Thursday, 26 June 2014

Too hot for Paddington Basin

Tuesday 24th June

If the weather had been cooler, we would have tried our luck at Paddington Basin, but the boat gets too hot during this weather to leave the dog for more than an hour.  So we decided to crack on to Victoria Park and get ready for a trip up the Lee Navigation.

In the West Kilburn area there is an elaborate canalside garden with statues, decorations on the wall and two rows of clipped bushes.  Someone clearly spends a lot of time keeping it tidy – unfortunately the bushes obscure most of the artwork from the canal.

1 elaborate garden decoration regents canal

Closer to Little Venice, there were some World Cup supporters in evidence on boats and also the tower blocks, with huge flags draped over balconies.

2 world cup flags on tower block kensal rise     2 world cup flags on tower block kensal rise

Little Venice was crowded as we passed through, though we didn’t have to wait at the tunnels and things quietened down quickly.  We had a good view of a warthog as we passed the zoo, then at Camden Locks there were 3 volunteers so we were through all three in under half an hour – Deb only had to work the bottom gates of the middle lock.

5c hard work camden locks

As we approached the bridge by the Pirate’s Castle a trip boat was stationary in the bridge ‘ole to warn us of a traffic jam just through the bridge – a punt was right in the way of another trip boat.  We moved right over for the trip boat to get past and all was tranquil again.

5 punt tranquil again

We stopped briefly for lunch at King’s Cross, and went on down to Victoria Park.  One of the lock gates was so heavy I had to call on a willing passer-by but otherwise it was all straightforward.  We couldn’t moor on the first stretch by the park where we were last time, but went down the lock and turned onto the Hertford Union, where after a few hundred yards we found a mooring near the Gunmaker’s Gate.

We took Meg into the park for a walk but again it was very hot.  She went to get a drink from one of the ponds

6 muddy feet in victoria park

but unfortunately put her feet in some extremely stinky mud!  Luckily we had brought water with us so she could have a proper drink and Dave could use the bowl to give her feet a wash.  On the way back we spotted one of the community gardens which are springing up all over the place – Vicky’s Veg Growing Group (Vicky being the local name for the park). 

7 vickys veg growing group   8 vickys veg growing group

Victoria Park is also known as the People's Park and it is certainly used by a huge number of people.  During our walk, and when I went for a run later, we saw strollers, parents and kids, sunbathers, dog walkers, cyclists and runners, skateboarders and stunt bikes in the skatepark, people working with laptop and phone, and individuals doing yoga.  Last time we were here there was a military fitness class taking place, a guy practicing dancing on in-line skates, and boats out on the boating lake.  And still it wasn’t crowded!  It’s a quiet place to moor if you ignore the cyclists rattling the paving slabs as they go by.

7 and a half miles, 8 locks.

I forgot to mention on Sunday 22nd’s blog what I saw on the Slough Arm when I took Meg out early – this hexacopter.

1b  hexacopter slough arm

It has 6 rotors, is about 18 inches across and is operated by remote control.  The two guys flying it were glowing with enthusiasm – it has a camera and they are about to take it to France.  But it looks like a drone to me and I can’t help but find it rather sinister.  Though you’d know about it if it came snooping – the motors are very noisy.

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