Sunday, May 22, 2016

Paddington Basin to Willowtree Marina (cruise retrospective)

We started off from the Basin in bright, sunny weather, but there was still an extreme chill in the air that continued throughout the day. The stretch of canal out of Little Venice was now even fuller of boats than when we first came through. There were no mooring spaces at all, and boats were breasted up three deep in places. There's to be a major boating event at Little Venice in a couple of weeks' time, the IWA Canalway Cavalcade, and there's expected to be a huge gathering of boats for that. One boat which had found a mooring was NB Wobbly Limited. It looked all closed up, but we discovered later that poor Mr Wobbly was inside sleeping off a bout of flu.

I've said before that kingfishers seem to be getting less timid. Now it's the turn of herons. Time was, they'd wait on the bank until you were about 20 to 30 metres away. Then they'd fly off ahead, land on the bank and wait until you were... Repeat until bored, then sweep off across a field. On this trip we've passed very close to lots of herons who have stood their ground and watched us, immobile, as we passed. One stood right next to Grace at the stern in a lock, quite clearly wanting to be fed. And the one which takes first prize for temerity is one we saw two days ago,  following behind a walker and repeatedly pecking at the backs of his legs. "Feed me, Seymore! Feed me!"

Talking of birds... London's canals have lots of bridges. Iron constructions whose girders provide nesting nooks for countless pigeons. These birds are not content to watch you pass through beneath them in the boat. Instead, they flap around as if in panic, covering you in feathers and the dust of dried excrement. The threat of psittacosis seems very real as I close my eyes and hold my breath and wait to emerge into cleaner air at the other side of the bridge.

Boat names fascinate us. We frequently wonder what the significance of a name is, and why someone called it that. Until today, I thought the silliest name for a boat just had to be "Moose Drool". Today, we saw "Laughing Gravy" and "The Slowness of Cows". Why???

We moved on through London; Kensal Green, past the huge and famous cemetery, Alperton, Perivale, Northolt,

and at around 4:00pm we arrived back at Willowtree Marina, where we moored for the night. Once again, the 230v mains supply was more than welcome. We did a couple of loads of washing, almost wished we had more to wash, vacuum-cleaned the cabin, and used our laptops. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed, but this is a good place to stop.

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