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Boat Blog: The London Ring Day 1…

Posted by indigodream on 2 November, 2013

Rewind to Friday 30th August

Alfie taking the helm for the obligatory photo under Tower Bridge...

Alfie taking the helm for the obligatory photo under Tower Bridge…

On Friday night we welcomed some very special guests on board – our favourite vet Steve, wife Helen and son Alfie – it’s always been our dream to cruise with an onboard vet and here we were πŸ™‚ Actually, we did hope that Steve wouldn’t have any work to do, though I’m sure he came equipped (though we have a pretty good hound first aid kit on board regardless). We were excited for Herbie and Steve to meet – it’s been months since Steve last saw Herbie and he was delighted with how well Herbie’s terrible leg wounds (incurred via Henry hound last December) had healed. We’ve been showing Herbie off with some pride – the vets had been so concerned that he would lose the leg or that he’d be permanently disabled, but Herbie is fine!. Having said that, I did manage two vet visits – Herbie developed a mysterious lump on his back – we had to have it biopsied! It proved to be benign and was eventually cured by a long course of antibiotics. Henry then developed a very nasty infection of his anal glands – ouch – he was ever so sore – cue more antibiotics!

We congregated on the boat on Friday night and found that five people and three hound could fit on board. Alfie, sleeping on an air bed, didn’t seem to mind being trampled by greyhounds! Helen had cooked dinner and sent it up in advance – another convenience, of course guest hound Herbie had an appointment at the vet so I could pick up food and sleeping bags to drive up to the boat. We had a merry evening but soon we were off to our respective beds – we had an early start and a busy day ahead….

Rewind to Saturday 31st August

Limehouse to Paddington (the long way round!)

Awesome!  The was Alfie's opinion :-)

Awesome!
The was Alfie’s opinion πŸ™‚

The tide times were such that we decided to do the London ring “clockwise” – this would give a magical transit up the tideway in the morning light and miss most of the commercial traffic. We locked out at 8.15am, having had a particularly smooth start as Steve took the hounds out for an expert walk as the rest of got the boat ready πŸ™‚ We had a lovely surprise at the lock – we were hailed by the cheerful “oirish” who will forever be know to us as “Mr Pentargon” (named for his boat) – we met in Brentford back in April and our paths have been crossing ever since – boating is a small world! We were enjoying a chat when I suddenly realised that the lock wasn’t draining – ah, that would be because Mr Pentargon was standing on the lock gate to chat – ooops! We bid our hasty farewells set off to the tideway.

The trip was exactly as predicted – though what we hadn’t anticipated was Steve and Helen’s joy as we travelled further upriver – much of their courtship seems to have happened around here and Steve proposed near the river (can’t remember the exact spot).

We seemed to get to Brentford in no time at all – with us basking in our guests’ enjoyment…

But there was no stopping – on we went towards one of our favourite lock flights – we do like the Hanwell – thinking of where we are in West London, the flight is a delightful surprise.

We introduced our guests to the joys of locking – the boys pushed the gates and Helen learnt to helm. She was a natural – I’ve found that most people are! We flew up the locks, with Richard lockwheeling, though we had the flight to ourselves until the very last lock. We were surprised – it was a gloriously sunny day – we couldn’t have asked for better. We were so enjoying the canal that we decided not to stop at Tesco’s in Bull’s Bridge and turned instead towards Paddington.

The crew taking their locking seriously :-)

The crew taking their locking seriously πŸ™‚

We had a serene afternoon’s cruise, though we did have some drama when we reversed to rescue a young crow that had fallen into the water, had managed to climb partway out using a bramble but didn’t quite have the strength to get onto the bank. I hate high straight canal banks – yes, they’re nice to moor on but critters that fall in are largely done for 😦 Richard got within range and we delegated the animal rescue to Steve – he got the exhausted crow to the bank, told us to feed it and that was all we could do. We left it on the bank with some extra food – we’d given it a chance at life who know whether it survived…..

Helen on the helm..

Helen on the helm..

We stopped for food and beer at Sainsbury’s in Alperton – there was plenty of mooring space – the Grand Union was deserted!

Although we’d considered mooring many times during afternoon, the weather and the light were so lovely we decided to press on to Paddington. We go there quite late but mercifully there was one mooring left at the far end of the basin – result! This would make it easy to offload the hounds (though the pontoons are also fine). We haven’t been here for a while and we always think that things have changed. After walking and feeding the hounds, we headed off to find an eaterie – we settled on a near, easy choice – the “Grand Union” bar and restaurant at the very far end of the basin. It’s a burger/pizza type place, but we had a good meal – especially the magnificent knickerbocker glories to finish.

We were all very weary as we trailed back to the boat – a seductive combination of fresh air, fine weather, good company and the wonderful variety of river and canalscape lured us to sleep – we’d had a 10-hour cruising day, but what a special day it was πŸ™‚

Photoblog:

This beast is "Turanor Planetsolar" a giant solar powere yacht - read baout it on their website - http://www.planetsolar.org/

This beast is “Turanor Planetsolar” a giant solar powered yacht – read about it on their website – http://www.planetsolar.org/

You'd almost think we'd gone back in time with the masts and the bridge...

You’d almost think we’d gone back in time with the masts and the bridge…

The illusion is soon shattered by the shard on one side and the "walkie-talkie" building  on the other. Maybe we should be relieved that it's not focusing the sun's rays on the river! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23930675

The illusion is soon shattered by the shard on one side and the “walkie-talkie” building on the other. Maybe we should be relieved that it’s not focusing the sun’s rays on the river! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23930675

The bridge works at Blackfriars seem never-ending...

The bridge works at Blackfriars seem never-ending…

We found out later that this was part of a huge charity abseiling event - http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/whats-on.php?event=110413

We found out later that this was part of a huge charity abseiling event – http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/whats-on.php?event=110413

A view FROM Battersea Power Station...

A view FROM Battersea Power Station…

A view FROM Battersea Power Station...

A view FROM Battersea Power Station…

A view FROM Battersea Power Station...

A view FROM Battersea Power Station…

A view of just a small part of Battersea Power Station's vast heart...

A view of just a small part of Battersea Power Station’s vast heart… It is a magnificent building that has been closed now for 30 years and 2 days, with the roof over the main generator hall taken down, much of it opened to the elements and gradually declining.

 

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