Ballot Box Bridge to Paddington Basin
Time to make our final plunge into London this morning. We had a two and a bit hour cruise ahead of us and also wanted to top up with water at Little Venice. It being a Saturday and there not being many taps along this stretch we expected that we’d have to wait.
Whilst Mick pootled Oleanna along through, Perivale, Alperton and Stonebridge, across the north circular I got on with a bit of a tidy up.We’ve got visitors whilst we’re in London so my panto model won’t be able to stay out. Stuff needed to go away, we’re bad at that.
A spare duvet needed putting back under the sofa in a vacuum bag, Tilly helped especially when she thought she’d found a new entrance to the secret passageway. Winter cloths were also put in a vacuum bag and shrunk ready to be put away.
A sweep through, the shower had a once over before I used it then I could join Mick up top.
As we got closer towards the centre the canal got greener. The duck weed being pushed aside by our bow. To us it’s not that much of a problem, but water cooled engines, especially outboards it really isn’t good. Along the Old Oak stretch a wide beam came past towing a cruiser with a homemade wooden top. Not much further along we could see that someone was having difficulty. One of those box boats, a bit like a square caravan was sat too far over, a lady seemed to be doing circuits along the narrow gunnel.
I popped up to the bow to see if they needed any help whilst Mick slowed our progress, not that hard against all the duck weed. They had been over taken by the widebeam and pushed across getting grounded, their outboard had also stopped working not helping things. After checking which way they were travelling (it’s hard to tell with such a vessel) I took a rope from their bow, passed it over our bow T stud, Mick backed us off and they came free. It hadn’t taken much effort on our part but without a pole they were stuck.
We carried on the duck weed getting thicker.
Ducklings stood in a line infront of some moorings having a preen, an orange wiggle on the towpath with an ideas cafe sat underneath the A40.
We spotted a few spaces should we have needed them, then as we came round the last bend we could see up to the water point, empty!
There used to be a group of men who loitered here, today there was only one chap, a Custodian of the Bins. He offered to help with our ropes and admired Tilly as she posed in the window. We topped up the water tank, disposed of rubbish and the contents of our solids bucket.
Just ahead of our bow a line of bubbles pushed back the duck weed, trying it’s best to keep the green out of Little Venice.
A slow tap, but once filled we pushed on through the bubbles assisting some of the green to cross the line. Two boats were moored at Rembrandt Gardens. We’d managed to book a place there in 2014, but when ever we’ve tried to get a place since they have been booked up months and months in advance.
On we continued across another line of bubbles and under Harrow Road Bridge. Normally by now we are trying to be cool about finding a mooring whilst being slightly pensive inside. Today we hoped our space would be waiting for us.
There were a few spaces by the tube entrance, opposite the new tall criss crossed building which is still a building site. The final bend into Paddington Basin and there was a vacant spot waiting for us. We pulled in onto the slightly too short pontoon, not enough cleats to tie to so some jiggery pockery had to be done with the centre line. We’d arrived.
Since early June C&RT have been running a trial. This pontoon is now pre-bookable. A maximum of 7 nights, there is space for six boats, the outer two spaces can be used by widebeams. There will be another couple of sights across London, Kings Cross and Sweetwater on the Lee which will be introduced this year. These will be reviewed in the autumn, hopefully they will continue to encourage more visitors into London, I just hope there is space available when we next want to visit without having to book a year in advance. Details here
This evening was our first catch up. We caught the tube across a hot sticky London to Tufnell Park where our friends Nick and Kerry live with Harry their dog. A lovely evening followed with much beer and wine drunk, a great chicken curry all followed by homemade Chilled Medication! You can tell he reads the blog every now and then.
Lime water ice and ginger ice cream, the curry had been good, but this, yumm. We might have to return for seconds. The evening had brought rain with it, but we were fortunate that one last drink meant it had stopped for our journey back to Oleanna and Tilly.
0 locks, 7.65 miles, 1 blanket of green, 1 rescue, 1 free water point, 1 straight on, 1 last mooring, 0 shore leave, 1 miffed cat, 4 tubes, 2 bottles of wine, 1 chicken curry, 2 varieties of chilled medication, 1 lovely evening.