Wednesday, 22 May 2019

All the locks done!

Tuesday (21st May) morning 10 past 7
and we're getting Still Rockin' ready for the off
It was quite cool and the layers were on but the sun is rising and so did the heat soon after.  We're travelling back to Brentford today and really not much has changed since we came up on Tuesday two weeks ago ... but here are a few observations on our way down ...

We've watched this development with interest over the years.  Prologis claim to be "the leading development and owner of logistics property in the UK and worldwide".  We are certainly impressed with the beautiful grounds around the buildings where employees can walk and sit and watch the world go by on the canal during their breaks from working.  Buildings are still being erected on the site and the noise of the pile driver was deafening as we passed.
Hanson Wharf today and ...
as it was 10 years ago (2009) when gravel was being loaded onto boats for delivery via the canal ... long since made redundant. 

The plaque reads Shackles Dock Bridge, Bridge repair financed by Nestles UK Ltd., to mark 200 years of the Grand Union Canal 1793-1993. It was originally known as Chair Dock but I couldn't find any further information on the internet.  The dock is now surrounded by a residential development. 

It was much quieter when we passed the Nestle factory a couple of weeks ago and nothing much had changed except for this 'scaffolding' which appears to be holding up this part-demolished building.
Removal of excess vegetation on the viaduct

The example lock by Tesco's Bulls Bridge is disgraceful! 
This crazy boat has become even more crazy!

See the similarity?
Canal and River Trust officer checking licences ... it'll be a busy day for him I think

The filming of the zombie movie at bridge 202 has finished and the bulky rubbish has been removed but some residents still feel to think that the canal is a place to dump their refuse. 

Laburnum brightens up the gloomy atmosphere along the dirty canal
2.5 hours and 5 miles later we're in sight of the Hanwell Flight of locks at Norwood ... and a  volunteer lock keeper has just arrived
George brings Still Rockin' down the first (top) lock whilst Mary the volunteer and myself open an close the sluices and gates for him
The Three Bridges - railway below, canal and road

Making steady progress even though all the locks are against us meaning that we have to fill each one before we can let Still Rockin' down ...

Until we can see in the distance (I think at lock 95) some Canal and River Trust operatives setting the next few locks for us

The team were there to tidy up and do some planting on the side pound here but the delivery of plants has been delayed so they were helping us in the meantime
Saying cheerio to the staff and Mary the volunteer Lockie at the bottom of the flight ... all their help has been much appreciated by us.  The descent of the 7 locks took us just 2 hours.

Lucky boaters here all the locks are set for them!

First cygnets!

Two more locks to do today ... as we approached Osterley Lock a boat was just coming round the bend and we thought 'great, the lock will be in our favour' but there was a single handed narrowboat just pulling out to enter the lock.  George let me off and I went to help him and then George through.
Female mandarin with her chick
We finally arrive at our mooring at Brentford at 1:45.
The journey down today has taken us 6½ hours just 15 minutes less than it took us on the 7th May!

Tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday) we'll leave on the Thames tide at  about 4:15pm.

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