Thursday, March 05, 2009

The trouble with the Brent

I forgive the river Brent. I’m sure it bears me no personal ill will, although it brings me pain.

This little river winds its innocent way through East London, inadvertently stealing children’s footballs from the parks, and rescuing plastic bottles from recycling bins before joining the Grand Union canal here at Hanwell. For less than a mile it shares the canal’s banks before it leaves on its own path at a weir above Osterley lock. When there is rain the Brent can rise quickly and as it does so it washes down dead twigs and branches from its banks along with the footballs and, the odd fence post, maybe a pallet or two and so on. This is all to be expected, but the problem is that the river seems to deposit all its gathered rubbish in the canal. The heavier stuff like waterlogged twigs and branches settles like silt, forming underwater banks to run aground the unwary boater. There are a lot of these obstacles at the moment.

Worse, the floating rubbish gets swept down to Osterley weir and lock where it lies in huge rafts, blocking the lock gates and looking pretty awful. Passing through this lock today was quite an event. The gates wouldn’t fully open because of all the rubbish behind them, then they wouldn’t close again because of more rubbish. Then when we finally managed to clear the gates enough to use the lock. We had to exit through umpteen yards of flotsam to get clear. Quite how we didn’t get the prop fouled I don’t know.

Maybe because Kath was at the tiller. She ploughed out of the lock pushing a huge lock in front of Herbie and a huge raft of junk in front of the log. Then she pulled off the neat trick of pushing the junk raft towards the weir, then backing off and darting clear. Good stuff.

Last night we had a boaters quiz team at O’Brien’s in Brentford. We decided to call ourselves the Navigators and we came away with some pride although we didn’t win. Tonight we may do the quiz at the Fox.


Vallypee said...

Hmm I can see that would be a problem, especially the twigs and logs and stuff. I can't see too much really yucky stuff there though. You should see the junk that gets caught up round our boats. It's quite disgusting sometimes. Well done to Kath for some fancy tiller work ;-)

Vallypee said...

Neil, just wondering what you think of your new cameral now you've had it a few weeks. As I said I've got the TZ2, but I've been reading reviews of the TZ4 and it sounds great. My Koos always uses Nikons and we have realised that 8 mega pixels are a sort of optimum size. Lots of mp's don't necessarily make for better cameras but his 8 mp 'point and shoot' is noticeably sharper and more detailed than his 6mp DSLR. I also have 6 mp's on the Lumix and wondered if it was worth the upgrade to the TZ4. I love the size and versatility of the camera and the lens is great. Would love to hear your views.