Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Time For A Major Catch-Up!
Sorry for the very long delay since we last wrote. No, we have not been affected by the massive rainfall and floods and are neither stranded in some farmer's field nor stuck under a bridge somewhere. Much more mundanely, we needed to download a major update to the computer's virus protection software and so used up our monthly allocation of mobile internet access when we were only halfway through July. Result:– no blogging since then and now that August is here we can get going again.
Here are some attractive little riverside cottages in Hertford, not far from where we moored. We started back from there towards London on the River Lee just after our last blog entry. As we hope to be back in the London area in early November (when Shireen and Frankie's baby is due), we looked at places where we might be able to moor for a while. Both the Lee and Stort have good railway connections to London, so this seems one of the best options for us.
We had hoped that some of our old friends from the Romford area would be able to make the relatively short journey over to the Lee or Stort, and several of them made a real effort to fit it in. In the event, Alan and Barbara were the only ones to actually make it, and we enjoyed a good day with them, going north from Waltham Abbey and back again, with an excellent pub lunch together at the 'Fish and Eels' at Dobbs Weir. We hope that we shall be able to catch up with some of the others later on!
We then did a 'marathon' run from Waltham Abbey to Paddington Basin in just one day – 18 locks and 19 miles took us 9 hours 20 minutes cruising! Here is some oddly pleasant scenery near St. Pancras. We wanted to get to Paddington in time to help Shireen move out of their rented flat. They hope to be in their own maisonette by late August or soon after.
Then back along the Paddington Arm to see Val's nephew Paul, with Caroline, Billy and Tom. We had a good day out together, only slightly marred by the pub where we stopped for lunch having changed hands (and character!) since the canal guide was published. Billy wanted to 'drive' – good job his Dad was looking where the boat was actually going!
And so northwards up the Grand Union Canal! Once we passed the junction with the Paddington Arm, we were on 'new ground' for us, and found that, like the River Lee on the northeast of London, the Grand Union on the northwest is also flanked by reservoirs and pylons – but somehow not so forbidding as the ones up the River Lee!
As we knew that we were going to be able to meet our Indian friends Samuel and Sumana in Rickmansworth sometime this week, we decided to get there in time to have an anniversary meal with our 3 'kids'. Adam, Jeremy and Shireen had all been together in Brighton for Saturday, and Adam drove them all up to celebrate our 35th on Sunday. Great to be all together – it doesn't happen very often! Odd to see our car again, too . . . we have grown very used to NOT having it!
Today, Samuel, Sumana and our mutual friend Jeanette joined us for a really summery cruise down the Grand Union and back again (another pub lunch!). Sam claimed that he had never steered a boat before, but he seemed to know exactly what to do and very quickly learned how to operate the locks as well. A nice relaxing trip for them after a fairly hectic 4 weeks in the UK before flying to the USA tomorrow and then back to India to the Sharp Memorial School for the Blind, a Christian school where they lead the work.