Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Trip a success, wifi a failure!

Well we had a great few days on the canal but we didn't succeed in finding a free wifi hotpsot to update you "live". Thanks to Simon (see comments) who told us where we can find one in Brentford next time.

On the way down we had a brief but lovely snowstorm, but it never seemed all that cold. I think we were lucky in having the wind on our backs. Sunday night we moored outside Bulls Bridge Tesco, then on Monday morning after doing the grocery shopping we headed down to Brentford. The eight locks at Norwood/ Hanwell went OK although some of the newly replaced gates and paddle gear are pretty stiff still. Osterley lock, our Worst Lock of 2007 was miraculously free of floating rubbish, but leaking so much that it was difficult to fill enough to open the top gates. The final lock near Brentford is also a pain, having no flow through the ground paddles.

Brentford basin was pretty full and we had to tie up under the overhanging shed at the wharf. Rumour has it that a number of overstayers have been kicked out of Camden moorings by BW and they have moved to Brentford. No matter as we were only there for a couple of hours - long enough to seek out the recommended Magpie and Crown for an afternoon pint. We liked it. The beer was nice, the barman helpful and the other customers chatty. Next time we'll stay for the evening.

When we returned to the basin the sky was clear and sunny and we had a good short trip back up to the Fox at Hanwell where we felt obliged to resample a pint (only one mind!) of the Timothy Taylor's Landlord. The moorings there are just at the mouth of the Brent River as it joins the canal for a mile or so. It would seem that it dumps a lot of silt and dead vegetation there as the canal constantly bubbles with methane. All night long you can hear the blurp blurp of the bubbles under the boat.

Tuesday was supposed to be bad weather, but it was fine. Passing up through the locks we were joined by May, a hire boat from Broxbourne on the Lee Navigation. They had a sizeable teenage crew so that cut down our work quite a bit. Jacob got some good practice at steering into locks and is now becoming quite expert.

Hearing there was a Liverpool Arsenal match on the telly we opted to travel up the Paddington Arm to the Black Horse at Greenford where you can eat ggod food, drink nice beer and watch a big telly at the same time. The public moorings near there are outside a modern samosa factory. The smell from it is absolutely delicious. If they set up a canalside stall there would be a regular queue, with me at the front. In fact the Paddington arm is regularly punctuated by food factories. You can smell bread one minute, cakes the next, and curry the next . I know some folks lament the passing of the old canalside industries and their old buildings, but at least the former dereliction is now being replaced, albeit with smart modern industrial parks.

Wednesday we needed to get home for the evening so that's what we did. At Southall we passed a new sculpture to join several others thereabouts made from canal rubbish.

Herbie looks so much better since our recent paintfest. One person commented she looked fairly new as she was in such good nick.

The moral of the tale of this trip: don't be put off by poor weather forecasts. They're usually pessimistic.

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