Bulls Bridge to Hanwell Bottom Lock
We took our time this morning and decided to have a cooked breakfast to use up things in the fridge before they went out of date. This left the fridge very nearly empty so across to Tesco’s to do some recycling and a big shop. On our way across the car park we bumped into Mrs Bleasdale, so we had a catch up on where we’d all been since last we talked and future cruising plans. We did also warn her that maybe the next time she saw Lillyanne it may not be us onboard.
After about an hour chatting in the car park we tried to get to what had been the recycling area, but it has gone even if the sign remains, so we had to deposit our rubbish in the bins around the car park.
When we got back to Lillian we were wanting to reverse to fill with water, but all possible spaces were taken up. The boat in front of the taps didn’t look like it intended filling and was stopping us from reversing. A couple came to see if we’d be moving anytime soon, as their boat was clinging to the concrete side where there was nowhere to tie up to. Our hose wouldn’t reach, but they lent us theirs and the two together did the job, although slowly.
Mary and Bob were on their way to the Cavalcade and we stood chatting watching the seasons change around us whist our tank filled. In the meantime more and more boats arrived, mostly shiny and on their way into Little Venice too. Boats were mooring up opposite and starting to breast up. Bob went to get their boat so that they wouldn’t loose our space, so even though we weren’t full yet we decided to push off and let everyone settle in without us.
We waved goodbye to NB Bleasdale and checked what her repaint would be so that we will be able to recognise her in the future. There was so much rubbish, the wind seems to collect it in areas, ergh! We passed at least three Coot nests made up of rubbish, the youngsters didn’t seem to mind too much. It seems that permanent moorers put out tyres and pieces of wood for the birds to nest in, which they do.
High vis jackets could be seen at Norwood Top Lock and as we approached one of the volunteer Lock Keepers asked if we’d like some assistance. The two chaps said that they were one man down, but all the same they’d go ahead and set the locks for us, one chap climbed on his bike and set off for the next lock. I was left to work the lock and close up, but as I walked down to the second lock the other lock keeper wizzed past on his bike. The Wednesday chaps are known as The Sunshine Crew, last year there were only two rainy Wednesdays when they were on duty. They leapfrogged each other, let me do as much as I wanted to and closed up behind us as we went down the flight of eight locks. Two very efficient Lock Keepers and very pleasant company too.
After the first two locks there is a largish gap, but in the middle is Three Bridges. Here the railway goes under the canal and above is a road bridge. This is where Mick was brought as a child and got his taste for canals. Our passage down was easy and we were avoiding the bank of silt and the nesting swan at the bottom of the flight an hour after we’d had started it. A space to pull in showed it’s face. Due to the River Brent joining at the bottom of the locks the channel is shallow and silted up, as you move along bubbles rise to the surface, when mooring very large bubbles gulp to the surface.
A walk around the area was needed and we crossed over the bottom of the locks to check that things were how they had been before Mick left in 1990. Then a walk up into Hanwell along the Brent. One of the highlights of my tour was Hanwell Clock tower, Wow! We then walked down to where Mick had lived for five years on Green Lane. His FM radio aerial is still on the chimney stack, but someone has had a proper damp proof course put in.
At the bottom of Green Lane is The Fox pub, boaters who have been this way may well have visited it. Very little has changed since Mick was last here, the landlord and maybe a lick of paint but that’s all. We had a warm welcome from the staff as we ordered our pints and food. After hearing that Mick had frequented the pub in the 80’s the landlord, Colin, came over to have a chat with us. No wonder the place was full of drinkers and not having to rely on food alone as so many pubs have to nowadays. Having said that our food was very good and the Lamb chops can be highly recommended. After a couple of pints we walked the short distance back to the boat under a very stormy looking sky. Just hope the bubbles from the river stop soon.
8 locks, 3.22 miles, 8 more boats for water, 1 nearly full tank, 1 shop , 1 hour car park chat, 2 jolly cheery volunteer lockies, 3 bridges, 10 coconuts, 52, 1 walk down memory lane, 2 pints Pride, 1.5 pints T.