Sunday, 30 June 2013

Stonebridge Lock

Finally we have left London and are heading north on the Lee Navigation into Deepest Hertfordshire. The above lock is five miles from the junction with the Hertford Union Canal and also the Olympic Stadium, which was built nearby. But all this area is relatively quiet and looking rather derelict now after the frenzied excitement of last year.


007-1  Entering the Lee Navigation with Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Stadium from the Hertford Union Junction


However a similar elation is prevalent aboard as yesterday we began to experience warmer weather again and this morning we are positively simmering in the Sun under a pale blue sky. Let us hope that the promise fulfils itself during the rest of the day and for the week to come at least.

To my memory over some years past, one of the weeks of the Wimbledon tennis competition has been gloriously warm while the other has been somewhat second rate. I cannot remember a year when they were both brilliant, so this year has begun very traditionally. Let us hope that the second week continues as it has begun today and fortifies this legend.

We finally tore ourselves away from the Paddington Basin a week ago today and since then have been passing along the Regents Canal towards the River Lee. At Wharf Road Bridge the two girls and I went ashore and Sharon left us in a big red London Bus on the first stage of her journey to Morocco. She will be away for a month before rejoining us later on.



Wild Columbine in a North London square


005-1  Homes fit for a colony of birds

…. and homes fit for a colony of birds


The two ships then spent a further two days on the Regents Canal moored alongside Victoria Park while Janis and I enjoyed walking this splendid area and also cycled down to the Limehouse Basin calling in at Canary Wharf on the way home for coffee at Waitrose. On one of the afternoons at this mooring my friends Rob and Penny came aboard for a cuppa (and a glass of wine or two). They brought the cake and we enjoyed a few hours together ruminating over old times.


017  Skyscrapers that almost kiss each other

Skyscrapers that seem almost to kiss one another above us


However ‘Futurest’ I am sure must not have enjoyed her idleness over the last weeks and after dawdling along for some time at around two miles per day, it was wonderful yesterday to surge along over a lengthy run (for us) of around seven miles and satisfying to give the batteries a good charge, since the solar panel has not been utilised at its full capacity for ages.


013  Stern with polished brass

At Victoria Park

However we may have been happy with the length of the run, but it took us a long time to get there. Stonebridge is a double lock and as the electrical side is currently inoperative while being repaired, we had to pass through its manually operated partner, which was long and exhaustive since we seemed to be winding forever with windlass on the heavy hydraulic cylinders.

But eventually we made it and gratefully tied up at the adjacent water point nearby. Our tanks were low after so long in London and both boats needed refilling. But much to our disappointment, there was only one tap available, whose pressure was almost a dribble. As one local wag suggested, “you could urinate quicker” and three whole hours passed between the time we first entered the lock till finally leaving the water point with both our tanks filled.

While we had waited, both with our own thoughts of the day, happily we sat in the Sun gratefully soaking in its warmth.

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