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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Northolt to Brentford

Monday 26th May.

Northolt to Clitheroe’s Lock Brentford. 9.1 miles…….. 9 locks.

Yesterday with the weather being so foul we did not bother moving, we did however watch many who were moving in the heavy rain and strong winds. Thinking thank goodness we are in the dry and warm. Ha ha if only we could say the same about today.
We awoke to rain and windy conditions, but the weather forecasters did say it would brighten up, so we decided we would make a move and head to Bulls Bridge for some food shopping at the 24 hour Tesco.
Unfortunately due to the weather conditions I was unable to take any photographs. We set off at 9.20am, in drizzle and breezy conditions hoping for the best. It was not long before the drizzle turned to heavy rain and strong gusts of wind, but we had made the decision to go and go we would. We arrived at Bulls Bridge and left the Grand Union Paddington Arm at 10.20am and found a place to moor alongside Tesco, where we went and did a food shop. By the time we got back to the boat, the weather had not improved any, infact it had got worse, so leaving the mooring to head for Brentford was something of a task, but Keith pointed Hadar in the right direction, whilst I put the shopping away.
The time was getting on and lunch was called for so we stopped above the first of the locks, where there is a sanitary station (Norwood Top Lock) to empty the toilet and get rid of rubbish. I took advantage of a few minutes to make us something to eat and a coffee. We met another boater and his wife taking on water, it was nice to know we were not the only mad people out in such dreadful weather ha ha ha.
Having taken on sustenance, I had 10 locks to operate. First one being Norwood Top lock, which I needed to use the BW key on to undo the padlocks. Despite the heavy rain the locks were actually not too bad to do, and because they were close together I walked between them. There is a rare intersection of canal, road and railways at the top of the Hanwell Locks 91 to 97 which are a flight of locks. During the Hanwell Flight we rescued a baby moorhen chick stuck in the lock, sadly we could not see its parents, but left it in the hedge where it could get dry. I hope the parents find it. The Hanwell locks run a long side what used to be a mental asylum. At the bottom of the flight the River Brent joins the canal and wow it flowing fast due to the amount of rain we have had over the past two days, Keith swung Hadar into the flow and she just took off down the canal enjoying the chance to fly LOL. Under the M4 where you we also saw a cast iron bridge dating back to 1820, it really is pretty. The weather was absolutely dreadful, I only wish I had the photographs to prove it, but it did not dampen our spirits. I was still enjoying the lock work, but was well aware of the hazards of the high water and strength of the wind, it made for an exciting time. We arrived at the 10th and last lock of the day Clitheroe’s Lock and found out that we would be going no further today as it was in flood. No amount of trying allowed us to get the gates open, due to the force of the water. So we moored up and will wait to see what the morning brings. Both Keith and I had wet bits, but on the whole our wet weather clothing stood up well. I did however have very wet feet, so my steel toe capped shoes are leaking grrrrrrr. The one thing about cruising in such awful weather, there are very few people moving. We battened down the hatches for the night and rode out the bad weather.

Tuesday 27th May.

What a contrast to yesterday. It is dry to start with, and the sun is trying hard to poke through the overcast skies. It is also very mild, more noticeable was the fact that the water level had dropped and the roar of the water over the weir had died down to a moan. We needed to take on Pet food for Mog and Dog, so Keith took the trolley and I had the rucksack as we set off down the towpath to Pets at Home, near the Gauging Locks at Brentford. We like to keep a good supply of pet food onboard, so that if we are ever stuck anywhere, we have no worries about running out. Whilst walking that way we wanted to see if we could moor up above the gauging locks ready for Thursday’s trip down onto the Thames, but because it is a 14 day mooring, people are just sitting there and not moving. It does kind of make me wonder why they have not made some of the moorings only for boats going down, like at Limehouse Basin. So we did our shopping and went back to the boat. An hour or so later a boat came up through the locks and we grabbed the opportunity to head down now that we could get through and see if we could moor up, which we could so we are now moored near the gauging locks.
It is really quite pretty here, there are a lot of brand new apartments and non residential moorings, keith said "None of them were there when he last came through here". We are moored at the top end of the moorings, near the old sheds.
Having moored up and chatted to the lady on the boat in front, Keith noticed a couple of BW guys and police down near the gauging locks, but did not take much notice of it at the time. It was not until I walked down to the sanitary station to use the washing machine, that I found out that the whole area was taped off and was told we a body had been discovered in the water. So no one was going anywhere either by boat or foot. I finally got to wash our saloon rug and was leaving the station when I got chatting to a gentleman on a boat near the station, he told me that he had walked that way three times during the morning and not seen anything. We were then there to witness the body of a man being pulled out of the water by the police. It was a little un-nerving to say the least. My first thought was OMG, some family is missing a son, father, brother etc, they either never came home last night, or they will not be home for their tea this evening. It actually made me feel really sad.
Having pulled the body out of the water they then set up this white and yellow tent over the body. It is now just gone 4pm and they are still there, so it has been almost 5 hours since the body was discovered. My thoughts go out to the family who have lost a loved one.
We are staying here until Thursday morning when we have to be down at Thames Lock for 8am.

2 comments:

saltysplash said...

Hi folks

really enjoy your posts and she caught my eye when moored oppo Highline last month.
If you wish to know the dets of the body at Brentford then read on or delete from your blog as you wish but i thought as you were caught up in final acts of this personv you may wish to know.
He was an asian male (mid 20's) who had suffered from mental health problems for the last few years. He had threatend to take his own life many times and it would appear on this occaision he succeeded in his goal.
His family in southall were shortly found and infmd and in a lot of these cases it was a release for them for the torment he went through daily.

May he now RIP

Yours GP

Keith & Jo said...

Hi GP.
Thank you for letting me know, I am not going to delete your message, as I feel it is important that people reading this diary no the outcome. I feel for his family and friends, but he is now at peace, and may they remember the good times they had with him.
Many thanks Jo