At just after 7.30 this morning David arrived at the ticket barrier at Wood Lane tube station, just as I arrived there from the street entrance – great timing: he’d travelled for 37 hours from home and I had walked 10 minutes from Barry and Pauline’s place! It was lovely to see him and he looked pretty good considering. He had developed a sniffle on the second flight so, on arriving back at the flat, was immediately dosed up with ibuprofen, lemon and honey in boiling water, and olive leaf extract with manuka honey added, as well as Pauline’s propolis lozenges.
David did mention that he’d had an eventful trip Immigration-wise, starting at Wellington. His passport (NZ) was rejected by the electronic reader there as it has less than 6 months’ validity remaining. That was over-ridden by the staff at the counter. Phew! Then on arrival at LHR he was warned that he was either just about or right on his 6 months allowable as a visitor to the UK for the last 12 months. We had worked out when we could come and go here based on David’s eligibility for NZ Super, but had calculated that forward from when he became eligible on April 17th this year. It didn’t occur to us to think about the visitor’s visa aspects working backwards! We were here last summer (David for 5 weeks), then for 3 weeks over Xmas/New Year, and then again since May 25th, and a two week break back to NZ for David we are here till 6 October. I’ve just done a calculation and he will have been here 24 weeks over the year by the time we head home. Another phew!
After Pauline had gone to work (ha!), we had brekkie and then went out for a walk. We skirted around the back of Hammersmith Hospital into Wormwood Scrubs Park (yes, right next to the hospital) and made a circuitous journey to the road that leads to the canal. I say circuitous because it was about three times as long as it would have been if we’d gone along Du Cane Road and turned left into Wood Lane! However it was lovely to discover such a large green space that is pretty much invisible from the streets, complete with a very big dog exercise area, playground, exercise area (saw a guy concentratedly doing chin ups), a small stables and ponies, and the Linford Christie Stadium.
We found our way down to the canal and headed in towards Paddington and Little Venice. Apart from the first kilometre from where we got on to the towpath, the canal was really peaceful and such a lovely approach to the city. For some of it prior to Little Venice, it looks as though the boats have been there a lot longer than the statutory 14 days … We did also notice that most boats were well closed up, blinds/curtains drawn, big padlocks and tonneau covers closed.
|We saw this widebeam with a clear NZ link|
|And this was its view from the bow. Not one I'd choose necessarily.|
|This is Dilligaf - I wonder how often it moves along to the next parish?|
|Lots of widebeams down here - never seen so many ...|
|... in one area before.|
There was a break in the line of boats at one point and I wondered why till I looked into the water – saw about 5 bikes, a shopping trolley, a motorbike!, a steel tank and some steel beams. It was right opposite a skateboard bowl in a park so I wondered (in a prejudiced way) if the competition at the bowl extended to who could throw the heaviest things into the canal while skating …
|David eating lunch - see, still wide awake. Don't know how he does it!|
|Clearing the ubiquitous duckweed in small style - has it gone crazy with the warm weather or what?|
|A serious duckweed collector!|
We were very unsure what to expect when we got to Little Venice and to the Paddington Arm – I had seen photos on blogs, but it somehow still wasn’t clear in my mind. I recognised aspects from bloggers’ photos (thanx, Jaq, nb Chance et al). It was beautiful and we are determined we are coming down for a few days. Given we are still moored in Macclesfield and not leaving there till Monday probably, and we have a maximum of 8 weeks of boating before we return home, the trip to Little Venice and the Paddington Arm may have to wait till next year – esp as we will have to get back up to Barby, winterise the boat and leave her in good shape for a few months.
It does feel, with all the hassles we’ve had with the boat since starting out at the beginning of June, as well as the time away from the boat, that we haven’t accomplished what we had wanted to. Accomplished doesn’t sound quite the right word, but I’ll let it stand for the moment. However, we have explored (intimately) some parts of the system we’d not seen before and made some good friends along the way, as well as learning heaps about our boat and improving it to suit us and our circumstances.
Anyway, I have got ahead of myself. David is now asleep – he stayed awake until about 3.45pm (having only had about 3 hours sleep since he left home on Tuesday morning NZ time). Amazing – I would have been asleep well before lunchtime if it was me, but he did the long walk today, was fine on the tube coming back, walked around the shopping centre (Westfield) at Hammersmith and then walked back to B&P’s place. What felled him was the pear cider I think …
Now we just can’t wait to get back to the boat.