Thursday, 11 January 2007

Derby & Joan

0 Locks / 0 miles

Unfortunately Brent was dis-appointed on Monday as his trip to visit the ‘Cutty Sark’ was thwarted because it is all closed up for restoration and not scheduled to re-open before mid 2008. However his visit to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich more than made up for it. The two photos show the laser light with the direction of the meridian line.

The second shows the latitude of Wellington New Zealand. (Our hometown)
He also enjoyed traveling on the Docklands light Railway because he sat where a driver would normally sit and had a perfect view all around. Perhaps I should explain to those not in the know that the DLR is an automatic computer controlled system. Each train has a guard to open and shut the doors who also sets the controls to go and the computers do the rest. It’s quite uncanny having a driverless train.

That night we had dinner in the Paper Mill pub where there is a lot of photo’s of the area circa 1900 – 1930 including a very good aerial photo showing the mill, canal and railway. When you compare this to what now stands on the old mill site you can see just how big the mill complex was.

Tuesday morning was a 5am start as we had to get Brent on the 6.08am train from Apsley to Watford Junction where he caught the rail air link on National Express to Heathrow. First leg of his flight home to New Zealand via, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Perth and Auckland before arriving home in Wellington on Sunday.

After all the walking around London in the last week Dot is now looking forward to putting her feet up for a couple of days to recuperate.

Last week Dot and Brent reported seeing a couple of narrowboats on a stretch of water close to the canal but couldn’t see how they got where they were. So Tuesday afternoon was fine enough for Dot and I to take a walk and solve this mystery. We walked up the tow path to bridge 153 where we crossed the canal and down the side of the old lock keepers cottage. This bought us out into a street which was an industrial area where some of the buildings would have been part of John Dickenson’s mill. There were old steam pipes (the mill had been steam operated) between some of the buildings and there was a water course running alongside the buildings with overhanging canopies. My guess is that this was originally a barge loading dock which has since silted up. At the end of the road we turned left where we found a bridge over the waterway running behind the buildings. This waterway was coming from the canal further north but the bridge was far too low for navigation. After walking down a parallel road from where we had just come from we found an alleyway which headed us back towards the waterway. At the end of this we found the 2 narrowboats Dot had seen earlier. The water way was lined with steel and concrete and appeared to be reasonably deep making me think that it was built for a purpose. We followed the waterway in a Southerly direction and found ourselves behind Sainsbury’s supermarket which is alongside lock 66. Alongside the lock is an off chute of the canal which I had mistakenly taken to be the river Gade as it is not very deep and flows quite fast unlike the canal. However from what we have seen I would guess that this off chute was originally access to one of Dickenson’s wharves and the 2 narrowboats had gone in to their mooring via this entranceway. I would hate to try and get them out now as the entranceway is badly silted and full of supermarket trolleys of which we could see 5.

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