Thursday, 11 June 2015

Is this the way to London?

Pat attends to our front garden!
There is no doubt that nearly everybody you meet on the canals who is cruising in their own boat are our age, or older. Apart, of course, from the families and younger couples on holiday in hire boats. Well, I thought that was the case, until this week. We have encountered several small, sad-looking boats on their way into London, normally with twenty-somethings on board, and all of them are very excited at the prospect of mooring there for nothing.

This is the point where most boaters I know, suck their cheeks in and shake their heads. But what do you say to these youngsters. Forget it. It’s three abreast and you will have to move on every week, and walk half a mile for water or to empty your loo. They look so keen and excited. I asked one if they had been to look at potential moorings and was told that “there are loads of free moorings, right through London”. Well, good luck with that.  Try mooring outside one of the blocks of flats that cost £1.3m each and see how free it is and the welcome you receive. I do feel sorry for these young people, and just hope they are not too disappointed.

So, as you will see, we have been skirting around the edges of London, basically to kill a week. I’ve seen red buses, and a tube train crossed the canal today at Croxley Green, so we were not far from Greater London, though I am not sure where that starts. We got as far south as Rickmansworth, and that is very definitely Hertfordshire. 
Michael and Mary Jarrett joined us on Monday afternoon at our mooring at Apsley
Our travels this week were just to waste a few days. But before we left Apsley on Tuesday we welcomed more visitors aboard The Cat’s Whiskers. My daughter’s best friends, husband’s parents visited us. That sounds quite contrived but we met Michael and Mary in Wellington, last year, when they were visiting their son and daughter-in-law who are good friends with our daughter’s family. They also come from Hertfordshire, read this blog religiously, (thanks folks) and it was great to see them again and show them round TCW.

We left Apsley on Tuesday morning along with my sister Carol, her husband Rob and their pals John & Sheila. It was a bit of reprise from two years ago, when we cruised with them all from Hertford to Broxbourne. This time it wasn’t quite as hot. It was Carol and Rob’s wedding anniversary the day before and we celebrated with a very nice bottle of champagne. John and Rob went on to lock duty and Carol and Sheila supervised from the cratch cover.
Sister Carol and Rob on right, with pals John and Sheila, before we set off on our mini-cruise to King's Langley

Rob and John on lock duty at Nash Mills
Rob opens a celebratory bottle of champagne and hopes nobody is walking past the boat.
We dropped them off at King’s Langley and moored overnight in Cassiobury Park. On the run-in we teamed up with an old working boat called `The Bargee`. It transpired that the boat had been the star of a feature film made in 1964, starring Harry H Corbett (of Steptoe fame) and Eric Sykes. I vaguely remember the film, which was made on the Grand Union in Hertfordshire. There are clips on YouTube if you are interested in seeing what the canal was like then. The new owner was taking it into London (yet another one), though he wasn’t too sure what he was going to do with it.
`The Bargee`

`The Bargee` leaves one of the locks that go through the Cassiobury estate in Watford

An advert for the film

From Cassiobury Park in Watford it’s about a three-hour cruise into Rickmansworth, though it’s commonly called Batchworth by boaters, as that is what the lock and mooring are called. We had passed and been passed on several occasions by a boat called `Waka Huia`. I didn’t need to see the flags on the roof to know this was definitely a `Kiwi` boat, and we were able to cruise with them into Rickmansworth. Marilyn and David, live about 20 miles north of Wellington on the Kapiti coast, so we have now have even more Kiwi boating pals to visit when we go back next year. `Waka Huia` means `Treasure Box` by the way in Maori.
Marilyn shows us her Maori `Treasure Box` aboard Waka Huia
The lock in the centre of Cassiobury Park is a popular gongoozler spot and today we ran into a nursery school group who came to see us go up the lock. Pat enlisted their help in opening and closing a gate. They thought it was great fun.
Pre-school children help us out in Cassiobury
I am not sure who owned Cassiobury Park when the canal was built, although I think it’s the Earl of Essex, but in common with other land-owning gentry, the bridges that cross the canal through the park are a cut above your average, and were obviously a concession to having the canal cross their land. The Grove Bridge is an exceptional example, crossing into the famous golf course of the same name
The famous Grove bridge
The weather has been pretty kind to us over the last week. Sure sign we are in the south. It looks to break this weekend, which is a bit of a nuisance as we have six of my old Leisure pals from John Lewis coming on board for the day on Sunday, when, hopefully, we will cruise from Apsley, back into Berkhamsted.

Toodaloo chums

1 comment:

  1. Lovely canal boat. thankyou for inviting us aboard.