Friday, 31 October 2014

The final countdown

Once we had been up and down the rivers Lee and Stort it was time to get back through London and find somewhere to leave the boat for a fortnight whilst we went home to make final preparations for our year afloat.

Rather than going back down to Limehouse basin to get onto the Regents canal we took a shortcut at Hackney down the Hertford Union canal.  As can be seen on the map this runs across the bottom of Victoria Park (http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=12670).

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The olympic stadium is clearly visible on the map to east of the river Lee.  Here it is as we were preparing to turn right into the Hertford Union canal.

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The Hertford Union canal

This is only a short canal and was the first time we had been on it.  We were hoping to find somewhere to moor for a few days so that we could take advantage of Vicky Park and let Buddy make friends and have plenty of exercise.  This is the view as we turned into the canal:

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And this is where we finally moored with the gherkin in the background:

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Karen and Buddy seemed quite happy with the mooring!

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Whilst moored here we took advantage of being in London and popped down to see the ceramic poppies at the Tower of London.

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Here’s Buddy playing with three friends in Vicky Park one morning:

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And me smuggling wine across the park.

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Visitors

Catherine came down from Nottingham uni to stay with us for three nights as she was assisting at the Languages Show at Olympia.  As we started moving again on the first day of her visit it meant she had to come back to a different location on each evening.  On Thursday 17th October I took the boat onto the Regents canal to fill up with water which took an hour and a half!  Still, we found a nice spot to moor by another entrance to the park.

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Sophie and Justin came up to join us on the Friday and we cruised right down the Regents canal and ended up in Paddington basin.  Going through Camden was interesting again - the tow path there is very busy and as you go through three locks in about 400 yards with dozens of onlookers there is no need to smoke your own dope! Here are Justin and Sophie:


And this is us moored in Paddington basin on the Friday evening.  I spoke to the security staff at the offices and they confirmed that the swan family were the ones that had six cygnets when we were last here in July but they didn’t know whether the reduction was due to three leaving home or what.

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Final cruise before moving aboard

We moved out of Paddington on Saturday morning (18th October) and cruised about 20 miles to Uxbridge.  We went past this large colony of swans at Southall:

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I hadn’t been to Uxbridge since I had a contract here at Rank Xerox in 1980 (the days before PCs!) - it had changed beyond recognition. Also I could only assume that the office block I worked in had been demolished and replaced with new builds. This is where we moored on Saturday evening.

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On Sunday morning we found Buddy was limping badly so we decided to move up to Widewater just north of Denham so we could get to the vets.  He seemd to have badly bruised an elbow - we suspect it was from some rough and tumble in Vicky Park when a large dog bowled him over a few times.  Anyway he was prescribed some anti-inflammatory drugs and he seems OK now. 

The three locks on the Hertford Union canal

Even the lock gates were covered in graffiti on lock number 1.


Unfortunately it started raining for lock number two.


But the rain had stopped for the third and final lock.


This coming weekend will be spent making sure we are ready for the grand depart which will be some time next week.  So from now on the blog entries will be made in chronological order!

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