Saturday, 22 November 2014

Lots to do in London

We’ve walked across Hyde Park through Wellington Arch and meet the Blues and Royals returning to Horse Guards Parade after the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace 
... where the band etc were still waiting for their ‘marching orders'

Off parade with the colour bearers and the band eventually disappears along the road back to base
Looking back at Admiralty Arch as we walk towards
... Trafalgar Square in the cold drizzle!

... and down past Horse Guards where the guards were also changing

... and then on to Downing Street (more of that later!)

We were so cold after we’d been to Westminster Palace and to take a look at Big Ben we decided to walk back to Trafalgar Square and see if it’s ok to take Molly and ourselves into St Martin’s Church (mainly for a warm and a sit down) as we had a bit of time to kill.
I do like the inside of this church and today we were sooo lucky as there is a candlelit concert tonight (last night) ‘Best of Bach, Mozart and Handel'
... and we sat at listened to them tune up and start their rehearsal with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, it was lovely!

It set us up just right for our next assignation!
A visit to the Prime Minister’s Office.

We ended our first tour day in London meeting up with our son who was able to stay the night with us.

A great start to our London visit.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A cold cruise

 From our mooring at Bulls Bridge after topping up the water tank

... we headed towards Bulls Bridge and turned through onto the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal.  Molly is ensuring that no mistakes are made by the steerer!
 Looking back at the bridge and sadly a dead swan in the water there, I have no idea if we should have reported it or not or to who?

 Glowing Autumn
 Neil’s last post to his blog talks of this visitor mooring at Uxbridge Road and this is a good example of what he was saying. A car has pulled up and a lady has stepped out, thrown a load of food out to the swans and other birds and then took photographs of the melee; as we got closer to the bridge the smell was atrocious!
Wall sculptures under one of the many bridges along the arm
A bird for every post at the Engineer’s Wharf
Another splash of lovely autumn colour
This has been a ‘bit of a worry’ since we had Still Rockin’ built - will we get through there?  Yes, of course we can, with about 20” to spare!
Although the sun had come out it didn’t take the chill off the air and Molly snuggles down in her blanket with her face to the sun and back to the cold breeze!
A submarine, upside down bathtub ??
14 miles and 7.5 hours of cold cruising but we’ve arrived at our destination - guess where with the view from the galley window!
In the cosy warmth of the fire with telly on - time to relax!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What a welcome back to the ditches!

An early start this morning 7:45 reversing out of our mooring at Brentford

...  passing The Riverside Hospital for cosmetic surgery

... to use the services in the basin just above the gauging lock.

Not long after leaving the basin we lost all power on Still Rockin’ and George makes his first visit down the weed hatch

... meanwhile the boat swung across the canal; it’s a good job we didn’t see another boat moving all day!

This was the mess we were greeted with in Hanbury bottom lock, the gates are open and George is trying to flush the rubbish out by letting water down, not that it worked well but he managed to get in by not using power as he passed through the rubbish

This was beyond the top gates so I got the boat pole and moved some of the heavier stuff away from the gate on this side so that I could open it

... when Still Rockin’ rose in the lock George used the pole to remove these obstacles from the other gate!

... and there was more rubbish on the bend above the lock by the weir.

I walked on and set the next lock and when the gates were open I went back to see where George was - he was here stuck fast in the silt that has come down the river Brent. It’s now 11am

... just where it says ‘You are Here!’

This is the River Brent, it looks so benign it’s difficult to believe that all the problems we’d had so far this morning all came from here!

We did eventually get free (after calling CRT 3 times and the operator not being able to find anyone to speak to us!) by reversing out of the gloop and taking a wider passage past the obstruction!

Once past the confluence with the river all was well although it was now 10 past 1 as we reached Asylum Lock. The notice board explains that the barge in the picture was breaking the national strike in May 1926 by taking coconut oil to a nearby margarine factory and is being operated by the Royal Navy and protected by special constables. (click to enlarge the picture to read more)
 This is the same scene today.

The next few locks went smoothly apart from rubbish on the propeller and George decided that once we got to the top lock he would go down the weed hatch again
... an this was the haul - electric cable, zips, plastic banding and lots of carrier bags!

Whilst George was sorting this out I had some help from a very nice gentleman; he was a retired archeologist and is currently a translator.  He had just finished translating for an Ethiopian at the nearby Medical Centre and came to talk to me and help me with the gates, I hope he reads this, it was so good to meet him and I wish him well in the future.

No more locks so we took the opportunity at 2:30 to eat our lunch and have a very welcome cuppa while we cruised on to eventually moor at Bulls Bridge.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Art Deco in Brentford

Still Rockin’ at our mooring in Brentford
 Wonderful Art Deco buildings on the Golden Mile of Great West Road.
Pyrene Building above (fire extinguishers etc) built in1929 is currently ‘To Let’ its last owners being the construction company Carillion (Balfour Beatty) 
 991 Great West Road - originally the Currys Factory and Offices (electrical wholesaler) was built in 1936
... and now owned by the multi-national advertising company JC Decaux
The Morse building is I think, a modern version of Art Deco
Looking along Great West Road - the Art Deco clock tower just to the right of middle is set atop the Gillette Factory Building.  
The white walls, fencing and piers in the picture above are all that is left of the original Firestone Tyre Factory built in 1928 and which are now grade II listed (click on the link for a very interesting article on the demolition of the original building)

The gates and piers of the Firestone Factory now give entrance to Currys/PC World (this is the same Currys that were the original owners of the current JD Deceax building (no.991 above) on the opposite side of the road.) 
I visited PC World twice today and each time as I went through these gates I saw rats running about - horrible!!

(Sorry about the quality of the above photographs, not up to my usual standard I’m afraid as they were taken on my iPhone using zoom from a distance)