‘Futurest’ beneath St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington
The two little ships at rest in the Paddington Basin
We have arrived at the Paddington Basin, next to the main line railway station, helped (or hindered maybe) by the strength of the now familiar gale force wind blowing straight up the cut from the west. This is caused by the Venturi effect of the tall shiny glass and steel that towers way above us on all sides and unless there is no movement of air at all in the basin, this stiff breeze is always there.
And while writing the above, I have just come to the shocking realisation that it is a very long time since my last posting, way back at Widewater Lock. Since then we have been through Uxbridge and turned left at Bull’s Bridge, the junction of the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal and now we are at Paddington itself.
A long time has passed but it has run by so quickly.
A thrilling finish at the Basin
Buckingham Palace from the Mall
This omission is unforgiveable and my only excuse is that since being in the company of the two girls, Janis on ‘Roots and Wings’ and her sister Sharon, who is over from New Zealand and staying until August, I haven’t seemed to find the time to write…..
Yes it sounds pathetic and is, because it is so well used, that one. But the two ladies keep organising so many splendid trips out, all to which I could say “no” of course but haven’t been able to find the strength yet. Consequently while in port, I seem never to be on ‘Futurest’ these days except to sleep.
My old solo routine has disappeared completely and yet I find I’m not too disappointed by this. I never have time to waste time any more, as I did in the old days, and also I enjoy sharing the things that the girls do as well.
However on the rare occasions that I do manage to motivate myself, my writing has to be a very dedicated solo affair with never the slightest distraction for some hours. So during that period my companions go off on their own adventure. Later on in the day they recount what they have done and I envy them of course. But I can also feel pleased that I have accomplished something of my own as well.
St Paul’s from the Millennium Bridge
The skyline of London on the South Bank from Tower Bridge
Close-up of window cleaners on the tall building above
Replica of Francis Drake’s ‘Golden Hind’ at Mary Overie Dock
After the Lakes and nature walks at Widewater we journeyed down to Uxbridge staying there for a week, while Janis paid a visit to Newark and it was here that the weather improved a little and I managed to smarten the ship by repainting the roof and touching up the scratch marks along the starboard side. Janis returned bringing with her Sharon, who had been away on her own for a while; we were all together again and soon heading south.
We could have arrived at the Paddington Basin last weekend but on entering the Arm we learned that our destination was to be cleared of boats on Thursday last to accommodate some charity dragon racing that was to take place that evening. So, in order to be able to use our full week’s use of this mooring we tied up for a few days about four miles out, at Acton Road Bridge. This was only five minutes away from Harlesden Tube Station, so we were able to see much of London before we arrived at Paddington even.
Since then, as I have indicated already, Life has been hectic. The girls share my love of walking and in order to gain the best benefit from London, one needs to walk.
Over the few days that we have been here many miles have been covered and we have seen many of the sights and places in the city. The South Bank and the Embankment have been well walked on both sides of the river from the Houses of Parliament as far as the Tower of London. We have been to Camden Market, to Southwark Market and Pimlico Market too. Churches by the many have been visited, including St Paul’s Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral and Westminster Abbey as well as the ancient churches of All Hallows by the Tower and St John’s, Smith Square. We’ve seen the smart yachts in St Katherine’s Dock as well as the beautiful spritsail barges moored there too, while our hearts have been gladdened by two Shakespeare plays at the Globe theatre; ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ by an all lady cast and, only yesterday, the most splendid production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ that I have ever seen. It was wonderful and I was enthralled. We’ve set off from Green Park on a whistle stop, free walking tour seeing among other places, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament and we’ve seen the Wallace Collection of art and ancient weaponry while benefitting from the history on the walls of the Wetherspoon Pub at the Tower of London.
Unusual seating at Camden Market near the lock
The Globe Theatre
And inside the theatre
Our stay already has been amazing.
Today we have all done our own thing, which has enabled me briefly to reacquaint myself with solo life.
And the Sun has started to shine.