Saturday, 3 January 2015

Bulls Bridge Return

We awoke to a grey, drizzly day - just when we hoped to go for a short trip! We checked with with High Line and they were open!

Mike cast off from the marina mooring and brought the boat around to the service point and we were soon filled up with diesel. It needed quite a bit to fill - sadly Mike upset his new Marine 16 bottle and lost most of it to the bilges. yes, we know that the boat in the photo is not ours - it is meant to show where we obtained the fuel!

Off to the shops!
Around 11 o'clock we decided to go down to Morrisons - by boat and moored by the entrance. Sadly, whilst trying to find a place where one mooring pin could be knocked in, it 'jumped' into the water. From the store we picked up a few things including bread and cooked meat for lunch.

Back at the boat we had a late coffee and waited to see if the weather would improve - not a lot despite the forecaster's promises. As a result most of the photos included evidence of the rain!

There is no guaranteed turning point before Bulls Bridge, about an hour further south. Rather than attempt a long reverse back up to the marina entrance, Mike set off, well wrapped up. The rain continued but occasionally dried up for a few minutes at a time.

Whilst we were moored earlier, Christine lit the fire - which gave Mike plenty of smoke to watch!

Bulls Bridge
At Bulls Bridge we turned around without stopping and set off back the way we came. There have been some new footpath signs provided along the way - they seem to be different from what remember from earlier in the year. Spotted an new finger direction at Bridge 198 which indicated Old Vinyl Factory. Just the other side of the bridge is the building below. It looks as if it is meant to resemble a former wharf but nothing on the site now seems ever to have related to it and the Pettigrew & Wilson's history of the Grand Junction Canal makes no mention of anything just here - plenty elsewhere.

However, this is all part of the former Thorn-EMI site with its famous research laboratories and where vinyl records were pressed. The world's first airborne radar system was also developed here. Earlier in 2014 plans for re-development of some of the site - The Old Vinyl Factory -  were announced and this website has quite a lot of historical detail - but no mention of the canal! A little closer to Bulls Bridge, between the canal and the railway, several new blocks of apartments have been constructed in recent years.

Despite the cold we made our way back to the marina and were on our pontoon before 4 o'clock. Hopefully, our next trip - perhaps towards the end of February - will take us a little further!

7.8 miles - 0 locks

Friday, 2 January 2015

Another day to ourselves

Definitely milder now, no sign of ice. Nevertheless we took the morning slowly at first, going out for a walk after coffee. No sooner had we reached the gate to the marina but a phone call meant that Mike had to go back to the boat to check diary dates!

Wrapped up well, a walk along the towpath was very pleasant - Christine bumped her head during the night so was especially looking for fresh air to clear the internal fog. We saw a number of boats on the move.

At Iver Lane we transferred to the London LOOP and continued northwards along the River Colne from where we reached a few days back. this section is also known as the River Colne Way.

The first part of the path has recently been re-made but alongside a strong security fence so the views were not great. The new path ceased at the end of the fencing and we were back to a more traditional pathway!

Near Uxbridge the LOOP has to divert away from the river and we walked then to the main road where we could pick up the 222 bus route back to Packet Boat Lane. Crossing the bridge over the river we spotted this sign - amused to see that the wartime inconvenience of a weight limit was overcome simply by removing the sign!

This bridge was first built in 1809 and widened in 1895. This plate replaces a 5 ton weight sign erected at that time. The original plate was removed during the 1939-45 war to allow heavy military vehicles to cross the bridge. 1996

One of the small shops where we alighted the bus was able to supply our newspaper so we did not have a reason for another walk later!

Lunch, with the last two portions of Christine's latest soup, extended this time with the last of the beg that we did not eat with our roast beef dinner last night. More a vegetable stew than a soup, but very warming!

It is possible that we shall be able to get diesel tomorrow from High Line alongside the marina. If we do and the weather is not too adverse - especially if like today - we could well take a longer trip. As a result we spent most of the afternoon sorting, packing and getting ready for our return home on Sunday.

Having left the hosepipe laid out along the roof last time we went home, there was a dirty mark all along. So, Mike decided that it would be better to clear it now before it has time to turn permanent. However, he quickly discovered just how dirty surfaces become in London rain! As a result the whole roof was cleaned but no doubt will be back to the same state by the time we return for the start of the season.

We had seen a number of police people around, starting with one along the towpath by Cowley Lock and then a whole group as we came back into the marine after our walk. Yovi, who sometimes works in the marina office, said that they were looking for a young lady who had gone missing.

Later, there were even more police and it seems that the lady in question sadly died on board her boat in the marina. Although she was moored not far from us we cannot recall meeting her. Some of the residents are very chatty but other boats we are aware that sometimes there is someone on board but never seen.

By the end of the afternoon a lot of packing had been completed and the first trolley load taken to the car. It usually takes around four or five loads when we arrive or depart.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year's Day

We opted to retire to bed quite early as we had no immediate plans to watch fireworks. Just before, at 10 pm a nearby display was set off which gave us quite a good view but, alas, no photos. We did try a long exposure to capture a neighbour's boat illuminations however.

At midnight we were awoken by the sounds of innumerable firework displays. None were especially near but almost all around us and the noise was substantial.

OK, so the photos are more impressionistic than a better setting on the camera would have captured but unfortunately Mike could not find which one to us in time!

Even ignoring the huge cost of the London Eye display, the amount of money sent up in smoke over London last night does not bear thinking about! Cut backs - what cut backs?

Overnight was much warmer than the last three and we also had a little lie-in. Not much to do today although we did manage a short walk down the towpath to pick up a newspaper.