Sunday, April 27, 2014

A decision has been made.

Sunday 27th April

Today we decided on Plan D(a).

As we pulled into the Tesco mooring last evening a gentleman (for he was such) gave us a hand hauling Jannock into the side. He’d brought his tateau (an invented word, descriptive) and bicycle across from the encampment on t’other side, tied up to a tree and was ready to take a rope. I admired his ‘captains’ hat, it looked perfectly normal (that’s a relative concept where boats and hired gin palaces abound) from the front but he’d adapted the crown to allow his abundant dreadlocks to fall free from the back. He was pleased that his millinery skills were appreciated. Then we came to musical skills; his ensemble ought to be named the “should be banned”. At about 9pm the drum practice started – there were no identifiable drums, little rhythm and no timing. It was just a case of bash what you can find and try to keep together. The old plastic tube and flip-flop combo sounds better. Perhaps their drums had been washed away by the winter floods, the encampment looked like a swamp. They have less to lose, but then so much more when I think about it.

We spotted a Cormorant surface with a fish which was about twice as big as it’s head. It went down with a deft flick and then it continued fishing by immediately diving under again.

The last time we were here on the Tesco mooring there was a dreadful problem with rubbish left around the bins outside the store. No more – the solution seems to have been to remove all of the litter bins. Makes sense, of sorts.

So, plan D(a); after much interwebbery it became clear that getting onto the K&A isn’t going to happen for a few days. We even saw the newspaper report of the boat stuck across County lock last Friday evening. The ‘steering’ committee took about 3 seconds to decide that Jannock will stay on the Thames for a while longer. The Red boards may start coming down today as the flow is decreasing above Goring but a little more rain could soon have them up again. CaRT seem to think the flow down the Kennet should reduce during this week. Safety (and insurance companies) first and all that.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

And today we have Red boards

Saturday 26th April

Today has been all about Red and Yellow boards. There has been less rain than yesterday, but that which bucketed Goslingsit down last evening and in the early hours has added to the flow down stream. I have never seen the Thames so high when we’ve been on it.

The morning started nice and sunny and we spotted these geese and goslings up in the field near last night’s mooring, eating the grass. As we passed Culham House, CulhamMysteryjust before ‘Flower Pot’ jetty at Aston, I spotted what appears to be a door into  the hillside – any-one got a clue what it’s for? The house itself doesn’t look old enough to have an Ice House. Narrowboat One Moore was spotted tied to the jetty.

At Hambledon lock we met our first Red board. We discussed stopping at Henley but decided to continue to Marsh lock before making the final decision. MidsomerWe had not experienced many issues as we were heading upstream which is the easier direction to travel. A check on the EA website showed that it was only the stretch between Hambledon and Marsh that was Red. This sighting of Midsomer Maiden in Henley shows that we are getting closer to home. When we got to Marsh the lockie said that the next section had just gone to Red but the one after was still on Yellow.

At Shiplake lock they were awaiting the arrival of “two southbound large boats who will be held here until pilots arrive to take them downstream”  The campsite at Shiplake was a very sorry site (sic). We’ve never seen it un-occupied before. Considering that Easter has just gone and May day on the horizon, there was only one tent left standing and the bases of others were being repaired. We have seen a lot of evidence of the damage done by the winter rains on this transit. Wrecked homes, trashed gardens, damaged moorings, splintered boats and fields still under water. A little extra dredging and some ditch maintenance really would not have avoided all of it.

SnowDropsAll of the islands along this section are covered with Summer Snow flakes (the Loddon Lily) – a bit like large snowdrops. 

At Sonning lock they were refusing passage to craft heading downstream.  A large hotel boat, possibly one of the two mentioned at Shiplake, decided to turn round and head back upstream at Sonning.

Two elderly gentlemen in a small Sea Otter told us they were just off to the Grand Union. It was not what they said but the way it was said that made us believe they thought they’d get there by Sunday teatime. Brenda said that they may not be “just popping” to the Grand Union so they turned back leaving a single hander to sit it out on the lock landing and wait. He had fully understood Brenda’s description of the cross currents at Shepperton Lock earlier in the week.

We were told by the single hander that the K&A was now closed to new traffic so what to do? I phoned Thames and Kennet marina to enquire a 7 day mooring cost for a 62’ boat, no services needed - £175. Ouch. I then rang Better Boating to see what it would cost there - £124 plus VAT to hang on the outside of another boat. Sheesh! So we ended up mooring up outside Tesco at Reading tied to trees again.

The latest news is that all sections from London to Abingdon are now on Red boards so we’ll think about plan B or C tonight.


Friday, April 25, 2014

It rained and re-rained, and then re-rained again

Friday 25th April

Today’s title was penned by Terry Darlington in ‘Narrow dog to Indian River’ but it seemed quite appropriate for the weather we’re having.

To start with, a couple of Bourne End pictures from yesterday afternoon.



We set off from our temporary mooring at Bourne End, (not that one – the other one) at about midday. It was raining lightly to I togged myself up in waterproofs and set off regardless. As the rain became heavier we noticed that all the ducks had quacked off, moorhens and coots had gone into hiding. Just loads of swans present at the bread-chuckery area of Marlow. We passed through Marlow lock and decided to pull onto the visitor moorings for a lunch break hoping that the weather might improve. 

Lunch over and I did some overdue electrical re-arrangement in the water pump cupboard to pass time before setting off again. It was still raining so on with the waterproofs and off we went again. It was raining so hard that I now also deployed the ships umbrella. Up through Temple and Hurley locks. The keeper of the latter asked how far we were intending to travel tonight so we told him we’d be stopping before Hambledon.Salters

Just before we found a suitable mooring spot on the Westfield Farm mooring site this lovely, but very empty, Salters trip boat passed us managing a nice speed against the river flow.

I spied a suitable location and wedged the bows into a tree root which gave me a lovely old tree stump to rope the stern to. Then, leaving the boat in forwards gear I moved up to the bow to rope onto the tree there. No sooner had I stopped the engine the farmers representative appeared for his £6 overnight mooring fee. He returned a short while later with the receipt. Real dedication considering the weather.

On reflection, this has possibly been the dreariest and wettest boating day we have had for a couple of years. Roll on summer.


Most of the day off.

Thursday 24th April

A lovely peaceful mooring in Cliveden deep where we sat and watched it rain a lot. Luckily it had stopped this morning and we had the experience of a lovely sunny morning to pass through Cookham lock and then moor up for 24hours.

I then returned to the ‘other’ Bourne End to fetch the car so that we could return home. Not originally planned during this trip but we were given tickets to see Alan Davies at Aylesbury Waterside theatre for our birthdays and so we headed home, did a load of washing and then went and had an excellent evening of entertainment from a clever and talented stand up comedian.

Back to Jannock to continue our journey on Friday.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Still struggling upstream.

Wednesday 23rd April

As the light faded last evening we amused ourselves by watching ducks and swans being swept Jannock at a rate of knots. Swans actually look puzzled when they are paddling hard but still rushing backwards. We laughed until we realised that the increasing river flow could put us on ‘red’ boards and stop us going any further. Graham put out an extra rope out before we went to bed.

We awoke to a little sun and a reduced current flow and so we were off by about 08:30. Our lovely peaceful mooring was about to be shattered as a team of tree surgeons had arrived to work in an adjacent garden, still Collection

making good after the winter storms. Graham has been taking photo’s of boats that still have not been recovered after being marooned in the flooding.

The sun stayed out with little wind creating a lovely day as we travelled up through Staines, Old Windsor, Datchet and Windsor.IMG_0069 As we passed through the gap between Eton and Windsor the widebeam hotel boat Tranquil Rose was pulling out and so we shared Eton Wick and Bray locks with them. The cook produced a wrapped slice of cake for every lock keeper. As Eton Wick was on ‘self service’ when we started locking through I was disappointed that I didn’t get a piece. Once through Bray the weather started deteriorating becoming cold and overcast with a threat of rain. The hotel boat pulled over to moor at Maidenhead whilst we continued on to Cliveden Deep before pulling over in the pouring rain.

Brenda & Graham

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Going upstream on Yellow boards

Tuesday 22nd April

It seems that 7am IS a time even when one is on holiday. After a very quiet night (Graham went over the Brewery Tap to sample the Brit Hop) except for the rain drumming on the boat roof. It is obvious that at Heathrow 6am is a time, but if you are jetting off to exotic time zones that’s understandable.

IMG_0041IMG_0043Locking out onto the Thames at 7:30 had two advantages:-

We caught a rising tide which helped push us upriver.

Better still, we were the only craft moving, so no trip boats and their wakes, no barges and no rowboats (until later – under tuition). Easy.IMG_0044

The first thing we spotted was a ‘Heron Tree’. This specimen had at least five nests with young that we could see.  As we left Teddington lock it seemed we were in elevated company. ‘Gloriana’ approached and her crew was looking as cold and IMGP4230damp as us. As it’s the Queens birthday – is she boating? It stayed cold on the river all day.

At Sunbury lock two large tupperwares pulled in behind us and roped onto the other side of the lock, the first had been a gent and made way to let us slip past easily on the way in. We then l;et them leave first as they were faster than us. The second boat had to be told by the lockie to turn their engine off. The female steerer admitted that she did not know how to and had to call her husband from lockside to assist. Her lack of experience became even more obvious as they left because she had the rudder over forcing the back of their boat into the middle of the lock rather than forward. The huge space hopper sized fender at the back of their boat rode up Jannock’s side and gave our cratch such a clout that the lockie enquired whether the damage was serious. Luckily it had survived the onslaught OK.

IMG_0056We stopped at Walton wharf for a warm lunch and a hot drink in an attempt to not have to share with them again. Graham found a couple of stretches of the Thames we’d not done before. The first, around the back of Desborough Island (avoiding Desborough new cut) contains a very nice secluded 24hr mooring spot which we’ll remember for next time we are in the area. The second was around the back of Pharaoh’s island after Shepperton lock.

As we approached Shepperton lock we observed a cruiser coming out of the lock shoot out across the river and then nearly run into the bank by over-correcting. This meant he nearly took the top of his boat off by passing under the lowest part of the bridge. Two more cruisers follwed him like rubber duckies down a water slide. The combined flow of the lock wier and the river Wey output was pushing them right across. I was warned! A deep breath, steer into the flow and gun the engine. I entered the lock with grace and composure. Phew was quickly followed by both of us trying not to giggle too much. A teensy narrowboat with an egg whisk for a motor entered the maelstrom. At times he was actually being pushed backwards. Phew #2 – he made it into the lock, but once in he mistook it for a swimming pool. He did a couple of widths and then a length before ending up behind Jannock. He grabbed his tangled, frayed rope which caught on his chimney and a mushroom vent, then he nearly swept his coffee mug off the roof before finally securing it to a bollard. Egg whisk off and lockie started filling the lock, at which point he got all tangled in his rope again and even managed to turn the egg whisk back on again whilst stood on the lockside. He smiled and suggested that we might have noticed that he wasn’t used to “this sort of thing yet” You’ll get the hang of it.

WhatBirdMadeTheseAs we left Penton Hook lock, we were deciding how much further to go today, when I spotted some nice moorings just above the lock. They are not marked on the map, are they Private? We stopped and I went back to ask the lockie who said we could moor here happily – so no arguments tonight then. There are public moorings and also in slack water opposite the wier stream – so kettle on then.


Monday, April 21, 2014

We’re on the move again

Monday 21st April

Graham was up and at-em early, a bank holiday still sees him raring to go even after a late night. Jannock was loosed off at 08:00 and all four crew of nb Gecko came to see us off - even though Brenda was still in her bed. As we left Paddington basin I was sorry for the boaters who’d come in over the last few days only to have to leave again as there was no where for them to moor. Many of the moored boats were there when we arrived and still there when we left, but seemed to have no-one aboard. Once the building work is complete there should be a few more berths for visitors to come and play tourists. In a fortnight it’s Canal Cavalcade in Little Venice, that’ll pack the whole area out.

Cops@CafeIn Alperton there is a cafe alongside the cut, it would appear that it is very popular with the local Police as we counted nine vehicles parked outside when we passed. Just after Perivale nature park we spotted two huge terrapins basking on an overhanging tree trunk. The smaller was over 12 inch shell length and nearly as wide.DesirableResidence

We pulled into the Tesco mooring at Bulls bridge for water and to re-stock the fridge. Don’t want any scurvy on my boat. Since it was a lovely warm sunny day I treated us to ice creams. Mistake – it angered the weather gods and the rain started as I left the shop. We ate them inside the boat, in the dry.

Onward as Graham had donned his waterproofs for the run down to Hanwell locks. However the light rain turned into a thunderstorm with added hailstones and so we stopped under the first sizeable road bridge HowToSlowCyclistswhich offered shelter. We, and a drenched cyclist, stayed in the dry for a good fifteen minutes until the punishment was complete. Once on our way again we spotted this original method of slowing down towpath cyclists.

Hanwell lock flight was completed with the accompaniment of sunshine and blue skies. At lock 96 we almost witnessed a ‘you’ve been framed’ moment. Graham had opened the offside gate ready for Jannock to pass through. A runner came out of a little lane, ran across the towpath and onto IMG_0038the closed gate. Two more strides would have seen him launch himself into the canal but luckily he spotted the other gate was open just in time. We would have laughed so much the gods would have needed to send more than a hail storm to punish us (we would have helped the runner out as well, of course ;^)

Down through the last three locks to moor at Brentford Thames lock to await the tide at 07:30 tomorrow morning. And we are just across the cut from the Brewery Tap, a Fullers pub. Just the one then ;^)


Day #4 as tourists in London

Sunday 20th April

Merry Eastmas

Things we learned today:-

You should never name your children after cocktails. Daiquiri is NOT a person’s name! I hate to think what his sister is called.

Do not book the Royal Albert Hall for a concert if Schneideryour fans like to dance in the aisles. It’s not allowed.

You can eat a packed lunch in the Science museum.

The street where baby prince George was introduced to the world is fairly grim. More commoner than royalty for sure.

It being in the same area as tonight’s concert, we decided to re-visit the Science museum after many years. We spent most of the day quite happily mooching about and managing to learn a thing or two.

A quick meal, we went for an English in the Goat Tavern – excellent food and good beer selection.

AlbertThen onto the Royal Albert Hall for the reason for this whole trip. Graham’s 60th birthday treat was Bellowhead’s 10th birthday concert. An extra treat was Maddy Prior joining them for a couple of songs. A novelty was a group of four girls dancing Morris on stage at appropriate times. As ever, an excellent concert. Happy birthday Bellowhead, 10 more years please?

We discussed whether to alight from the underground at Paddington or Edgware Road. Which would be the shortest walk back to Jannock. My feet were killing me! We chose Edgware MorrisSlowGin

which was great until we found that all of the security gates  through the tower blocks to the basin were locked so we had to walk back to Paddington station and enter via St. Mary’s hospital. Bah Humbug!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day #3 as tourists in London

Saturday 19th April

Last night, we ate at Palms Palace, 83 Edgware Road which is about 2/3rds the way down towards Marble Arch on the left hand side. Both our meals were delicious and filling. Remarkable was that G. tried and liked some of the chilli olives that came as nibbles. My lamb shank was so huge that I had to ask him to help me finish it. It is also a child friendly restaurant with plenty of child-safe dishes. Middle Eastern cuisine and take-outs too – Jannock recommended.Serpentine

So, a late breakfast today, followed by a walking tour. Up to Hyde Park in the sunshine. Speakers corner to the old Police house and then onto the Serpentine. We sat awhile and let others others run, cycle, skate, rollerski, jog, scoot, yoge (a new CampDavidword – meaning to do yoga) and pedalo. Then onto Apsley house, back into the park and turning for home. We watched a squirrel collect and bury nuts (or near equivalent) Neither of us have ever witnessed that beforeBarleyMow in all our country years, but in London  . . . . .

We crossed Pall Mall at the new Memorial for Animals in war and found ourselves, eventually, outside the American Embassy. It’s a short way from our lunch stop, the Barley Mow, a lovely real ale pub just off of Oxford Street. My ‘pub radar’ is still at 100%.Sweetmeats

Almost at Edgware road we were tempted into ‘Green Valley’ (36-37 Upper Berkeley St. off Edgware Rd) by a splendid display of Lebanese sweetmeats. They have a good selection of take-out foods amongst many exotic things to cook and eat. So tonight’s supper was a Lebanese platter of flatbreads, cheese pies, kebeh and salads. Tesco provided chocolate ├ęclairs. Red wine. Perfick!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Day #2 as tourists in London

Friday 18th April

A late start this morning – a public holiday meant hardly anyone rushing past Jannock on their way to work. We decided to take some exercise and Potterywalk to Portobello market for a mooch. We got there well before the tourists, the real ones, did and had a good look around. Following a group of Italians, one of which was pushing a bicycle, led us to wonder “what is the Italian for spokey dokeys?” Answers on a postcard please.PhoneCash

Having done the market and started the return trip the need for a cuppa and some calories kicked in. We returned to a stall where an NHS chef was demonstrating how to make a balti  but it wasn’t quite cooked. All I got was his spice mix recipe. Requests on a postcard please.

CloseWe had noticed a place advertising ‘all day breakfasts’ that was not of the cocktail lounge, yogurt smoothie or spelt ciabatta ilk at the posh (Notting Hill) end of the market, so we headed there. Wonderful, it was a Malay cafe with curry puffs !!! ( if you know me well you’ll understand ) So, we had lunch and curry puffs on the side. Their tea was excellent too. Another £15 for two lunches, even in Kensington and Chelsea.

The area probably was the reason for my smile when a grandmotherMurial impatiently reprimanded her charge with “Tarquin, do stop that chanting”. We just thought he was humming quietly. Grandma’s boyfriend came in and was singing snatches of old crooner classics loudly throughout their meal, but seemed quite acceptable – poor child.

SMachinesBack at Jannock and we got a phone call from Peter on Gecko. The boat moored next to him in the basin was just leaving, did we want to move down into the vacated space? We untied Jannock, made our way up to the junction at the top of the arm and winded. Then returned past our original spot and moved down into the basin proper. At least the solar panel will benefit from full exposure to whatever sunshine is available now.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day#1 as tourists in London

Thursday 17th April

Last evening, our friends Peter and Margaret, from nb Gecko, visited and we were introduced to their delightful grandchildren. They had had a good day out at Queen Elizabeth Olympic park and had a good time, so it’s on our itinerary for today. When our boys were small, after a visit somewhere, we’d ask them “best thing, worst thing and one thing you have learned”. I thought to pass this by M-R who was telling us much of her day. “What’s the best thing you did today?” I asked. Her fast response was “I got some new knickers!” so, Olympic legacy . . . . . I was too amused to progress to any more questions.

IMG_0016Our first destination of the day was Borough Market, recommended by friend Margaret, a foodie destination. We wandered around admiring the selection of veggies, Offalcheeses, meats, beers, oils, preserves, cakes – you get the picture. I was pleased to find that the Horseradish that I have just planted in my garden at home could fetch over £6 per kilo, and my homemade chutneys and jams are also worth the effort at “those prices”. We tasted some super grub. After wandering around the sweets and cakes our tummies began to rumble so we headed to ‘the Rake’ as IMG_0024recommended by ‘the Drinks Cage’ (stockists of bottled Vale beers) in the market. It must be the smallest pub I’ve ever been in. We sat in the garden and G. enjoyed  a pint of Jaipur (5.8% IPA) while I had a Peach Timmermans. The downside was they didn’t do proper food, many drinkersIMG_0020 brought something with them from the market. We regretted not buying fab chiabattas until we decided to get a hot Indian meal, in a box. We were stuffed with rice, two curries, samosa, onion bhaji and sauces for £15. Our dining room was the steps outside Southwark cathedral. Lovely! We then went on to find the Golden Hind, in dry dock. Interesting too were the remains of the Bishop of Winchester’s palace.

IMG_0030Then onto Queen Elizabeth’s Olympic park because I wanted to see it finished. Only open a couple of days but it was very busy. We loved seeing all the children enjoying themselves and have decided IMG_0032that scooters and roly-polys should feature in future Olympic games. It’ll be great when the waterways that pass through the park are fully open too.

Then we ventured into Westfield shopping centre as G needed some new trainers after a poorly toe. Never again; to think that some people enjoy that sort of shopping experience. I had a purchase in mind but put it back on the shelf as I decided that life is too short to queue for that long at the check-out. Your children’s shoe sizes could change before you get to the till. Even G. had gone up two sizes . . . . .

Then back to hotel Jannock for a cup of tea.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Well done the Constabulary!

Wednesday 16th April

Last evening, while Brenda was cooking a sinus busting chipotle pork, she espied a dodgy looking yoof putting up a small ladder against the ‘bite-yer-bum’ topped security fence to an industrial yard opposite. He looked around him, pulled his grey camo hoody down over his face and went up said ladder and over the fence, narrowly avoiding ‘shredded-crutch’ syndrome. Another look about and he was gone. What to do? It was well after office hours, the front gate was only a couple of hundred yards away. Didn’t look right so I dialled 101 to report a possible crime happening as we watched.

After a couple of minutes listening to a recording of Sir Bernard Hogan-How telling me what a good job the Met do, I was put through to a Police telephonist. I explained that I was a visitor to the area, on a canal boat and what I could see. Then came the inevitable question – “what’s your postcode?” How the **** should I know? “Where abouts exactly are you?” Even with the help of Mr Nicholson I could only estimate a location that made no sense at all to the call handler. Any how, crime number CRS8670 15/4/2014 was logged so we got on with our supper. About 20 minutes later camouflaged yoof appeared back over the fence and dived into the hedge. Then he produced tools various that included a pick-axe and started hacking away at something under the fence. Elfin safety would have required at least a hi-viz , hard hat and goggles but he did look a bit more legitimate now. I dialled 101 again and after listening to Sir Bernard yet again, informed the call handler that it was less likely that criminal intent was occurring. And then a copper appeared. Very plain clothes; only his warrant card flashed from a lanyard around his neck identified him. Words were had and off he went. Yoof was last seen clambering over the fence almost removing his testes as his trousers momentarily caught on the sharp pointy bits atop the fence.

That’s a court case I’d like to witness; industrial injury meets common sense and health and safety. We’re very sorry for the wild goose chase but can report a good response from the Met.IMG_0004

A fresh moorhen egg was there for us this morning, laid on one of our tyre fenders between the boat and the bank. I asked Brenda if it was edible but she said she had no intention of trying to cook it. Stupid bird. (the moorhen, not Brenda)

I was cruising along the Paddington Arm by 8am. Brenda stayed abed a while, only taking over the tiller once she had eaten her breakfast so that I IMG_0007could have mine. We stopped for water by the Black Horse at bridge 15 only to find nb Elbereth all closed up but moored on the water point. Not possible to go in front as we would block the bridge and there were other boats moored behind so we had to work around, on and over said nb Elbereth.

From then it was an un-eventful and IMG_0013pleasant run into Paddington. At Union Tavern we spotted nb Donnatella sporting a Cutweb sticker in the window and we know Gecko is about here somewhere too. We went into Paddington basin but there were no moorings free so we winded and moored, in the only free space in the arm, outside Paddington station entrance.

Wouldn’t you know, just as we’d settled another boat left the basin. Too much bother to move now.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Look at those flocking parakeets

Tuesday 15th April (please note correct date! I was told off by my brother ;^)

An un-eventful day after a very quiet night. Although we were in sight of a railway line when we moored up last night, it was only the Chiltern line and so we were not disturbed at all as the trains are both small and quite quiet.

The most exciting thing to happen today was the ‘words’ we had when I almost took on of Jannock’s windows out whilst exiting a lock. At DenhamMoorhenNest Deep lock a working boat was moored with it’s bows well into the lock throat. Graham opened the offside gate to let me exit but it would not open fully due to an un-seen obstacle below water level. He had to then partially open the gate on the same side as the moored boat and that caused a window pane to lightly kiss the bows of a working boat – luckily without the glass breaking. Good thing I hadn’t rushed at it, I claim it wasn’t my fault – a good boaters tactic.Progress

We then managed to team up with another southbound boat to share both Uxbridge and Cowley locks with. G. spotted nb Progress, resplendent in a fresh coat of paint, outside Uxbridge boats. Cowley lock was manned by very friendly volunteers and so was the easiest lock passage through a lock so far this trip.

We stopped at Bulls Bridge Tescos for more provisions that we couldn’t get a Ricky yesterday and then turned into the Paddington arm to continue on towards central London. We moored for the night at the park, just beyond Packet Boat marina, in the sunshine. Far to cold a wind to sit out for a cup of tea for more than ten minutes, but long enough to watch the flocks of Parakeets coming in to roost.


Monday, April 14, 2014

It’s bad enough living in Midsomer

Monday 14th April

First Parakeet spotted approaching Croxley Green.IMG_0221

Another sunny day, and warm enough for himself to sport shorts and sandals; no socks despite being British! As we passed Bridgewater basin a freshly blacked narrowboat was being craned back into the marina. That’ll be Gecko in a couple of weeks then;^).

IMGP4174We stopped at Ricky and restocked with milk and essential vittels at Tesco before moving on towards Stockers Lock. A very excited lady walker told us that ‘they’ were filming there, and so ‘they’ were. To think that we’ve come away from Midsomer and Morse/Lewis territory to get away from all that.

So, we had a delay whilst chaps in olden days (1950s?) clothes (the Policemen’s high collar uniforms being the best candidates for promotion of heat stroke) with olden day cars and a good deal of 20th century hi-IMGP4178IMG_0224

techery to film with got on with their jobs filming around the lock and associated bridge. We were told that Robson Green stars, but apart from that we can offer no movie or TV gossip dear IMGP4179reader.

And talking of our dear readers, hello to nb Valerie. Nice to make your (passing) acquaintance. We moored for the night mid-gravel pits, a nice peaceful spot if you don’t include tweeting, quacking and honking.

Gourmet note :- Tesco pork and apple scotch eggs are rather good! Especially when short dated and reduced to 10p each.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

A day with Fiddlers Green

Sunday 13th April 2014

Turning round yesterday brought an un-expected disadvantage after we had gone to bed last night. The previously un-exposed weed build-up at the water line attracted a hungry duck to ‘Jannock’s all night duck diner’ and we were duck nibbled for what seemed like ages. An odd sound at the best of times and not one you want when you are trying to sleep.

ApsleyBottomLockOur first day ‘proper boating’ of 2014 was lovely. Sunshine all the way, from Bourne End to Cassiobury Park, although the wind was cold in the morning.

As we pulled off of our mooring a boat nosed through the bridge. They were running solo and so we agreed to buddy up as their TwoFishers2final destination is London, the same as ours. Fiddlers Green is the new home of Ashley, a novice boater who is already very competent.

We shared with them for the whole day, travelling through twenty locks. Just before Lady Capel’s lock we came across competing fishers. A heron was stood fishing alongside a fisherman and his family. We commented about this as we passed and the wife stated that they had been feeding the heron with line caught fish.

TouranAckwa2Immediately after the same lock we saw this, a VW Touran body fitted onto the front of a narrowboat – at least I own the right car should Jannock ever need the same modification.

We passed down through Iron Bridge lock, resplendant with the ever present horde of Gongoozlers  and then moored for the night just before Cassio Bridge lock.