Thursday, July 28, 2011

TESCO Comment

I arrived by narrowboat and moored at your 'Frogmoor Wharf' about midday on Thursday 28 th July. I was pleased to note that boaters were not overstaying and that there was a space at the mooring. After shopping in the store which was cooler inside than out we moved our boat over to the British Waterways moorings on the otherside of the canal.
A while later one of your shopping trollies appeared near my boat opposite your store. It seems that the trolly had been stolen from your store. I am so dissapointed that so many TESCO trollies do end up in the canal. You do not seem to care much about the value of them. My boat is my home and could suffer disabling damage if the rudder or propellor gets caught up in a sunken trolly.
Please make arrangements to collect any trollies found alongside the waterways. It would be better if you could operate a locking system that keeps them on your property.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moving on down the locks

It was going to be a few long trips spread over a few days that we had planned. The locks are all wide on the Grand Union heading south to London so two narrow boats or one wide barge can get in. "There do seem to be more barges down this way." Some of the locks had to be left empty with a paddle up to prevent flooding. There were a few boats coming up which helped our progress.
We did not adopt a routine so approaching a lock varied between Terry and I being first in on one side or the other.

There was one automatic swing bridge to deal with at Winkwell that had been repaired after being damaged by a vehicle the previous week. The facilities at Hemel Hempstead near the lock were occupied so we breasted up in a convenient space between the many boats. The girls went off to the shops while we waited.
It had been a warm sunny day and the canal corridor proved to be quite rural being mostly tree lined through the town. We finally stopped just past the railway bridge at a wide grass edge. It was also deep enough with no other boats in site but the trains were a bit noisy as they passed Kings Langley. The train's electric pickup was creating some disturbance on the Freeview TV so Terry had to move in front of us. We stayed there a day, visiting Kings Langley and enjoyed a round of jam doughnuts and coffee sitting outside a cafe.

It is somewhere around here that Ovaltine was made. I think this is the old Wharf.

Kings Langley lock
Next day we continued on down many more locks to Cassiobury Park which is inside the outer circle created by the M25.

Several locks had delightful little cottages with well kept gardens beside them.

Friday, July 22, 2011


When we reached Berkhamsted we were lucky to find a space below lock 52 opposite the park. It has been 6 years since we have been this far south on the Grand Union canal.

Much has changed since then. Trees and bushes have grown up and are preventing the satellite signal getting through. Our terrestrial aerial was set up but only a few channels were watchable.
The main High Street runs parallel with the canal and river Bulbourne with a few bridges that cross the river. The town is very busy with many useful shops, banks and cafe's. At one end there is a wonderful hardware store with everything you may want or need. It is an 'Aladdin's Cave'.

After a few days we moved on down the locks with British Waterways help. A lack of water has been caused by one lock not being shut properly over night.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


We move with friends on Plaidy. Every now and then we find a pub for lunch but it is not our usual way. At Marsworth there was a choice of Red or White Lions. Now only Red remains as a country half thatched public house by the canal. We had found a mooring between bridge 129 and 130 and walked to the Red one, beaten by a bunch of people off a day boat. Although our meals were slow coming they were worth waiting for.
While on a walk to the lock we realised how lucky we were to have found a space. Most of the moorings were taken with boats on both sides. Despite the apparent customer potential the White Lion was closed and boarded up.

The British Waterways yard is also closed and up for redevelopment despite local boater protest. I hope that the boater facilities will remain for use. And that this old loading crane is preserved when houses are built here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Have we seen the best of it?

"Let's hope not." We started boating in 1995 on the Kennet and Avon and have seen that canal grow and decline. In 2000 we got our first boat to live on as a retired couple. Much effort and investment in the waterways was making improvements, all be it slowly. It is now sadly getting much less support from government and deterioration has set in. In order to improve the situation volunteers are being recruited to support British Waterways. Back in the 60's and 70's many groups of people gave their time and effort to save the waterway system. Then all BW had to do was maintain the Navigation. Major changes to the financial arrangements and organisation at BW must result in a change in attitude.
Apparently boating is in decline despite rosy reports from various boat shows. Several canal companies are falling victim to the downturn. Now even well established boat builders like Reeves have failed. It is a shock indeed to the system as they were known to be quality boats that kept their value in the market.

Things to do at Linslade

Visitor moorings at Leighton Buzzard are handy for the shops. There is Tesco, Homebase and Aldi here right by the canal. Linslade is on the other side of the canal and has a Launderette and a train station but not much else. The only Post Office is now to be found across the river in L. B.
It was only two hours at the visitor moorings so we moved on and were lucky to find a space round the corner. Now we have 14 days to explore and use the facilities at our leisure. We arranged to get our post delivered but had to instruct the town's PO what 'Poste Restante' meant. "We will collect it to save you having to deliver it to our boat." Then we striped the bedding and got all our bed quilts cleaned at the Launderette.
The satellite and local digital signal was temperamental due to the tall flats and trees. The signal must have been bouncing around because the picture came and went every 5 minutes. Thankfully the post arrived next day so we moved on a mile to a new walk bridge near the old sand pit lake.

The Sands of Time Trail making a good 1/2 hour walk round.
The TV signal was back to normal here so we were able to enjoy the F1 racing from Silverstone at the weekend. Many problems foxed the engineers and drivers with the much improved track and not helped by rain on Sunday which only made half the circuit wet. So it was an entertaining race.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Wimbledon takeover

The second week is always best to watch with so much good tennis to see. We are moving but only short trips, getting lunch then watching the games. The ladies all seem to look the same with long blond hair whatever country they come from. "But why do some make so much noise!" Then it was the men's final with an unexpected result. I usually support the expected looser so that was a win for me. Our own Scottish player did well to get to the semi again. If we really want the Brits to win maybe we should give them more support.
When at Fenny Stratford we went to the Swan for lunch with our friends to celebrate our 45 th Anniversary no less. The shops in the 'High Street' have changed since we were last here. It is a case of the small village and useful shops closing down because people with cars just go along Watling Street to all the drive in shop centres. Perhaps the huge rise in fuel costs will eventually make them change their habits. For those like us without a car rely so much on the small village near the waterway for milk, bread, vegetables and post.