Filling Up On Halibut. 12th August

The Swan on the River mooring to Littleport Station Road mooring

A very hot humid night in London and I suspect onboard Oleanna too. Today the temperature would rise that bit more and would end up changing our plans.

I wonder what used to be on the ground floor

After breakfast I headed of with a bottle of water in hand, caught a bus then the tube into Piccadilly Circus. I was here to check things out. I wanted to see which way Eros faced, get some photos of my own and then take a look at the building that stands on the corner of Shaftsbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street as I want to use it in my panto set.

I got some good photos, but not quite at the right angle, I needed to look across at Eros, not up at him. Lilywhites was nearly at the right angle and there was a staircase up through the building. It was worth a look. Well it wasn’t really as they position things on the window sills to deter photographers don’t they! Hopefully I’ve enough images to work from.

Chilled chocolate bears

I decided to walk up Piccadilly, sticking to the shade, bobbing into Fortnum and Masons to appreciate their air conditioning for a little while and watch people stacking expensive teas into their shopping baskets.

I then dropped down into the underground at Green Park and took the tube to Stockwell, here my plans were stalled, the Northern line south bound was suspended. Time to join a massive queue for the 155 bus. I soon realised that this bus would take me along a part of London I used to know very well. Clapham North was were I lived in my final year at college and the route south from here had many places I used to visit when I lived in Brixton for three years. I’ve not really been back to Clapham Common since I left so it was lovely to see that somethings hadn’t changed in the last 26 years.

Morag and me

I hopped off the bus in Balham and kept myself in the shade walking to my friend Morag’s flat. Despite the hold up with transport I arrived perfectly as she’d just finished a Teams meeting for work. Morag is a very good school friend of mine, we’d last met when we were in Marple last year. There was lots to catch up on and a very lovely vegetarian lunch to enjoy before she had to be back at work for her next Teams meeting at her dining room table.

Heading back

Meanwhile back on Oleanna, Mick spotted a boat that had been moored behind us yesterday near the station, so he knew there should be a space there. He pushed off, winded and returned to the handier mooring for trains to London. The electric boat we’ve seen a few times on our way back from Bedford was there and Mick pulled in. The lady on board was having problems with her generator, so Mick mentioned he’d just left the pub mooring where there is hook up. She was off like a shot to plug in and wait for someone to come out and sort her troublesome generator.

Fresh air for Tilly

Our original plan had been for Mick to catch a train sometime in the afternoon and come down to join me at the London Leckenby’s for the night. But as there was no shade at the mooring the temperature was rising inside Oleanna. 31C. Not too bad when you can have the windows and hatch open to encourage a breeze to pass through. But with everything shut up to keep a cat indoors it would be really unpleasant. This along with longer delays on the trains due to the heat we decided that Mick should stay with Tilly and make sure she didn’t cook overnight. A real shame, but better for our second mate.

The British Museum

My next port of call was the British Museum. I joined a rather long queue of people going through the security checks and headed indoors, I think a lot of people were heading in doors out of the sunshine. I headed straight for the right room, one that was built to house what are known to many as The Elgin Marbles. One day they will be sent back to Greece, but today I was glad they were still here as I wanted a closer look and to take photos as I’d like to do a touch of a panto joke with them. Lots of photos later and a comfort break I was heading back out to Hackney to help with the final preparations for dinner.


During the afternoon in Littleport a boat had pulled up behind Oleanna. There was then a bold knock on the roof. Mick popped his head out to see if he could help only to find Graham from NB Misty Blue who we did the Tideway and cruised some of the Regents Canal with last summer. He’d spotted Oleanna and stopped to say hello before carrying on for the day, looking for shade. Now some people think we move fast, we know we don’t! But Graham has been all over the place since we last saw him. Then he was heading for the Kennet and Avon which he did and carried on up the River Severn to the Gloucester Sharpness, he was one of the last boats across the Rochdale before it closed and a couple of days ago he crossed The Wash. Hopefully I’ll get chance to say hello when he comes past us next.

Jane and Kevin

This evening we were joined by Jane and her new (to us) boyfriend Kevin, who are over visiting from Sydney. We all grew up together in York as our Mum’s were best friends. It was so lovely to see Jane, hear the news from Australia. Of course there was food, including a whole halibut a first for Andrew to cook. What a wonderful fish, I suspect they will be eating the left overs for days to come.

Conversation kept going until midnight when slightly boozy photos were taken. What a lovely evening.

Happy times

0 locks, 0.621371 miles back, 2 moorings swapped, 5 buses, 4 tubes, 31C inside at 2pm, 1 London trip abandoned, 1 breezy boat, 1 hot but safe cat, 1 statue, 2 rooms of marbles, 2 old friends, 1 new friend made, 34C, 1 day of shade finding.

Pip, Jane, Emma, Andrew 1968. Just like it was yesterday