10. Jun, 2018

INTERESTING FOOD AND FINDS

Our trip on the Thames finished at Limehouse, but we were not finished for the day and needed to get to Little Venice and find moorings. So after filling with water, and emptying the toilet, we headed back through the 12 locks and 6 miles of the Regents canal.

Before we left Limehouse, Heather who was the crew on Golden Bozy, asked if we would drop her stuff off at St Pancras Cruising club where her boat Bleasdale was moored. We were happy to oblige.

At St Pancras, and whilst the Captain and our boat was in the lock, I took Heathers stuff to her boat. Then I heard a shout, it was our neighbour Sam off of NB Ironman. He has a berth at the cruising club, and spends his time flitting between Coventry and London (but not by boat). We stopped and he came on board and we had a lovely catch up.

It did mean by the time we reached the locks at Camden, the volunteer lockies had gone home for the day. I struggled to get off the boat, but managed it, just (it’s here that the building work is causing major issues for boaters). At the very last lock a yoghurt pot came out of one of the locks, (there are 2 side by side here) leaving both gates open and the paddles up. He really didn’t seem to know what he was doing. Then a narrowboat came out of the other lock and moored up on the offside and seemed to be ordering a drink from a bar there. Very confusing. With the gates open it kinda made things easier for me.  I jumped off and let the first paddle down, and was swearing quietly under my breath as I started to make my way to the other side, to drop that paddle and close the gate. Then an angel appeared, well a young gentleman, with a windlass and offered his help which I took with much gratitude. I was very pleased it was the last lock of the day, and I could sit back and relax for the rest of the journey.

Once at Little Venice we were surprised to find a number of places where we could moor, and eventually the Captain decided on the ideal spot for us. It was beside NB Scarlett Emma, and as we pulled in its Captain appeared and helped us moor up. A young man called Ben, who loved cats, so was very pleased to hear how friendly Bubbles could be, and hoped he would get a visit from our little tart, but I don’t think he ever did. But both Bubbles and Sam loved the chair he had on the front of his boat, and took up residence for most of our stay.

Moored up and happy, it was time for a well earned beer.

Monday and no lie in again, we had to get to Victoria coach station for 12 noon to meet my daughter Jess and fiancé Stuart. They were staying for a couple of nights. After a little detour, due to Google giving slightly wrong information, we met them just as they got off the bus. Back to the boat to drop of their stuff, then to Camden, but by bus not boat. We had a little look round the Stables market before getting a bite to eat from the food market, everything we had was delicious. Then a pint in the Ice Wharf as it had started to drizzle. Central London next, and after a look round Covent Garden, a pint in the Moon under Water in Leicester Square.

Next day they went off and did their own thing, we were shattered and had a quiet day on the boat. We met up later back in the Moon under Water before going in search of an all you can eat chinese buffet. We have eaten at these places before and have been impressed with the price, quality and choice. A couple of years ago we found a really good one called Young Cheng but last year it was closed, but lo and behold it was open again, there was plenty choice and we were not disappointed.

Wednesday and Jess and Stuart decided they wanted to head back to Camden Market before catching their bus home, so we said our goodbyes and off they went backpacks and all. We had a lovely time and will see them again in July.   We had another quiet day.

Next day we went to Borough Market on the south bank. I could have spent a fortune, there was some beautiful produce on display. I bought some pink peppercorns, beetroot and we tried a Nana Fannys Brick Lane salted beef on rye which was lovely. The same can’t be said of the beer in the Market Porter, they had a Lytham brewery stout on which was very very off, and the Hobgoblin wasn’t that good either. Not a happy Captain.

We had a look round Southwark cathedral, it has an interesting memorial to the Marchioness disaster of 1989, in which 51 people mainly in their 20’s and 30’s died, very sad.

Then off to the pub, we decided to go and find the Crown and Sugarloaf, a Sam Smiths pub on Fleet Street. Before we got there we spied down an alley St Brides church, so we had to go and have a look round. It’s the journalist church, and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, but was fire bombed during the blitz. The good thing to come out of the bombing, was the unearthing of the 6th century Saxon foundations. You can visit them in the crypt along with a number of ancient relics, roman coins and stain glass. It is known as the museum of Fleet Street.

A pint in the Crown and Sugarloaf and we decided to find Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, another Sam Smiths pub and a very unusual place. Rebuilt just after the Great Fire of London in 1666, a pub has stood on that spot since 1538.  It has many literary associations, including Charles Dickens, GK Chesterton (of Father Brown fame) and Mark Twain. Spread over 3 levels there is a curious lack of natural light which makes it a rather gloomy place. The Captain decided to push the boat out here and had a bottle of their very good Chocolate stout.

After another quiet day we hopped on a bus to Camden again, but not for sightseeing but to go shopping at Lidl, we needed cat food and a few other bits. Unfortunately it is a very small Lidl and did not stock tinned cat food, so we had to make do with pouches, these are a lot more expensive than tins but we couldn’t let Sam and Bubbles starve. Although Bubbles could do with losing a couple of pounds, he is a chunky monkey.

We have used the bus rather than the tube on this visit, as you see so much more, so after the shopping had been stowed away we set of the find the Porterhouse, a pub recommended to us by Ben. A beautiful place on a number of levels, but the beer was very pricy, so we had a couple of halves. Then we managed to walk past the Harp, a very good real ale pub just off the Strand that we were introduced to a couple of years ago, so we just had to go in, we were not disappointed but again not a cheap. We needed a Wetherspoons, so we headed for the Lord Moon of the Mall. They had a rather interesting black ipa on for the Captain, and I was happy with San Miguel. We found a table for 4 and sat people watching. We invited 2 girls to join us, it was very busy, and we had a chat. They were up from Kent for the day, and were very interested to hear about our life afloat. When they left I got up to go to the loo and noticed a couple looking for a seat, and invited them to join us. The lady was a proper Londoner and really nice, her partner was from Northwich, they had met when she was on a night out with the girls. It was lovely to chat to them. All too soon it was time to head off.

Back on the boat, and the weather provided us with a spectacular show of thunder and lightning.

This was the end of our sojourn in the capital, next year we might give it a miss.