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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Roydon to Northolt.

Thursday 22nd May.

Roydon to Ponders Lock (South Island Marina) 10.9 miles…. 11 locks.

We woke up to a brightest morning, and I woke up with a sore throat arghhhhh, that is one thing I hate. But the show must go on, so after walking Paddy and having breakfast we headed off at 8.25am with the hope that the day would be kind to us.Having enjoyed the River Stort Navigation, we turned back onto the River Lee Navigation and down through Feilde’s Weir Lock. Some of the locks had been with us; we were joined at one of the locks by a small boat, which was going down to Broxbourne for lunch. We would leave the locks first and he would follow.We left him at Broxbourne at the Lee Valley Hire Boats.We passed by the climbing wall at the Herts Young Mariners Base again, and this time they had some young people climbing in the sunshine.It really made me want to get my climbing gear out and go and join them.
We passed all the Nature Reserves, stopping below Waltham Town Lock to take on water and get rid of rubbish. The is actually some really good moorings there, which can be used to go and see Waltham Abbey and Museum, there is also a very good little café next to the BW Sanitary Station, £3.99 for a full English breakfast.
After that we were in the valley of the pylons or so it seemed. They were everywhere; this was the run down to Ponders Lock. One thing we saw which we had never seen before and that was a tree swarming with gnats. There were thousands of them. This photo does not show them very well, but it was the best I could do.Yayyyy the last lock of the day was Ponders Lock, and look what Keith took a photo of.Yes it is a crayfish. He certainly had sharp eyes to see it.
Our mooring was at the South Island Marina, we were invited to stay the night by Michael Pinnock Jnr, as we asked him to make us a proper back cabin chimney and we were there to collect it. The one we have is a Midland Chandlers chimney, which is absolutely no good whatsoever. Charlie off of Elder kindly helped us moor alongside him. He made us feel very welcome as we enjoyed a good old natter with him. We will head off again in the morning.
We have seen no end of wonderful wildlife today. All the waterfowl we saw had youngsters; the waterways have become a crèche for the next generation. Noticeably we saw a lot of Housemartins picking off the flies, whilst skimming the water. We enjoyed chatting to people passing by or taking photos of Hadar. Some wanted to ask about her and how old she was. We were even asked if we would sell her. I told the gentleman “Not in a million years, or for any amount of money”. It was a fantastic days cruising.

Friday 23rd May.

Ponders End to Victoria Park. 9.2 miles……..6 locks

We spent a peaceful night at South Island Marina, so many thanks to Michael Pinnock and to Charlie. We set off at 8.40am having said our goodbye’s and Keith dropped Paddy and I on the towpath, so we could walk to 2 miles to the first lock and set it ready for when Keith arrived, as it turned out when we got there some BW guys turned up to let some water down through the pound as it was 6 inches down, so they did all the lock work for me. Now that was a result and I was not about to refuse the help. So Paddy and I climb back on the boat and off we went.
Now whilst we have been out we have seen some interesting boats of all shapes and sizes.
This one caught my eye on the way up and again on the way back down.Two narrowboats, but they have been welded together like a catamaran; they look just like battle ships, with their battleship grey livery and portholes.
Another boat we liked the look of was this tug. Clearly and old boat, but kept in very good condition.There were three electrically operated locks on today’s cruise, one of them being the broken Stonebridge Lock, but as we were to find out, none of them were working. BW in there wisdom had shut the electric ones off, due to people getting stuck in them, so we had to use windless power instead. Oh my god were they hard work. I spoke to one of the BW guys and he told me the reason for shutting them off. I told him it would have been useful if you had put signs on the locks saying they are out of order. He agreed that would have been a good idea. Thankfully I am pretty fit, so I just about coped with operating the manual locks, but goodness knows what would of happened if I had been a good few years older, there is no way I could of worked them on my own. Keith did help with the winding gear on a couple of them as it was taking me ages to wind the paddles. On the last of the electrical locks, which we had to work manually, it took 20 minutes for the double lock to empty, because one of the paddles was not working.
Instead of continuing down to Limehouse Basin, we turned right onto the Hertford Union Canal, were taking a short cut LOL.This canal borders Victoria Park, which is very pretty. At the first lock we were mesmerised by a painting on the wall.Somebody has clearly got talent. Now many of you know I am not one for graffiti, it is a blot on the landscape I feel, but this is real urban art. It must have taken the person who did it many hours. It was certainly more appealing to the eye than a blank wall.Having exited the lock, we got hailed down for a bag of coal, which was a bit of a surprise, because I sold my last bag of coal at the beginning of April ha ha. Still every little bit helps.
So after the last lock of the day and we found a mooring by Victoria Park at 1.20pm, Keith sat on the top of the boat whilst I made lunch. We had only been here 10 minutes or so and there were police on foot and in cars in and out of the park. One approached us and asked if we had seen two youths on a motor cycle. Keith had seen them riding it through the park. It turned out they had stolen the motor cycle and the police were in hot pursuit. Keith was able to give the policeman a brief description of the youths, who had ditched the bike and were now legging it down the towpath, so the policeman took up the pursuit on foot whilst colleagues of his were in looking for them in their car. A police van had recovered the bike not far from us. A shot while later one of the policeman came back to tell they had caught one of the youths and the other was somewhere in the park. It would have been like looking for a needle in a haystack. We will wait to see if they need a statement from Keith.
Later on into the afternoon, another boater was chatting to Keith about Hadar’s engine, and his greyhound took and interest in Marmite, so much so she jumped onto our boat and tried to grab Marmite, who was on her harness and sat in the door way of the back cabin. I immediately tried to fend the dog off, but she made another grab for Marmite so I pushed the dog and she fell into the canal, which had not been my intention, I wanted her to get back onto the towpath. Her owner did nothing to grab his dog off of our boat or control her, I being a caring dog owner pulled his greyhound out of the water and gave her back to him, whilst he stood and looked on. I then made sure that Marmite was ok; she had jumped down into the cabin and was sat on the mat. Thankfully she was none the worse for wear. But I was not happy at all with this man and his dog, I don’t blame the dog, she was doing what came naturally to her, I blame the owner. The dogs owner did thank me for getting his dog out of the water and he put her on his boat, but he did not apologise for the upset his dog had caused Marmite. I do wish dog owners would control their pets better.
We are spending a quiet night inside. Marmite seems ok.

Saturday 24th May.

Victoria Park to Black Horse, Northolt. 15.5 miles……8 locks.

We were greeted with a lovely sunny morning. Both Keith and I slept like logs; it was really peaceful by Victoria Park. We had thought it may have been noisy with the weekend’s festival going on, but their music finished early and all was quiet. As we were both awake early we got up and Paddy got an early morning run in the park, with all the other dogs out and about. 8.10 am and we were off to Paddington Basin. I know the heading says Black Horse, Northolt, you will see why later.We soon found ourselves at the junction of the Regents Canal and the Hertford Union (Ducketts Cut), Keith turned Hadar right onto the Regents Canal and we said goodbye to the Hertford Union for this year. Awaiting me was the first of 8 locks for the day, and no sign of anyone to share the locks and the work with. But for what ever reason it seemed to have been an easier day, the locks did not seem half as hard as they had done when we came down.
Along the Regents Canal you see a few Gasometers, some of them date back to Victoria times and are quite ornate in their decoration.We could tell it was a weekend and a bank holiday one at that, as there were boats coming from all directions, we even saw Fulbourne another working boat. But still no other boat to share the locks with.
Islington Tunnel and Keith got me to take the tiller. I got my first experience of steering Hadar through with him on hand in case I should totally screw it up LOL.I did have one wobbly bit at the beginning, but corrected myself without hitting the sides. Keith reckoned I did really well, so yayyyyyy to me for that one. I look forward to doing another now. I am lucky with Keith; he has a lot of patience and is a good teacher.
Through out our cruising we see some lovely places, and even some of the new apartments have a style of there own, but these places we saw were very odd, they looked like something from out of space.I would imagine they were built sometime ago, and who ever designed them had a sense of humour.
The breeze was really picking up and the cloud cover was getting heavier.
We had to pull in just before London Zoo, as we had some rubbish around the prop, but having cleared that we past London Zoo and Snowdon Aviary, which was extremely busy and look they have a new exhibit.No your eyes do not deceive you; they are people ha ha ha. Ok only joking, you can walk through the aviary. But it just tickled me that they were the ones behind the wire and we were on the outside.
Onward we travelled past blow up bridge and through the two small tunnels, until we reached Little Venice once more and back onto the Grand Union Canal, now this is where decisions were changed, Sorry Lady Banana. We had planned on stopping at Little Venice overnight, but because it was only 11.30am and Sunday’s weather forecast was so awful, Keith suggested we carry on. So Lady Banana I am sorry we will not get to meet up this time, but we will be back.As you have already seen from other postings, we see some interesting art sometimes and this piece of art has been done by a local artist using canal rubbish.They depict canal things, such as swans, dragonflies, Narrowboat etc and look fabulous.
We then past over the North Circular using the aqueduct, nothing new on that road, the traffic was queuing and it is the weekend.So our day ended when we reached the Black Horse pub near Northolt and found ourselves a mooring. By this time there was a gusty wind and it looks like the weather is on the change as the weather forecasters promised. We shall see what happens with the weather and decide in the morning if we are going to more or not.

3 comments:

Ben said...

Hello again,

I've never seen anything like those gnats around the tree before - that's just plain weird!

I agree that the grafiti does look like art and I have photographed grafiti myself before. It's the 'tagging' sort of grafiti that looks terrible.

I've decided that your photo in the tunnel makes it look as though the boat is travelling at hyper-speed.

Bye for now,

Ben
NB Beatty

Jay said...

Well done on the Islington tunnel! I used to live near Islington but never knew there even WAS a tunnel - though I was only nine when we moved away.

The greyhound owner! Good grief! Thank you so much for hauling the poor dog out - what a stupid, stupid man. Not only letting his dog lunge at poor Marmite, but not to do anything to save her? Yikes, I'd have had something to say. :(

Love the midge cloud!

Keith & Jo said...

Hi Ben and Jay.
The pic in the tunnel does look like hyperspeed, it was a shame we were going so very slow hahaha.
The gnats were incredible not something I have ever seen before.
I was so angry with that man and his dog, although I never blame a dog, it is the owner at fault.