The long climb up the dozen locks from Brentford to Bulls Bridge was a curious mixture of well kept locks interspersed by rubbish filled pounds. But worse was ahead as we turned into the Paddington branch toward London.
The hot weather and the absence of locks had clearly proved ideal growing conditions for weed and in the half submerged green stuff was all the usual canal detritus - old plastic carrier bags, waste bags of garden rubbish, the odd shopping trolley and even, once, a motor scooter! I found myself reversing as much as I was going forwards to try and shake it all off (Harry's weed hatch is almost impossible to access unless you're a contortionist and weightlifter.) When moored up I hacked off the rest with the boat hook.
Clearly there are more 'continuous cruisers' in London than there were when we were last here five years ago - local boaters we spoke to agree that numbers have soared. And you seen some strange - and often sad - floating homes as you pass the longer than ever line of moorers on the 14-day site by Kensal Green cemetery. See below...
The whole situation is a mess; it's been allowed to develop over the years and now I can't see an easy or fair way to move people on who've been allowed to make their homes in places they arguably shouldn't have been.
I guess I'd tighten up the policing of Visitor Moorings (and probably reduce the time allowed on very popular ones) but also increase the number of permament canalside moorings with some sort of charge and some sort of control over boat standards - if only for safety - and rubbish. (Stands by for flak from all sides!)
|A rare chance to see Tower Bridge being lifted and the traffic halted to let a sailing barge pass|
|Brian takes to the buses for a sightseeing trip in the big city|