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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iver to Uxbridge.

Monday 28th April.

The alarm goes off at 5am, yes I said 5am. We wanted to make an early start, so we could plough up the Slough Arm to the winding hole, and get back to the junction early. So having had an early breakfast and Paddy had an early walk, we set off at 6am.
We crept past the moored boats, shhhhhhhhhh silently does it, well as silent as Hadar’s engine can be. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was popping in and out and there was no wind, a perfect day for boating
We made it to the winding point at 6.45am, and winded just past St. Mary’s Rd Br. The winding hole is right by a school, but being so early there were no children playing in the playground. They were all probably still tucked up in bed.
We then had to pass all the moored boats again, which took us 20 minutes as we once again crept past on tick over. We arrived at the junction 8.05am and said goodbye to the Slough Arm which was built in 1882 and is 5 miles long, it sweeps over several aqueducts, which include the River Colne, Colne Brook and Fray’s River. The main traffic on the Slough Arm was bricks, made from the clay along the canal. One thing you notice is how straight the Arm is.
We turned back onto the Grand Union. One thing you see quite a lot of on the canal are Pillboxes. In 1940 a network of defences was quickly built all over the Britain to prevent a German invasion. The most seen defences were called “pillboxes”, small concrete forts that were erected at road junctions, canals and other strategic points. Sadly this Pillbox has been subjected to Graffiti, by those who do not care about this countries history.There seems to be a lot of building work going on along the canal, these places are apartments. To our Right we past Yiewsley and to our left West Drayton, none of the area was as built up as I was expecting.
We arrived at Bulls Bridge Junction and our Tesco mooring at 9.15am. Having locked up the boat, we went into Tesco with our back packs and did another food shop. The moorings are very good, you can stay there for 24hours.
Having done the food shop, and we were back at the boat, we found we had a couple of issues to resolve with the boat, one of them being the oil pressure gauge playing up, found that it was leaking, so we had to make a decision as to what to do, should we carry on down the Paddington Arm or should we head back to Cowley and the Chandlery to repair the leak. We decided to head back to Cowley, Keith did not fancy going on with it leaking as it was. So we turned the boat around and headed back to the Slough Arm Junction where we moored up for the rest of the day. Unfortunately the Chandlery was shut so we will have to wait until the morning to see if they have the bits we need. Oh well such is life. We did however get to meet Trevor, who owns NB Juno and helps to run the teaching boat Elsdale2. He is a lovely guy and we enjoyed nattering whilst we made decisions and phone calls.

Tuesday 29th April.
Last night whilst sitting on our mooring, I took this photograph of the sunset, which I thought was in it’s way very beautiful.We are so lucky to be able to see such a lovely evening. I can imagine that so many people never take notice of the sunsets, as they are so busy with their lives.We woke up to rain and more rain, it was not a beautiful morning unless you were a duck, and I am not even sure they would of enjoyed the rain. Paddy got his walk in the rain, which cheered him up no end (NOT). Having had breakfast and a cuppa, we took a walk over to the Packet Lane Marina to the High Line Chandlery to see if they had any bits to repair our Oil Pressure Gauge, but they were shut. Fortunately the workshop behind the chandlery was open and a couple of gentlemen tried to help us out, but sadly they had nothing which would fit. So it was off back to Uxbridge and the Uxbridge Boat Centre, which was the old Fellows, Morton and Clayton yard opposite The General Eliot. Even though the weather was not wonderful, we made it back to Uxbridge in good time and best of all the Chandlery at the Boat Centre had the piece Keith was looking for, so the Oil Pressure Gauge is now fixed and no longer leaking, meaning we have a fixed pressure. We decided to take Hadar up through the Uxbridge Lock and wind her, ready for the mornings early start, we found a mooring opposite the Denham Marina and near The Swan and Bottle pub for the evening.Hopefully tomorrow we will make an early start for Paddington, so see you here in a few days with an update.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Uxbridge to Iver.

Thursday 24th April.

The morning started off well, dry with the sun popping in and out, but it did not last, the rain soon arrived, leaving us sitting on the boat catching up with internet stuff and with me writing letters. But it was nice just to chill out for the day.

Friday 25th April.

A bright warm morning greeted Paddy and I as we opened the back cabin doors to the start of the weekend. He as always was raring to go for his walk and do what he had to do. Whilst away Keith prepared breakfast and a cup of tea, so when we got back it was all ready for me. The agenda for the day was to catch the train to Ruislip, Keith’s home town to visit old haunts and show me around.
So we walked into Uxbridge to the railway station, where we purchased an Oyster card, which youy can use on the trains and buses anywhere in London. The card cost £3 and you then add money to the card for fares. So for us if we bought a ticket it would of been £3 each to get to Ruislip, but with using the Oyster card it only cost us £1 each, so well worth the purchase. You can top the card up at any station.
Now for me this was the first time on a train for to many years to mention, I was a child the last time I went on a train. With the Oyster card you past it over a scanner and it lets you through the gate, we both got on the train and off we went to Ruislip
It was only a short trip through Hillingdon, Ickenham and into Ruislip.
Ruislip Station is one of the old stations and has a lot of character.
We took a walk along Ruislip High Street and as always we visited the charity shops, that is always a must for us no matter where we go. We then paid a visit to the church where Keith’s parents are laid to rest.
The church is absolutely beautiful, and even though it is in the town, it was so peaceful. We then took a walk to the house where Keith grew up, and he told me all about the places he used to go to. We then proceeded to walk into Ruislip Manor where we enjoyed a look around and had lunch before heading back to Uxbridge by train.
Once back in Uxbridge it was off to the cinema to watch The Spiderwick Chronicles with another set of free ticket from Nokia. This movie was absolutely brilliant, we both really enjoyed it. The computer graphics for some of the characters was amazing. If you get the chance to see the movie do go and see it. It has Joan Plowright and Nick Nolte in it. After the movie we made our way back to the boat for what we thought would be a quiet evening, that was not meant to be it seemed.
9pm and the karaoke began at The General Eliot, now on the board it said it goes on till 11pm hahahaha that was not the case. We were both tired so headed to bed at 10.30pm, we could hear singing but it did not bother us to much, so fast asleep we feel. I then woke up before midnight to lots of shouting and what was supposed to be singing, someone was actually murdering ‘Simply the best’ by Tina Turner, I lay there and listened to Keith sleeping and the racket outside of the pub in the garden.
Why is it everything sounds ten times louder at night.

Saturday 26th April.

It is something like 12.30pm and still the karaoke is going on, and the loud chatter in the pub garden. Everyone is having a lovely time apart from me it seems. I love a good time as much as the other person, but you do have to have a little respect for others. By the time we got to 1pm, I had been up and had a drink, listened to ‘Dancing Queen’ which sounded like a cat being strangled. There was one song a chap was singing to and he sounded really good, just a shame I cannot remember the song LOL. So finally at 1pm time was called on the Kareoke and the evening, so I thought great sleep at long last, ha ha ha, no that did not happen as they continued to be loud until 2pm in the garden, finally the landlord asked them all to go home phewwwwwwwww. So if you are going to moor near The General Eliot don’t do it on a Friday night, unless you intend to join in with the Kareoke.
Despite not getting much sleep, we were still awake at 8am and up for breakfast and Paddy’s walk. It was then all hands on deck for touching up paintwork, polishing the brass, and blacking the back cabin stove. All jobs that needed doing as the sun was out and it was lovely and warm. Mike from NB Solveigs Song paid us a visit, he and Julie have a mooring along from the boat yard and are fitting out their boat. We had lunch and continued with boat jobs, which also included a laundry wash. We were entertained by the boat yard as it was boat moving day it seemed, boats coming out of dry dock and a wide beam going in, boats being craned back into the water, it was endless excitement for a Saturday. Our evening was spent with Julie and Mike from NB Solveigs Song at The Dolphin pub. It was a lovely evening chatting to friends we have got to know from Boats and Canals Forum. It is always nice to put faces to the name and then feel like you have known them for years. So thank you for a lovely evening Julie and Mike, we hope to see you again at some point. Good luck with the fitting out of your boat.

Sunday 27th April.

We made the decision last night that we would move today, and because it was a lovely morning we set off at 9.30am from
The General Eliot and were heading for the Slough Arm (built in 1882) and High line Chandlery for a few items. We passed by NB Solveigs Song, but neither Julie or Mike were onboard.
We started out in sunshine, hoping that the weather reports would be wrong.
We saw a Jay taking perching on a moored boat. There was a time when we saw no Jay’s, but of late we have seen lots of them.
The clouds soon started to gather, and as we reached the top of Cowley Lock to take on water and empty the loo, we heard claps of thunder in the distance.

It was not long before the rain was falling. Be warned that the water tap at Cowley Lock is oh so slow, it took well over an hour to take on water, but it was not wasted as we spent it chatting to a boater who has a permit holder mooring below the lock. There is a lovely tea room and The Malt Shovel pub if you are in need of refreshment whilst you wait for the water tank to fill hahaha. The rain was falling heavily by the time we were full of water, so we decided to take the mooring below the lock and see what the weather does. Whilst waiting for the rain to stop, I stood and watched this cheeky squirrel sitting on a tree stump.He was not at all worried about me being there.
I prepared the lock for our entry, when another boat joined us. They left us at the lock whilst we moored up for what we thought may have been for the rest of the day, but having had lunch, the weather took a turn for the better, so we untied and headed for the Slough Arm and Highline Chandlery. The Slough arm looks quite desolate in places, and the water was now back to a dirty grey. You can hear the roar of the M25 as you approach the road bridge. It is not a noise I like to hear. I prefer the peace and quiet of the canal. Just as we reached the chandlery some kids hurled stones over a fence at a mobile home park grrrrrrrrr, thankfully they only hit the boats roof and not Keith and I. We moored opposite the chandlery and that is our mooring for the rest of the day. Keith and I did our bit of shopping, so now we have more things to do on the boat. I wanted a brass rail to go above the back cabin stove to hang towels on, but the one they had was to long, so we are going to make our own up with a brass rod and some fixings, it will do the job.Hopefully we will enjoy a quiet evening, and we will see you next week. If your bored why not join Boats and Canals and have a chat with like minded people

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Harefield to Uxbridge.

Tuesday 22nd April.

Up at 8am to a bright, sunny and warm morning, I took Paddy and my camera for a stroll back up past Copper Mill Lock to take some photographs of Pisces and the Copper Mill.
Pisces is the boat which Hadar is a copy of. Keith worked on Pisces when he was 15; even then he knew he wanted a brand new boat built like Pisces.
Pisces is in need of a paint job, as she is looking a little tired. She is used for youth trips and is run by Hillingdon Narrowboat Trust. She is the whole reason Hadar is now in existence, Pisces gave Keith a dream, which Roger Fuller made come true by building Hadar. So for anyone who thinks dreams never come true, think again. Pisces is moored near Copper Mill.
The big mill was once a paper mill, but once the canal was built it turned to making copper sheets, which were used on the bottom of boats. It has been turned in offices now, but they have retained the mills look on the outside.
Keith and I decided that we would make our way down to Uxbridge, so at 9.15am we left our mooring and headed off past Troy Cut, which is now privately owned. There is a lovely walk down to Troy Mill which is very ancient; there are some beautiful walks around the lake as well.This sign on the back of a wide beam boat caught our eyes, and made us giggle.
Whilst moving we heard a peacock, near Black Jacks Lock.
They are the most beautiful birds, especially when they display their tails.
At Black Jacks Lock there used to be a beautiful mill, sadly it is not looking so great these days; it could do with some TLC.
We stopped off at Harefield Marina to empty the loo, £1 to empty a porta loo out there, but it had to be done.
I love funny signs; this one proves that someone needs to learn how to spell.There was another one after that one, which had the T missing.
The last lock of the 4 locks done was Denham Deep lock which is 11’1” deep. We then made our way past Denham Marina, where Keith’s father was the first Commodore of the cruising club there back in 1968, we later found out that the cruising club is no longer there, but the club house is still in the marina.
We moored up in Uxbridge at 11.55am, and took a walk into the town to find the cinema and have a look around. Having got back to the boat we moved it down to the General Eliot, and will be here for a few days. During the afternoon and early evening we set about cleaning off the dust which had accumulated at Harefield from the dusty towpath and got the brass all clean and shiny. Now wait for it to rain ha ha ha.

Wednesday 23rd April.

The morning started out damp with drizzly rain (what did I tell you), so Paddy had a wet walk, which as you know he hates. Having had a chilly night in bed, I relit the back cabin stove to warm the boat up a little. Marmite and Paddy were soon lying in the back cabin, enjoying the warmth; they certainly know where they want to be today.
We walked up town so that I could get my hair trimmed. If you have read previous postings you will know, I have been trying to find a hair dresser who does not want me to take out a mortgage for a dry trim. I finally found a place that would do a dry trim for £11.95, which is one hell of a lot better than previous quotes. I have long hair and I only want ½ an inch off the bottom, no washing or drying just a trim. So I went into SuperCuts, where you give your name then sit and wait to be called, it was perfect I was the third person there, so not long to wait at all and the young woman did a fab job. I will be using them again if I cannot find a hair dresser on the canal. We also went to the cinema with our free tickets from Nokia (thank you Nokia). We were also entitled to free popcorn and a drink, so hey when it’s free you do not refuse. Armed with tickets, drink and popcorn we went in and watched ‘In Bruges’ with Colin Farrell. I have to say that I would not have paid to see the movie. It was certainly different, not sure if I would have called it a comedy as it was advertised. What let it down badly was the language, the F and C words were used way to much for my liking and there was no need for it. It was as though they could not think of anything else to say so they stuck the F and C word in for affect, which was a shame. It was not one of Colin Farrell’s best films, but that is just my opinion. Still we have seen the film and it was for free, so we cannot complain to much, it also killed a couple of hours. Afterwards it was back to a very warm boat, with Mog and Dog both lounging in the heat. It was a good day, doing things that we wanted to do.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rickmansworth to Harefield.

Monday 21st April.

Having already posted for the weekend, I thought I would just tag this onto today, which is my Birthday, arghhhhhhhh another year older, but also another year wiser he he he.
Yesterday (Sunday) having had lunch, we were glad to see the sun finally poking through. We had been stood out on the towpath talking to Mike and his friend from the Canal Centre, when we decided that we would move the boat down to Harefield as the afternoon was so nice, but first we moved over to
Frogmoor Wharf to do a shop at Tesco.
Having done the shopping we moved off at
2.20pm to make the short journey to Harefield where Keith’s sister and husband live. As we headed off we noticed two boats following on behind one of which was Pisces’ the boat which Hadar is modelled on, along with her was NB Spirit of 57 another youth boat from the same place as Pisces’, they had been out with a group of youngsters for the weekend.
As I worked the first lock we were joined by Spirit of 57, to share the lock and the work

The joy of this situation was the youngsters on the boat were more than happy to do the work, so I climbed down the lock ladder back on to the boat and left them to the hard graft LOL. They were a lovely group of boys and really polite.

The farm after Stockers Lock is famous for being in the film Black Beauty, it is still a stables. I was a huge fan of Black Beauty when I was somewhat younger than I am now, but I still enjoy watching the film even now when it comes on, it is a real classic.

We then passed by a disused factory with its gorilla. Yes I lie not it has a gorilla hanging from it. Goodness knows how long it has been there. I know we walked down this way back in 2001/2 and it was there then. Someone was either brave or stupid enough to climb up onto the rafters and hang him up there. It is however sad that the factory is in such a state. Something else we remembered was the fact that now the moorings there are all permit holders only, that was not the case when we walked along this stretch before.Springwell Lock and once again the youngsters did the lock work, and very good they were too. There used to be watercress beds near by but they have long since gone and now it is a stretch which interests naturalists, because of the large variety of plant life. Orchids have been found in the adjacent chalk pits from time to time. I said before about the different boats we have seen on the Grand Union Canal and we saw another which interested Keith
It was a converted Thames Lighter, the reason it interested Keith was because his grand father was a lighterman on the Thames and would have used boats like this.We arrived at Coppermill Lock and the end of the journey for Pisces’ and Spirit of 57 they were now home; we however had the lock to do so we could find a mooring. Just below the lock is where canoeists practice on a slalom course of rough water which can push the boat across the canal.
We left them and went under the road bridge past the Coy Carp pub and hey presto we found ourselves a mooring at 4.15pm, so a short day for us LOL.We sorted ourselves out before walking up to see Keith’s sister and husband, also at the house were Keith’s other sister and brother-in-law who came to see us at Hunton Bridge, plus their daughter and son-in-law with their new baby daughter, who is absolutely gorgeous and was very good considering all the strange people who were coming and going. We spent a lovely afternoon nattering with the family. The evening was spent having dinner with Keith’s sister and husband it was no nice to catch up with everyone.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rickmansworth Aquadrome.

Friday 18th April.

A morning overcast and windy. If the wind would of dropped it would have been really warm. The sun did try to put in the occasional appearance.
Having walked Paddy early on Keith and I wrapped up against the wind and took Paddy for a walk around the Rickmansworth Aquadrome, which is an amazing place.
The lakes are full of wildfowl of all descriptions. With it being Spring many of them are either pairing up or already nesting. The Aquadrome, covering 100 acres consists of the lakes, grassland and woodland and is an ideal place for walks. At the centre of the Aquadrome are two lakes, formed by the extraction of the gravel used in the construction of Wembley. It is also used by fishermen, boats and water skiers as well as the waterfowl. It is an ideal place to take the children and walk the dog, but I would suggest that if you are walking the dog, you keep the dog on a lead, so they do not upset the nesting wildfoul at this time of the year.

Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th April.

As we are still at the mooring in Rickmansworth I thought I would show you some of the wildfowl we have seen on the Aquadrome. No photograph I can take can ever do this beautiful place justice, it is really stunning even in the overcast weather we have had for the past couple of days. Not only is there plenty of wildfowl to look for there are also plenty of plants to keep an eye open for.
We spotted the first Bluebells in a small wood.Along with them were clusters of Forget-me-nots.
First on the wildfowl list were lots of Swans, some of the adults have their cygnets still with them from last years breeding. We were excited to see a pair of Giant Crested Grebe, we saw a couple of pairs of these amazing diving birds.
It is a bird watchers paradise, there are hides which can be used if you so wish.
As this is Spring, there are no end of little ones around now, a proud pair of Coots showed of their two off spring, they always look so prehistoric when tiny.
Even Mr Robin wanted to get in the photographs.There are a lot of proud parents out there, but the proudest seemed to be the Canadian Geese, who had a cute family of 7.The seasons never cease to amaze me and the wonders they produce. If you are ever passing through Rickmansworth, please stop off and take a walk around the Aquadrome, you will not be disappointed by what you see there.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hunton Bridge to Rickmansworth.

Wednesday 16th April.

Having enjoyed a lovely evening onboard Hadar with Keith’s sister and brother-in-law, talking about the canals, Walkers of Rickmansworth and catching up on the family, we awoke to a bright sunny morning. With all the morning jobs done we set off at 8.15am for Rickmansworth with 12 locks to work on our way there.
The first wildlife of the morning popped her head up as we past her by having done lock one.
This Canada goose was sitting very tight on her nest; she was not the only goose we saw on her nest as we cruised to Rickmansworth.
Having done the Hunton Bridge locks, we entered the realms of Cassiobury Park, with its tight bends and fabulous countryside, with woodland walks for all ages.
One of the tight bends took us under this snake bridge. Along side the canal the river Gade winds its way, giving us wide stretches of water to admire. We proceeded under the ornamental stone bridge ordered by the Earl of Essex, before he would allow the Grand Junction Canal Company to cut the canal through his park land.
The property of the Earl of Essex sits proudly on the hill looking over its beautiful Grove Park, park land.
We then approached Grove Mill and it very impressive building, which now looks like it has been turned into apartments, but never the less it has kept the mills outward appearance.
It is lovely to see old building being used to good affect, we seem to be in a day and age when developers have little respect for this countries history, they would rather knock something down, than restore it and keep the buildings outward appearance.
We will be come a country with no historic buildings if this is allowed to continue.
With the leaves now blossoming on the trees, it makes for a wondrous trip through Charlottes Vale and the Cassiobury pair of locks. At iron Bridge Lock there is a commemorative plaque, unveiled by the Duke of Malborough 1787-1987, to mark 200 years of the Grand Union Canal’s existence.
We skirted past Croxley Green the home of the Croxley Paper makers and passed down through Lot mead Lock, where we saw NB’s Albert and Victoria.
So our day was almost at an end with the decent through Batch worth Lock where you can find the Canal Centre, where they will give you a warm welcome and a cup of tea or coffee for 60p and cup. There is also a sanitary station below the lock and excellent visitor moorings which would be our home for the coming few days. We moored up in front of Historic working boat Roger.
So it was welcome to Rickmansworth. For me it was a first time visit. Keith had been here before back in the early 70’s. At 12.15pm we moored up on the visitor moorings opposite Tesco, which used to be Walkers the boat builders and timber yard in later years. Our brother-in-law Terry had connections with Walkers, as his mother worked for the company when they were a timber company. There is an excellent book called Walkers at Ricky by Anthony J. Walker, it gives you the complete history of Walkers the boat builders.
So anyway we had some lunch, then took a walk into the own to see what was on offer. It is a lovely little place, where you will find useful shops, a museum, library etc. We have enjoyed our time here so far. Now I like to show you odd things when I see them. Coming into Rickmansworth this boat caught my eye.
It reminded me of the nursery rhyme about a crooked house, this being a crooked boat, which has a lot of character.

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

Another thing that tickled me was this bush growing out of a boat fender.It is starting its very own garden.

Thursday 17th April.

As we are staying in Rickmansworth for a few days, we thought we would have a good look around this historic place full of canal history. Firstly Paddy got a walk around some of the Rickmansworth Aquadrome; it came about after the site was used for sand and gravel extraction in the 20’s and 40’s. Today it is home to wildfowl and lots of wildlife. After breakfast and the usual cuppa we paid a visit to the canal centre, which is based below Batchworth Lock, it has some useful information about Rickmansworth and the town itself. We enjoyed a coffee with the gentleman running the centre for the day. There is a photo album dating back to 1919, with some amazing canal photographs in it. I am a lover of old photos and history. Having spent sometime chatting we took the short walk into the town, and searched out the IWA’s head quarters. Lunch was spent in Tang’s a Chinese Buffet and very nice it was. All you can eat for £5. Once back at the boat, Keith glossed the engine and I glossed the touched up places from a few days ago, but with a dusty towpath and a brisk wind blowing, I knew I would have to repaint them once the wind drops. A quiet day in many ways but most enjoyable.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Winkwell to Hunton Bridge.

Monday 14th April.

A bright chilly Monday morning, but with the sun shining it was a good day for boating, in fact everyday is a good day for boating, when you having nothing else to do, like Keith and I. So having done all the usual stuff first thing in the morning, I am not going to bore you with the details; we set off at 8.15am with my first duty to open the Winkwell Swing Bridge. You need a BW key to operate this electronically, put in the key and push the buttons easy peasy, you get to watch as the traffic ques in this narrow lane hahaha. Once Hadar was through, I closed the bridge and allowed the traffic to flow, before heading to lock one of the day by the Middlesex and Herts Boat Yard. The railway runs very close to the canal and we saw the Caledonian Sleeper Train, on its way south. We headed on to Boxmoor Top Lock and Fishery Lock, where the Fishery Inn is situated on the side of the canal. Keith remembers this pub and reckons it has changed a lot since he was through here last, which was back in 1970.
Whilst coming out of the Fishery Lock Keith picked something up on the prop and Hadar was not very responsive at all, so whilst under the Road Bridge for the pub, he delved into the weed hatch and pulled out a huge piece of blue plastic.
That then ended up in a BW bin by the pub. Onwards past Boxmoor and Hemel Hempstead. You can moor just out side of Hemel and it is only a short walk into the centre of town, which we may do next time we are this way.
We passed by what used to be the wharf where the old Lime Juice boats would pick up their cargo. It is now a B & Q, how the times have change huh?
Later on we would discover that the old Ovaltine factory has also been torn down and is now apartments. Our history is evaporating away into the mists of time it seems, all for the want of progress.
We took on some water and emptied the loos at Apsley, where if you need a provisions shop you can moor up below Apsley lock to go to Sainsbury’s.
Keith was reminiscing about the time he came through this area he remembers when this area was all mill’s, these days it is all apartments.
There is a pub named The Paper Mill. A gentleman poked his head out of the window of the old mill and shouted “Who built the boat”, I replied “Roger Fuller in Stone Staffs”, his reply was “The boat speaks for it's self, it’s a lovely boat”. Now how can we disagree hahaha, she is a lovely boat and we are her very proud owners and is any owner of their own boat.
Whilst we have been out on this journey we have passed many old working boats and today we saw Belfast, she is now used as a trip boat for youth groups etc.
We also past a Reach Out Project boat, which takes youngsters on cruises, giving them a whole new experience, away from their everyday problems.
These projects are so worth while. I for one was getting peckish, having been working the locks so I had put some sausage rolls in the boatman’s cabin stove to warm, so we enjoyed them and a coffee as we continued on our way.
As I said earlier we are never very far from the railway, it can always be either heard or seen from the boat.
The canal then widens somewhat, just like Tixel Wide on the Staffs and Worcs, as we head past Kings Langley. We are then into the realms of more new apartments and some industrial building.
As we approached Home Park Lock there is a lake on our left and look who we found in the lake.
Nessie has moved several hundred miles South LOL. All around the lake there seems to be things of interest. In the distance we could hear the roar of the M25, as we got closer it became a deafening sound of traffic.
So having down 13 locks we stopped at Hunton Bridge just south of bridge 162 at 1.20pm. The reason for stopping was Keith has a sister who lives close to Hunton Bridge and it will be ideal for them to come and visit us. Lunch was one of the first things to be done as we were both hungry. Having eaten lunch we then relaxed and did very little for the rest of the day. Hunton Bridge does have a small shop which is well stocked with provisions should you need them. It has a pub, a bar with a pizzeria and coming soon is another place to eat, which also has accommodation, apart from all that and the beautiful church there is only houses to look at. As we came into Hunton Bridge we could not help but notice the new housing estate that is going up, so it looks like the busy roads will need to cope with yet more cars.

Tuesday 15th April.

A bright and sunny morning, we were woken up by the traffic noise going over the Hunton Bridge road bridge. With living and cruising on the canal, you easily forget how loud traffic can be. We were given a reminder as we lay in bed with a cup of tea, deciding what should be done for the day. Keith’s sister will be visiting us later, so we have a day to fill.
First on the list of things to do was feed Marmite, who always lets you know in no uncertain terms that she is hungry, so having given her, her breakfast, it was time to take Paddy out for his walk, he gets his biscuits when he gets back and then settles down for a nap. It is such a hard life being a dog ha ha ha.
As it was so nice out Keith and I took a walk to see if we could find anything else to see in and around Hunton Bridge, we even walked up the main road to Kings Abbott and got as far as a row of shops which included a Spar, but it is hike and up hill, so maybe not that great for a food shop, but then again if one is desperate.
Having got back to the boat and had a coffee, Keith set about repainting the engine on the parts which need touching up after having the head skimmed. I know, I know it has taken this long to do it, but it is getting done now and will look splendid when the green is applied.
I also wielded the paint brush again on the bow to touch up the paintwork. As many boaters know it is a contact sport, so you will never really keep your boat scratch free, but it always pays to keep the scratches touched up, meaning a less difficult job later on when the rust has set in. Tina cover your eyes, you do not want to see the next photo he he he he.
Not only that we are taking Hadar to the IWA National Festival this summer so we want to keep her looking nice. If you are going to the Festival come and say hello.
As you look out of the back cabin of our boat there is Hunton Bridge, Bridge and a row of houses, Keith and I have been fascinated by a pair of ducks who seem to like the high life, because they sleep on the chimney stack of one of the houses, every time we look up, there they are fast asleep.
There is also a very cheeky Squirrel who pinches the bird nuts from the feeders; we have not worked out how he gets to this lonely tree on the corner of the bridge yet. It has been a beautiful day, the sun has shone on us all day, and sorry if you have had rain all day, maybe you will get the sunshine tomorrow.