Our plan today was a cruise into central London, Paddington Basin, no less.
A text was received last evening to confirm our friends Quentin & Sue of nb Twizzle had arrived there from their trip down the River Lee and we arranged to meet up at lunch time. An early(ish) start was planned and I left at ten to eight, leaving Best Mate to have a lay in, as there were no locks in store today.
The day started very quietly hardly seeing a soul apart from a fisherman and a police/security dog handler for the first hour. Passing by West Drayton Station the journey was one of contrasts from new canal-side housing to an active aggregates wharf with industrial units both in use and dereliction.
I could almost believe we were back by General Foods at Banbury as smells of coffee wafted from the Nestlé factory, known to generations of boatmen as ‘Hayes Cocoa’. At Bull’s Bridge we took a left onto the Paddington Arm, past more new housing development at Engineer’s Wharf.
We ducked under the A40 and as we reached High Line Yachting and the subsequent lines of residential boats we encountered the most horrendous blanket-weed which ensnared our propeller and caused us several visits down the weed hatch to clear it.
I think it was about here we encountered our first boat on the move, soon followed by a motor and empty butty on cross straps (close behind like a trailer, not requiring a steerer).
Reaching Alperton we stopped at Sainsbury’s where I was allowed a Sunday breakfast in their cafe. We passed a new footbridge and 10 minutes later were entertained to cross the North Circular Viaduct, which we had often driven under in the past, and smiled at the stationery traffic below, while we raced along at about 3 miles per hour.
We bore right at the island in Browning’s Pool where the trip boats waited for passengers and soon we were in the glitzy Paddington Basin with Quentin waiting to help us moor up in the stiff breeze whistling between the tower blocks and before long we were sitting down to cups of tea with Quentin & Sue and catching up with six months worth of news.