Catching up... Day 24
Our journey on from Denham Deep Lock - the deepest on the Grand Union, at 11 foot 1 inch - took us through Uxbridge and Cowley. Large, modern buildings lined the route, some of which I remember from when I taught at Bishopshalt School in nearby Hillingdon.
The weather was fine. Almost summer. Fish were jumping, the cotton was high.
It's good to meet in person folk I'd only known previously on the web. I'd been Tweeted by Wobbly Boater a few days earlier.
A few days later, a boat hooted as it passed us, moored up but preparing to leave. It was NB Wobbly. We exchanged a few words this time. It was likely we'd meet up now. And we did.
It was at Cowley Lock, in fact. They, too, were headed for the Lee and Stort, and would get there "eventually". It's their habit as continuous cruisers to stop from time to time, sometimes for a week or two, so they were going to take rather longer than us to get there. It was good to see them, and put faces to names.
We left them at Cowley Lock, had lunch shortly afterwards, then carried on through Yiewsley and Hayes. Canalside properties were an uncomfortable mix of new and old, rich and poor. And it was definitely London suburbs now.
Bull's Bridge, the junction of the Grand Union with its Paddington Arm. We waited to turn in as an unusual craft pushed a houseboat out, and left onto the GU. It was quite a manoeuvre.
It was followed immediately by a short narrowboat, nipping out quickly in the wake of the others, then we turned in.
The Paddington Arm was an immediate disappointment. There was rubbish everywhere. On the water, on both sides of the canal, particularly where junk had been thrown over the the fences of canalside businesses. The rural setting was very pleasant, however, and we enjoyed this for the couple of miles to Willowtree Marina.
The marina was our safe choice of overnight mooring. Having had no previous experience of canal travel through London, we didn't want to find ourselves not able to moor at the end of the day. Unable, because there were no suitable places to stop, or because there were no spaces at suitable moorings. So we'd booked in to Willowtree. The mooring had a mains electricity supply, and there were full services, of course, so we made the most of this little haven, tidying up, vacuum cleaning, dumping rubbish and so on.
We booked a table in the restaurant, too, but when we arrived at 7:30, the waitress apologised that there was a huge party celebrating a 70th birthday and taking up most of the tables. The one she's booked for us was actually in the bar area, but it was one of the two that had been taken up for the past four hours by a large, noisy family group. She seemed rather intimidated by them, but nonetheless managed to persuade them to move to just one table. Grudgingly, they did, but our meal was frequently disturbed by small children pushing behind us, and one particularly obnoxious man talking far too loudly, and shouting very close to my ear at his kids, who took no notice of him.
The waitress was brilliant, managing to serve everyone most efficiently without getting at all flustered, despite the chaos around her. And the food was good, though far too plentiful!
|Grace's burger and chips!|