Sunday, 10 May 2015

To London, to London ...again

Friday 8th May to Sunday 10th May 2105

Writing this now, on Sunday evening, Friday just seems so long ago, but that is only because we are starting to cram a lot into the hours available.

We knew that we had a few miles toget into our mooring and along the way we needed to have a decent shop at one of the Sainsbury's along the way, so after I had got some work done for the day, we readied the boat and headed off.
As it was all plain cruising, under orders from "she who must be obeyed" I went back inside to finish off for the week and have it all done before the week off. There was also the little matters of coffee supply and keeping an eye on the washing machine - talk about multi-tasking - all men can do it easily, just work as normal.

Somewhere along the way came the message that I had another shift for that night - which we had half expected anyway - so that would necessitate a check later on regarding travel arrangements.

We stopped at Kensal Green for theshopping and then at the services point at Little Venice for water, elsan and rubbish disposal - clearing out the rubbish that has accumulated by our own use, what was picked up at Bull's Bridge and from Diane's clearing out of clothes and other things in the change over from winter to summer, it actually felt like we had got back half of the boat - at any rate it was worthwhile buying a cat.
This fellow on the left stayed around without flying off as is usual, for our
visit to Kensal Green

We were welcomed by Sarah from Bespoke Boating Solutions Ltd and shown to our mooring; she explained a bit about the area and made sure that we were OK with everything before leaving us to it.

Afterwards we wandered around down towards Paddington Basin where we came across nb Waiorou - daring to venture onto the pontoon and hoping that there was life aboard, we were most pleased to see happy smiling faces - once aboard we met their son, Daniel, now based in London (for the time being).
With Tom on Waiorou

What's that you say - a thorn between two roses - exactly

Over tea we caught with each other adventures - the truth sometimes is that with the blogs that we all write, most of what we have been doing is already known - it is the more intricate details that we exchange - and for each of us that was true.
I have to say that it was Daniel to bring up the subject of toilets and like moths we were entranced by the "flame".

After we had left and made it back to the boat there was time for some dinner and then I needed a bit of a nap before it was time to be off for another shift and leave Diane to the utilisation of the full width of the bed - but she also to make her own coffee in the morning.

The following morning after a bit of an early mark, I made it back to the boat by 11am to find that she had gone out - I thought that most probably it was to see Tom and Jan to test Tom's ability to add the EE APN details for our 2nd phone - no problems with that, I simply went to bed for a bit of a sleep as I was yet again completely knackered.
It was also Jan's birthday, so equally it was a chance to drop off a small impromptu present for her - so Happy Birthday Jan.

Later on after waking I found out that she had arrived back and in contrast to years of experience, she had come back to our home without making any noise and I remained asleep.

Tom had done the trick with the phone, but unfortunately Diane had not remembered all of the process so we walked back to see Tom and Jan to get the procedure right.

After saying our goodbyes, by which time a couple whom Jan had met briefly had arrived by chance and were about to start chatting away - we wandered off down to Praed St and the onto The Dickens to watch the Palace v United game (insider knowledge from Paul - thanks for that) and decided on dinner there as well - lucky that we also won - now almost assured of a return to the Champions League.

Sunday came and one of the kids remembered to wish a Happy Mothers Day to her mother; the boy remembered later on - 2nd Sunday in May is Mothers Day in Australia.
I did manage to go out early and grab a few photos of the 'pool' on a calm morning.

We were off early with a full program of places to visit from our list - the trouble was that today was a fine sunny day (so there would be a load of people out and about); it was memorial Sunday for VE Day (so there would be a load of people out and about); we were venturing to right where the parade would take place (bloody crowds - I hate them!!).

Arriving at Westminster station it was a bit pleasing to see that we were tooearly for the main event andhence in places there were morepolicethan spectators, but still there was restricted pedestrian access around the whole area.
We did make it to Clive Steps and the Churchill War Rooms museum - our first destination - with the 2-for-1 offer we saved money (and had more than paid for the National Rail tickets).

Undoubtedly a tribute to the man himself, it is an insight also to the conditions and pressures under which a great many people worked during the years of WWII.
It starts with the war years and some of the events in the life of Churchill both immediately before and after and after the many events of the war it then goes on to look at the growth of the child to his entry into politics and also his life after the war until his death.
There were many static displays of how it would have looked

Just one of the meeting rooms in the underground complex.

One of the bedrooms for Mrs Churchill

Another staticdisplay of the room housing the "hot line" to American
President Roosevelt

You thought kitchens on boats were small - this one served many more than
just the couple on a boat

Of course where would we be without discussing the toilet
arrangements - Elsan was a big hit even back then

There is no doubt about his leadership during the great pressures of the war and also no doubt, in his own words of his failings during his life.

Just as we had reached the end of the experience we heard the fly-over from the parade and service above ground, so we knew that it would be busy when we finally headed to ground-level - we weren't startled with the numbers.

Heading back to Westminster we then took off to London Bridge station where we wanted to visit the Old Operating Theatre (more savings with the 2-for-1) - Diane, being a nurse, particularly wanted to see this.
This particular building was originally a church and the actual theatre area and apothecary were "lost" for 100 years - after it closed it was simply "boarded" up and the people who did know about it moved on and eventually passed away
As is the case with other similar places we visited, there is the litany of gruesome stories of how medicine - particularly surgery - was undertaken in the past -thankfully modern medicine is at least more hygienic and with higher likelihood of surviving.

The steps leading up to and down from the Old Operating Theatre

State-of-the-art operating table

and some of the instruments

Add caption

...and anaesthetics as well 

Crowding around would have been medical students eager to
learn whenever an operation was performed

A bit like an everyday recipe found in a kitchen, but with
a more serious outcome

We had an interesting talk from one of the women there which dealt particularly with the progression of medicine today from the experiences and use of a great many plant-based treatments - just today these same active ingredients are synthesised in laboratory-based factory buildings.

We managed to fit in a National Trust building - this one being a working public house, but it was around in the time of Shakespeare - The George Inn

Our final stop was to be the Emirates Air Line from North Greenwich over the Thames to Royal Docks, but on our exit from the station we found ourselves in the midst of an Urban Village Fete - it was a good day for it - and guess what - a Sunday; great weather; good area for it - more crowds, although it was possible to walk around.
The first area tograb our attention was a modern dance troop with many tunes that had celtic origins - most probably Cornish and/or Bretagne - despite them saying traditional English Folk.
It was a captivating display and enjoyed it immensely.

A quick wander around the fete area with queues for food and drink and many stalls selling products we have seen in many similar fetes.
There was a interesting site selling alcohol -
Now there's a bar.

Fatigue was starting to set in so we knew it was time to just relax for a bit - as easy as pie we used the Oyster Card for the Air Line entrance and onto a gondola on our own for the trip across the Thames - high above it in fact - a 10 minute trip in total but with the added benefit of some amazing views.

The O2

The Thames Barrier

At the far end we could see the lengthy queues waiting for what would have been a return trip for us and that made up our mind - no point in dealing with that so we opted for the nearest DLR station and we were on our way.

Before boarding our train at Tower Bridge we found this alongside the entrance - part of the original wall surrounding the Roman town of Londinium -

As a means of discovering more of what was around us we ended up getting off at the Edgeware Road station and took a bit of a stroll down Edgeware Road to checkout a restaurant recommended to us by Tom and Jan - another place that we will be visiting in this coming week.
We do find it important to become more aware of the extended areas around where we are moored - particularly where we are now.

10 Miles
YTD: 335 Miles, 180 Locks, 6 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3229 Miles, 2301 Locks, 104 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 162 Swing Bridges


  1. You do certainly pack a lot into a day's sightseeing, Ray and Diane!
    Can you please tell me where you are moored in London and how you made the arrangements? It's 3 sleeps till we head for the UK and once back on board Waka Huia with composting loo and solar panels fitted, we are heading south to Londinium. So some info about moorings would be helpful, given that by the time we get there it'll no doubt be a fair bit busier.
    Thanks for your help, Marilyn

    1. Marilyn
      We are moored at Rembrandt Gardens right in Little Venice - we found out about it from Tom on nb Waiorou. Contact Sarah using the email - you will need to provide information about your boat and contact details
      Boat Name:
      Index Number:
      BSS Number:
      Boat length and beam;
      Insurance details: policy number: , expiry date:
      Postal Address:
      Telephone No: