s Asian community, who throw coconuts into the nearest watercourse when a loved one dies, in the hope that it will find its way back to the holy Ganges. I think there is more chance of them turning up round my propeller. Through most of our journey, into central London from the west, it has been very noticeable that English is not the main language spoken, as can be seen by this notice, outside Sainsbury’s in Alperton.
|And guess what. The towpath was strewn with breadcrumbs|
|Approaching the aquaduct over the North Circular Road|
|The view of the North Circular from the boat. I wonder how many times I have driven under this not knowing what it was.|
What has also been very noticeable is the reluctance of passing boats and passers-by on the towpath to say hello, or even look you in the eye. We have got so used to passing the time with everyone we meet, it’s a bit disconcerting. It’s not everybody, but it is noticeable
We turned into Little Venice earlier today and passed by a trip boat, about the set off down to Camden. I waved and nobody on the boat responded. Perhaps I come across as a bit strange. Could it be the “Jim Fixed It For Me” tee-shirt I have had on the last few days!
|A hotspot for "gongoozlers"|
|Our overnight mooring in Paddington Basin. Please note. That sloppy rope is not ours.|
So now we are in Paddington Basin. We got the last spot and can now enjoy seven nights here, if we so require. And it’s free. We’ll be off tomorrow, to spend two nights in Battlebridge Basin, close to the new King’s Cross complex.