Sunday, 20 July 2014

Into London

We turned off the Grand Union mainline onto the Paddington arm on 13 July 2014.  This was 13 1/2 miles from Little Venice/Paddington and, for once, there were no locks.
We had been looking forward to cruising into London for some time as we would be going through areas we had never been to before and had no idea whether it would feel intimidating or tranquil.

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Seven miles from Paddington and it still felt rural as we went through Northolt and Perivale:

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We went over the North Circular at Alperton/Park Royal.  I doubt if many people realise that they are driving under a canal when they drive along this busy stretch of road:

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Three miles from Paddington we passed Kensal Green cemetery and it was still feeling rural - we were in a green corridor all the way into London - not what we really expected at all:

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We finally made it to Little Venice and double moored opposite some flats next to a couple of smart restaurants and bars.  The weather was still being kind and it was actually the start of a fortnight of very hot weather, often in the high 80s or low 90s during the day.  Here are some pictures of the main drag into Little Venice and the island in the middle of the junction where the Regents canal goes off to the east through St John’s Wood, Camden, Kings Cross, Islington and through the East End to Limehouse basin.  To the right the Paddington arm continues for 1/2 mile down to the basin at Paddington.

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We stayed a week at Little Venice during which time we finished varnishing the cratch boards and touched up the paintwork including painting our mushrooms:

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We also fitted the cratch boards on the front of the boat.  I had these made, from my measurements, by a joiner in Derby and had picked them up when I last visited my parents in Yorkshire.  I made one error in the measurements - I got the curvature incorrect on the horizontal board that runs across the width of the boat at the front.  Fortunately there were three chippies fitting out a broad beam boat in front of us and they sorted it out for us. They didn’t want anything so I just gave them some cash to get a beer or two - knowing London prices it would probably have been a 1/2 pint or two!

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There was a very well behaved family of swans on this stretch and they had six cygnets still alive at an age when you would have expected most of them to have perished. 

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We spent a lot of time visiting places that we had never been to before such as various street markets, Primrose Hill and Regents Park.

After a week we moved down to the basin at Paddington.  There were no spaces right in the basin so we moored near the end under a footbridge leading over to Paddington station. 

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Unfortunately we were on a bubble barrier.  It had been installed by the developer of the basin to stop litter floating into the basin.  It seemed to be very effective but was incredibly noisy as a line of bubbles were constantly under our steel bottom.  The bubbles can be seen across the canal in this picture.

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In the end we moved the boat back so it was overlapping the big beast behind us.  The agents for the offices told us that the big boat was craned in to the basin when the development started with a view to making it into offices.  As it is too long and too wide for the London canals it can only be craned out again.  The issue now of course is that the high rises have been built so a crane of the right size cannot reach it.

Judith (my sister) and Nigel visited us one day and Nigel and I spent a pleasant hour or two relaxing with beers watching the commuters walking across the footbridge above us.

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