Friday 30th May
We meant to leave early but overslept a bit… then as we were ready to leave we got chatting to the two boats who arrived last night. They are heading off to Teddington and we found ourselves suddenly becoming the Thames experts – we who have cruised Oxford to Brentford once. Still, they seemed happy enough!
It was a joy operating the Hanwell locks. They are mostly not difficult and the weather was warm, though rather grey. We passed the old Hanwell asylum, where there were four of these fire doors at the base of the wall - in case of a fire at the asylum, the firemen would have knocked out the doors to enable them to draw water from the canal.
We didn’t see many other boats, and it was a long and often tedious trip into Paddington. We had intended to stop for lunch while we watered up but failed to find two of the taps marked in Nicholsons. We were surprised at how rural some stretches appeared, so close to urban areas. Wild roses, then this bird at the end of a permanent mooring!
We got to Paddington Basin about 5 o’clock to find that all the pontoon moorings were taken, and the remaining rings had ‘do not use’ notices attached to them, so we moored at the last rings available before the station entrance – unfortunately on top of the ‘jacuzzi’ which seems to be a sort of aeration system. The sound inside the boat was like a hundred demented drummers banging on the hull. Luckily, we were able to pull back far enough for a quiet night, though we weren't moored exactly prettily.
We had a brilliant evening. Our daughter Liz and her partner Rob arrived from work and we all went off down the Edgware Road to find a restaurant – the Abu Zaad, I think – it was Syrian and the food was excellent (luckily Liz and Rob knew what all the dishes were as we didn’t have a clue). Quite a culture shock for us, as it was the first time we have been in a busy city for quite a while!
We repaired to the boat for a few drinks (and for the boys to watch the second half of the England friendly) before they set off back home. A great evening!
8 locks, 15 miles