GOODBYE TO LONDON AND HELLO THE RIVER LEE
To get to the river Lee we travelled down the Regents canal to Limehouse basin and spent the night there.
Our journey down had its highs and lows, a lovely couple on their new boat who were very friendly and great to go through the locks with, and the not so great 3 boats moored on the lock landing at St Pancras lock. I did report them to CRT and we will see on our return journey if anything has been done
The Basin isn’t really designed for narrowboats as the side walls are very high making getting off difficult, but we managed to find a reasonable space and moored up.
Staying at Limehouse fitted in nicely with our plans to visit the Captains sister as our post had arrived. We were invited to join them and a couple of their friends for a meal at Eefs Turkish restaurant, which I was especially happy about. We had been there before and the meal was wonderful. We were not disappointed this time either.
Wednesday and off we went onto the river Lee. A problem at the first lock meant we got acquainted with the crew off another boat waiting. They seemed very pleasant, unfortunately after chatting with them, the Captain discovered they had very snobbish idea about scruffy boats, and believed that all those who liveaboard are scroungers and don’t pay their way and live on the canals so they don’t have to contribute to society. Any boat not displaying a current license was obviously unlicensed and it shouldn’t be allowed. As there are a great number of boats like this on the Lee they must have gone into judgmental overdrive. We do not agree with them and try not to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you do wonder how people do live on some of the extremely tatty boats. According to CRT, license evasion is only 3.7% so in really terms means around 1000 boats do not have a license and I am sure that not all of these are on the river Lee.
The beginning of the Lee was not pleasant with a lot of rubbish in the water and on the towpath. We stopped at Tottenham Hale and shopped at Lidl. It is a good little shopping centre near to the canal.
After bridge 19a everything improved and it was nice to cruise along. We moored in what we thought was the middle of nowhere, but it seemed a mecca for cyclists who zoomed up and down the towpath.
On Thursday the Captain witnessed an unpleasant altercation between a scruffy boater (sorry) and a CRT employee trying to do his job. A group of them were moored 3 deep on the service moorings and making a right mess on the towpath. It was obvious they had been there a while. After a lot of swearing and threats the CRT guy gave up and the Captain suggested next time he should bring the police with him. Now these are the people that give boaters a bad name.
Now a couple of cat stories. We set off for Waltham Abbey next morning and as we did I could see Bubbles stretched out in the front. I pottered doing this and that for a time and when I looked back he had gone and I couldn’t find him anywhere. Panic set in I couldn’t see how he had managed to get off but couldn’t find him anywhere in the boat either. The Captain was informed and I went back for a second look, still no joy. Then as the Captain was trying to pull in and moor I spotted the errant cat. Somehow he had managed to wedge himself behind the TV and his ginger fur blended in perfectly with the wood. Bloody cat. Panic over.
Still on cats. When we moored up at Waltham Abbey I spotted a black and white cat on a boat behind us, but there was also a dog so I wasn’t too concerned about the cat. That was until 5 oclock the next morning when all hell broke loose in our front cratch and I was rudely awakened. The neighbouring cat had boarded our boat and Sam was not having this at all so all out war ensued. There was a lot of growling and howling and hissing and somehow my tees shirt which was hanging in the cratch ended up in the middle of the towpath and the other cat was nowhere in sight. Sam happy that she had repelled the intruder returned to her morning ablutions and Bubbles, well he slept through the whole incident. (typical male).
Saturday and we walked into the very pretty town of Waltham Abbey, there was a little market on, and the streets had a mixture of high street and local shops, and a few pubs of course. Here we came across a brewery we haven’t encountered before, McMullens, and most of the pubs were owned by them. We tried the Sun first which is an independent, nice, but we had to return the Captains pint of Doombar as even to me it tasted wrong, but it wasn’t a problem and it was replaced by a fair pint of Guinness.
We enjoy looking at churchs on our travels, and Waltham Abbey church was really interesting. As the name suggest, originally it was a large abbey and has a long history. The first church was recorded in 610 and it became a place of pilgrimage in the 11c. Its most famous pilgrim was Harold Godwinson, he of the arrow in the eye at the battle of Hasting. As a show of gratitude for being healed he built a far grander church on the site. It was converted into an Abbey by Henry II in penance for the murder of Thomas Beckett in 1177. Although Henry VIII visited and liked the abbey, he did not spare it during the dissolution of the monasteries, although it was the last abbey to be destroyed. All that remains of the abbey and its grounds is the nave and one wall which were saved when the building were converted into the parish church. That’s the history bit folks.
Then we tried the Welsh Harp, a McMullens pub, and it was nice.
Sunday and we stayed put, a cooler day, and we had a walk round the Lee Valley White Water Centre which was built for 2012 Olympics to host the canoe slalom. It was great watching the little kayaks bobbing up and down as the water rushed around them, but more fun was the big boats. Holding up to about 10 people they bounced and crashed around the course. It looked great fun.
Then I had a nasty run in with a speeding cyclist. I am usually very good with them, but I never heard this one coming, and if the Captain hadn’t pulled me out of the way at the last minute it could have been very nasty. Did he slow down, stop and apologise. NO
And one for the road in the Crown, which I think was our favourite pub even though it didn’t have any pork scratching for the Captain.
And on to Ware.