Saturday, 9 August 2014

London-bound: Day 9

Last night we thought we'd eat out at the Toll House Bistro, which was plastered in signs saying it was now open on Friday and Saturday evenings.  It wasn't.  We went next door to the Malt Shovel, which was OK but nothing special, and not as good as other Vintage Inns we've been to.

This morning we wanted to make a prompt start, so we were up and setting off by 7.10.  It was half an hour before I could go faster than tickover, because of all the moored boats.  At 8.30 we turned onto the Paddington Arm at Bulls Bridge Junction.

The first part of the arm isn't that interesting, although I noted lots more moored boats than when we were here three years ago, and lots of new apartments being build around Alperton.  After about two hours we crossed the North Circular on the aqueduct, and saw there was a traffic jam below.

Last time we did this journey, it took five hours from Cowley Lock to Paddington; this time it was more like six, because of all the moored boats -- there were boats in places which have previously been deserted.  Still, the trip soon gets interesting, with plenty to see.

The entry to Little Venice is through a narrow, and we had our photo taken plenty of times.  Just beyond, there was a huge queue for the Jason's trip boat.

We followed a very slow widebeam into the basin, with a feeling of trepidation as to whether we'd be able to find a mooring.  In fact there were several spaces, including the same one we used three years ago, next to the bank, outside the M&S HQ.  We went down to the end of the basin to turn;  it was pretty breezy, so we needed to use a bit of power to get round.  What was nice, though, was that they'd opened the new fan bridge to herald our arrival!

Adrian had spent most of the journey inside making a cake and a lasagne for later, as we had some of his family to visit this afternoon.  So we've had a great afternoon with an extra four adults and two children on board, and we've been to explore the new landscaping down the far end of the basin, which is really coming on.  They're currently installing a new fountain next to the fan bridge.

Quite a few boats have arrived this afternoon and this evening, so the basin is now pretty full.  The wind has been making it tricky to manoeuvre, but it's also clear that one or two of the steerers don't have much idea what they're doing.

17 miles, 0 locks.  (87 miles, 102 locks)

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