Thursday, 29 November 2007

Lovely weather today - while it lasts


Footbridge over the Grand Union canal at Apsley

We are busy catching up on chores before heading south to Devon for the weekend. Weather forecast is not good with heavy rain and winds but the company will be good.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Day of rest.

Now moored at Apsley Marina

First of all I must thank everybody for their birthday wishes. Another year older and wiser.

Today has been cold and fine but it didn't stop half a dozen fisherman from setting up between us and the lock. They were all togged up as if they were going to the arctic circle which they certainly needed to be with the ice cold breeze blowing through here today. For all their efforts we only saw one tiddler landed.

Early this afternoon we wandered into the village as Dot wanted to buy some new bedding from Dunelm Mill which she found very conveniently in the mark down bin. Jammy beggar, talk about luck of the Irish.

Rather than go straight back to the boat we meandered further along the road where we found that the White Lion pub offering Roast Sunday lunch for £6.95. It only took a split second to decide on what we were going to do for lunch and a sound decision it was with 2 very filling meals.  Last time we were here the local pub's had stopped serving food due to the competition from the Paper Mill taking away all their clientele but I think the latter might be pricing themselves off the market or falling out of favour with the local's.

830 locks, 1140.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Birthday Boy



Jack Frost's about.

5 locks, and 3 miles . Now moored at Apsley Marina

Abbots langley 001

Abbots langley 003

We awoke this morning to something close to a winter wonderland, everything was glistening white with frost. Overnight the temperature had dropped to -5.4deg C, any wonder we got a frost. Needless to say we were in no hurry to go up on deck to start moving until very late morning.

Abbots langley 004

We only crossed path's with 1 community trust boat which wasn't surprising as it's only silly beggars like us that cruise this time of year, but hey, its all part of the fun. At Nash Mills we filled the water tank so we are all set for the next week.

Abbots langley 010

Goodbye to the M25 for sometime

We are now moored outside the Apsley Mills marina where we plan to stay for the next 14 days.We have been up to Sainsbury's and Homebase for some shopping and walking along the towpath between locks 66 & 67 we were amazed to find only 2 boats moored in this pound. Last November the place was full with at least 12 boats constantly moored up. We had heard that BW had been through here and had a clean out and this proved to be correct.

Abbots langley 016

Didn't know we had dinasaurs here!

Abbots langley 012

Another Lock cottage sold - Home Park Lock on the Grand Union

830 locks, 1140.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Cold cruising

6 locks, and 2 miles . Now moored at Abbots Langley 

As we set off this morning going through the first lock I was accosted by a guy who told me not to leave the lock gates open when we left. It appears that he was a member of the Watford fishing club and they had just spent £20,000 restocking the pound above lock 77 which is members only and they didn't want fish going through the lock into the lower pound  which is open to day ticket holders. Couldn't have them catching the prize fish now could we (chuckle!). I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, didn't they tell the fish not to go into the lock!

The other bit of news that he imparted was that the club had sold the nearby Rousebarn lake which I have fished many times as a member of that self same club. Apparently it was to be turned into a marina along with some of the old water cress beds which adjoin the lake. In the next breath he was complaining about the amount of boats, especially commercial boats, on the canal which had interfered with a recent fishing competition leaving no places for the fisherman to fish. He gave me the impression that he thought the canals were for fisherman not boats. Yer right!

We have now moved up to Abbots Langley just above bridge 162. We are sandwiched between the A41, M25 and the main trunk railway line but its not too noisy. After mooring up we went for a walk up into the village of Abbots Langley where my grandparents on Dads side of the family used to live. The place hasn't changed much where they lived but the village has grown.

Going back to yesterdays blog, I should explain that the picture of a new white coloured building with railway lines going into it is in fact an unloading shed for London Concrete. They bring the various aggregates in by rail using a new set of sidings and the pictured building. Once the wagon is inside the building it is unloaded into a deep pit and a conveyor belt then carries the aggregate into storage bays in another part of the plant. It is good to see another company using alternative transport other than road transport.

The other thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that there was a market in full swing in St Albans but with a big difference. All the stall holders were from Holland and France selling cheese, salami's, bratwurst, soap, hand crafted toys and very fresh vegetables from Brittany. Probably the freshest vegetables we have seen since we arrived in the UK 13 months ago.

 825 locks, 1137.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 23 November 2007

Sentimental Journey.

Still moored below Ironbridge lock no 77 Watford


Another fine day for exploring saw us head off to BW Head Office in Church road to renew our licence for next year. There is only a small staff still operating out of Willow Grange now and they are due to move into their new offices in Clarendon road opposite Watford Junction on the 14th December, then the developers move in. Apparently this is only a temporary measure for 2 - 3 years whilst new premises are built somewhere in Watford.

From BW we headed off to Watford Junction to catch the "Bricketwood Flyer" to St Albans Abbey. The "Bricketwood Flyer" was the nickname affectionately given to the local branch line service train between Watford and St Albans via Bricketwood. These days it appears to be known as the "Abbey Flyer". The last time I took this trip the train consisted of a BR standard 2-6-4 tank loco and 2 carriages.

St Albans 002

Back in the early 1960's the branch line was expected to close under Dr Beechings axe which saw many lines closed all over Britain. Surprisingly it survived and has actually been expanded with a new station being built at Garston between the Garston and Meridan housing estates. Even the Bricketwood area has grown with new housing being built over the last 40 or so years which is probably why the line is still in existence today.

St Albans 003

The last rolling stock I saw being used on the line were early model DMU's but these days the line has been electrified and a 4 car Silverlink unit is in operation.

Whilst in St Albans we looked for an interesting pub for lunch and we found one called "The Goat" in Sopwell Lane off the main road just above the Abbey railway station. The meals were reasonably priced and so big it was hard to eat it all, so very good value for money. If you are in the town we would recommend this pub and they also do B&B.

St Albans 006

819 locks, 1135.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 22 November 2007

"If you go down in the woods today...."

0 locks, and .5 mile . Now moored below Ironbridge lock no 77 Watford

"You'll be sure of a big surprise................" Well in Whippendell woods you wouldn't have found a picnic, not the right weather for it, the table was there and the weather was lovely and fresh but cold.

whippendell 008

On Tuesday we were expecting Barney on the fuel boats Archimedes and Ari but by night fall which was only 4.45pm there was no sign of him. We thought that perhaps he had been delayed and we would see him next morning. About 5.30pm I happened to look out of the window to see a headlight approaching from the North, could this be Barney I thought? A quick dash out onto the stern deck just as Barney was preparing to hove to alongside. Now this is what I call service and dedication. We made his call worthwhile by taking onboard 117 litres of diesel @ 64p per litre, Ouch it's gone up 10p since his last delivery.

After 2 days of rain which kept us indoors catching up on emails, reading and doing some cross stitch the sun and clear skies re-appeared. Before we left our present location we reversed back to the water point and filled up the water tank whilst doing a load of washing, help keep the tank full longer.

Whippendell woods&Cassiobury park 003

After moving the short distance from one end of Cassiobury park to the other where we found a nice sunny mooring it was time to explore some more of Watford. My mother had always talked about Sunday walks through Whippendell Woods which I knew where they were but had never actually walked through them myself. They are part of the huge Cassio estate and intermingled through the woods is the West Herts golf club. At various places along the way the paths cross the golf greens and signs warn walkers of golfers approaching from left or right and to be aware of flying objects.

Whippendell woods&Cassiobury park 007

After following several paths we ended up back on the towpath which we followed to Grove Mill lane which took us back to Hempstead road and civilisation. Turning down Langley Way we eventually arrived back at Cassiobury Park and the canal.

Whippendell woods&Cassiobury park 010

While writing this blog I received a phone call from Stephen Kearney from N/b Gefion. This beautiful narrowboat is a 70 footer with a traditional back cabin and all mod cons. Steven has advertised the boat for sale but contacted us to see if we could spread the word in NZ for anybody that may be interested in leasing the boat long term, 6 months, 12 months whatever? Any takers contact Stephen on +447970830644 or email us to pass your details on to Stephen. Come on Kiwi's this is an opportunity not to be missed.

819 locks, 1135.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Tracey

We're not allowed to disclose any more.
Your secret is safe with us Tracey.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Chilling out

Still moored at Bridge 168 Watford

After several days of some real serious walking it was time to give the muscle's a rest so Sunday was a lazy day spent on the boat. We are still having Internet problems even though we have been told we are in a good location.

Today we have been taking it easy again firstly because of the wet weather and secondly because Tracey was coming to have a birthday lunch with us. Happy **th birthday dearest. Tracey's friend Mark also joined us as he is over here on holiday from Holland.

The diesel coal boat, Archimedes and Ari went past this morning on his way to pick up fresh supplies and will return tomorrow to refill our diesel tank. Now the weather has turned decidedly wintry the diesel consumption has risen with the central heating unit working hard to keep us warm.

Whilst walking through Bushey (thats the name of the town) on Saturday I spotted what looked like an old school being converted into apartments and the 100 acre grounds into luxury housing. After searching Google for some info; on Royal Connaught Park I came up with the following. The building is Gothic/Victorian and was originally the Royal Masonic school for boys. It has been used by film makers to make the original St Trinians series and part of the current Harry Potter series.

Former Royal masonic school for boys

819 locks, 1135.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 18 November 2007

GWR, LMS, LNWR, it was all there.

After an hours walk I arrived at the Watford model railway clubs exhibition in Aldenham road. The doors had barely been open an hour but the place was shoulder to shoulder with fellow modellers. Taking video and still shot pictures my camera soon ran out of memory but I got the best of what was on offer.


There was only one very good 'N' gauge layout which caught and held my attention for a while. Another 'OO' layout that was attracting a lot of attention was unusual in that it was of an engine shed and engine storage sidings. No rolling stock, station buildings or passengers, just a dirty smoke covered engine shed with coaling facilities and various other loco servicing activities being carried out. The real clever part of it all was that there was smoke and steam billowing about every time a loco was moved. Apparently this was being achieved by a smoke making unit under the layout which pumped the smoke to various places around the layout where ever a loco was stopped in predetermined places. It is probably the most realistic layout I have ever seen.

The next best layout was nothing special as far as what the public saw out the front but what was around the back in the fiddle yards. There were 24 holding tracks with full size trains made up of 10 and 12 carriage sets and goods trains with 30 or 40 wagons. The layout was purpose built as an exhibition layout with non stop trains to keep the punters glued to the floor awaiting the next train to see what surprises would emerge from the tunnel portals.


It was amazing to see that 'O' gauge is really making a come back after being spurned for years in favour of the smaller gauges. The best layout in this gauge was a scene depicting a railway/canal/warehouse interchange with 2 very accurate barges in the canal basin. The only problem with 'O' gauge of course is the cost with loco's costing £300 and upwards. On one trade stand was a 2 car Southern electric unit selling at a mere £1279.00, yes, that is not a typing error.

Another model that I could have been tempted with was a 'OO' reproduction of a 4 car London Transport underground set at just over £120. It's good to see that the underground is finally being modelled seriously as it is a big part of the railway scene and has been totally neglected in the past.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Brrr it's frosty

Still moored at Bridge 168 Watford

Last night we had the heaviest frost so far with a -4deg centigrade temperature. Needless to say we were not in too much of a hurry to leave our nice warm bed.

Eventually we got ourselves motivated to walk into town again to visit the old Benskins brewery site which now houses the town museum. The museum is in the old breweries main office block but the rest of the brewery has been demolished.

We spent the best part of 3 hours wandering through the museum which to me was a real learning curve having been born and raised in the town. The theme of the museum was not just about breweries and pubs and the temperance movement from which this very poignant poem came.

The building shown below was the free school for the poor and disadvantaged children of the town to be able to read and write. This school was set up by a Mrs Fuller in 1704 at the cost of £20 per annum. It's predecessor has been set up by a Francis Coombe at the cost of £10 per annum. A secondary school which I attended on the Woodside estate was named after Francis as a tribute to his contribution to the town.
One good thing that came out of Watford from the second world war was the TV programme's "Dad's Army"and "It Ain't arf hot Mum". These were written by Jimmy Perry and another guy but they stem from Jimmy's personal experience in the Home Guard in Watford during the war and his military service in India in 1947.

To see and read about so many things that I heard about as a child but never actually saw or experienced was brilliant. I got a better understanding of my Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles lives as we had all lived and worked in Watford until 1961 when a distrastrous fire closed an uncles model and hobby shop in lower High St after which the family moved away far and wide. I got a better insight into my old home town which sort of put different things into perspective for me.

My Grandparents worked at Watford Central school as caretaker and head cook for many years. It transpires that the school started life as a the Grammar school. The school outgrew the buildings so 2 new schools had to be built, Boys Grammar and Girls Grammar. After this the school was taken over by the county council as a mixed junior school which is still in existence today.

Of course Watford is known for it's football team which my grandfather used to follow every Saturday during the season which was salvaged from oblivion by Elton John. The whole history of the club is recorded in the museum and is quite enlightening. The statue in High St of a Hornet on a honey pot dipper celebrates the success of the team which I have since learn't is the name of the team.While in the Harlequin centre I took this photo of the Xmas decorations.

819 locks, 1135.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 16 November 2007

Oh no!

My favourite biscuit manufacturer is closing its doors in Lower Hutt, our hometown.  See latest news here.  Griffins Foods purchased the site in 1938 at the foot of the Wainuiomata hill.  Most of the 200 workers being made redundant will come from over the hill.

Another casualty follows the trail to Auckland.  What next?

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Noisy and chilly.

1 lock, and .5 mile . Now moored at Bridge 168 Watford

Last night was a very sleepless night due to the noise of the trains on the Metropolitan line just above us. The only respite was between 1 and 5 am when they stopped running.

This morning we moved up through the Cassio Bridge lock to the water point to start off but while we were watering up another boat came down the canal from the opposite direction and moored up where we were planning on mooring. Damn! However I wandered up and spoke to the sole lady boater and asked her if she would mind moving up another mooring ring and there would still be enough room for both of us as her boat is only about 25 feet. She very kindly agreed and we are now moored by bridge 168.

Once settled we wandered into town, firstly to Watford Junction to pick up our tickets for a trip to Devon. On the way we passed this quaint looking house which is Cassiobridge Lodge which was part of the Cassio Estate owned by the Earl of Essex.



From the station we walked down Clarendon road into the High St. Except for the Magistrates court there was not much left along this road that was recognisable to me. We then wandered down High St, through where the old market place has been replaced by an up market shopping complex and covered market place. Unfortunately it wasn't market day today.

Down Beechen Grove to where Derby road has virtually disappeared into a dual carriageway. There must have been a hell of a lot houses sacrificed here for the new roadway. From here we walked through the Harlequin centre where Queens road used to be. This took us back to the High St.


The Harlequin centre is Watford's answer to the huge shopping complex at Brent Cross which apparently was drawing customers from all over the Hertfordshire area. Now shoppers can find everything here in Watford which is closer to home.

Onward we traipsed to the High St underground station where we turned onto the new bypass to head back towards Watford West via Vicarage road and Whippendell road. By the time we reached the boat we must have walked the best part of 5 miles.

Tonight we have had to revert to using the TV straight off the aerial as the free to air box and the satellite dish cannot pick up good signals hence we either cannot get a watchable picture or the channels we want.

819 locks, 1135.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 14 November 2007



Relevant feed here



Curiosity gets the better of me.  Does anyone know what this is? Our sitemeter today shows a link to B$ The fantasy blog stockmarket.  Our site is listed with shares available.  Any ideas anyone?  We have no knowledge of this site at all.


 0 locks, and .5 mile . Now moored at Cassio Bridge Lock Watford

Due to poor Internet connections last night we were unable to put up the daily blog hence 2 lots today.

We had some quite heavy rain overnight and this morning started out with light drizzle. In the short distance that we travelled we passed 3 other boats which was a surprise considering the weather and the fact that it was only mid week.

Moorings here at Watford are in short supply but we managed to find one just below Cassio Bridge lock which will do until next Sunday when hopefully another mooring further up may become available. We plan to stay in the area for a couple of weeks, firstly to attend a model railway exhibition this week-end at Queens College and secondly for Tracey to join us for some birthday celebrations (3 in fact 20th and 25th November, and 7th December).  The most important being the last one as it is one of the big 0's. 

818 locks, 1135 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Croxley Green

3 locks, and 2 miles . Now moored at Croxley Green

Even though we were on a good mooring it was time to move on and the weather was in our favour. It didn't take us long to reach Croxley Green but the problem was finding a mooring that was remotely deep enough for us to get ashore. We had tried below Common Moor lock without success so we went up through the lock only to find the situation not much better. Eventually we managed to moor up with the hull firmly aground within a foot of the bank. It would be nice to see BW putting as much effort into dredging as they seem to be doing on towpath maintenance. We have not seen any dredging being undertaken but people have told us that BW just concentrate on the navigation channel with no regard to being able to moor up along the towpath.

Over the last year we have found so many places along various towpaths that would make great moorings if only you could get close to the bank.

How about it BW, more dredging and less towpath work after all it is the boaters that pay majority of your income, not the walkers and cyclists?

818 locks, 1134.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Haven't moved yet

Still moored at (Batchworth) Rickmansworth

Not much has happened around here today except the usual walk to town. This morning we went to Travis Perkins for some timber to repair water damage in the bathroom.

Reading other boater blogs we would like to agree with Sue on No Problem over BW's actions of changing limited time moorings to long term winter moorings.  This effectively leaves continuous cruisers out in the cold so to speak.  We recently came across this at Brentford where the visitor moorings have been cut back to 3 spaces and the rest have been marked for winter moorings only.  When we were there, there were 3 boats on the visitor moorings with another breasted up.  As we wanted to stay here for a while we found a slot up by the work shed which was marked "Winter moorings only" which we occupied for 14 days.  We had our licence inspected by BW staff but nothing was said even though we were only displaying a gold licence and NO mooring permit.  Apparently the moorings here at Batchworth are supposed to be winter moorings also but there are no signs stating this.

The other boater we agree with is Andy on Granny Buttons over super market plastic bags.  Like Andy we store our bags for use as rubbish bags but we also do use reusable shopping bags occasionally and gain green card point from the likes of Tesco's.  I think that plastic bags are "greener" than we give them credit for as they are made chemically where the old fashioned paper bags come from tree's which the world is running short of and take 15 years to replace. Admittedly paper is more biodegradable but is not as durable as plastic.

What is wrong with shopping bags made from Jute, flax or even string. They fold up small and go in your pocket.  That's all my grand parents ever used. When I was a kid I can remember people going door to door selling cane shopping baskets.  Just before we left New Zealand there was a plastics manufacturer who had come up with a way of making fence posts for the farmers from guess what,- USED PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS. It all comes down to the slogan Re-use or Recycle.

815 locks, 1132.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

I can't help it!



I just love these sunsets aren't we lucky?

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Still at Rickmansworth

Still moored at (Batchworth) Rickmansworth


The rain didn't come to much and today has been another brilliant autumn day. Other than a walk into town this morning and a visit to Tesco's this afternoon our time has been spent on chores around the boat.

Dot has been practicing her splicing skills on mooring fenders and not doing too bad a job. I have been fitting a new fan/light in the vent shaft in the kitchen. Fitting a new double switch so that the light and the fan can be used independently was the easy part. Running the extra cabling for the fan proved to be a bit of a headache as I had to remove a couple of strips of trim to be able to get in behind some of the panelling. However everything went well and its all up and running. I just have to get some trim to tidy things up.


815 locks, 1132.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Thursday, 8 November 2007


5 locks, and 5 miles . Now moored at (Batchworth) Rickmansworth

With the threat of rain on the horizon we decided to move on so that we will be closer to shops etc: If the rain does eventuate we can afford to stay put for a while. At Springwell lock we found this very docile Heron perched on the lock balance beam that was in no hurry to fly away just because we wanted to use the lock.




We were again surprised by several other boats on the move but we still had a lovely cruise to our present mooring being beside the Aquadrome near bridge 174. After lunch we wandered into town stopping for a while to have a look at St Mary's church. This church is in pristine condition and probably one of the best kept churches we have seen.

We eventually found the old town High street which was an absolute delight with its narrow one way street system and unchanged in decades. We could see some redevelopment above the town on the other side of the railway line but that was far enough away not to detract the beauty and character of the old buildings. We then made our way back to the boat a different route using the towns 2 gasometers which were nearly full and the church spire as bearings.


815 locks, 1132.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Moved to the country.

2 locks, and 2 miles . Now moored at Denham Deep lock 

We felt that we had been in suburbia long enough and it was time to move on a bit and find a place in the countryside. The weather was clear blue sky but a bit of a nip in the air. After a quick trip into town for some fresh fruit and vegetables we made a slow start up to Denham marina to top up the diesel. Now the temperatures are  dropping we are starting to use more diesel with the Mikuni central heating unit firing up more frequently.

As we knew of a good quiet mooring above Denham deep lock there was no rush and as usual we had the canal to ourselves. This is certainly the best time of the year to enjoy the canals in peace and solitude and what a pleasure to immerse ourselves in the golden glow of Autumn.

810 locks, 1127.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Old Acquaintances

Still moored at Uxbridge

Last week we made contact with John and Sheila Hill of Ruislip who we originally met in Levin New Zealand. They are inlaws of our friends Don and Sandra Webb in Levin. John very kindly came and collected us from the boat and took us home for a slap up Sunday dinner. Later we went for a walk around the Ruislip Lido which is a recreational lake in which I had fished many moons ago. The Lido, originally a town water reservoir but these day's it's just used for boating, swimming and fishing. They used to do water ski-ing but the lake is leaking and too shallow in many places.


The Lido = Ruislip


After a great afternoon catching up on all the family news John and Sheila kindly drove us back to the boat where we put on supper.

We had planned on moving on today but after a walk into town and visiting Denham Marina chandlery we thought it was too late in the day so we postponed moving until tomorrow.

808 locks, 1125.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 4 November 2007

What have we here then?

Still moored at Uxbridge

As I sit here writing this blog world war three has broken out in the neighbourhood. Fireworks were never this big,explosive or noisy when I was a kid and they wonder why people get injured with them. Personally I am all in favour of organised displays which are run by people who know what they are doing with explosives. After over 300 years, Guy Fawkes's infamy surpasses even that of  King Edward the eight or many other famous people.

So Dr Bones wants to push us off our weblog placing does she? We'll have to see about this. Just because she has got herself into print (Inland Waterways mag) doesn't mean she's top dog.

I am getting a bit concerned about Maffi on "Milly M". I thought that he was a continuous cruiser like ourselves but he seems to have got his anchor stuck in the mud in Oxford and  cannot get moving again. I also think he is being led astray by a couple of very nice young ladies. He has been using the excuse that the medics won't let him move on because of his eye, yeah right, pull the other one mate, it's got bells on it.

A little bit of friendly rivalry does no harm, keep up the good work guys!

808 locks, 1125.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Another glorious day.

Still moored at Uxbridge

Another lovely day to carry on with the odd jobs around the boat. There was quite a lot of traffic along the canal including the narrowboat carrying aggregate from Denham to West Drayton. Since we last saw this boat the owner now has a butty to double his carrying capacity. Land and Water Ltd are still operating their 2 wide beam boats carting aggregate so there is a large tonnage of material being moved.

After lunch we walked into the town centre to have a look around the old and new which makes Uxbridge what it is today. The Pavilion shopping centre is also the home of the weekly markets (Wed - Sat) which is an improvement in conditions for the stall holders and customers alike.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Mid summer autumn

1 lock, and 2 miles . Now moored at Uxbridge

Another fantastic autumn day. Is this the summer we lost somewhere? As we were not going very far today it was a leisurely start . The island of rubbish we picked up on our bow yesterday was still floating nearby so I got the pole hook and pulled it all out onto the bank. In total it was quite heavy so it was no wonder it slowed the boat down.

While we were organising ourselves at the Cowley lock the boat that had been moored ahead of us arrived so it was an easy locking with 2 boats. We eventually found a mooring opposite Uxbridge Boat Centre which we visited after lunch. After a good browse around the chandlery we walked out with a new bilge pump, the old one died, a new water pump, a bit of insurance just in case, a brass tiller elbow, light/fan to fit in the kitchen vent and some other bits & pieces. The boat yard must have thought it was xmas come early as the bill was over £300.

So for the next couple of days we will hang around here and fit some of the bits we purchased.

Recently when we passed through Apsley Mills we found that the locks on the facilities block in the BWML marina had been changed from the standard BW key and we were unable to use the facilities as we had done earlier in the year. The warden told us it was a request from the marina residents. Now we have found that the same scenario has happened at the BWML Packet Boat marina at Peachey Cowley. Only the toilet is open to passing boaters and yet the sign on the wall shows all facilities available. However there is an official notice from BW on an A4 size laminated sheet of paper on the various doors stating that as of June 2007 the showers and laundry were for marina residents only. Is this a bid by BW to force everybody into their marina's or create an elitist culture group?


Unusual sky coloring tonight couldn't resist taking a photograph or two.


808 locks, 1125.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

It's confirmed

We are not loosing it. Our weather station updates itself for British Summer time (see our earlier post) How do I know? well Brent thought it was a little bizarre and I don't think he really believed me. His suggestion was to reset the clock forward an hour and see what happens. So yesterday morning I put it forward an hour before noon. All day it read an hour fast. Damn I thought I have lost it. When we retired last night it was still an hour ahead.

But hoorah, this morning it had reverted back to the correct time overnight. See we are absolutely sane after all. Makes you wonder sometimes though.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Slough basin! What basin?

0 locks, and 15 miles . Now moored at Cowley Peachey

Another brilliant start to the day which we expected to be cold and frosty. The overnight frost didn't eventuate. As usual we had the canal to ourselves and due to the navigator misreading the chart's we missed the entrance to the Slough Arm. The Navigator thought it was just the marina entrance. Anyway we carried on to lock 89 where we winded and backtracked to the Slough arm entrance.

As we entered the arm we were confronted with Land and Water contractors who were trimming the overhanging tree's. We waited until it was convenient and they then let us pass. They had finished the north bank from the boatyard at Iver to the Packet Boat Marina at Cowley Peachey and were just starting on the south bank. It was a shame that they were not doing any dredging as they had a machine on site but they were only using it to extract logs from the canal. .


Land and Water Contractors.

As we passed the moored boats at Highline Yachting at Iver which were moored 3 abreast we could see the bottom of the canal and the moored boats barely had 3 inches of water under the hull. After we passed bridge 9 and the last winding hole before the end of the canal we also started to churn up the mud on the bottom until we reached bridge 10 then the water depth improved.

What a disappointment when we reached "The Basin", a bit of the old original wharf with mooring rings too high to be of any use and the winding hole. We felt that it wasn't even worth mooring up so we headed straight back to the mainline.


The end of the Slough Arm - what a disappointment.

By the time we got back to the Land and Water contractors they had progressed as far as bridge 3. I could think of a few places on the mainline that could do with some tree trimming and there would certainly be more boat movements on the mainline. Mind you, we were surprised on the return journey to pass 2 boats on their journey towards Slough. So perhaps there is more use made of the arm than we thought. Before we moored up for the night we seemed to be loosing power and it was no surprise initially to find a huge island of rubbish wrapped around the bow and after a trip down the weed hatch to extract a shopping bag full of industrial thickness plastic from the prop.

Now the trees are loosing their foliage we are starting to glimpse more of the bird life with 2 Woodpecker's and a Jay being spotted today.

807 locks, 1123.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006