Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for September 8th, 2008

Getting Ready for a Party in 4 years time?

Posted by indigodream on 8 September, 2008

Sue, Blue AND Lou are taking over this blog so I really think it’s my turn don’t you?!

Some of you may have heard that there’s going to be a bit of a knees up in East London in 2012.

Our first venture round the backwaters of the River Lee was early in 2006. Others had been there long before us – for example have a look at Mike Steven’s web site. We had left our moorings on the Wey to get to Limehouse but thanks to a bit of bad map reading we turned left instead of right and got to Limehouse via Oxford, Braunston etc. Perhaps not the most direct route?

We came down the Regents Canal through Camden Locks – oh what fun, people lined up 4 or 5 deep round the locks to watch us going through. Great occasion for me to say over the radio “Lock is all yours Sue, one gate will do you won’t it?”.

The friendly lock keeper in Limehouse found us a space on the north wall – allegedly you are not allowed to moor there any more but you could then. We explained we were off round the Bow Back and up to Hackney and he basically said don’t do it. It is not a properly navigable canal – go and talk to those people on the other wall who have spent days taking a mattress from round their prop!!

Sure enough, they had a rough time. Going round the Bow Back – well the City Mill River they picked up a nice sprung mattress in their prop. They spent a few happy hours trying to get it off when by chance another boat appeared and gave them a tow back to Limehouse. Three hard days later working with bolt croppers through the weed hatch they finally got the mattress off. So what was their advice? “Go for it, we were just unlucky”. Mind you they had got to Limehouse on a route which included going under the Severn Bridge …

Off we went with great trepidation, mattress look-outs at the front. We got half way round the loop before we needed to clear the prop but it was fascinating. You know how generally places look better from the water. I’ve been going to regular meetings nearby so I vaguely know the area. Bits did not look to bad from the pavement but from the water…. Just as you think there is going to be a scrap yard, there’s a scrap yard. There is a low bridge with all sorts of interesting looking stalactites, well interesting till you realise the low bridge is the North London Outfall – basically a very big sewer. Then you think there’s bound to be a vicious guard dog but you are wrong (there were two). Then there is the burnt out warehouse, well from the road side it looks intact.

September 06 - stadium from the south

September 06 - stadium site (on the left) from the south

North part of the stadium will be here

September 06 - North part of the stadium will be here

After that first trip we did a few more. These photos show the City Mill River north of the railway and North London outfall. It is where the Olympic Stadium is going to be. At this time work had started underground but as far as we can remember this was still the land assembly stage.

We did lots more trips in early 2007 and you could gradually see work starting. There was real progress visible by Easter 2008:

Eater 2008 - 1

Easter 2008 - 1

Easter 2008 - 2

Easter 2008 - 2

Easter 2008 - 3

Easter 2008 - 3

And now? Well it is looking really good. 4 years left, the stadium has started, the mini forest of tower cranes is up. You can believe that it will happen:

September 2008 - Serious work starting

September 2008 - Serious work starting

On the north part of the loop you used to pass the entrance to the Pudding Mill River. By the time we went round the Pudding Mill River was a bit of open water at the northern end, then a culvert and then finally two pipes. You can still see the 2 pipes if you look carefully under Pudding Mill Lane Bridge. I suspect that the Old Pudding Mill River was probably never navigable – I think it was simply a feeder to the Tidal Mill then later to the Bow Power Station and so was shallow (inches deep) at the north end to keep the water, then a good depth the further in that you went perhaps for storage?. Academic now – It looks like a stadium is being built on top of it so definitely won’t be navigable!

Pudding Mill River Bridge 1

Pudding Mill River Bridge 1

Pudding Mill River Bridge 2

Pudding Mill River Bridge 2

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Stranded in Sharpness (2)

Posted by indigodream on 8 September, 2008

It’s Monday 8th September and it look as if our holiday won’t happen for a while yet. We’ve just been in touch with the lock-keeper in Gloucester Dock and here’s the latest update:

  • the river’s still closed
  • there’s still a bit more water to come down
  • the best estimate is that the lock will be open at the weekend AT THE EARLIEST
  • it all depends on the rainfall in wales over the next few days – it could be longer!

We weren’t entirely surprised – we’d found a link to a local news site showing photos of Tewkesbury – it’s unrecognisable. The Severn Ham, where the dogs ran around so joyfully a month ago, appears to be totally submerged. The front page of the Worcester News also has a great photograph showing less than a narrowboat’s height under the bridge arches. Here is the same bridge last month:

Worcester before the floods

Worcester before the floods

The lock-keepers are excellent sources of information so here’s their phone number again – 01452 310832

We’ll keep you posted, in the meantime we’ll just carry on working – aaarggh! (or go down the Severn to Bristol…)

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