Coots have massive feet!!

Monday, 29 June 2015

We are back on BB which is still moored at Packet Boat Marina but have had a trip into London and also a few days back home. Simon & Deb's gave us and Dee and Mike tickets to see Fleetwood Mac at the O2 for last Wednesday. They were fantastic and various band members were on stage for the whole of the 2 1/2 hour session.

We set off tomorrow morning for our trip back up the Grand Union to our home mooring at Calcutt- and its only 90 miles and 94 locks away which is about 12 days at 5 hours per day!- providing the forecasted heatwave doesn't slow us down too much.

There are a pair of Coots with young in the marina which strut around as if they own the place - which does make it easy to see the size of their feet which enables them to walk over the weeds and lily pads in this area. Their call sounds like an old broken motor horn.

BB's mooing at Packet Boat Marina which makes an ideal secure base with West Drayton Station only a 20 minute walk away .

Brentford Dock to Packet Boat Marina West Drayton

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

This is a catch up entry as yesterday we were whisked away by Mathew for the reunion dinner of our fellow neighbours of Baileys Close in Blackwater who first met 41 years ago. We had an excellent meal in the Chequers at Eversley- a good evening was had by all.

Last Sunday Simon had arranged for three friends Bradley, Ilana and Tarquin who all wanted to experience a trip on a narrowboat to join us at Brentford. The weather was much better than the previous evening and they had all arrived by 09.45. We cast off at 10.00 for the assault on the 10 locks and 10 miles to Packet Boat Marina at the junction of the Slough Arm at West Drayton. They all enjoyed their time on the boat and made our journey up the flight so much easier- we even managed to sit in the cratch and watch the world go by- thank you all very much.

As we started up the Hanwell Flight we caught up with a solo boater who we had met on the Basingstoke Canal so shared some of the locks with him.We last came this way in 2005 and there have been a lot of new flats built and also a large new Tescos right by the canal with mooring outside between bridges 192 and 191.

Sundays crew all ready for the locks- Bradley in the cap is the 2nd Assistant Captain for the day

Water coming over the bottom gate of the Hanwell Locks

Asylum Wharf part way up the Hanwell flight.The light brick area used to be an entrance where coal and goods would be taken into Hanwell's Victorian Mental Asylum

Brunel's railway line to Brentford goes under the canal as we go under the road above

We have seen several summer houses that can be moved to follow the sun - this is the nicest

This cat stayed on the lock beam until we started to open the gate-very chilled

Not sure about the style and colour scheme

These three were moored by Kingston Bridge - not sure what they are somebody suggested floating flats

Swanning about

Very stylish

This reminds me of a pre WW1 steam ship

This looks like a WW1 tank!

Teddington (it rained) to Brentford and The Grand Union

Monday, 22 June 2015

We moved down from Hampton Court Palace on Saturday morning and moored above Teddington locks to wait for the tide and Si and Debs. There were a few light showers but when the sun was out it was lovely and warm. To start with the BBC weather forecast showed no rain at  18.00 but as the day went on it changed to heavy rain at 18.00!!!!! Si & Debs arrived at 14.30 and they treated us to a fathers day lunch at Carluccios in town- which was excellent.

We entered the smaller of the two locks at 17.45 and by the time we were ready to enter the tideway at 18.00 it was raining hard-DOH. Ah well here we go enjoy - there were six narrowboats doing the same trip to Brentford. By the time we reached Richmond Lock it had stopped completely -so only 35 minutes of rain- the rest of the journey was dry.Although it was a wee bit wet it still was a  great trip.  

Leaving the lock in the rain

The crew Debs ,Si , me and her (its our first selfie)

Looking up river from the footbridge,the Teddington lock is behind me and the large weir on the right

Looking toward the 2 locks again from the footbridges- we used the left one

The magnificent approach to Richmond on Thames 

The White Cross Inn Richmond - note the flag - now no rain and no wind either

Approaching Richmond lock on the right,the sluices that keep the water level at a minimum of 5ft above here at low water have been raised so we don't have to go through the lock at the moment

The small inlet that has The London Apprentice pub  its on the left

We have made the turn off the river which had already already started to go out and you needed to increase power for a short period to get into the entrance channel to Thames Lock which is now ahead of us.

Looking back at Brentford Gauging lock which is electrically operated from our mooring- now back on the Grand Union Canal

There was no room in the dock so we moored up against a CR&T work boat for the night

Looking along the moored boats to the remaining warehouse which appears to be having some work done on it-hopefully  a use can be found to keep a link to the areas past

Through Walton on Thames now moored at Hampton Court Palace

Friday, 19 June 2015

We have had two glorious days slowly going down the Thames in warm sunshine-when it came out each afternoon through Walton on Thames and now moored outside a fine set of garden railings- sorry Hampton Court Palace. Down to Teddington tomorrow to meet Si and Debs and catch the evening tide for Brentford- rain is forecast but we have all fingers crossed that its dry from 17.40 for an hour and a half. The moorings we have used over the last three days have all been EA 24 hour free ones.

Heading for the visitor moorings outside the Palace- the lock keeper had advised to arrive early- its 11.45

The view looking downriver from Hampton Bridge

This is our mooring on Thursday at Walton Wharf only enough room for 5 narrowboats-looking downriver

The properties from our side hatch at Walton

Looking up river towards Walton Bridge

The new Walton Bridge only been open a few years

These boats are just lovely

The Environment Agency has a big yard above Sunbury Lock with a dry dock

The original Sunbury Lock cottage now a private house and been replaced with  a 1950's one

Sunbury is a double lock with all the old gear still in place but not used now

Where's my dinner
A few more different boaters out and about

There were several swans this morning like this - we think they are sleeping or napping
Another fine sculpture

They sink on the river

The crocs around here do not take prisoners- good security

A houseboat or an office- not sure

My stylish photo of Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace started by Henry Eight

Had to include this

There was a small space behind us tonight and this launch slotted in

Back to Weybridge Moorings via Penton Hook Marina

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

We had a short trip back upstream to Penton Hook Marina to sort out all our washing and most importantly to spend Tuesday with our very old friends ( known for over 45 years!) Colin and Sue- we had a smashing day culminating in a meal at Carluccio's at Woking and it was warm enough to sit outside which was encouraged by them putting out blankets on each outside chair!.

Another old friend of over 30 years rang from America last Monday trying to arrange a get together possibly next Monday. They arrive in the UK on Saturday and are booked into The Ship Hotel in Weybridge High Street- I had walked past it on the Sunday-its such a small world. We are now slowly making our way down to Teddington Lock to hopefully meet Simon and Debs to take the 17.45 high tide down to Brentford Dock and the Grand Union Canal

A few pictures  coming up showing the variety of boats you see on the river in just over a few days

A group of skiffs being relocated

A skiff full - rowing back from the Magna Carta celebrations at Runnymede

Some really beautiful looking wooden boats outside Laleham Boat Yard 

A mini dutch sailing barge- I cannot remember the proper name for them

This was heading towards Shepperton Lock and looks really long

But from this angle looks much shorter and more in proportion

A landing craft-now used by some contractors

These two had fitted a small electric powered outboard to an old topper hull. They came back later paddling it and discussing the Mk 2 version!

And finally  there have been some fantastic houses on the river but BLUE tiles!!!!!!!