Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tuesday 30th June 2009

Hertford Link (which avoids Limehouse Basin) Popular moorings for live-aboards.
We had an early start and left our mooring at 0715hrs to try to get a few hours travelling under our belt before it became too hot. This was the homeward journey so we knew what to expect in respect of scenery and river conditions.

The sun has really strengthened the weed on the River Lee in London. BW will have to do something soon as we have noticed pennywort weed which is very invasive and a real problem to navigation.
We had a better system in place keeping all the blinds closed in the boat and I stayed inside relaxing while Tom was at the helm. I then went outside to help at the locks.

We made two short stops but kept going until we reached Limehouse Basin at 1630hrs. The visitor moorings were packed solid but we managed to get on our booked mooring a day early.
Absolute bliss - a tepid shower and clean clothes, then a walk along the Thames looking at the activities on the water and finally a couple of drinks in the pub.
We are off to Italy now with Lottie and Lee to make final wedding arrangements, so no posts for a few days.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Monday 29th June 2009

We spent a couple of hours catching up on the boat chores which meant we didn't set off until 12 midday. What a mistake as by that time it was already very hot. We had already planned to stop at Roydon as we had gone straight through on the way up river, so we slowly made our way there.

This proved to be very worthwhile as it is such a pretty village, although absolutely deserted today.
We decided to carry on and got back onto the River Lee at about 1500hrs. There were very few boats moving today and we only were as we are under pressure to get to Limehouse.
We got through Broxbourne at 1700hrs and decided to call it a day. We found a lovely mooring and have spent the evening watching the scullers.

These are just some views of Roydon. We are going to have a different tactic tomorrow and set off very early before it gets too warm and have a break in the afternoon as the forecast is another hot day.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Sunday 28th June 2009

We have had poor signal for the last two days so haven't been able to post. Since we last wrote we left the River Lee and joined the River Stort. This river is much more narrow and reminded us very much of the Nene in parts.

The River Stort just below Harlow

It was very hot over the last two days and was very tiring getting through the locks. We shared some of our journey with some young men going to a music festival in Harlow, but the locks are not wide enough to take two boats so it was slow going.

We moored up just outside Harlow on Friday night and saw a helicopter leave from a nearby house. Tom thought it must belong to the Beckhams as we knew their house was in this area. The following morning he asked a woman who was jogging past the boat if it was "Beckingham Palace" and she said yes and she was just going home there and invited us for a cup of tea. We think it was Victoria's mum but we didn't take her up on her offer and carried on with our journey.

Our riverside view of "Beckingham Palace"

The actual name is Rowneybury

On Saturday we made our way to Bishops Stortford arriving about 1600hrs. We passed "Joanie M" on the way and we slipped into her mooring place. We just had time to have a quick look around the town before the rain threatened. By the time we got back to our boat, it was pouring and continued for the rest of the evening.

Joanie 'M Pete and Jeanette heading for Hertford

This morning we set off, and as it was another hot day, we decided to have a break in the afternoon and visited Sawbridgeworth. It is a pretty town with lots of attractive buildings and we spent a couple of ours exploring.

A couple of views of Sawbridgeworth

By the time we got back to the boat, the heat had gone out of the day and we then spent the next three hours making our way to Roydon. It was so peaceful on the river and such a nice temperature, we really enjoyed it and the river looked beautiful as the light faded. We can relax a bit now as we have broken the back of our journey back to Limehouse.

Unusual swan nest near Bishops Stortford

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Thursday 25th June 2009

We started the day with a walk into the town of Ware. It was another warm day and we spent a pleasant couple of hours looking around. It is a very pretty town with the river running through it.

The view from the town bridge at Ware

This is the New River which is a man made channel taking water from the River Lee to Stoke Newington.

The river frontage has some really nice properties, some of which have some lovely waterside gazebos.

The waterfront in Ware

The charming Gazebos along the river

We left Ware at 1200hrs to make our way to Hertford. This should have been a very straightforward journey with only two locks to negotiate. Unfortunately both had gates/paddles that were out of order on one side of the lock. This meant they both took ages to fill, but we were in no hurry and the weather was glorious by now.

As we approached the town of Hertford, the river narrowed and was flanked by some very pretty cottages. We had to be careful to wind at the appropriate place as there are 3 winding holes, depending on the size of the boat.

The cottages in Hertford

We managed to moor very close to the cottages in this picture and had lunch before setting off on another exploration of the town.

Hertford is a larger town than Ware and is equally charming. We enjoyed another couple of hours looking around before returning to the boat.

A couple of canine characters we met
along the way

We set off again at 1600hrs to make our way back to Ware for the evening. We weren't as ambitious today with our travelling as the heat can be so tiring. I am not complaining as the weather is such an improvement on last year, but operating the locks in such extreme heat is unsustainable.

Looks very tiring doing the lock!!
Tom was tempted by this meringue in the delicatessen. I was very strong and declined but as it was so large, I helped him eat it tonight. (I didn't ask for any help !) It looked amazing but was a bit disappointing.
The meringue of contention
We are now moored back in exactly the same place as last night, ready for our trip up the River Stort tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Wednesday 24th June 2009

Another sunny day, and we set off by foot to explore Waltham Abbey. It was no distance from the boat and we spent a leisurely couple of hours looking at the church and the remains of the abbey.

Waltham Abbey Church as seen from
the site of the Cloisters

The gate of the Abbey

Inside the Abbey Church
The interior was just as impressive as the exterior.

The site of the Abbey Forge

The Abbey Church and the site
of the Abbey House

The walled garden
The gardens were beautiful and the lavender was in full bloom.We then had a look around the town before returning to the boat and setting off at lunchtime. As we progressed, the river became much more appealing. It was very quiet generally, although Broxbourne was obviously very popular with boaters and pedestrians. We stopped here briefly but will probably spend longer on our return journey.

This is a picture of one of the prettiest locks (Carthagena) we have come across on this river.

A credit to the householder who tends the Lock

Some of the flora along the way

I think I'm in for bit of a wuff ride

A lovely summers day on the river

We finally came to Ware after going through eight locks. It was 18oohrs and we found a good mooring spot just outside of town. It was still very warm but we decided to investigate tomorrow as we were both tired.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Tuesday 23rd June 2009

A very sunny start to the day and after filling up with water etc, we followed "JoanieM" out of the Limehouse Basin down the Limehouse cut to join the River Lee.

Taking on water at Limehouse

Basin before we set off up the Lee

"Joanie'M "our travelling companions boat

A view of Lottie's place of work from Bow Locks

We waved goodbye to Lee on the DLR and to Lottie on the 26th floor of the Barclays building.

No not a nice lawn! This was the weed on theLimehouse Cut

The Limehouse cut and the beginning of the River Lee was a bit of a shock as it was like ploughing through pea green soupIt was slow progress as we were picking up weed and plastic bags on our prop.

Another view of Bow Locks

usementWe passed by Bow Locks which connect the River Lee to the Thames, much to Tom's am.

We also passed by Three Mills at Bow which date from the 18th century.

Three Mills note the Oast House

style ventilation towers

We also saw the new Olympic Stadium being built in preparation for the 2012 games.

Evidently the canals are being used to transport some of the building materials. Although there was lots of activity on land, there was nothing happening on the river when we passed.

Two views of the Olympic Stadium

Jeanette and Chris the Lock Girls

Jeanette and I opted to do the locks today, as we had read that most of them are electrified. We hadn't bargained for how hard some of them were to operate, and struggled to follow the instructions on some of them. It is so much easier if there are two boats going through to share the work and we managed to have lots of fun, while the men were clearing the weed hatch and chatting at each lock.

Peter waiting to lock

As we progressed up the River, the water became much clearer and the scenery was much more picturesque. We stopped for lunch briefly and then continued on our way until we reached Waltham Abbey. By this time it was 1800hrs and we found a nice towpath mooring. Pete and Jeanette decided to carry on as they have arranged to meet a relative further up the river.

Some of the prettier views on the River Lee

It was the hottest day we have had on our trip so far this year. It was great to see so many people out enjoying themselves and in good spirits.