Category Archives: London

Teddington Here We Come. 17th July

The Fox to Teddington Visitor Moorings, River Thames

According to Waterway Routes we had a couple of hours cruising to do before reaching Thames Lock onto the Thames today. The Lock Keeper would be on duty from 2:15pm which is when the tide would be right for our journey up to Teddington. With things to do before going out onto the river we pushed off at around 10:30. This would give us plenty of time.

No rubbish today, just weed

Approaching the weir above Osterley Lock we were pleasantly surprised, on other occasions here it’s been very hard to see the water it being covered with huge amounts of rubbish. This stretch is looked after by the Environment Agency and today for the first time it looked like they were doing a good job, just a lot of weed to contend with. A wide beam had just come up so the lock was with us.

Back on the shelf for book 1

Once past the railway bridge Oleanna was onto new water, she’ll be on new water from now until October. Our Nicholson’s guide of the Thames only having been used for a week before still looks pristine compared to those that cover further north. We tend to have the guide out as we cruise for information on places we pass, especially new places.

Gauging Lock, Brentford

The Gauging Lock at Brentford is the penultimate lock before Thames Lock, this requires a key of power to operate. 3 years ago I had great difficulty opening the gate that leads down to the locks, but today it was easy as pie. There being two chambers I chose the nearest one as both were just about full.

Down the lock

Moving heavy gates is no problem when it all happens at the push of a button. Below the lock you are back on the river and it is semi tidal. There are weirs to keep it at a certain height, but when the tide comes in the level rises above the weir, so headroom under the bridges can be affected. We had no problem today with this and carried on down to wait above Thames Lock with a couple of hours to spare.

Thames Lock

Weed hatch checked and prop cleared of anything. Engine checks. The well deck cleared of stuff that has accumulated (it’ll get a good sweep one day soon too!). Anchor attached, bucket of chain and rope positioned and checked (this is so much easier now the anchor has a home), I nearly forgot to get Tillys escape pod out of the cupboard, this was assembled even though she wanted to go in it before it had it’s roof attached. Life jackets out. Lunch consumed, We were ready.

Jacuzzi on the roof

There was time to send some work emails, trying to get my design within budget and not short change myself. A weeks painting before rehearsals start is needed and I don’t see this as part of my design remit, so sadly today I added to the figures and didn’t take away much to compensate.

Another project that is on the cards also required some attention from me today. Email after email arriving and needing to be replied to. But as soon as the Lock Keeper arrived work was put aside.

Two in the lock

We’d been joined by NB Ella whilst we waited. They’ve never done the tidal stretch up to Teddington before so it was decided that we’d lead the way. Both in the lock, the water level equalised with that of the rising Thames and the gates opened.

Thames straight ahead

From here there is a distance to travel before coming out onto the river. A long blast of the horn to warn any on coming boats that we were about to pop out in front of them. No body was there to hear anyway.

There they are

With the tide pushing us along we reached 7mph without trying. NB Ella sounded their horn and appeared onto the river behind us, small and insignificant on the wide river.

He wags his tail when he hears planes

The lion on the roof of Syon House still stands still, not waving it’s tail. Ham House sits too far away to be seen through the trees.

Lock on the left and the first arch closed for maintenance

Richmond weir and lock are next. Here the weir keeps the river at a navigable height, half tide, up stream to Teddington. When the tide goes out you have to use the lock on the weir, but our passage was timed so that this would not be necessary.

Smart waterf

Richmonds grand waterfront steps up away from the river, plenty of people out enjoying themselves

Coming through

All the islands are passed to the left, moored boats tending to fill up the right hand side.

Ella behind
Granny annex and terrace

We passed the extension and terrace that once used to be attached to a life boat on the Grand Union, maybe they don’t need the Granny annex anymore.

He’s got a lot of brushes
Not quite what you expect on Eel Pie Island

The first part of Eel Pie Island looks a disappointment, flats with little character. Thankfully these are followed by prettier properties and boat houses.

This time our transit felt like it took half the time it did three years ago, maybe the tide gave us more push, or maybe it being our second time with less wind and waves we were more nonchalant about it.

Green light to the right

The lights pointed us in the direction of the Launch Lock. There are three locks, the Launch lock (fairly conventional in size), the Skiff Lock (the smallest) and the very big Barge Lock (used for larger vessels than us and most probably several at a time.

Towing down stream

A wide beam was waiting patiently on the pontoon so we pulled up alongside, soon followed by NB Ella. Two boats were coming down, then it would be our turn, we’d all fit no problem. Narrowboats in first followed by the widebeam. They had come up the river today from Limehouse with a Waterman on board. One day we’ll do it ourselves in the early hours.

Leaving the lock onto Environment Agency water

Now we are on Environment Agency water. This means either having to buy a licence for the duration of your visit, or already holding what is known as a Gold licence. Earlier in the year we did our sums and the amount of time we wanted to spend on the Thames didn’t warrant the extra expense of a gold licence.

The chap on NB Ella showed the Lock Keeper his licence, he’d paid the right amount for a Gold licence, but there was no G on it. A slightly heated debate ensued. Once the lock was full we all exited and headed off to moor, each returning to pay for mooring and licences as needed. We wanted a nights mooring and a transit licence to the Wey, total of £20.50. NB Ella managed to sort their licence, a phone call to C&RT and an email which he isn’t able to print out as they don’t have a printer on board. They may well get asked at each lock they pass through as with no G visible they could be chancing the Thames without paying the extra.

Moored right at the end by the weir

With our licence paid we adjusted our mooring a touch, having to use the life ring as a fender to keep the cabin side away from the overhanging bank. Tilly was allowed out, extra rules apply on rivers. Three years ago we were all still getting to know each other so whilst on rivers she wasn’t trusted not to fall in. This of course is still a possibility, but she tends to head straight off to find the nearest tree to climb or friend to pounce on.

Not too sure about this Thames outside

With so many trees surrounding us you would have thought she’d have a great time. But she returned time after time, Thank you for coming home Dreamies issued, then another few minutes outside. Despite having been given three and a half hours leave she most probably only used one, preferring to have a snooze on the bathroom floor. Maybe it was too warm, maybe too may woofers, most probably too many noisy green birdies.

Property Game

Guess how much this property is being sold for. Hint, it’s not on Eel Pie Island and there is more to it than can be seen from the river.

Answer in tomorrows blog

5 locks, 8.28 miles, 1 right, 1 tideway, 1 anchor at the ready, 2 life jackets, 1 escape pod, £20.50 for 24 hours and mooring, 1 pants mooring where that Lenny lives!

Lenny the lion back in 2016

Windlass In Hand. 16th July

Ballot Box Bridge to ( The Fox ) Ontario Bridge 205A, Grand Union

Approaching Bulls Bridge

Time for us to push off. Whilst Mick pootled us along towards Bulls Bridge I had a catch up phone call with the production manager for panto and then tried to complete my technical drawings before we reached the junction. With just a couple of measurements to add to the last plan I bobbed my head out the front to make sure the way was clear, we turned left.

The water point moorings were mostly full, enough space for us at the end but sadly too far away from the tap, even if we used both our hoses. Water would have to wait until later. First lunch and then a biggish shop, we’re going to be venturing into the unknown soon so we wanted to be prepared, also the white wine stocks were getting low!

I’m helping with the drawings

I’ve still a few bits left to do for Panto, but they can all be done on A4 paper, so the drawing board has been stowed away until the next show. Hopefully I’ll fit these bits in between boating over the next few days.

Happy to be approaching locks again

We pushed off and soon arrived at Norwood Top Lock. Here the water point was empty, so as the tap trickled into our tank we had the pleasure (!) of listening to car wheels being spun and a shiny convertible zooming around the area just looking for an accident to create.

One lock down seven to go

Now at the top of the locks that would lead us down towards the Thames, a bit later than we’d hoped, we decided to push on down the Hanwell flight to save time tomorrow. Between the top two locks the pound was quite low, but Mick took it steadily. The bottom gates were leaking a lot so the quicker I could fill it the better, less water lost all round. Oleanna made it over the cill.

We could have moored in the next pound, there was space but we’d got in our stride so continued. A chap was watering his wonderful floral display on his boat and said they’d only just come up the locks, so they should all be full for us.

Three Bridges, road above, canal and rail below, not strictly three bridges

A tour were being talked to about Three Bridges as we approached. A local landmark and one in Mick’s life, the Hanwell flight is where he got attracted to boating at an early age. The tour moved off so I could get a picture of Oleanna.

Oleanna on the middle bridge

The next two locks were empty and bone dry, either the sun was doing a very good job or it had been a while since the floral boat had come up. We adopted our method of going down a flight. I walk on ahead to fill the next lock, Mick finishes closing up the one Oleanna is in and lifts a paddle, I return to finish emptying the lock, open and close it before walking down to open the now full one.

The pounds were full in the main flight

The distance between the locks is a touch far, but it was worth doing it so as not to waste too much water. There were plenty of people about on the flight out for a walk or just sitting in the shade. This if the fourth time we’ve been down the locks, the black bricks on the corners of the Asylum wall caught our attention this time. These must be where ropes used to ware the brickwork, near the lower locks you can still see the groves.

A lovely evening to be boating

The day had taken a lot longer than originally thought, most probably due to not being able to fill the water tank whilst we had lunch. The tap being sooo slow didn’t help either. We pulled up where the grass was long on the River Brent, a bit past the footpath upto The Fox, however we refrained from visiting. Too late for shore leave for Tilly, once she realised her charms wouldn’t work she retired to the bedroom to sulk.

If we couldn’t go to the pub, Tilly couldn’t go out

8 locks, 8.76 miles, 1 left, 1 full water tank, 3 boxes wine, 1 sulky second mate, 1 empty box of model bits, 2 storage plans to do, 8 groundplans to do, 1 stir fry knocked up, 2 hours away from the Thames.

Pausing, Power and Phone. 15th July

Ballot Box Bridge

Those trees are talking!

Just as well we’d decided to stay here another day so that I could carry on working.

Notice Alert

Grand Union Canal
Starts At: Lock 101A, Thames Lock (House side)
Ends At: Lock 101A, Thames Lock (House side)

Monday 15 July 2019 09:00 until further notice

Type: Advice
Reason: Repair


Original message:

Due to a local power supply fault, Brentford Thames Lock is currently not operating until further notice.Engineers are currently working on restoring power to the Lock and an update will be provided when this becomes fully operational.

However these things don’t tend to take too long to mend so Mick checked on the C&RT website and made a phone call to book passage down onto the Thames later this week. At first he was told that they weren’t taking bookings, but then he was passed onto someone else. This person then told Mick that the lock was operational again. Sure enough a notice to that effect dropped into our inbox as he was on the phone some 52 minutes after the first one.

Apparently in the summer you don’t have to book 48 hours in advance to use Thames Lock, Brentford, but at least we now knew when it would be manned, as the river is tidal there this alters.

Crossing things off

I spent the day doing technical drawings for panto, working my way through the list I’d made yesterday and sadly spotting a couple of things I’d missed too! By the end of the day my box of bits left to draw up only had a few things left in it. Only a few hours left and I’ll be ready for my final design meeting.

Nearly there!

Tilly spent the day dodging bikes and runners. There is definitely a rush hour or two between 5:30 and 7:30pm. The speed some of the bikes go at! So much so her shore leave was curtailed for her own safety and hour earlier than normal. She wasn’t impressed, but then she has had two whole days outside and decided to have a nap. This nap lasted until we wanted to make up our bed and had to disturb her.

Towpath Tilly

Mick caught up on the Tour de France and then headed off to get a bus into Ealing, this is where he grew up and lived until he moved to Scarborough. He successfully managed to walk past The Red Lion without going in for a pint, but also successfully managed to loose his mobile!

Being in Ealing he knew there would be an EE shop and an Argos, so that he could get sorted . But where were they? He’d look on his phone…Oh. He’d give me a call…..Oh. He’d use a phone box, found one, it did have a phone but stank of wee…Oh. At the library he was signed onto a computer so that he could see where his phone might be, the outcome likely to be on the 297 bus….Ah.

Still talking

He succeeded in getting a new phone, identical to his last and a new sim card then headed back to Oleanna. As soon as his new phone was working he gave Perivale Bus Garage a call, they had a phone that matched his description and when he called in he was able to unlock it. One phone not stolen, just misplaced.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 buses, 1 bus garage, 2 phones, 2 boxes of bits, 1 almost full, 1 almost empty, 10 hours, 7 taken, 5 talking tress, 73 mph bikes, 4 running paws, 1 lock booked.

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.

Shiny Boat Central. Day 6

Paddington Basin

A cuppa in bed, then a shower and we were ready for the day. Bang on time another familiar face walked under the footbridge into the basin. My college friend Kathy coming for breakfast on her way to work.

Kathy and me through the hatch

Kathy has worked her way around the drama colleges of London through the last few years and now is head of Production Design at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, possibly the highest thought of design college in the country. Kathy was the first person I met when I moved to Croydon for college and our first day in the student house together we just didn’t stop talking. We don’t get many opportunities for a catch up nowadays, so it was great that we’d managed to find a couple of hours today.

Yummy

We headed over to Kupp for breakfast, Kathy must have know where we’d be going as she matched the decor perfectly. Mick and I opted for poached eggs with bacon and hollandaise sauce, whilst Kathy had wild mushrooms spinach and a poached egg. It was all very tasty, my only criticism was that just because my gluten free bread was smaller than Mick’s sourdough slice shouldn’t mean that I got less sauce than him!

A touch more hollandaise would have been nice

We talked about friends, family, theatre and boats. During the week Kathy lives on board Dora May on the Thames, her mooring just down stream from Tower Bridge, a fantastic view from their wheel house. All too soon it was time for her to head to work. Hopefully she may come out and join us for a day when we’re on the Thames, but we’ll see, she’s a busy lady.

Some shopping was needed, so Mick headed off again into central London this time in hunt of some new clothes for himself and a stock up of tea for me from Whittards. I in the mean time did my best to finish scanning my Dad’s second diary. Not as many pages as the first one, but this one has the account of his journey by ship to India.

A sketch of India

I was determined to get the diary scanned today, the only thing distracting me was the GoBoats. Several of them had been hired out to teams all in matching fancy dress. Dalmations, Rabbits in hats, Blackbirds, Elfs. Each one set off from the next pontoon and just about all of them managed to collide with us. We may now have access both bow and stern but it does mean we are the first and most likely boat to get hit. No wonder the boats have had more and more padding added to them from when we first saw them.

Dalmations

A new boat arrived for the pontoon, having to hold back under the footbridge as there was no space. Who was overstaying? Yesterday a not so shiny boat had pulled in and the chap carried his bike along the gunnel and disappeared, he was an obvious choice, but being shiny isn’t a prerequisite for mooring here, anyone who books and pays can.

There followed a bit of complex boat moving. The central boat moved out, the one on the inside then pulled out and moored on the Hospital side (they were the ones), before the boat from the outside moved into the inside, the central boat moved back into position followed by the new boat onto the outside of the pontoon. Everyone was happy now.

Mick returned with a stash of my tea, showered and put a new polo shirt, far less creased than normal but with tell tale signs of it being new. I still had 20 pages left to scan, we decided to be slightly late to our next engagement so that I could finish.

Ziggy keeping an eye on us all

Across London to Homerton, here I’d spied a stockists for Charlie and Ivy oils and bread dippers. One of these I use on lamb and veg kebabs and I’m having to cobble together my own version, which isn’t quite the same, the lack of juniper lets my version down. We hunted the shelves of Eat 17, but nothing from the range was to be found.

At my brothers they have been joined by Jac’s Mum over from Australia for six weeks. Not bad doing that journey in her mid 80’s. Helen is as inquisitive as her daughter, just with a Scottish accent. We were asked endlessly about life on the boat, my favourite question being ‘What do you eat?’

Paella

A lovely evening with them as ever and Andrew cooked a wonderful paella on the barbecue, packed with fish chicken and prawns.

Lemon Tart

Helen had made a lemon tart, the crust having been made with corn flour for me, very tasty it was. A good evening to mark our last in London.

Helen, Mick, Pip, Jac, Andrew, Josh behind the camera

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 tubes, 2 buses, 1 overground, 1 best friend with a beaming smile, 5 poached eggs, 2 hours to catch up, 157 pages scanned, 0 juniper balsamic dipper, 1 huge paella, 1 slightly nutty Scottish Australian, 2 diaries handed over, 1 slow journey home, 1 fruit cake of a cat, it’s time for Tilly to have some shore leave.

Shiny Boat Central. Day 5

Paddington Basin

We caught the tube out to Kew Garden this morning. A day outdoors meant having to apply sun cream, which we did as we waited for Marion (another of Mick’s sisters) and John to arrive from the south coast. They were given a years membership to Kew Gardens at Christmas and can take a friend in for free.

Kew

I’ve only been once before with Mick’s Mum some years ago when we sought the warmth of the houses. Today instead we sought some shade whilst looking around.

The Hive
from inside

First we headed to The Hive. This is an installation designed by Wolfgang Buttress. It highlights the importance of pollination in our food chain, a third of the worlds crop yield is dependant in some way to bees. It is illuminated by almost a thousand LED lights which because it is linked to one of Kews honey bee hives vibrate in time with the bees in the hive. Digitised sounds also emanate from the structure linked to the bees. The more active the real hive, the more active the giant hive is. Sadly we couldn’t climb into the structure today as it was closed for maintenance.

Lunch
Cherries

We walked round to the other side to gain a different perspective on it and found a vacant picnic bench which we moved into the shade for our lunch. A very nice courgette frittata and humous crunchy salad, followed by cherries from Marion and John’s tree and a very tasty apricot and oat cake (which I must get the recipe for please). We provided a bottle of wine to help wash everything down.

Around the gardens are glass sculptures by Chihuly : Reflections on Nature. Most of the pieces we saw were red orange and yellow, fiery burning out from flower beds, chrysalid like forms, large feather dusters towering up to the sky.

Icy spikes

One nearer the main entrance was bright blue, a giant ice bauble made from spikes of glass.

We walked along paths by trees that have seen and watched many visitors. Down rhododendron paths, sadly all the flowers long gone. We dashed past sprinklers getting a refreshing spray. Bamboo walks reminding me of the secret passageway as a child between an ornate garden wall and the tall canes where you could hide from Mum and Dad.

A newish bridge across the lake was a bit of a surprise to Mick, it not having been there in his childhood when he and his sisters were brought to the gardens by his Dad, most probably to give his Mum an hour or two of peace and quiet.

Planes a constant reminder

A lovely afternoon amongst nature, art and family, ducking the shadows of planes from Heathrow.

Mick, Marion and John

They came home smelling of trees! Exciting exotic trees. How dare they go climbing trees without me showing them how! I’d been left on board on my own again, looking up at the big climbing frame that I’m not allowed into. She had requested that I carry on scanning a book, doesn’t She know that turning pages without an opposing thumb is impossible! I’d have had to use my teeth to do that and I knew that wouldn’t have gone down too well.

What do you mean not yet! I’m on the Ding Ding shelf!

This morning I’d been told that we were expecting a visitor this afternoon and that she was coming to meet me. I was going to meet the lady who sends me Christmas mice and Dreamies, my Number 1 fan! This got me quite excited and I couldn’t quite contain myself so had to dispose of a very big fur ball all over shorts that She’d left on the bed. I felt much better afterwards.

Tasty

Joa Number 1 arrived around about Ding Ding time, which did mean that I wasn’t having a post food snooze. Joa smelt of cats and had a big bag which smelt quite interesting. Being shy for a while paid off as I was offered some of my favourite things, Webstix. If you haven’t tried one you really don’t know what you’ve missed! They are just so good. So much better than Dreamies. Then I let Joa give me some. Joa is very nice and had this great bag full of things just for me! Although a book had sneaked in there too which had instructions on how to make felty cat things from my fur! Well I haven’t quite finished with my fur yet! She can practice with the fur ball I left for her earlier today.

I’ll have the whole pack please

It was very nice meeting Joa Number 1. She has told me that I have to thank you for my treats and the mouse. The mouse got killed several times this evening after my Ding Ding. She says I have enough treats now to last me till next year.

Goodies

Because I hadn’t even started on the scanning, She spent all evening using her thumbs and getting it done. Tom cooked them a nice M&S sad gits curry which they had in between pages.

Die mouse Die!

0 locks, 0 miles, 4 tubes, 3rd sister-out-law, 2nd free visit to Kew, 1 yummy lunch, 18 very nice cherrys, 1 recipe required, 1 clean pair of shorts in the wash, No 1 fan, 2 many treats for such a little cat, 1 sad git curry, 1st diary completed.

How to arrange your kit ready for inspection