Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Coots get Social Housing Benefit

Today we left Cowley and went to Paddington Basin ..... and began our way back again. The Paddington Arm goes through the highly desirable areas of Southall, Greenford, Northolt and Wembley. We passed Kensal Green Cemetary where the revered Isambard Kingdom Brunel is buried. (It's an enormous cemetary with many, many residents!). Before reaching Little Venice there is an area of numerous flats and where every possible surface has grafitti on it. Who is Toxo 9?!!!! No one should ever complain about Staines again! Even the coots were entitled to housing benefits and were keen to re-cycle.

Little Venice itself is a nice area and interesting. All the old iron bridges are painted in bright colours. There IS some visitor mooring but 'visitors' seemed to be overstaying the time limit and we could find no space to stop ourselves.

We continued into the basin at Paddington. What an upper class buiding site it is!!! If anyone thought that no building work is being carried out in Britain because of the recession they are wrong. When it is all completed it will be a very desirable residential and commercial area. It is actually very close to major London attractions and has good free moorings for seven days if one wants to explore London.

We are glad we went but won't rush back.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

New Arrivals

Today I saw my first swallow of 2009. Actually I saw two - but then again, it could have been the same one twice!!! Now, Eric Hubbard (sagacious citizen of Staines) says that 'one swallow does not make a summer' BUT they are obviously on their way.

A scarier arrival is the boat inspector from Penton Hook. I will just ply him with red wine for the week, flutter my eyelashes lots and hope that the end of the week report is favourable!!!!

Captain with visiting Boat Inspector.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Feeling Privileged

Well ............... today the weather has been so much nicer than yesterday. We have had bright sunshine all day and no rain. We arrived at the Tring Reservoirs shorty after lunch time. Then went for a lovely walk around the reservoirs. We are moored up just by one of the reservoirs. Again today, very little in the way of boat movement - we love it!!!
DON ASFORD!!!! If you are not a camp follower, WHY NOT??? Apparently there are Bearded tits and Bitterns just a few metres in the reed beds from the boat as I type!!!!! Yawn, Yawn!!!!!
Tomorrow, we need to get a bit of a move on to reach Berkhamstead as Mr Rodney Rogers (boat inspector) is to join us on Thursday for a whole week.
THIS IS A RASH THOUGHT BUT ...... I MIGHT ...... get up early in the morning and walk to the reed bed ..... just for a look and a listen!!!
Given more time, I could actually stay here for several days quite happily.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Milton Keynes

So ..................... have you ever been to Milton Keynes? What sort of place do you imagine it to be?

Milton Keynes was actually designed as a new town in about 1967 to relieve housing conjestion and poor living conditions in London.

Milton Keynes covers 22 thousand acres and incorporates not only the original village of Milton Keynes but also other small towns that existed:- Bletchley, Wolverton, Stony Stratford and 15 other villages and farmland.

Interesting Point: Milton Keynes is equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge.

As with all other new towns of the time (Harlow, Basildon, Welwyn Garden City and Stevannage) Milton Keynes has characteristic grid roads that run between districts, lakes and parkland.

Cycle ways, poplar trees and daffodils (in the Spring) abound.

And ..... apparently, Milton Keynes is a shopper's paradise!

The cycle way network is second to none linking the linear parks (the flood plains of the Great Ouse and it's tributary The Ouzel) that run right through the town. John and I cycled to an area called Willen Lake. It is fantastic! A large, superbly managed area - free bird hide over-looking the lake - excellent cyle paths - amazing Buddist pagoda ..... for starters. The population of Milton Keynes are not short of leisure space!! According to a pair of well-established and very sociable locals and new boat owners (Pete and Anne on n/b Tortola), Milton Keynes is England's best kept secret.

The Peace Pagoda in Willen Park. Apparently, there are hundreds of Japanese Cherry Blossom trees planted behind. What a picture that must be when they are in bloom?

We met another resident walking round the lake with his elderley father who said that Milton Keynes was under-rated and he couldn't wait to return every winter from his second home in France!

The Grand Union Canal runs for ten miles through the centre of Milton Keynes, twisting this way and that through the various housing developments - from Fenny Stratford to the aqueduct over the Ouse at Wolverton. Almost throughout, the towpath is well maintained, free of litter and graffiti and well supplied with bins for refuse deposited by our lovely cannine friends! Not one sunken shopping trolley was spotted! It certainly does not feel like you are passing through a major town. There are plans afoot to link the Grand Union at Milton Keynes with the Great Ouse at Bedford. I do so hope this happens one day and that John and I will still be fit enough to cruise it!!!

So ......... we looked at some of the canalside property and thought ..... maybe? After talking to the locals, I don't think we could afford it!!!!

BUT .... from what we have seen and heard, Milton Keynes seems to us to have a great deal going for it! Comments from those who know?

This week: We have had a lovely cruise from Norton Junction just outside Daventry to where we are now - just outside of Leighton Buzzard. The weather has been glorious and lots of other boaters have been out and about to talk to.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


I have just seen the first bats of the year! Now, to some people, getting excited about something like that will be considered really sad but to me it's fantastic! I love watching them swooping above and around the boat. I just wish I knew different types from their flight patterns but I'm not that clever! I really didn't think bats re-emerged this early in the year - just shows what you can still learn in the twilight years of one's life!!

The tawny owls have just started hooting (Maggie cannot resist joining in!) and the heating system has just packed up .....again!!!

If there's one thing I have come to accept about living on a boat is that something is always going wrong!!!!

Creation of a Blog Site?

I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing or not here but ......................... if this works, close friends and family will finally be able to keep their beedy eyes on what John and I are up to and when!!! Lots to learn as yet about how to operate this as a blog site but, hopefully, I will be able to keep people up to date with news and pictures.
At the moment we are at Stoke Bruerne on our way down to Brentford to meet Ben with his narrowboat, April Love. there is a lovely old thathed pub here called The Boat and we like it especially because they are dog friendly!! I have issues regarding dogs and pubs - will get around to publishing my thoughts at some point!! This old pub has a lovely sign though!

Spring is definitely here - the little lambs are bouncing, the ducks, swans and geese have paired up and the birds are twitering in the trees.
Lots of other boaters seem to have come out of hibernation and the waterways are getting busier.
Well, I'm now going to post this and see if it works!!