Category Archives: Food

Dapdune 31st July

Guildford Willow Meadows to Dapdune Wharf

The Guildford Scholar

Having put off till tomorrow, due to the rain, we needed to go into town. There was the bank to visit, the new security measures being brought in for online banking had meant that I’d managed to lock myself out of my account! We also needed new vacuum bags to store things in under the bed. In the past we’ve had various types and gradually they have all failed, so this time we’ve gone for robust and protected ones with their own tote bags. We couldn’t remember off hand how big the storage area is under the bed and they don’t come in ‘about this by that and that’ sizes! So we will have to have a measure before we open any of the packaging up and I have a note of the different sized bags that are available.

Tying to a tree, always good practice!

A top up on food and we headed back to Oleanna, hopping over the ropes from a day boat, we know they are given spikes as yesterdays boaters gave up hammering them in to also use the trees!

Yumm

As we’d had a good breakfast today no lunch was required. We pushed off and made our way back into town, dropped down Millmead Lock with two swans who were quite impatient for the gates to open and then wound our way under all the roads.

Inviting themselves
Plenty of room for everyone

Our hope had been to get a mooring at Dapdune Wharf so that we could have a look around before carrying on our way. Coming round the last bend the wharf lay empty, not one boat moored there, just a mass of paddle boarders. Instructions were shouted to all the wobbly people and space was made for us to come into the side.

Dapdune wharf

The view one way was good, lots of people admiring me. But on the other side I wasn’t impressed! A high wall which gave tantalising views of people walking past and what looked like an interesting roof line. She said I wouldn’t like it, so instead of letting me out they went off and had a look round.

Paddleboarders

Dapdune Wharf was used for goods transshipment and latterly for barge building and maintenance. The site is now the National Trusts administrative offices for the navigation along with a visitor centre. After we’d had a cuppa watching the next batch of novice paddle boarders getting their confidence (or just getting wet!) we had our membership cards scanned and started to have a look round.

Reliance a Wey Barge

For over 150 years the Stevens family played an important role in the development of the navigation, first as Lock Keepers then onto management of a substantial transport business along the navigation. By 1902 the Stevens brothers gained full ownership of the navigation. The Edwards family was brought in and Wey Barges were built at Dapdune. The boats kept transporting goods into the 60’s and the navigation was finally handed over to the National Trust in 1964.

The Smithy

Here you can see the smithy, originally the nail store, given away by there not being a chimney. Repair sheds (now used to house the electric trip boats). A gunpowder store, building shed, a carpenters shed, a steam chest (where timber was steam so that it could be bent into shape for the hulls). And Reliance an original Wey Barge built in 1931-32 which is no longer water tight so sits on a frame above the graving dock.

Boys! They never grow up

There are displays with 3D maps and Mick spent quite a bit of time playing with a model that demonstrates how locks work. Well if the water pressure had been enough he wouldn’t have been able to level the two pounds and the lock meaning both ends of the lock could be opened at the same time!

Printed fabric and paper
Giant teapot

Around the site there were a few pieces of art from Farnham College of Art. A couple made from fabric and paper were vaguely interesting, one a sheet and some rope was just taking up space, but the best one was a giant cottage teapot on a trolley, the smithy had been filled with such teapots also. My photo makes the trolley look like it’s been made in miniature.

Medication, twice in one week

Still with a few more sheds to check out as they were closing, we decided to stay for the night. A nice mooring apart from the trains going over the bridge close by, they are so noisy! But as the sun vanished out of sight numerous bats swooped, ducked and dived past Oleanna enjoying a major feast. They were so busy Mick decided to close the hatch in case they decided to swoop in.

1 lock, 1.25 miles, 4 digits changed, 1 pointless phone call, 3 nights food, 2 big bags, 5 veg bags, 2 trip hazards, 1 Liza, 2 swans, 8 boards, 1 nervous lad blossoming into a smiley goon, 2 chilled medications, 1 resigned cat, 3 hyperactive bats at least, 01:15 the last noisy train tonight!

The mystery plant I believe is Dipsacus fullonum, more commonly known as a Teasle. Coming across one on the path made it very obvious. Thank you Debby for your suggestion.

Staying Shady. 23rd July

Broadford Pipe Bridge ish

Dappled sunlight

No intention of going anywhere today, we relaxed having a cuppa in bed. Our nights sleep had been a touch disturbed. The first train to cross the bridge behind us at around 5am, stirred us from our slumber, they move slowly across the rumbling clanking bridge. It’s not quite as noisy as Vazon Sliding Bridge on the Stainforth and Keadby and has far fewer trains. Then Tilly woke me as her body decided it didn’t want anymore to do with last nights Ding Ding! Unable to bend well I had to enlist Mick in the tidying up aspect. I just pointed and gave Tilly a chin rub before returning to bed.

Long cat temperatures

Our mooring sits pointing north/southwards. So the morning sun sprinkled itself through the trees of the off side of the canal whilst we had breakfast. Day boats from up ahead started to come past mid morning, followed by NB Ella and one or two others brave enough to cruise in the midday sun. We however stayed inside at our shady spot.

This south outside is good

Tilly spent all day out and about. Only one woofer to have a go at her today, the rest passed by without noticing her.

Mick caught up with cycling, I put scripts in a folder and then sat out under the canopy of trees in my office for the day. There was Act 2 to re-read of my next show before talking to the writer about it.

On our way down to London I was contacted by Joshua Richards an actor I’ve worked with in the past at Hull Truck, if you watch Emmerdale you may know him as wrestler Bear Wolf! A couple of years ago he directed ‘A Regular Little Houdini’ which won quite a few prizes. He and the actor/writer Daniel Llewelyn-Williams, were approached about remounting the show, expanding it a touch as it had been a one act play along with expanding it visually from a chair and a suitcase to something more.

Today’s Office

I got chance to read the script before I decided to do it, which was a first for me. It is a great script, a wonderful story that as I read it conjured up an atmosphere of the docks in Newport Wales in the 1900s.

Houdini our first second mate five years ago today.

It has Houdini in the title, the name of our first second mate. So what was not to like, plenty of lead time too and it should fit around Chippy panto and our plans to cruise this summer. Oh and there was one more thing that swung it, it is being produced at the Vienna English Speaking Theatre, in Vienna, in January!

Mine!

Tilly climbed trees, stuck her arm down holes whilst we prepared a barbecue, my office transforming itself into our leafy terrace for the evening. Only one problem, due to our wonky mooring our table top was being used as a plank to get on and off the boat. We managed in the end and enjoyed sitting out watching all the runners and cyclists sweating their way along the towpath.

Our leafy terrace

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 sickly cat, 31ish degrees C, act 2, 1 writer, 9 hours plus! 1 very exhausted cat, 4 veg kebabs, 2 chunky turkey steaks, 2 cobs of corn, 1 troublesome back, 5 years full time CCing.

Yesterdays Property

https://www.seymours-estates.co.uk/properties/12092475/sales

5 bedrooms for £650,000

Dap Dune, Dap Dune, Dap Dune. 21st July

Send Church Footbridge to Guildford Town Bridge

Still edible thank goodness

As long as I took things steadily, no rushing around I thought I’d be okay today. The other thing to avoid was bending down, as any sudden change in altitude usually ends with a very sharp pain between my temples, bloomin migraines! Yes we could have stayed put, but with an early train to catch in the morning we had to get closer to Guildford today.

Bad photo, but anyone know what this is? Wrong leaves for a thistle and a fluffier flower. the flower heads were a couple of inches.

Only two locks today we made our way round the tight wiggles with weirs on the outside bends. At Bowers Lock the navigation takes a left hand bend up onto a cut section. The weir here seems to be having major works done to it and the towpath is currently diverted through woodland.

How low can you get?

The lock first needed emptying, I did this by myself as it was quite a walk back to the lock landing around the bend. Then I had no choice but to inflict altitude sickness on myself. The bottom gates are so low that they only just clear the bridge deck. This of course makes it easier for those walking the towpath, they can just step over open gates. But to be able to close them you need to pull on the bar and chain. It took a little while for me to realise that to close the gates I also needed to be low to the ground. You can stand and pull diagonally, but the gate is reluctant to move in such a direction, it wants to go horizontally. I accepted being low to the ground and pulled eventually closing the gates behind Oleanna.

Coming up

As we finished rising in the lock a boat appeared above along with a lady popping out from the trees, this was their crew who’d decided to walk to set the lock. We chatted a bit, they’d been moored overnight at ‘……….Oh that wharf place’ ‘Oh what’s it called!’ ‘You know ……. wharf’. Sadly I didn’t know. She warned me that there wouldn’t be much space to moor there if we wanted to, but we needed to be closer to town anyway.

A few more manicured lengths off bank suggested moorings, one had been chosen by a couple from a canoe as a handy resting place for a picnic.

Another pretty lock

Approaching Stoke Lock we could see it was emptying, we hung back to give the boat space to leave, then entered closing the gates behind us. With ropes around bollards I was about to start filling it when Mick signalled to me. We were being joined, a chap opened one bottom gate and his boat came in. It was the couple from the canoe.

Yep that’s a lady in the lock with us

Okay so one tiny boat made of fibreglass with a lady sat in it alongside what is most probably 20 tonnes of narrowboat! Mick had warned them, but the chap said they shared locks all the time. Obviously I wound the paddle up just a short way to start with. Luckily these locks seem to behave and with the paddle open on your side with your stern line tied to the yellow post you hardly seem to move an inch, other than upwards. I kept a close eye on the lady, then the chap said to wind the paddle straight up!

They had come out for a paddle yesterday and camped overnight, so their boat was full of camping gear making it heavy, therefore they’d not wanted to lift it out below the lock. We all survived.

There’s a lower bridge to come

Now on the flat for the rest of the day I didn’t need to set the bow rope on the roof for the next lock and could stand down from my duties. We now had chance to practice as the canoeist had mentioned the wharfs name. Dapdune, Dap Dune, Dap Dune, not Daphne, Dap Dune. We’d got it.

A full wharf

Daphne Wharf was full of boats when it came into view so a good job we hadn’t wanted to moor there. We continued onwards into the side of Guildford I’ve not visited. A high mooring showed itself by the Odeon, so we pulled in. The cabin top only just above the towpath height.

After lunch Mick headed off into town to do a recky of other moorings, the station and for a new second hand tablet to be used at the stern. We’d offered to buy Josh’s old one from him if Mick could make it work, sadly it had been resting too long and will be added to the technological graveyard somewhere.

A boozer table that didn’t end up on the floor!

I got on with the last few jobs before my panto meeting tomorrow. A paint list and photos of the model now it was all completed so I could do a final story board for all the creatives to see. Outside it seemed busy, I could hear a group of girls on the path above, then I could hear footsteps above. Someone was using our roof as a continuation of the path! Oy!!

A group of young teenage girls were sat on the bench and by the time I got to the front and opened up the cratch two other girls were stepping off the roof. ‘Can I help you?’ better than a tirade of words. ‘Sorry Sorry lovely boat!’ Hmmmm!

Final checks

Mick returned a short while later the next mooring also as close to the station was free and a touch lower, so not at roof level. We moved.

Property Game

On the River Wey. Fleurs house has quite a large granny annex.

How much? Answers tomorrow.

2 locks, 4.73 miles, I edible loaf, 2 Lilliput gates, 1 tiny sharer, 0 shore leave, 2 moorings, 4 clomping feet, 0 harm done, 1 model ready and packed, 15 sheets drawings, 11 groundplans, 198 photos of models, 1 owy head, 1 twinge.

Yesterdays Property

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-80242586.html

£475,000 Sold I’m afraid if you fancied it.

Southern Woofers Have NO Manners! 20th July

Pyrford Basin to Send Church Footbridge

Rain hit Oleanna’s roof for much of last night, but by first thing this morning it had dried up. Mick headed off on a bike to find a Waitrose for a free newspaper, along with £10 of shopping. He was fortunate as when he returned we had a couple of major down pours, the sort that would soak you to the skin despite waterproofs.

Paws crossed for finer weather

10% chance of rain! Well we’d got that 10% and we weren’t going to set off whilst it was at it’s worst. By midday the sun was trying to make an appearance so we made ready to push off. A boat appeared from behind, we had a locking partner.

The Anchor Pub was already attracting customers and would be a handy place for a delivery should we need one on the way back. The crew of NB Montana were setting the lock when I reached them after dropping off some rubbish.

The Anchor

I’d set the bow rope on the port side roof, but as the boats came into the lock we ended up on the starboard side, I’d be needing a boat hook to get the rope. The hook we were left with at little Venice is nice and light weight with an aluminium pole so easy to handle.

We tied up as we’d done yesterday using the yellow post at the stern. NB Montana tied up using all three ropes, but not one of them round the yellow post. There was a lot of rushing around trying to stop their boat from surging forward and backwards, the centre line getting tighter and tighter whilst Oleanna just rose up the lock gracefully. I mentioned to the lady about the yellow post, she wasn’t aware if they’d been told about it at Thames Lock.

Time to turn the engines back on, not a rumble from NB Montana! He tried again and again, still no joy. We said we’d wait for them at the next lock, for a while anyway and left them to bow haul out of the lock making way for a boat to go down.

Pretty summer house

The next stretch was narrow and slow going. We think it was both the depth but also the current as we were heading upstream. A quick look at a map showed us that RHS Wisley isn’t too far away and to keep an eye open for an Elizabethan Summer House. There it was nestled in amongst the trees.

Walsham Lock Cottage
You don’t get bells like that anymore

The lock cottage at Walsham Flood Gates watched our progress, Mick was impressed by the telephone bells by the front door.

Moorings

Now we were back on the river, wider and deeper. The moorings by the lock looked like they’d be fun to reverse out off and not get drawn towards the weir!

Waiting, but for how long?

A boat was just coming out of Newark Lock leaving it all ready for us. How long should we wait? We decided on ten minutes or until a boat came the other way. The sun was now out, layers could be removed as we waited. After eight minutes a boat appeared above the lock, oh well we’d have to ascend as we were in the way.

A lady came to help and we left her with a message for NB Montana that we’d wait at the next lock, they’re on a mission to reach Guildford today for dinner.

This looks a good place for the way back

I’d seen that NB Huffler had moored at Papercourt Meadows a few days ago, this had to be those meadows. Wide grassy, perfect place for a barbecue, maybe on our way back. We noted a couple of places that looked deep enough to moor as boats were already tied up.

Very pretty

I hopped off just before we reached the bywash from the weir and walked up to the lock, pausing to take photos. What a picturesque scene in the sunshine with the cottage and stepped weir, chocolate box.

Family

A family of Egyptian Geese were preening themselves by the top gates which kept me occupied as we waited. NB Montana could be seen making her way through the meadows, as they got closer I spotted a second boat hot on their tail. Should we go up on our own or wait. We waited saving them an extra ten minutes emptying the lock.

This time they used the yellow post and both boats sat calmly as they rose, affording everyone chance to have a chat. Paddles were wound in unison. They’d had a chap this morning lift a paddle straight up which had sent the plume of water straight into their bow and inside the cabin. She got him to quickly close the paddle and avoid them sinking, they still had a wet floor that needed mopping up. Have to say we never go up hill with our cabin doors open just for this reason.

Nearly at the top

We led the way for the next two miles. Pretty rural turned into offices/factory at the cut side. Another flood gate at Worsfold where the National Trust work yard is. Nicholsons mentions a turf sided lock here, but we didn’t spot it, we’ll have a better look on the way back.

Bar on a chain to stop you leaning over

The river now winds and twists towards the next pretty lock, Triggs Lock with another fine cottage. The bottom gates when open lean over the channel so, as on other gates, there are chains and a bar to help you pull them towards you from a safe distance. This was to be our last lock of the day, so we waved NB Montana goodbye and hoped they had a lovely evening.

Triggs Lock

Through the next bridge was a trimmed stretch of towpath, we arrive just as a group of canoeists did, they loitered exactly where we wanted to pull in but they got the message in the end. The wind had been doing it’s best to aid us in mooring when the canoes had been in the way, but now had disappeared. Oleanna just wouldn’t go into the side, Mick hopped off but no matter how he pulled on the centre line she just wasn’t having any of it. A blast of reverse to get her back close enough for Mick to jump back on and we headed off to try the next place.

This was also too shallow, a shame as there would have been a great view of Send church from our bedroom in the morning. The next trimmed length we were determined to moor in. The bow came in close enough to hop off, but the stern wouldn’t. Any further along the river and we’d be too close to roads for Tilly, so here it was to be. Spikes banged in and plank deployed, the first time since the Lancaster. This reminded us that we really need to get a longer one very soon!

What is this?!!!

Excuse me!!! Just what were they thinking? This outside had water everywhere! How was I meant to be able to get to it? Tom showed me this sloping thing, it smelt like ours but really! No thank you!! A thin slice of tree is no good for anyone!

Tree!

However the trees here were good. Good for climbing. I soon discovered that I could jump the gap over the water and onto the roof when a rude woofer came to see me. It didn’t stay long when I showed it what I was made of.

I really wasn’t sure about this outside, so She came out to go for a walk with me. I like this, both of us discovering new things, mostly trees and friends for me. Today however we discovered that most Southern Woofers are very rude!

One came running from quite a distance, so I decided to head up a tree. Here I had to cling on whilst it shouted at me for ages. It’s Tom just smiled and walked by calling it’s stupid name. In the end She had to risk her life and stand in between us as the woofer just wasn’t going to leave. Have to say I was glad when it did my claws were starting to ache!

Action shot

I discovered that I could jump onto the side hatch with relative ease which came in handy later on when the stupid Tom came back with his exceptionally rude woofer. Doors were closed very quickly on the boat locking it out. Why was the Tom stupid? He had a lead and knew I was there so why hadn’t he used it?! Stupid and selfish, if I’d been a little kid running away I bet he’d have apologised. Maybe he is scared of his woofer and can’t keep hold of it or is even afraid that it might bite him. Anyway my Tom was so not impressed! I now HATE woofers!

Last night I’d prepared a sponge for a loaf of Sour Dough, this had been getting frothier all day. So once we’d moored up I mixed in the other ingredients and added some yeast so that we wouldn’t have to wait until midnight to bake it. It rose nicely over a couple of hours. Then as I popped it in the over I happened to give the tin a slight knock against the grill pan. My recipe warns against this as with no gluten the loaf can collapse, all those hours of rising gone immediately to waste.

The loaf looked okay as it went in the oven, but when I turned the temperature down I had a look. It had sunk by about a quarter, a big dip in the middle! I toyed with abandoning it there and then, not wasting gas. But baked it in the end, we’ll see how it turns out for toast tomorrow.

Sunken!

4 locks, 2 flood gates, 5.19 miles, 1 summer house, 1 broken boat, 1 meadow mooring noted, 3 shallow moorings also noted, 0 outside close enough, 2 rude woofers, 3 woofer incidents, 1 freaked out cat, 1 totally selfish dog owner, 1 sunken loaf, 1 migraine brewing, 1 property game put off till tomorrow.

Posh Pooh. 19th July

Weybridge New Bridge to Pyrford Basin

What a wet start to the day. Mick managed to cycle to the shops first thing to get some gluten free crumpets. We had eggs to eat up and I had nothing to absorb the runny yolk. A loaf of bread was a possible but my sour dough starter is in need of waking up so in a days time I’ll have a homemade loaf, crumpets are a treat anyway.

Yum

He returned with some bacon to accompany the eggs. Then the rain set in.

Over the next few days we need to keep moving, my panto meeting next week necessitates being near public transport, so we couldn’t just sit the day out. We did however delay our start, hoping the rain would ease.

The solar panels had been needing a wipe down so with a constant shower provided by nature Mick tried out his new waterproof coat and gave them a good clean down. Mick sat catching up with the Tour de France coverage and Tilly sulked in her escape pod as I pottered away the morning.

There hadn’t been much scratching in Tilly’s pooh box this morning, so I was a bit surprised at an aroma that was building up. ‘Not me!’ ‘Nor me!’ said Mick, it certainly wasn’t me! Now our neighbours here might be posh driving their Porsche, but they could still pick up after their dogs!!!! GRRRRR!!!!!!!!!! Mick had managed to pick up about a weeks worth on the bottom of his shoes, which was now deposited on the floor. Maybe the owner had been leaving it for their staff to pick up. Have to say one thing for the dog, it must be fed on something expensive as the aroma wasn’t as pungent as you’d expect from so much.

A nice picture of horses instead of pooh!

This then kept us busy for sometime, cleaning up. Thank goodness we don’t have a carpet!

The rain kept coming and in the end we decided that we’d risk Tilly going out for an hour. After twenty minutes it had stopped raining, time to go if I could get the cat back. One call out on the towpath and I got a reply, Tilly sprung out of the friendly cover and we could be on our way.

Sharp right after the bridge to the lock

A short distance on is Town Lock. Ian had warned us yesterday to pull in just after the first bridge and walk up to the lock as it is at right angles to the channel. This we did and sure enough the lock was full with gates open. Here on the Wey you are asked to leave the gates open, both of them. So if the lock is set against you there is more to do especially as you have to walk round.

Round the yellow post

With the lock set and both gates open Mick brought Oleanna in. With the gates closed Mick passed the stern line up which I passed around the yellow stake and returned to him to tie off on the boat. I’d laid the bow rope on the roof with a loop to make it easy to get hold of and pulled Oleanna into the side and wrapped the rope around a bollard.

Mick helping to set the lock

The Wey windlass has a long reach, making it easier to wind the paddles up, it does mean stretching somewhat though. I opened the paddle a bit and the plume of water came out. Oleanna stayed put so I opened it up some more, then more until it would go no further. The gear on these paddles is reminiscent of that on the Huddersfield broad it stays put magically until you start to wind it down, no visible break on them.

It doesn’t feel right leaving gates open

Once Oleanna was up at the top Mick was able to walk round to open up the off side gate as I dropped the paddle and set my rope on the roof for the next lock. It does feel odd leaving lock gates open.

Coxes Lock

Coxes Lock sits just past three fantastic mill buildings, Alexander Raby Mill, Daniel Lambert Mill and John Bunn Mill. These buildings have had a number of different uses through their 200 odd years. Foundry, flour mill even silk weaving for a time. Originally powered by a water wheel with a large mill pond, level with the lock, which was dug to alleviate the barges becoming grounded. This was superseded by steam and then electric. They have now been converted into apartments.

The Mills and NB Huffler

As Oleanna rose in the lock a boat headed down towards us. A cruiser moored on the lock landing had left enough room for them to tie up, but they decided to hover in the cut for the lock to be ready for them. This turned out to be Nb Huffler heading back down stream.

Altered lock beams for the road

Marvelous we thought, the locks would now be sat waiting for us with open gates, but sadly this wasn’t the case, New Haw Lock sat with it’s gate very firmly shut. We reset it and worked our way up. This lock has had a new road bridge built over it’s bottom gates, necessitating the beams to be cranked, these are always hard to get moving and quite painful to push. The pretty lock cottage more than made up for this.

Pretty Lock Cottage

Just as we finished and were about to leave the chap from NB Ella appeared behind. I helped close a top gate and then hopped back on board before Oleanna was dragged towards a weir.

Without the M25

Up ahead we now had the crossing of all sorts. M25, railway and a canal junction. Each support to the motorway has been decorated, most with elaborate writing and one with a very good painting of a Sphynx cat, not my favourite I prefer my cats to have fur.

Not my favourite breed

Then the Basingstoke Canal heads off to the west. We hope to be able to cruise up there, but water levels are bad as their supply is from springs not reservoirs or rivers. A phone call is needed before we go that way as the locks are only open on certain days and have to be booked in advance.

The Basingstoke Canal

Then the railway, nearby is West Byfleet and New Haw station. Way back when I used to do work for a scenic company based here, my first job painting the Muppets Christmas Carol grotto that was to be at the Trocadero in London in 1992.

By now we were wanting to stop, as soon as we were a distance away from the motorway we tried pulling in, but had no luck. Further on just before the Anchor pub at Pyrford we tried again, here the water was deep enough. Soon after NB Ella pulled in leaving a good gap in front of us as they have a dog.

GET LOST!!!

Blimey! They promised me a better outside, so many trees, some thin, some thick, others giantly big. Loads of friendly cover too. It was certainly heading towards having a Mrs Tilly stamp until a woofer came and spoilt it all. She said to Tom to pick me up, but I didn’t need that. When Tom came between me and the woofer I headed back towards the boat only to be followed at speed by said woofer! This happened several times. It stopped within swiping distance scared off by my huge tail and arched ridge back. No need to get the claws out, but it was a close thing!


Property Game

This one is on the Wey and comes with a slipway for a small cruiser.

3 locks, 4.09 miles, 1 wet day, 2 outsides, 3 mills, 1 huge dollop of pooh, 1 very clean cabin floor, 10 groundplans completed, 3 muddy paw prints! 1 shady mooring we’d like next week.

 

Yesterdays Properties

https://jezzards.co.uk/property/for-sale/Platts-Eyot/Hampton/TW12/100220

£225,000 on Platts Eyot

Tense. 14th July

Ballot Box Bridge

There was only one thing for it today, we had to stay put. Last night the TV signal had been checked and double checked. We really would have had to move on if the signal was patchy, but luckily it was fine.

Reception good

Boats started coming past fairly early, the first being NB Lottie Jane heading in towards London. Our New Zealand friends Clare and Graeme had introduced us in Manchester, sadly we were still having our morning cuppa in bed as they passed. A while later one of the boats that had been in Paddington cruised past at quite a speed, at least if Lottie Jane had booked one space would have become available.

Sharing my studio

Soon after breakfast I set myself up for a day of model making, hopping that today I would put my finishing touches to my panto model. Mick turned the radio on, followed by the TV, there was an important cricket match that needed to be watched. Today because England were in the final of the World Cup it was to be shown on terrestrial TV, a first in a long time.

Bloomin bicycles

10 hours! Those trees out there may have thought that they had disguised themselves, but I could see straight through the ivy. Plenty of climbing, pouncing and bicycle avoidance today. My back legs were in need of a good stretch and they certainly got it.

Blimey!

With the commentary from the Test Match Special team keeping us company for much of the day, the delay of around five seconds before the TV caught up was handy, apart from when they went to adverts. Blimey it was tense, time after time. How close could one match be!

Boozer complete

We celebrated with a glass of Crabbies each as I did my best to finish my model. By 9pm the last bit of dressing was added, security boxes repainted, the list of model jobs was all ticked off. Just the long list of Tech Drawings to work through now. Thank goodness we had a good portion of Paella left to eat cold as soon as I’d finished.

0 locks, 0 miles, 0 steps off the boat for me, 1 load washing, 10 hours, 8 taken, 1 tenser than tense ending to the match, 1 shade of pink which became yellow, 1 model completed, 20 rows of knitting.

Bubble Failure. 13th July

Paddington Basin to Ballot Box Bridge

Our time here was up, well at midday it would be. Check-out time is at midday and check-in at 1pm, not that there is anybody to check in with. Some people have opted to stay for longer in the basin, once their booked mooring has elapsed they keep their eyes peeled across the way. As soon as a space becomes available they move over to the hospital side, giving themselves more time, but this time for free.

Duck weed encroaching

We could easily stay for longer, loads more people we could catch up with. It’s been great to see those we’ve seen, but we both were looking forward to heading out of town away from the constant hum of the buildings around us and into the cool of some countryside.

Goodbye Paddington, Thank you

It looked like there was nobody on board the boat behind us, but as soon as we’d pulled away a chap appeared out the back, time for them to nudge up and be able to use bow and stern. We moved on down to the end of the basin and winded, turning our back on central London.

When we’d returned to Oleanna last night we’d been surprised at the amount of duck weed that had reached the basin, yes there had been numerous boats moving through the bubble barriers, but the amount was more than you’d expect to be pushed through on bows of boats.

Pushing through Little Venice

The bubbles were working at the first barrier, maybe too much duck weed had now crossed and it was multiplying at a rate of knots. Ahead of us was a green lagoon that had been Little Venice. Hardly any water visible anywhere. People queued for the trip boats, students threw bread in for the ducks off Rembrandt Gardens as we pushed our way across.

Nice garden

At the services there are two taps. The first one was in use and as we got closer to Westbourne Terrace Bridge we could see two boats there. No option for us but to wait today our tank was down to 1/8th and the next tap would be past where we wanted to pull up for the day. We pulled up to wait in the bridge hole, hoping no wide beam would want to pass.

Hen do
Masses of mushy peas

Go boats came past, the narrowboats through the bridge swapped positions, one leaving, the other sounding like it had a very empty tank. After quite a wait the boat just behind us moved off and we wee able to pull back. Oleanna’s length too much to tuck into the gap so her bow stuck out in the bridge hole. A while later a work boat approached, wider than a narrowboat, would it fit through? I pulled the bow as far over as I could and there was just about an inch spare, phew! The bubble barrier here wasn’t working, the amount of duck weed on the move explained the green lagoon.

A touch of pruning
Slipping away from the services with the help of Custodian of the Bins

As soon as the other boat had finished filling on the other side of the bridge we pulled Oleanna through so that we’d be out of the way, one lady asked if we’d broken down! Coal Boat Indus came past, so Mick flagged him down for a bottle of gas which turned out cheaper than in Uxbridge. Bottles were swapped as the dog on the roof helped cut back the overhanging tree.

As we continued to fill we emptied the yellow water and the next boat wanting the tap breasted up against us. once full we crept out from the inside and headed outwards, a mile along realising we’d gained a boat hook on our roof. I could have walked back to return it, but he was likely to have moved off, three directions he could have gone, it seemed pointless.

Slow going past all the moored boats not helped by the thick layer of weed. We had to wait for a line of work boats to be nudged out of the way for us to pass, a weed collector and a couple of skips fighting a loosing battle.

Boat after boat after boat

The moorings at Ladbrooke Grove Sainsburys were full, we’d hope to pull in to do some shopping and then have lunch before continuing on our way, but no chance. Happily a short distance around the bend a suitable gap showed itself, so we moored and headed off with our bags, the shopping list reducing to supplies for the next couple of days, we’ll do a bigger shop at Bulls Bridge.

How dare they! They’d moved the outside and there were trees! Yet I wasn’t allowed out. They came back, sat around, and then carried on. Didn’t they know it was getting late!

Stop washing Herbie!

The weed stayed with us to about a mile before we moored. A length of towpath empty opposite the golf club on Horsenden Hill was appealing, but this length is closed at the moment due to the towpath being resurfaced.

We pulled up around the next bend more or less where we’d left a week ago. The shouting from inside Oleanna so SO LOUD, Tilly was excited! Within seconds she disappeared into the nature reserve, showing her face a couple of times and returning for a late Ding Ding.

Straight through there out of sight

Our evening meal got later and later. I’ve been wanting to make a quinoa crust quiche for a while and we’d stocked up on the ingredients today. The crust is made from cooked quinoa, ground almonds and Parmesan. The quantity of this seemed a touch too much, but I forced it all into the quiche tin.

Chicken, bacon, spinach, onion, feta, garlic, quinoa, parmesan, almond. Yummy!

The quantities in the recipe were cups, so I’d converted them, despite the amount of filling I had being a touch short I still had way too much! We’ll have spare chicken to eat for lunch for a while. Six eggs were needed for sticking factor, but I felt this was maybe a touch too many. So instead I used three with some creme fresh and a glug of milk. It smelt fantastic, but maybe the creme fresh had given off a touch too much moisture and I’d have been better using more eggs as the centre of the crust had more slop factor than crunch. However it tasted very good accompanied by some of the new potatoes Marion and John had given us.

0 lock, 7.69 miles, 1 wind, 1 left, 1 green lagoon, 2 familiar faces, 1 hour wait for water, £33 for gas, 1 load of washing, 2 boxes wine, 1 reduced shopping list, 1.75 hours of freedom, 1 HAPPY cat, 12 meals worth of quiche, 4 years of being an amputee, 1 TV tuned in for tomorrow.