Saturday, 3 December 2016

Leaves

 

IMG_0045We pulled pins from Cowley at 07.55 and were soon into Cowley lock. As you can see there are still a lot of leaves about and it’s a case of putting Inca in to reverse and giving it a bit of a rev every so often to clear the prop.

IMG_0049The last time we came past here the bins were full just like this. Luckily we had very little rubbish to dispose of so we didn’t add to the pile.

IMG_0055This has to be one of the smallest Narrowboats we have ever seen . I said it would be good to have one as it would be ideal for Curly our Granddaughter to sleep in when she visits .Needless to say Carolyn was not impressed with my idea.

IMG_0060We both just love this building and always cruise past on tick over . It’s the Parexel building in art deco liner style and was built for the pharmaceutical manufacturer in 1991. It is on the site of a former rail station and before that, Sedgewicks Brewery.

IMG_0066The next lock up is Carolyn’s least favourite lock which is called Denham deep. I think it’s just the word deep as we have done plenty of locks that are a lot deeper than this one which is 11 feet and 1 inch deep.

IMG_0070It’s not that often that we see a Jay and I think this is the closest we have ever got to one. Although they are the most colourful members of the crow family, jays are actually quite difficult to see. They are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover. The screaming call usually lets you know a jay is about and it is usually given when a bird is on the move, so watch for a bird flying between the trees with its distinctive flash of white on the rump. Jays are famous for their acorn feeding habits and in the autumn you may see them burying acorns for retrieving later in the winter which we think this one was doing.

IMG_0076Although we see plenty of these Tree Rats ,with this one fattening up on Berries for the Winter. The grey squirrel is a very familiar animal in the United Kingdom, despite not being native. It was introduced from North America during the late 19th Century and since then has displaced the native red squirrel across most of England and Wales, though not Scotland and Ireland.

IMG_0101Just up from Springwell and we came across this wide beam trying to steer in a straight line. In fact he was all over the canal and we thought that the guy steering was drunk. But it turned out it was a brand new boat and it had no ballast, so was near impossible to steer. We ended up passing him on the wrong side as his mate went up to the bow and pushed off from the bank with his pole.

IMG_0106We still cant pass this farm without humming the tune from the TV series which was made here back in the 70s. The series Black Beauty, which was filmed mainly at Stockers Farm, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, was widely acclaimed for its high production values and quality of writing and acting, and at times had remarkable English gothic overtones for a children's series.

You will no doubt remember this if you are as old as me, click on this link of Beauty saving the day and then galloping home   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Flvxbw8YYM8   !!!!!

We will now have a day in Rickmansworth and resupply the cupboards and wine cellar from Tesco which has a mooring right outside for boaters to do their shopping.

 

                                                                                                       Happy Days

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bet it’s cold in Winter

 

IMG_0197The one question we get asked more than any is “I bet it’s cold in Winter” . Well last night was one of the coldest nights of the year and as you can see at seven minutes past two in the morning ( yes I’m getting old and have to get out and have a pee in the middle of the night ) it was minus 6.5 deg out and 21.2 deg half way up the boat with the bedroom at the end being just over 19 deg. On Inca we have spray foam insulation as well as central heating and double glazing which helps retain the heat.

IMG_0202Our main source of heat is our Morso multi fuel stove. We are burning Excel coal and when its really cold we will burn just over 2 bags a week at £10 a bag. Normally if we can find any wood to supplement the coal it would be just over a bag a week when it’s not so cold. We also have the stove fan on top that blows the hot air down the far end of the boat to the bedroom.

IMG_0200We also have a plan B as I always promised Carolyn she would never ever be cold on Inca. If it gets to minus double figures we have the luxury of two more stove fans giving us a total of three fans to keep her Ladyship warm and toasty. But I cant see us ever using them ,although you never know !

                                                                                                              Happy Days

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A first for us !!

 

IMG_0130

After coming out of London and cruising down the Paddington arm Inca started going slower and slower. Even putting her in to reverse to clear what was around the prop and revving the engine made no difference. So there was only one thing to do and that was to get down the weed hatch and see what was fouling the prop. After several minutes of pulling and cutting with my knife I pulled this lot out. Over the years we have had all sorts of horrible things around the prop ,but this was a first for us. As well as all the plastic and crap we had a Bra !! just how it got in to the canal God only knows. We are both in to recycling everything we can but with it being a bit big for me and a bit small for Carolyn we ended up binning it ……..

                                                                                                            Happy Days

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Speeding CRT !

 

IMG_0003In the end we had a few good days at the park moorings at Yeading. We were told about dog fights and unruly behaviour ,but in the end we enjoyed our stay and even had a few field mushrooms from the football pitches above our mooring.

IMG_0001Beware if this boat ever speeds past you . For some bizarre reason it will not slow down when passing moored boats . What's even more bizarre is that it’s a Canal and River Trusts boat who’s rule states, pass all moored boats on Tick over. In total it went past us 4 times over the next week or so and speeding every time. Once it even had a senior manager from CRT on board ,obviously out on a jolly !!!!!  Needless to say I have put a complaint in. Watch this space..

IMG_0009Time to move and we pulled pins at 08.10 and with the need for water after doing four or five loads of washing after our time in London, we tried to stop on this new water point on the Paddington arm. Believe it or not there is a tap in the middle of all those Swans.We tried to get in ,but just had a load of abuse from the angry hissing Swans. The problem is that although there’s a sign saying do not feed the Birds the local Asian community come down with sacks full of food to feed them.

IMG_0014Moving on and luckily we managed to get on the water point at Bulls bridge. This is a first for us as every other time we have been this way there has been boats moored on the points.

IMG_0016The first time we came down to London this Factory at Hayes was in full production producing Coffee. In its heyday in the 1950s, the factory employed some 2,000 people. Many of those currently working there have done so for more than 25 years.But unfortunately it is now closed and the site has been bought by a property developer.

IMG_0032Reaching Cowley and it was always our plan to turn left and head up the Slough branch as it’s an arm we have never done. We turned in to the arm and then looked at all the weed in the canal. After mooring just past the arm we walked up to see that it was weed from bank to bank and after talking to a local boater we decided to give it a miss.

IMG_0030Never mind we picked up this mooring opposite Packet boat marina where we will spend a week or so. With Uxbridge only a short Bus ride away Carolyn is more than happy to stop here.

IMG_0022As well as shopping and spending all my our money Carolyn is also in to keep fit and if she can she will join a group where ever we are. At Uxbridge they run this work out session in the local park which is run by an ex Army Instructor. Not being a lazy old Git like me she soon joined up and enjoyed her time working out. It looks like this will do us until we are ready to continue our journey North

 

                                                                                                                 Happy Days

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Foraging

 

IMG_7620It’s been a bumper year for Damson’s and Carolyn just can’t pass a tree without filling a bag full of them. Damsons are a small fruit with vibrant dark blue skin and a strong, sour flavour, damsons are similar to plums and a member of the rose family. They have a large stone and are often juicy, but tend not be eaten raw due to the tartness of the flesh ,although they are perfect for jam making.

IMG_0004Just a small collection of what Carolyn has produced this year . In total she has made 12 jars of Damson jam, 5 jars of Damson and Plum jam, 5 jars of Damson chutney,and 5 jars of runner bean chutney ( Beans bought from a canal side stall).

IMG_8756Its also been a bumper year for Crab apple’s and Carolyn has now just produced 8 jars of Crab apple jelly.

IMG_8846We have also had a few good feeds of field Mushrooms and are now starting to harvest this years nuts. We have so far got loads of Hazel nuts and are now starting to harvest a lot of Chestnuts….Just the ticket !!!

                                                                                                               Happy Days

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Goldprick

 

 

IMG_9115With our time up in Paddington basin we pulled ropes through bollards at 07.55 and after winding (turning) headed out of the basin.

IMG_9117This strange looking boat is one of the London canals clean up boats The only problem is that they only seem to operate where there are lots of people and Gongoozlers and tend to ignore the rest of the canal network.

IMG_9118After 2 weeks on one tank of water we were getting a bit low so we pulled in at Little Venice for a fill up.It isn't the easiest water point to get on as for some reason (money no doubt) there is a cafe boat moored on the water point, so its a case of getting your bow in and climbing through the railings.With it not being the fastest filling tap it took us just under an hour to fill up.

IMG_9121On our way out on the Paddington arm we soon passed this boat. With a paint job like that and fake grass on the roof you certainly know you are in London.

IMG_9124Not really a canal boat ,but I just loved his under sized Anchor.

IMG_9130Every time we pass this building in Kensal we are always amazed at its design. Its called Trellick tower and is a 31-storey block of flats in Kensal Town, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London England. It was designed in the Brutalist style by architect Ernő Goldfinger, after a commission from the Greater London Council in 1966, and completed in 1972. It is a Grade II listed building and is 98 metres (322 ft) tall (120 metres (394 ft) including the communications mast).                      

Goldfinger was known as a humourless man given to notorious rages. He sometimes fired his assistants if they were inappropriately jocular. Even James Bond creator Ian Fleming had a beef with poor old Ernő, naming one of his most famous villains, Auric Goldfinger, after the architect in revenge for his bulldozing of a number of Victorian villas in order to build his own modern home at Willow Road in Hampstead.

Goldfinger being a humourless man - threatened to sue over the slur, but allegedly backed down when Fleming suggested changing the name to 'Goldprick' instead.

IMG_9134We did consider travelling across London and doing the River Lea and Stort but with a stoppage on this bridge which is 7D on the Paddington arm we decided to head out of the capital.

IMG_9149After a good three hour cruise we picked up this mooring at Yeading. It’s somewhere that we were told along time ago as a place not to moor as there was a history of dog fights and unruly behaviour in the park. After speaking to a couple of other boaters who had moored there recently with out having a problem we I decided to give it a go . (watch this space)

                                                                                                                        Happy Days

Saturday, 5 November 2016

The Tate

 

IMG_9083At 09.30 we went in to Praed street and jumped onto the number 23 bus . It takes you all the way down Edgware road then onto Oxford street ,Regents street then through Trafalgar Square and then dropping us off at St Pauls before carrying onto Liverpool Street. As always if we can we go upstairs and sit in the front for the best view. It would be a lot quicker to catch the tube , but we prefer the Buses' as you can see what's going on around you.

IMG_9084One of our favourite TV programmes is First Dates on Channel 4 .The show is filmed at the Paternoster Chop House restaurant in Central London, St Pauls, showing many people on dates, all of whom have not met each other before. At the end of the date, the couples are interviewed together and asked whether they would like to see each other again. Unfortunately Carolyn’s favourite maitre d' Fred Sirieix wasn’t in the restaurant so we didn’t go in. Mind you it’s nearly 40 years since we had our first date.

IMG_9089From St Pauls we walked over the Millennium Bridge which is a 330m steel bridge linking the City of London at St. Paul's Cathedral with the Tate Modern Gallery at Bankside.

IMG_9090It was then in to the Tate which holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art. Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. As with the UK's other national galleries and museums, there is no admission charge for access which is music to my ears to the collection displays, which take up the majority of the gallery space, while tickets must be purchased for the major temporary exhibitions.

IMG_9092As you can see Curly is not that impressed with this Warhol picture ,although she liked it a bit more when I told her how much it was worth.It depicts  Marilyn Monroe who died in August 1962, having overdosed on barbiturates. In the following four months, Warhol made more than twenty silkscreen paintings of her, all based on the same publicity photograph from the 1953 film Niagara. Warhol found in Monroe a fusion of two of his consistent themes: death and the cult of celebrity. By repeating the image, he evokes her ubiquitous presence in the media. The contrast of vivid colour with black and white, and the effect of fading in the right panel are suggestive of the star’s mortality.

IMG_9095We were really impressed with this vast tower of radios, each tuned to a different channel and adjusted to the minimum volume at which it is audible, relates to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel: a tower tall enough to reach the heavens. Affronted by this structure, God caused the builders to speak in different languages and, ceasing to understand one another, become divided and scattered across the earth. According to myth, this inability to communicate became the cause of all mankind’s conflicts.

IMG_9096Not so impressed with this. I think even me and Curly could have done something better.

IMG_9102It was then upto the viewing gallery on the top of the Tate. As you can see Curly has no fear of heights as she looks out over The Thames towards St Pauls.

IMG_9098I actually managed to walk all the way around hugging the inner wall as I went.The biggest problem I encountered was when I met someone else coming in the opposite direction with the same fear of heights as me and also hugging the inner wall.

IMG_9104These apartments are next to the Tate and are even higher. How people can live up in the clouds like this I will never understand. There is a sign which says give them some privacy ,but that’s not exactly possible when you have thousands of people a day walking around the gallery.

IMG_9106Yet again we had a brilliant day and Curly loved every minute of her visit to the Tate. With Hamish back on Inca we had to cut our visit a bit short, but we will certainly be back for another visit when we are next in London.

                                                                                                                     Happy Days