Saturday, 21 November 2015

Old Man on the boat!!

Monday 16th November to Friday 20th November 2015

Although we have officailly finished our requirements we decided that we would stay a bit longer around the basin area – the primary reason being that the threatening winds upto 80 mph suggested that travelling would be the least sensible thing to do.

Once that decision was made we thought about things that we still wanted to do whilst we were here.

We had seen, during our regular walks, Kensington Palace and thought that it would be worth seeing, but only on a 2 for 1 offer which we duly instigated on Monday.
It contains four exhibitions in the one location and coupled with a lot of other things that we had already learned from other loctaions and visits, it helped to fill in a few more of the missing pieces in our knowledge of the royals.
On it’s own it is still well worth the visit.

my very own princess

The long Gallery

A most interesting piece - at first I thought it was a clock
but appears to be just a map

A representation of the working desk for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
- notice the two pictures on the left and in particular the one on the right of these two

The Lord Melbourne after whom Melbourne is named

Outside the gates which show the private apartments in the background where
some of the lesser royals now live

Tuesday was a pretty much a lost day – we had rain in the morning.
We did however wander down to Wetherspoons for breakfast and to use their wifi to download the new Windows 10 – rather than use up our Myfi allowance. It took a bit longer than usual, but the staff were very good – and obviously in a sign of things to come, looked kindly upon the old couple sitting there quietly for 3 hours.
in Wetherspoons waiting for our downloads to finish

Later we ventured out for the afternoon and evening in Watford.
My follow-up to some x-rays on my back and neck – it is a bit of a reality check when you go and see the doctor about these things and he sums it all up with the statement
“I can see some wear and tear in the vertebrae but that all seems quite normal for a man of your age”
That’s it then – I am officially old – I guess that the future holds that same statement over and over again whenever I visit the doctor.
You can just hear it all
“You have to expect that your joints will creak a bit for….”
“Your flexibility is just as I would expect for…”
“You are quite fit for….”

…a man of your age.

Anyway a man of my age still enjoyed a night out with Diane, Maggie and Paddy and  I managed to negotiate the train system on our way home with the wind ever-increasing and line disruptions due to trees fallen down.
When I say the “I managed” I did need some help from my much younger wife who in no way has had said to her “for a woman of her age” – perhaps she should apply for a carer’s allowance.
Maggie and Paddy - still looking good (for their age!!!)

On the way back we traveled past Wembley and managed to get this shot
from the train.

Wednesday was a little better with regards to the rain but still the wind was around but today we decided to do some walking a bit further afield.
On many of the British TV shows that we have seen over the years there are regular mentions of “whilst walking out on Hampstead Heath…” so I thought that it might actually be nice to go and see it in person.
After changing trains just the once we made it to Hampstead Heath station – right on the edge of the heath.
Luckily we had a map already printed on the iPad so it was easy to find our way around – because we found precious little of any signs to say where anything was.
The views across to London were just as we had seen on the TV; you can see how easy it would be to find a remote location to leave the evidence of a crime; it was in many ways quite different to how I had pictured it in my mind’s eye – but we did have a good walk around – not quite finding the conveniences which we knew were there (somewhere).
Looking over one of the lakes at Hampstead Heath

A brave soul using the swimming area - I felt cold just looking on

The shot we wanted - from Parliament Hill - looking out over London

The weather did deteriorate later on, so we were quite happy to be snuggled down in the warmth of the boat as some rain came down and the wind stayed blustery.

Thursday was to be our last day moored here in Paddington.
A few things were still to be done.
1. We wanted to send some more things home so off we went to the Doddle store at the station for a box
2. We visited the Charles Street Markets for fruit and vegetables – so that Diane could try out her new blender – we are going in for the pureed vegetable/fruit drink meal replacements.
3. We wanted to visit the lunchtime food market in Market Place
4. We had arranged to have a drink with Caroline and Gary from nb Inca

We did get a little wet with the shopping expedition but all was achieved satisfactorily.
The food market offered a few more varieties to those that we had already seen and we caught up with Caroline and Gary there as well whilst we all ate.
That made it pretty simple to then wander off to The Dickens in London Street where we enjoyed a few hours together discussing – well discussing what boaters always seem to talk about – our travels and people that we have each met and other that we have yet to meet.
Enjoying a lovely afternoon with Caroline and Gary

Oh and we also did mention toilets as well.

It was a very good afternoon and very glad to have met them both – we will be crossing paths with them over winter and into next year I am sure.

The knowledge was with us for Friday – well it was with the young woman sharing the boat with me – she knows how to read all those apps that we old men don’t know anything about, so I was informed that the rain would be disappearing and the wind would be dropping.
It was as it was told it would be.

Firstly though we had to drop off our package at Doddle to send back to Melbourne – really a fair bit easier than with the Post Office and substantially cheaper – for the same price as a package I had sent back just a week or so ago, we managed to send back 4 times the weight.

After that and a last coffee at our regular Costa, we untied the ropes and pushed away – heading around to the basin to wind; saying a last goodbye to Gary (Caroline was out walking Hamish) and we drifted slowing past the boats that we knew by memory (still moored in the same places from 3 weeks ago) and around to the services at Little Venice – the water tap is so slow that we were there over 90 minutes to fill the tank, but after that we were able to be on our way.
On the move again - Wembley seems to be everywhere

and quite like the look of this smallish dutch barge

Mooring up at Alperton outside Sainsbury’s in a spot exactly the right length for the boat – marvellous.
The feel of winter was certainly upon us and really the thermals will be getting a bit of wear when next we cruise – I was freezing most of the way and still cold for quite some time after.
The Reflecs was working well and the boat was very cosy for the rest of the day – I doubt that it will be turned off for a while yet – the forecast for the next few days is for low single digit temperatures over night and higher single digit maximums – yep, winter is fast approaching – this is just the start.

7 Miles
YTD: 855 Miles (1376 km) , 527 Locks, 14 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 16 Swing Bridges

Total: 3749 Miles (6033 km) , 2648 Locks, 112 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 167 Swing Bridges