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Friday, November 24, 2006


Marble Arch at the jct. of Oxford St. & Park Lane was once the site of public hangings upto 1783.These two busy roads were once named Tyburn Road & Tyburn Lane.
Hyde Park was aquired by Henry Vlll from the Monks of Westminister in 1536 for hunting.
In 1690 Rotten Row, that runs along the south side of the park , was created to link St James & Kensington Palaces.
In case you read the last blog and thought Hyde Park natters were some rare bird i can assure you they are in fact the many people stood on their step ladders who spend sundays nattering to anyone who will listen. I wonder how many of the many nationalities speaking here could do the same in their own country. Long live freedom of speech.....within reason.

Speakers corner started in 1872 Home to the Hyde Park Natters. They can say almost what they want with the exceptions of Blasphemy, Obcenity or anything likely to lead to a breach of peace. The latter covers a wide spectrum.

This cheeky fella came running along the railings every time someone walked by. I saw someone hand feeding it peanuts so i suppose he now associates people with food.

Horseriding is very popular in the park. Just to the right is the busy Park Lane and left 350 acres of park. Get into the middle of the park and you wouldn`t think you were so near the hustle and bustle of london traffic.

just the place to walk your Ferrett

All along Bayswater Road that runs alongside the park from Marble Arch artists hang their art on the railings to form an outdoor sales gallery. Some i thought very good but some.....well i suppose it was modern art. Still we can`t all like the same thing can we.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Paddington Basin is surrounded by private land owned by Paddington Development Corporation Ltd. and is operated by them jointly with British Waterways. There is a strict 7 day mooring restriction and notices all around plus the welcome letter you recieve on arrival state that overstaying incurs a £25 per day charge. No return within 7 days. This does mean of course you could cruise down into the city of london for a week and stop off in the basin on the way back upto the Grand Union and all points north.
It`s been nice to be back in my birthplace, so much has changed and again hasen`t. The hospital i was born has itself given birth to flats. In an estate agents window i saw a tiny 2 up 2 down on an estate originally owned by the church and then Westminster Council priced at £350,000. Gulp! That house had a front garden that i could just fit my motorbike in and the back garden was not much bigger. When i was a kid we had an outside loo till the landlords added a small extension on the back giving us a bathroom inside. That was when the tin bath became redundant. Happy days and it hasn`t done me any harm.
Had plenty of walks around the area but the best was a walk around Hyde Park. A few pics today and next time i will show you squirrel, horses, ferrets ! and of course Hyde Parks famouse chatters.
Looking back to the Basin entrance from our mooring.

Looking towards the end of the basin from our mooring.
A view of the basin from the end of navigation, Praed St and Edgeware Road are just 300 yds behind me as i take this pic.

One of several fancy bridges crossing the basin.

Marble Arch stands at the jct. of Edgeware Road & Oxford Street. It was at one time an entrance to the Hyde park but road layout alterations have now left it as an island, London traffic hurrying past on all sides.
Designed in 1828 for the main entrance to Buckingham Palace - home to a family that once owned NB Brittannia - it was moved here in 1851 when Buck Hse was extended.

Serpentine lake fits nicely into the 350acres of Hyde Park and provides pleasure to visitors with row boat hire, lakeside restaurants and an abundance of wildlife.

The solar powered trip boat that will take visitors around serpentine lake in Hyde Park. On the roof of the glass cabin are are 27 curved glass solar panels creating an output of over 2kw. The power is stored below decks in batteries from which the electric motor powers the propellers.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


After a week or so at Uxbridge we all decided to move on and head for Paddington Basin. Now as getting up early is not top of our favourites list we had an overnight stop at Bulls Bridge near Hayes. It was here at the jct. of the Paddington Arm that workboats would moor stern in waiting for orders to load at either Brentford or London as both gave access to the R. Thames and therefore loads from around the globe. Now sadly it is a large Tesco store and all that remains of the past is a dry dock.
The Nestle` factory is in Hayes just before Bulls Brdg. nice smell as you drift past.
Certainly seen some different boats as we move along the canals. The caravan body seems a good idea as it saves fitting out a shell. Further on there was a van body removed from it`s chassis and used as the living quarters like the caravan.
The nice thing about life on the cut is the close up view of the changing seasons. Now with autumn all the leaves on trees and bushes changing colour before dropping off ready for the winter hibernation. Before long, time seems to pass quickly on the cut, the buds will again give way to new foilage and another display of colour. When you leave the rat race of work and land living you really do notice so much more of what`s going on around you. Looking forward to spring and all the new born wildlife on the water and land come to that, saw a calf born in a field canalside this year.
Stopped off on the Aqauduct that crosses the N. Circular Road. This was where for 20yrs before i retired that i spent day in day out delivering. Looking down at the traffic it all came flooding back. Seems a lifetime but it was just 11 months ago.
Further down the Paddington Arm we passed the new Wharf just completed that will process waste, the majority of which to comply with planning consent must arrive and depart by rail or water.
So into the Paddington Basin and this maximum 7 day mooring will give me a chance to get a train to Leicester to see my son Kevin who is farming so i don`t get to see him to often.
Cor if you could smell what i can you would understand my ending the blog here. It`s a beef casserole that has been slowly cooking all afternoon and the smell has just made me realise how hungry i am after walking for 5 hours in and around Hyde Park, but more of that next time.

The Nestle` factory

Autumn changes the view and at such a slow pace more time to enjoy it.

From the Aquaduct, check out that traffic behind me.

Stopped on the Aquaduct over the North Circular Road in Nth West London
The new Wharf at Willesden

Here we are moored in Paddington Basin, just 5mins walk to the station and 15mins to Marble Arch and Oxford St.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Now is Jack saluting me as captain or is the sun in his eyes.
After the fireworks and a good nights sleep my crew Jordan & Jack are waiting for the lock to fill. It was a nice pleasent day for our mini-cruise from Croxley to Rickmansworth just 3 locks and almost as many miles but the two of them loved it. OK I DID AS WELL

Water skiers at Rickmansworth Aquadrome which is right alongside the Grand Union canal. The Grandchildren enjoyed watching this while we waited for mum&dad to arrive.

This barge operated by` Land & Water` carries gravel between Denham and West Drayton. Also the narrowboat Arundel operates on the same run but at the present time it is in dry dock in the yard to the right of the picture so i have no picture of it.
Nice to see a narrowboat working again even if only over a short distance.
The Land & Water Co. say they move 60.000 Tonnes per year saving some 6.000 lorry movements.

Metropolitan Police divers at Uxbridge. These divers are part of a team of 11 and are based at Wapping in east London. They cover the area within the M25 but also go all over the country if a Met Police case is involved.
They told me it was just a practice session but as they are so far from base and have passed many sections of waterways to get here i am not so sure.
The dives are strictly recorded, as when Firefighters enter a buiding with breathing gear on, each diver is connected by an air line fed from the bank by another diver and time in water and air used is noted. A rope is moved along a small amount each dive and the divers work from each side using only their hands to feel for anything on the bottom. The silt they disturb while searching results in zero visability.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Had a nice week at Cow Roast just relaxing and walking. I think winter will be like this longer stops and not so much travelling as in the summer months. Summer is the best time to seek out places like those we have visited this year and i can`t wait till march to really get travelling again. York comes to mind as does Llangollen in Wales but who knows what direction it will be. Beauty is with the rest of your life to travel the system and no ties there is no need to make any plans at the moment.
Travelled down to Croxley near Watford as 2 of the G`children want to stay on board after we go to the fireworks display in cassiobury park and then we will cruise down to Rickmansworth so mum & dad can re-claim them. So as i blog this they are sound asleep not heard a murmer despite all the fireworks going off all around us. Must be all the fresh air made them sleepy plus the fire is throwing out a lot of lovely heat.

This shows my signal strength of 3 bars without any aerial plugged in. Although 3 bars on 3G is good sitting inside a narrowboat the signal could weaken and if like now i am downloading pictures to the blog i could lose the connection and all my work, it has happened.
If 3G is not available in some areas the connection is made automaticaly via GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). The extra signal boost from the aerial will be good when on GPRS as it not as good as 3G.

Now with this aerial plugged in i get an extra bar on the signal strength, so i now have 4 bars which is a big improvement.
I purchased the aerial on e-bay for a cost of £18.49 inc p.p. The item number is 110045925098. This will at least bring you to the site and i have seen these aerials on a BUY IT NOW status previously so they may still be available.
The black aerial pad has a suction pad to stick on window glass and a 2 1/2 metre cable with plug to connect to your office card. I believe they also fit Vodaphone cards but full details will be on the site.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs