Sunday, 31 May 2015

We have the power!

Friday 29th May to Sunday 31st May 2015

A couple of nice relaxing days at Alperton was what we needed - Diane has not been feeling the best - her asthma has surfaced and she is not doing too well as a result.
For anyone who thought that these house-boats never move - this one did -
admittedly not under it's own power!

It generally takes her a few weeks to get over it fully; it is imperative that in that time that she does not get a cold as well, so with warm weather we are fine.
Diane particularly liked this evening shot - I have to agree with her

We  didn't do much at all during Friday and Saturday - a walk down to Halfords for oil and Wickes for a drill extension to clean the Reflecs (thanks to Tom's sugestion on nb Waiorou).
Back to the boat and a general engine and battery check was all we did for Saturday morning.
These two boats cruised past whilst we were just doing not much at all

Diane had listed a Chinese luncheon - so back to our favourite East PanAsian Restaurant at Alperton - another excellent meal - I can highly recommend the chicken's feet.

We were back onto the boat to avoid the sudden drop in temperature in the afternoon; a few more sets from the French Open before we settled down to watch the FA Cup.

What an anticlimax it all was - Arsenal outplayed AstonVilla - I think the witches hats would have done better.

Over the last week or so we had recorded a few programs and we managed to catch up on some of these on Saturday night before finally saying it was time for bed.
Thought the days of horse-drawn boats were gone - but here, on the roof, the
hay was ready.

Sunday morning comes along; we have a need/plan to move - what happens - it has rained virtually all night and pretty heavy in the morning - aaarrrrggghhh!!!!

Anyway, after breakfast it starts to ease off and eventually it stops completely - hooray.

Not long after 10am we head off; Diane is confined to indoors on my orders - for once she obeys - I suspect it is only because she had the washing machine going and she could keep an eye on it - I don't care why she agrees but it is better for her indoors where it is warmer than outside where it is weather for cows.

We need to empty a couple of cassettes and fill the water tank - with a boat just starting to fill their water tank at the Little Venice services we reluctantly moor just in the narrow part by the bridge - empty the cassettes and dump the rubbish.

A wide-beam is waiting to come through but shows us another water point by the cafe boat so we basically swap places and they are on their way and we are filling with water - the back section of the boat, which is open, is protected under the bridge, as it suddenly pelts down and continues to rain quite a lot - only easing and stopping when we have a full water tank and ready to go.

With the rain stopping, the temperature had also increased and Diane was able to sit outside and enjoy the Regents Canal - a lovely stretch in any location, but especially lovely in the centre of London.

Down through the fishbowl which is Camden Locks - the rain has reduced the normal crowds - we also took the opportunity by Bridge 27 to pull in, I held the boat (no where to tie up ropes) and Diane popped into Costa - why is there no cruise-through lane?

Onward to St.Pancras Lock - met up again with the commodore (we had seen him when we were last through there, a mere 9 days ago); we also saw nb Water Song who had breasted up with us in Paddington Basin - all-in-all we have now built a relationship with the commodore and a few suggestions from him may come in handy further down the line - the old adage "what goes around comes around" has appeared - I like to think that just being nice costs nothing.

Finally we made our way into Battlebridge Basin for our mooring at the London Canal Museum - you need to book it and arrival time is around 4pm and you must be gone by 10am.

For ₤8 per night you get power as well - so someone (aka Diane) has been beating the hell out of the washing machine and the television.

We are comfortable ensconced here - a crowbar may be necessary to remove us - eventually.

When you have the power, you have the power!!

10 Miles, 4 Locks, 1 Tunnel
YTD: 395 Miles, 211 Locks, 9 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3289 Miles, 2332 Locks, 107 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 162 Swing Bridges

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Left Hand / Right Hand not communicating

Tuesday 26th May to Thursday 28th May 2015

We really do love mooring at this parkland area and the new spot is even better - a feeling of seclusion and privacy.
The sun was out in full force on Tuesday and we were really basking in it literally. The solar panels were pumping the amps back into the batteries at a furious pace, so much so that the engine stayed dormant for the first time in such along time - that really is saying something as the television was on most of the day as "her indoors" was watching the French Open (and she does love her tennis).

It was unfortunate that I had to work most of the day and miss a lot of sunshine and then, yet again, I had a night shift to work - but that appears to be part of the price that I need to pay.

The night work is basically unloading parcels and packages from trucks and sorting them into the delivery runs for the local drivers, but it appears that I must be getting used to - it was a particularly busy night - after the Bank Holiday - so much more to do, and the soreness of muscles and limbs that I have usually experienced was just not there.

Diane had run the engine on Wednesday morning primarily for hot water and a bit of vacuuming but after that the sun took over again; she was lounging out on the sun chair when I arrived home - after a quick shower I was off to bed for a bit of sleep.

What a boring existence that is!

We had arranged to visit Maggie and Paddy in Watford on Thursday and as a second thought I also arranged for a delivery of our engine filters for the next 12 months as well; Diane had also done an on-line repeat for her prescriptions to collect from her doctor - so it would be killing 3 birds at the same time.
We determined that it would be a simple 30 minute trip by bus and train - and it was - very straight forward.
First calling point was the doctor - they had no prescriptions ready at all - it was on their system as being ordered but no idea where it was - they really are bloody useless with their own system; so a new printout was done and submitted to be ready to collect at 2pm.

We had some lunch with M&P and heard about their recent trip to Spain and saw the photographs - very sunny and very easy for everything - they had a truly great time there.

Before their trip, whilst getting their suitcases out for packing they stumbled across a packed bag that we had left there on our trip from 2008 - they had forgotten about and so had we - mainly clothes that we obviously had left to save on being over the luggage limit.

The filters were all there too as well as our post.

We talked about the Thames trip and before we knew it it was time to leave - Diane straight to the station and me via the doctor's surgery.
Talk about a tragic comedy - when I got there, it was a different receptionist who couldn't find the replacement prescription forms, only wanted to tell me that it was only requested that morning and they do not do it that quickly - that is until she suddenly heard and verified that it had been ordered last Saturday and that they had lost it - still a bit of stuffing around and I was anxious to catch the train.
Eventually it was found and I was on my way - all this without raising my voice to the sensitive little old dears there.
We made the train, only to have a late announcement whilst travelling that the platform at Wembley would not allow people in the last carriage to open the doors.
A frantic dash forward but we didn't make it - London Euston next stop.

A couple of Underground trains and we were on our way to the platform-sign designation of Rayner's Lane - trouble was that the internal train announcements were saying Heathrow - different track on the same Piccadilly line.

Each new station had the same information as to the destination of the train - finally at Acton Town the driver announced that it was a Heathrow train - so off we got, as well as half of the other passengers.
Next train to arrive was correct (for us), but the same thing had happened except in reverse - it had been platform-signed as Heathrow but was in reality Raynor's Lane; driver makes the announcement and half the passengers got off.

Glad to say that we eventually made it back to the boat; everything all intact and we just relaxed.

(PS. I sort of overdid it with photographs on the Thames trip so none for these few days)

4 Miles
YTD: 385 Miles, 207 Locks, 8 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3279 Miles, 2328 Locks, 106 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 162 Swing Bridges

Monday, 25 May 2015

Farewell and see you soon

Sunday 24th May to Monday 25th May 2015
Diane liked this tree - mainly for the colour

The excitement of the previous day had not quite gone, at least for Diane, but for today it was a bit more sedate - well apart from the 8 locks immediately ahead of us, but the bright sunshine was a compensation for the work to come.

With the two boats together and the ground crew doing a sterling job, we raced through the flight, even able to get the lock ready for the single boat coming up behind us.
Locks 92-94 were known to the old boatmen as the "asylum locks" - the building
shown and the others behind were an asylum and now it is Ealing Hospital

This shot shows the unloading point for the coal deliveries  - the photo as
it exists today,shows where it was bricked up

Look carefully - road over the canal and in the centre is the railway below

an ex-lifeboat from the North Sea oil rigs coming out of the lock; I did manage
a bit of a look inside - nice for one but maybe a bit too small for me/us

The aim once we made it to the top was to head for the Tesco moorings at Bull's Bridge - both boats had shopping lists and whilst there were no free spots, we breasted up alongside another boat - empty, but presumably the occupants were also shopping.
Tone and I stayed aboard just in case.

Once the girls returned, seemingly as though they needed to empty the store, we stowed everything below and headed off.

We were now in need to take on more diesel - fill the tank and the cans - so we were heading towards Denham Marina where the price was low; nb MuchGigglin' would eventually need a pumpout, so it was easy to get both done together - fortunately they were open and we made it with time to spare.

Filled and emptied as needed we realised that it was time to go our separate ways and to say goodbye - just for now - not knowing when next we would meet - but it would be sooner than last time.
We have had such a great week together without being in each others pockets but together for such a long time.

We then headed south again to moor up and beat the weather - the clouds were definitely darker than earlier.
Down through Cowley Lock with a hire boat of Lithuanians here for a weekend and we immediately moored up for the night - a very peaceful night - we didn't realise until we had stopped that we were pretty exhausted - it had been 3 hard days in a row.

Monday arrived with a bit of sun and cloud and a light breeze; we would be heading to a mooring at Yeading (hopefully); a straight cruising day with no locks, which was probably just as well as we were both still tired and not 100% at the moment.

The sun has a way of rejuvenating tired and aching muscles and certainly make you feel much better; the cruise was very much uneventful, until we arrived at our desired location to find it completely full.
Not to worry we went on a bit further and found a spot less used, so the grass was very much longer but it was suitable.
A look down the Slough Arm as we passed by - we may venture down there
when we are next past here
We would have moored up sooner and more easily if it had not been for the branch lodging itself in the propeller space - it needed to be dragged out which was managed without too much fuss; we could then moor up and relax - Diane relaxed with the French Open; I relaxed doing work - although it is a Bank Holiday here, it most definitely isn't in Australia and so I had to work.
Our current mooring - see we are hiding in the grass

Now that it is evening and we have eased our tired bodies we do feel much better and will spend a few days moored here in peace and quiet.

15 Miles, 10 Locks
YTD: 381 Miles, 207 Locks, 8 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3275 Miles, 2328 Locks, 106 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 162 Swing Bridges

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Now for the Main Event - The River Thames

Saturday 23rd May 2015

The previous evening whilst having dinner we were talking to the fellow on nb Gertrude about leaving times and with the times for high and low tide known we all realised that an 0900 leaving time meant only one thing - we would be going head on into an out going tide.
Very calm in the morning

A leaving time of 14:00 or later appeared to be more in line with the tide times.
Sure enough when Tone phoned this morning the person on the other end realised that a mistake had been made and we were slotted into a 14:30 departure and now going on an incoming tide to get to Brentford about 1700 which is when the lock was opening anyway - all sorted.

So we had an additional 5 hours at our disposal - after a short walk to pickup a newspaper and some pastries (for morning tea), we then headedout for a walk down to Canary Wharf and a lookaround there.
We had passed through Canary Wharf but only on the DLR and that was simply to change trains on our way to Greenwich.

It is just so strange that being in such a large city and more specifically in a large, some would think of as out-of-the-way place for a Saturday, that we should run into but Sue (nb NoProblem) and Anne (nb Moore2Life) - but we did; they looking for the Underground and we looking for the services block.
After a quick rundown on what we were all doing we were all on our way

Eventually we found our point of interest and all was good again - so time to refill and a convenient Costa was found where we could also download a couple of shows from BBC - someone else's broadband.

We made it back to the boat just in time to complete preparations before the rain came - nothing too heavy and not such that it would cause us any problem.

The rain ceased about 1300 and we could finalise the last minute things.

A third boat had been added to our convoy - nb Spiders Web (Irene and Barry) was travelling to Teddington and whilst licensed with VHF, felt a bit more comfortable with someone who had done it all before (Tone and Julie).

We had been chatting with both of them the previous evening and again that morning and they were a lovely couple, so we had no problems.

So we all congregated in the lock ready for the time to go out...

(here is a selection of the 500 photographs that were taken during the journey)

waiting in the lock

gates are open and we cannot yet gauge what awaits us

bye Barry - see you on the other side

We are out

Fairly choppy at first...

...and then the clipper ferries come along - they don't (won't) slow down for us

looking back at Canary Wharf and another clipper coming along - you just
know that you are in for a rough ride with them

Tower Bridge and to the left is The Shard

The Globe Theatre

Tate Modern

Millenium Bridge and St.Paul's

we were doing 1500-1600 rpm most of the way - a bit more than the normal 1100

We both love this panorama photo 

The headquarters of MI6

Vauxhall Bridge - on each side are placed 4 sculptures of figures representing
Agriculture, Architecture, Engineering, Pottery, Science, Fine Arts, Local
Government and Education - interestingly they can only be seen from the river

MI6 behind Vauxhall Bridge

Battersea Power Station

Chelsea Flower Show

One for Andy - Fulham FC

Hammersmith Bridge

We were nearing Brentford, so time for us to slowdown a bit and for
Barry and Irene to carry on ahead

The entrance to the River Brent

Moored boats on the pontoons for the lock

according to Tone - this is a wide-beam; Diane pointed out we could breast up
safely as it had a white fender

Yellow wag-tail

Readying ourselves for the lock

above the lock we still had a little way to go - and now back to weaving in and out
amongst other boats

approaching Brentford Lock

Brentford services 

Finally after 3 additional locks to the Thames Lock we moored up at Hanwell - just at the bottom of the Hanwell flight - having had about enough for the day - a day of impending concern (trepidation one might say for Diane); but we conquered all of that without any problems - a bit harem scarem when we first came out from Limehouse Lock, but in the end we just enjoyed it.

We were all ready to eat and have a drink so we quickly adjourned to The Fox - we can highly recommend it - the food was excellent, the prices were reasonable and the drinks were just as good.

There is just one last thing to say - we are truly lucky to have met Julie and Tone all those years ago when we were wet-behind-the-ears novices; smart enough to keep in contact with them; and grateful to them for taking us along for this incredible journey that we have made today - Thanks guys!

18 Miles, 5 Locks
YTD: 366 Miles, 197 Locks, 8 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges

Totals: 3260 Miles, 2318 Locks, 106 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 162 Swing Bridges