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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014: Day 2

Posted by indigodream on 24 April, 2014

Saturday 12th April

Paddington to Hayes

Teepee on the water?

Teepee on the water?

We had such a relaxed start to the day that we actually missed what we had thought was a modest target for the day – Paddington to Cowley Lock!

In the end, though, I was really pleased that we had a good rest at home in the morning – the weekend ahead turned out to be a bit busier that I’d anticipated πŸ™‚

Now that we’re back on the odyssey, there are dog/car logistics to be dealt with. It’s easy on familiar waters because we have a fair idea of where to park/catch trains – it will be more of a challenge when we get further north. Today was straightforward – the lock-free pound from Paddington makes life very easy. I dropped Richard, Ty and Ollie off at the boat before heading off by car to Sainsbury’s in Kensal Green. In the meantime, Richard loaded an exceptionally reluctant Ty on board, had a quick look to see if the boys from nb Chance were home (sadly we missed them) and set off along the canal.

I’d just finished the shopping and piled the luggage from the car onto a trolley when Richard turned up in the boat – result! The supermarket moorings were largely empty so we took the trolley right to the water and loaded via the side-hatch – always the most efficient option.

The first of many sunken boats we've seen on our trip - it's been a hard winter...

The first of many sunken boats we’ve seen on our trip – it’s been a hard winter…

By the time we loaded the boat, had lunch and fed the hounds it was gone 2pm. The supermarket has a well-stocked hot chicken counter – Ollie’s favourite food! He ate a whole (deboned) chicken by himself – no exaggeration! He’s got such a strange relationship with food – all or nothing – and his lack of appetite on the odd days is not for want of my trying to tempt him with delicious dainties! Ty was very distressed and miserable – I realise now that he hadn’t been boating for a long time and he had a difficult adjustment to make. He came off for a walk at Kensal Green but flat refused to get on the boat again – we had to carry him on 😦

Our departure was delayed (again!) by chatting to boating friends passing by – nb Lotus Number 10 and then nb Salar – it could take us some time to get out of London πŸ™‚

I normally cruise the lock-free pound while Richard does the car shuffle, but today we swapped round. I drove the car to Cassiobury Park (Sunday’s target) and he got the rare chance to mooch down the canal towards Bulls Bridge. I generally avoid driving in London and I don’t have a good overview of the main roads. So it was I slavishly followed the satnav onto the M1 – I was surprised to find myself there! It might have been a good route but I got gridlocked in Watford. My trip was further complicated when I got a bit lost trying to find Croxley tube station (on foot) – I managed to turn the wrong way a few yards from the station and walked a mile or more to Watford station instead. Never mind, the tube journey itself was smooth as there’s a handy connection between Watford and Uxbridge.

Our mooring in Hayes - the space was precisely 60' long - phew!  :-)

Our mooring in Hayes – the space was precisely 60′ long – phew! πŸ™‚

Along the way, I liaised with Richard. To my surprise, Indigo Dream hadn’t arrived at Bulls Bridge so I hopped in a taxi and joined him there for the last hour’s cruising. Of course, our leaving was delayed while we caught up with our old neighbours from Engineers Wharf – nb Blue Moon.

We were due to attend the “Commodore’s Evening” at St Pancras Cruising Club at 7.30pm – a quick look at the train times convinced us that we wouldn’t make it to Cowley Lock in time to get back into London. We quizzed the crew of Blue Moon and found that there was a good mooring near Station Road Bridge in Hayes with easy access to Hayes and Harlington train station – ideal. We were expecting a rough towpath mooring, but there are mooring rings right along the stretch leading to the bridge. Sadly, it was far too shallow for us get in further away from the bridge, but there was a gap between two of the resident boats – exactly Indigo Dream sized with enough depth for us to get in. Ollie’s eyesight/mobility means that we need to get right into the edge if at all possible.

The train soon got us into Paddington but we splashed out on a taxi to St Pancras – the driver was fascinated by boating and has been contemplating a live-aboard. He was already quite knowledgeable but quizzed us minutely on the details – I’m not sure how genuine a continuous cruiser he’ll be – he seemed to have all sorts of dodgy-sounding on-shore property deals πŸ˜›

We had a lovely evening at St Pancras – it was a more subdued event this year – not least because Andrew Phasey couldn’t attend because of a family bereavement. Nonetheless, we found a lot of boaty friends to talk to πŸ™‚ The evening was livened by a pair of folk musicians – they had a hard gig – everyone was more interested in chatting than listening. Nonetheless, they seemed to create a sun-dappled forest glade in the corner of the room and brought a barefoot charm into the utilitarian water tower that is the club’s social space.

We dragged ourselves away at 10.30pm with some reluctance, but we needed to get back to the hounds. The train was surprisingly packed, but it was only a few stops. I was glad of this – I’m not sure if I could have endured many more miles of the young men sitting next to us, hooked to their iphone and vigorously playing the drum equivalent of air guitar while checking their reflection in the train window :-p

The boat had been fine, and we had a very quiet night – we were relieved, we wouldn’t have considered mooring there if we hadn’t needed the quick train link (Hayes has an unsavoury reputation) but it was an unexpectedly good spot to moor.

Photoblog:

We’ll be publishing a lot more signs from random mooring spots as we pass them by. We don’t have to make any decisions until the Autumn but as a lot of moorings are advertised on signs made of cardboard and felt pen, it seems sensible to make a note of them now πŸ™‚

Hmm, how about Paddington?

Hmm, how about Paddington?

You can always tell who's behind the lens - this is an engineers photos showing a - hmm the engineer had better finish this caption...

You can always tell who’s behind the lens – this is an engineer’s photo showing a – hmm the engineer had better finish this caption… Rubbish photo, sorry. Β  It is a transformer cooler which has had permanent access added so that a maintenance engineer can get to the top of the cooler and presumably check a gas operated relay that sits by the round tank on top. Proportionate response to risks from falls from height is a bit of a hot topic at the moment (and lets not forget zero harm) so interesting to see what National Grid are doing (or at least I think it is National Grid plant)

This is an engineer's "wassat" - points for identifying what/where the structure is and bonus points for defining the engineering problem illustrated...

This is an engineer’s “wassat” – points for identifying what/where the structure is and bonus points for defining the engineering problem illustrated…

Signs of clearance - lots of trees have obviously come down this winter...

Signs of clearance – lots of trees have obviously come down this winter… Strange that they cut the last one but forgot to clear it!

Now, the derelict building in the foreground used to be lovely cottage that been allowed to decay over many years - not long before it's rubble :-( But what's that shiny frame going up in the background??

Now, the derelict building in the foreground used to be lovely cottage that been allowed to decay over many years – not long before it’s rubble 😦 But what’s that shiny frame going up in the background?? Is it an asphalt plant?

 

 

2 Responses to “Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014: Day 2”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    OK Richard, I’ve thought long and hard about your ‘wassat’…
    Now I think my guess is going to be wrong but here goes…
    Is it the underside of the A312 (Parkway) where it crosses the GU just north of Tesco’s
    at Bulls Bridge, Hayes/Southall, and does it have ‘concrete cancer’ problem by any chance?

  2. indigodream said

    Very good, even impressive! I don’t think it is any problem with the concrete, I wondered if they wanted to upgrade the bridge for higher loading. It is quite early strengthening but lasting well hence taking a photo for my interest.

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