#41 Grand Union Canal – East (then South). September 2016

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Thursday 1st September 2016      nb:Black Bart & crew of three are up early for the third (yes 3rd !!! ) day. Twenty four locks, fifteen miles & nine hour cruise two days ago. Twenty locks, eighteen miles & ten hour cruise yesterday. Now the Monster twenty one Hatton Flight of Huge wide locks is not far in the distance. We has become quite a MAD bunch, our crew of the Good Ship ‘Black Bart’. We have re-convoyed with nb:Thow’d Fettler to cruise the Grand Union for a few days, is likely.

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Wonderful scenes pass us by as we chug along what were originally the Warwick and Birmingham Canal, which flowed from the Digbeth Branch Canal of the Birmingham Canal Navigations to Saltisford Wharf in Warwick. Enroute to the flow of descent

The 433 yard (396 m) long Shrewley Tunnel darkens our course. A fine tunnel featuring grandiose headroom, unlike the harecastle of darkness, from recent(ish) past times. Within a small few ‘ers of chuggen,

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we two craft have reached the summit of the Hatton Flight.

Tis hot, sunny and the locks are Big. The Flight is Big. Twenty one wide chambers. Most locks are against us, being empty, so our ‘in-boat’ lock keepers are filling every lock before top gates can be opened & boats be enter-in. Marvellous, well engineered chambers they certainly be. Water floods in smoothly from underneath via the generous ground paddles & gushes out a similar way with much haste. Boats are un-bovered by the process, unlike in some chambers. Three & a half er’s of toil in the dry heat & both narrowboats successfully flow through the open lower gates of bottom lock. A wee bit worn out we crews are.

The short Saltisford arm is soonest straight ahead, so narrowboat-a-two veer sharp to the left, to continue on the GU Main line. Only a short while further & craft have rafted-up in front of a Fine watering hole. Well earned relaxation is enjoyed with some tasty refreshment & delicious sustenance. after partial recovery,

crews pay a visit to the splendid town of Warwick. Lovely place.

Friday 2nd September      From the Cape of Good Hope we ‘set sail’, departing via descent through Cape Locks of two. Our convoy swims on through Leamington Spa, which leads Bart & Fettler onto & (now ascending) six moor wide locks, quickly followed by the four Bascote lock chambers.

Two being the staircase locks.

We eventually decide to call it a day. A fine cruise has been had & Long Itchington is where Thow’d narrowboats have ‘landed’. Hath been a grey (& soggy at times) day but there be a clearing of the sky & and the evening is Gorgeous.

Saturday 3rd September      Our tittle convoy of two slip lines & take a swim through deep waters (it’s all relative). Two locks quickly arise in front of us,

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swiftly proceeded by the eight Stockton Locks.

Two narrowboats descending as Bart & Fettler are ascending. Tings become a tittle awkward swapping locks. Crossing in the pound should not have been quite as interesting as it were. First ‘down’ boat sort of getting in the way, lacking a bit of control. All Good FUN !!!

It has evolved into a very wet soggy day & the new umbrella, mounted at the helm is proving a Great addition to Black Bart’s equipment listings. We finally arise the three Calcutt lock chambers which wash Bart & co. up towards Wigrams Turn (Napton Junction to some) where crew & crafts, waterway companion the Grand Union is joined by the flowing Oxford Canal for a few miles. Just a bit of water droplet(s) sharing, for a while. We two boats make our way along this combo of canals for aboat an ‘er moor before we’s eventually berthed in a splendid countryside location near Lower Shuckburgh. Time to start drying out. Might be moor a drip dry than an air dry this evening.

Sunday 4th September      Today we is all making our way to Braunston Junction where the Oxford Canal ‘shoots’ off North & ‘our’ Grand Union flows off East.

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Fine start to our day

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which unfortunately doesn’t last particularly long.

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Bartholomew Roberts is cruising to Braunston Junction

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turning right through the Easterly fork bridge

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& passing Braunston Marina before Cap’n Bart squeezes our craft

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into a tight berth, reversing beautifully unto (not into) two rafted boats. We await our delayed half of convoy. Many hours & minutes slowly pass by & suddenly we are full convoy again, proceeding to

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& up the Big Six Braunston Locks.

We is then almost sraight through the very wibberly wobberly & noticeably dark-ish 2042 yard (1867 m) Braunston Tunnel. The long wide run from black tube to Norton Junction leads Bart & friend to Buckby Wharf where, rafted crafts & crews enjoy a light lunch & lovely cup-a-tea.

P1160767Propulsion &

motion is

resumed with a calm

incident free

descent of

seven Chunky Buckby Locks.

One of the local ducks

has just flown over

& landed on Bart.

We shall call him Neil.

That’s a nice name.

Especially for a duck.

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Aaaarrrggh !!!

There be Pirates

on the starboard Bow

(or was that Klingons

on the starboard bow)

Shiver me timbers !!!

It be OK. They be ‘quite’ friendly pirates. For pirates anyway. That only be-cause we’s with Cap’n Black Bart.

Bart’s tittle convoy is mooring below Bottom lock as we ‘as ‘ad enough for t’day. Bart, Fettler & crews receive visitors. Cap’n Ed & crew have come to find us & enjoy a chitty-chat. Great to see you’ll. Never thought they’d leave (te-he). Now time to rest. Goodnight to one & all of you bloggets out there.

Monday 5th September      We is ‘aving a ly-in. Only a Tittle one bloggets, if any of you be out there checking in occasionally. After a brief jaunt narrowboats-alla-convoy re-berth for a ‘girlie trip’ to ‘Heart of the Shires’. A small number of items are acquired for the master of the stores to ‘hide away’. We is soon off again chuggen our very wiggerly way

helped by Lister & friends. We is sailing several aqueducts, including gliding over the River Nene before swimming through Weedon Bec, onto & swishing past Gayton Junction where the Northampton Arm drops (slowly in a controlled manner) narrowboats & the like down seventeen locks, into cool waters of the navigable River Nene flowing to Peterborough & beyond. Bart bypasses this option for now. GU we continue to swim.

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The darkness of 3076 yard (2813m) long Blisworth Tunnel is soon shrouding us for a fair old while. Very drippy in ‘ere mate. Successful incident free travel through the black tube guides us to Stoke Bruerne where we enjoy some fun

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‘climbing’ down seven wide chambers. The lock pounds are almost overflowing with too much water. There be no lock bypasses for excess water

to escape so water is flowing enthusiastically over lock gates & (somehow) even bubbling enthusiastically up through the closed upper ground paddles as we is trying to empty locks to descend. Bit unsettling. Takes a fair olde’ time to make our intended downward progress. Eventually bart & friend are on the level & on the look out for an inviting mooring. Grafton provides a lovely wide grassy flat towpath, good armco barrier (for nappy pins) & beautiful surrounding greenery with sheep in the fields. Wonderful position for a rest.

Tuesday 6th September      Our Delightful country mooring near Grafton is to be left behind after just the one night.

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Bart’s tittle convoy manage to ‘dodge’ this wooden craft

whilst negotiating the continually wriggly waters, Healthy families of swans & the occasionally scary looking critter. Cosgrove Lock lowers us a few feet just after the now unnavigable Stratford Arm dribbles it’s way off to Old Stratford. The wobberly waters swish our crafts & crews through lovely countryside onto

Wolverton where foody stores are replenished. Soonest we is off

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wibberly-ing

our way past

Milton Keynes’s

horses &

(non) udder

creatures.

Fenny Stratford eventually drifts into view from far far away. Many ‘ers later (we only swim slowly) moorings are providing safety for the night. Swam through here before but never stayed. We is now. Lovely.

Wednesday 7th September      Today we is dealing with the rarity of

of Fenny Stratford swing bridge & lock combination. Interesting !!  Waters ‘wash’ us

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past this poor old tractor which needs a tittle tlc & new (wooden) nuts before we is up Stoke Hammond Lock & approaching

the three Soulbury Locks.

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Fast efficiently, they be behind & below us already. Leighton Lock leads crafts onto

Leighton Buzzard which provides a pleasant stop-off for a ‘town break’. Four wonderful ‘ers pass by. Decision made, lines slipped, we all enjoy

p1160927  a delightful evening cruise

(we like these), swimming, stepping up

Grove (swimming sum moor) &

Church Locks before

re-birthing near Slapton. Sounds Lovely !!

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A Most Pleasant Countryside is what crew be enjoying on many a cruise.

Thursday 8th September      We is only trogging a short way for the first segment of today’s swim. Up through regularly spaced out (not high) Slapton, Horton & both Ivanhoe Locks before tying-up for an extending lunch stop nr. Brownlow Bridge (br.123). York friends of Kiwi’s arrive & much chitty-chatting goes on. Lunch be consumed & many moons on, we is cruising in convoy

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upping our ways via the three Seabrook Locks. After tea-break & goodbyees Crews is reduced to ‘normal’ strength. Seabrook Swing Bridge spits us (tittle delay) (eventually) into the first two Marsworth Locks.

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Marsworth Junction is not far along, sending water along the GUC Aylesbury Arm.

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Leaving the junction behind Bart & buddy climb the remaining

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seven of the wiggerly lock flight. Bulbourne Junction greets us immediately, inviting crews ‘down’ the Wendover Arm. After regretfully declining (for an-udder day) we proceed & squeeze rafty-like into a cosy position for the night. Ciao !!!

Friday 9th September      This morn we start slightly slower than in recent days. Not too slow though. Cruising through the dinginess of Tring Cutting & working our descending way, chuggen along, through Cowroast, Dudswell (2), Northchurch, Bushes, Gas (2) &

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Berkhamsted (3) Locks.

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The Grand Union was only named as such in 1929. Twas an amalgamation of several canals linking London to the industrial powerhouse of Birmingham. Opened in 1805 the Grand Junction Canal flowed from Braunston in Northamptonshire to the River Thames at Brentford. This forms the southern swims of the GUC. Onwards & downwards Bart & Fettler flow, leaping (almost) Bourne End (3), Winkwell (3), Boxmoor Top & Fishery Locks drop us (very gently) to our Boxmoor berthing pool for a night of restfulness. Good-neet !!

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Saturday 10th September      Early doors. Lister is awake & Chuggen-warming-up. Cap’n Bart is shouting out thow’s orders & we is ship-shape at last. Aaaarrrggh !!!!!  Me Hearties !!  Release those lines pirate sailors.  Aaaarrrggh !!!!!   Thow’d Fettler is in hot (but wet) pursuit as Bart tried to slip away before pre-arranged departure time. Te-He. Fettler is a speed (narrow)boat though so that tittle trick was what we shall call unsuccessful. Bart is only just slipping into Boxmoor Bottom Lock & we is already caught. Hemel Hempstead passes us by as we head for the three Apsley Locks,

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followed by Nash Mills two locks.

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After stealthily

(gently) chuggen past the

ginormous scary monster

in the woods keeping a

BIG on our Bart,

we make for safety.

Kings Langley & Home Park Locks take the convoy further down, to creep under the M25 before North Grove Lock takes another big (medium really) step down. Most of you can probably tell there happens to be the occasional lock or two that needs to be ‘dealt with’ as we cruise this super highway of the canal world. Ah !!  Yes !!  Two Hunton Bridge & Lady Capel’s locks takes the GU & our convoy of two p1170093

through the plush greens of The Grove (Roxy would love to play on those)

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& (on reflection) the old water mill, before two Cassiobury Park Locks

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lower the convoy yet further into the gloomy murkiness of Cassiobury Park’s dense, surrounding woodland, just to the West of Watford. Iron Bridge lock, and finally, Cassio Bridge Lock takes our tittle narrow craft(s) out of the dinginess (partly anyway) finding suitable (almost deep enough) berthing pools at Croxley. What a Day !!!

Sunday 11th September      The ‘onslaught’ continues. Sleep. Crew need sleep. We’s up early & Olde Prop is propulsioning our 24tonne(+) 70′ (foot, for those that not understand the symbol) 3′ (we’re not telling you again) draughted delight (home too) through the waters of the Grand Junction Canal as was.

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A Fine start to the day. Still air drying from yesterday.

Common Moor, Lot Mead & Batchworth Locks ‘drop’ Bart & Fettler into the local waters & delights of Rickmansworth.

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We pass nb:Frogmore & be Rafted up in a space made perfect for our ‘Long Barge’ Crews are off to town. A lovely place this Rickmansworth is to behold. One must visit, if you haven’t already. & if you have, you must go back there again sum-tym. We like it. We like it very muchly.

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After an extended visit & lunch back on board(s) our convoy of two have slipped their lines make haste, descending Stocker’s, Springwell, Copper Mill, Black Jack’s & Wide Water Locks. They just keep-a coming.

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Mr.M.On-Key is still up there watching us narrowboaters prepare

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for the rapids. Fettler takes the lead, dodging thow’d’s way through the gates

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& Bart calls on Lister to turn the power-on ready for the almost torturous route. The interestingly (almost open water) Harefield Marina slowly passes to West of our craft as we steam on through. Denham Country Park to the East & then the 11’1″ Denham Deep (correctly named) Lock is there in front of us. Tis not busy at the mo, so the staff are off to pick some moor sloes. Prunus spinosa (blackthorn, or sloe) is a species of Prunus native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. Also locally naturalised in New Zealand and eastern North America. Bart & friend stay in the lock just relaxing. Sloes successfully picked & Descend we do, escaping for the final, flat stretch of today’s long swim. Uxbridge is the name. That is our new ‘temporary’ location. Just for a few ‘ers of darkness. No tunnels involved ‘ere eaver. Mr. Beaver.

Monday 12th September      Well. The Apple-Mac (Yes. This device) has been in-operable due to k-nacker-ed battery & failed charger. We Hope anyway. Just need to find out if the charger is the only unit at fault. Cannee find the write place ‘ere in Uxbridge to ‘help so will have to wait. A couple of (no apples involved) fine acquisitions are made, crews have readied craft & forward propulsion is engaged. Uxbridge Lock is followed by Cowley Lock which be the last lock for a while. We is on the level plains now, as we swim towards the Big Smoke. The Slough Arm flicks off to the West as we, the crew of Bart & those of Fettler continue on our way through Yiewsley, West Drayton & Hayes. Many ‘ers pass. The convoy splits as Fettler moors & Bart turns at Bulls Bridge Junction, now heading East (eventually) along the Paddington Arm.

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Bart ‘treads water’ as the Welsh Dragon crosses our path. Fearsome Beast !!

p1170232We approach the dredging ‘team’

of one man in his floating digger

& his ‘eye(s)’ in the sky above us

with caution.

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Lack of signage makes it difficult to know which side to pass. All OK in t’end. Willow Tree Marina provides excellent facilities for a boat in need of particular services

& we is off continuing our cruise again. An’udder ‘er or so & the delights of Perivale can be appreciated for the whole night. A perfect mooring, just long enough for a 70′ & 60’ (yes we have been caught again) narrowboat(s). Arrivederci..

Tuesday 13th September      Today We is on the final run (swim) into

Olde’ London Town. Wembley Stadium’s arch guides Bart along the

River Brent & North Circular Aqueducts, allowing us to find a Super-Store for bread, milk & the such at Kensal Green. A fair few minutes of slow chuggen soon followsp1170362

before T(L)ittle Venice provides an awkward & very slow dribble of l-aqua so crew (& any other peoples close by) can look forward to moor pleasant aromas.

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nb:Black Bart swims majestically ‘down’ the final ripples of the Paddington Arm of the Grand Junction Canal to the terminus. Paddington Basin. St. Mary’s Hospital is there in the right, just in case any boaters might need her.

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Cap’n Bart moves to the end, swishing a full aboat turn (360° for those that want to know the technical term) & rafting/breasting-up to Thow’d Fettler who had sneaked in before we arrived.

Skip & Skippet are off to find a fruitiere in Regents Street. It’s only when we is there that we find out the fruitiere ‘is not’. It be Shut. For refurbishment. OK. Where is the next nearest fruitiere. We need an expert to check this ‘ere computer. Covent Garden here we is coming. Tis a hot sunny day. We is walking briskly. Much further than we thought we were going to be. Eventually we arrive & go fruit picking. Fresh & crunchy. Crisp. The Mac is well. Tis ‘only’ the charger. Thankfully. Not cheap to replace, but got to be done. Cheers helpful chappy. Now a walk round the ‘Garden’ checking out the tittle shops. Lovely. & back to the Basin. To Bart. & Roxy. Roxy, she is such a Good Girl. Not a well girl though. fluids are a-flowing out of both ends. Summit is wrong. She is not eating & we need to be sharp, reacting (when possible) to her needs, to go out quickly to ‘evacuate’. Most Pleasant. Need to give the girl loads-o-TLC. Keep an eye or two on the situation.

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A FINE location for a narrowboat & crew to moor. Great to be here again !!!

Wednesday 14th September      Wouldn’t you like to know ???  You may not actually. At least, Not too many details. Today is ‘Toilet Day’. Roxy is certainly having toilet trouble. Bart is too. The toilet stopped working yesterday. The macerator is not be working. Tis ‘dead’. Time to disconnect & remove, dis-assemble & investigate. What FUN !!!   Blockages there were. Twice last year. In fact the second time last year was also ‘dealt’ with in Paddington Basin as it stopped working just before we arrived here last time. Very Strange. Must be sum-it in the water. Here we go…….  Power off. Water supply & waster removal pipework disconnected, toilet moved to allow access integral pipes. Pipework’s removed. Macerator dis-assembled & checked. No blockage. Cleaned & re-assembled. We have power (12.7+ Vdc) to macerator elec.  connection block when switched on. With macerator reconnected voltage mysteriously disappears when switched on. Motor not whirring round. Not even trying. Cap’n T. Fettler kindly allows use of easy to access battery bank. Macerator connected direct to batteries. It Whizzes round very enthusiastically. Fantastic. OK. At least we don’t need to source a new one. Not easy (or cheap) by all accounts. Thanks Cap’n Fettler. Fettler’s crew & Skippet are off to Camden Market. They probably having nearly as much Fun as Skip is ‘aving’ here, ‘playing’ with the toilet facilities. Must be a problem with the control panel. It has been ‘broken’ into before by other persons unknown, to provide a separate rocker switch to control the macerator motor. Time to play with the electrical connections & associated wiring. The motor initially ‘pulls’ 25amps, then drops away to a moor sensible level. This now becomes wired direct from the toilet fuse supply, through the rocker switch, to the motor & returning back to complete the circuit. The original control panel has been completely bypassed for the motor control now. Will revise tings a tittle moor when certain bits&bobs can be acquired. Either wire it via a switching relay to reduce the load through the ‘current’ (ha. funny eh !!) switch or upgrade the switch to a 25a 12Vdc. Have found a couple of possibles online. Cannee get local like. Might have to wait until we return to base camp. Will see. Macerator re-fitted. Toilet pan/macerator pipework & vent tubes is cleaned & re-instated. Toilet re-connected to waster & water feed pipes. We have a very gutsy whirring macerator now. Have to hold on tight when ‘Power’ is applied. FANTASTIC !!!     We go out to a fine dining establishment in Little Venice to celebrate !!!

Thursday 15th September      Today Black Bart & Thow’d Fettler have moved

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to different moorings that became available first thing. Tuther side of Basin now. Not quite so much in the shadow of the Lovely St. Mary’s Hospital over ‘ere. Might help us make better use of the solar panels, if we’re lucky. When the sun comes out. Skippet stays to look after Bart & our Poorly Roxy as Fettler’s Crew & Skip

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is off, walking to

the Science Museum

via the delightfully

watery & leafy

Hyde Park

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Past the the Magnificent Albert Memorial &

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the Glorious Royal Albert Hall.

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The exhibits are varied, ranging from historical industrial magnificence to household appliances through the ages, vehiculars of all kinds, space age bits&bobs, exquisite time pieces of magical mastery & many udder tings one cannee remember or just didn’t even see, let alone hear. Smell, even. In the first place.

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The models are exhaustive & delightful in their skill & detail.

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The Science Museum. A Fabulous place to visit. Just need a week’s pass to stand fair chance of seeing everything properly.

Friday 16th September      Flipping ‘eck !!!  Rain Rain Rain. Right Soggy today. Bit of a let down after the fabulous weather of recent days. Batten down the hatches type of day. Clears up a tittle mid afternoon into the evening. Roxy has not been good. having problems at both ends, through the nights too. makes for interesting sleep patterns. We have spoken with Battersea Dogs Home from where Roxy ‘escaped’ almost two years ago & then a veterinary expertise place near Hyde Park. They can see Roxy int’afternoon so we is off walking. We go past, continuing to Hyde Park itself so the (gorgeous) girl can make herself comfortable for the visit. Investigations. She is not dehydrated or suffering a temperature, thankfully. Vet is not sure what the problem is. She seems healthy in all other respects so is prescribed chicken & rice foodies (if she will even eat) (which she has not been) & some pro-biotic gunge to be administered twice a day. Should re-balance her delicate tummy & slow tings down a tittle, hopefully. We are dispatched with sample tubes & orders to return Monday if she has not shown signs of improvement. Further tests & drugs is next on the list. Fingers crossed our girl will start to feel better in the following days. Chicken is acquired enroute back to Bart. Crews of Black Bart & Th’owd Fettler are off, (we be less than five minutes walk from Bart & our poorly tittle girl pooch) dining out at the Grand Union Bar to celebrate our recent fun & frolics. A Splendid time has been had by all (any) involved. Cruising the Grand Union waterway with our Kiwi Friends has been Wonderful. & very interesting at times. Lovely company. Fine food & liquid refreshment it were. Cheers.  Chink !   CHINK !!   CHINK !!!

Saturday 17th September      Some peoples have to go. Be gone with you !!   nb:Th’owd Fettler & her crew are setting sail this morn, to leave the UK. Will be a long & sometimes treacherous journey, cruising the ‘high seas’.

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Bart reverses out to make sure our friends leave. In good time.

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A sad Farewell is bid & they is on their way. Be Safe. Happy Cruising. Look after them Cap’n Fettler. Bart & crew settle in for the day to apply generous lashings of TLC for Poorly Poochy.

Sunday 18th September      Sundays are a day of Rest. Cap’n Bart insists crew relax & recover from all those hard miles covered ‘down’ the Grand Union Canal. Rest is ordered. Rest is enjoyed. Breath…….  & Relax…….          Apart for sickly Doggy Watch.

Monday 19th September      Monday it is today. Just a few tings to do this day. Boat (house) work. Nothing much to ‘write home aboat’ as sum mite sey. Just like ‘normal life. Likeliest as you all is doing much of the time to. Aswell like. Just don’t know what one is trogging on aboat sum-times. Know what I mean ??  Roxy is eating her chicken & rice moor eagerly now. No moor sickliness & tuther end is certainly becoming moor ‘normal’. Don’t think we be revisiting the vets today. Just keep an eye. Can always call them if she is not fully fit again within the next couple of days. Looking good though. Cap’n Bart notes in the Cap’n Log – there be a relieved Skip & Skippet.

Tuesday 20th September      The crew of three. That be the one including our lovely tittle doggy Roxy the Staffie. Are off for a walk today. The Girl assures us she is  fit & healthy enough to partake of our tittle jaunt. Off to Regent’s Park. A Most Splendid of Royal Parks. Lovely walks roand the lakes. Enjoyed a coffee. Roxy chased her ball with much-a-gusto. Great to see. A fine array of ducks & geese in many a varied plumage, shape & size. Loads-0-lovely swans, herons, coots & moorhens.

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Lovely luscious green grass. Vibrant flowers, shrubs & trees

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all combine to make these 395 acres a delight to walk roand & enjoy. A detour to the tennis courts provides extra stock for Roxy’s chasing skills practise sessions. Back Home now please. Back to Bart.

Wednesday 21st September      We the crew is receiving guest today. That be Skippet L. Cinders of The Good Ship Rochester. Now we three are enjoying a fun 27 bus ride through the streets of London. After what might seem to sum as ages, we ‘ave arrived. Camden Market is Absolutely Fantastic. Over 1000 shops and stalls selling fashion, music, art and food, overlooking (almost) Camden Lock. We cruised through here two years ago. Both ways. Skippet had a sneaky peak the other day with Crew of Fettler.

Camden Market started off as a small arts and crafts fair in the backyard of Dingwalls. Originally it was temporary and only open on Sundays, however its popularity grew fast. Today it be the largest market in London, open seven days a week.  

Never been ‘ere before. Will Definitely come back again. Didn’t likely see ‘alf of it. Twere Great. Highly Recommended.

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We rest by Camden Lock for a brew (of the ale kind). One of the chambers is being operated on at the moment so is only mildly damp compared to one’s usual state.

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The northern end of Camden High Street, as you approach/leave Camden Lock/Market is fascinating. All the shops & restaurants adorned with huge eye-catching artwork &/or sculptures. Just adds to the fun, enjoyment & experience the market offers all it’s lucky visitors. Time for that Big Red Bus again. Off to Paddington we go.

Thursday 22nd September      Today we is back to just a crew of three including poochy pup. Our now moor perky, happy girl again.

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Not a bad way to spend your time. Enjoying life on board nb:Black Bart.

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Another Glorious end to a lovely warm sunny day.

Friday 23rd September      For today Roxy & Skip are being left on our own. Skippet is off training it to Southern shores & Red Jetting off to the I.O.W. to see two very special tittle boys. Albee & his new tittle brother Alfred. Have lots of Fun with Grandma tittle chaps. We know you will. How could you not. Hopefully we’ll see you soon too. Skip is off to check out local electrical places for sum possible useful odd&ends, so to speak. Wandered aroand for a fair old while checking out a number of establishments. No luck. Not to worry. Nothing urgent. On the list to do a tittle later.

Saturday 24th September      Skippet is in a far away land, overseas. I.O.W. is what it be. Enjoying time with two tittle lads & their doting parents. Skip & 1st Mate Roxy are just being boaty summits. It be quite sunny, cloudy & blooming windy out there. We is staying safe on board our Bart & enjoying the sights & sounds of Paddington Basin. Tis late evening & Skippet is arrived back, having returned to the ‘main-land’ less than a couple of ‘ers ago. Good going. Speedy boats, buses & trains. No automobiles or planes involved this time.

Sunday 25th September      Sunday is a day for moving. Cap’n Bart sets a course out of Paddington Basin, cruising for far & distant lands. Little Venice is eventually spied on the horizon after many many chuggins of our Lovely Lister. Moorings are not easy to find roand ‘ere. After reversing to a slightly (hopefully) better option, Bart is gently breasting up to an-udder narrowboat, behind a broad-beam. Fat boat as Cap’n Bart calls ’em. Not ideal stepping from Bart’s forward well, to & across our neighbour’s stern to make for land. A slightly perturbed Roxy is carried to & from Bart. A wee bit dodgy. Cap’n Murk & crew of the good ship Marpessa pass us, looking for sufficiently wide water to wind/turn so they can berth at a fine mooring a few miles back. Some er’s later crew are greeted by Cap’n Bart for drinks & chitty chats. A fine evening of catch-up in-deed. Today, it were one of the longest cruises of recent days. Cap’n Bart and crew will almost definitely sleep well tonight. Should do anyway. They must be k-nackered.

Monday 26th September      Moor guests today. Cap’ns of the Good Ship Gloucester have arrived. Welcomed by Cap’n Black Bart & crew they be. Aaaarrrggh !!!!  Shiver me Timbers. Aaaarrrggh !!!!  A Fine day is enjoyed with the odd treat or two. A tittle Italian being an inspired choice. He did talk a smight strangely, but those mediterranean chaps are often found to do just that. Goodbye old friends. Pirates in-deed. Aaaarrrggh !!!!

Tuesday 27th September      Today Cap’n Black Bart shouts out those famous orders. Orders. & our craft is swishing through these Paddington waters of arm some moor. You may wonder what is going on. You are correct to wonder, a tittle. But do not worry friends, bloggets. We is staying almost sane. Hopefully. Skippet, mayhaps moor than Skip. An ‘er of chuggen safely gets us to the quartermasters stores. Replenished & lunched we slip fore & aft lines to cruise on, passing by Kensal Green visitor moorings before winding Bart through 180° & cruising back to creep into a fine berth for a day or two. Mayhaps will remain here a tittle longer. We does not yet know. That is half the fun of Bart World. We just do not know what, where &/or when. We don’t even know why. But who cares.

Wednesday 28th September      We, a reduced crew of two are off to the famous Kensal Green Cemetery today. & what a fascinating wander it is too.

A wondrous array of historical & moor recent stonework (mainly) constructions, architectural gems & epitaphs. Incredible variety of shapes & sizes.

Thursday 29th September      This is a fine day for a cruise. Just a wee one. nb:Black Bart is leaving Kensal Green behind & returning to Little Venice. Only just over an ‘er of slow gently progress, passing many a moored craft. Craft they are, in all manor of shapes & sizes. Some very odd looking ‘boats’ you certainly do see floating in this waterway world in which we live. Bart is aboat turned in the Pool-de-la-Venice & berths for l-aqua. Following our watery delay we successfully find Cap’n Murk & crew skulking in them there shadows. Yeh !!  Them one over there. See them ??  Hi Guys !!!  Again….  We raft-up. Breast-up is what sum call it. We don’t mind. Use both methods ‘ere in Bart World. Not sure aboat this orientation. Boats are bow to stern. Not ideal. Time for a change. Lines slipped & Bart reverses back into the Pool-de-la-Venice, ‘spins’ (almost) roand, reverses back & re-rafts-up. Bow to Bow & Stern to Stern. Much better. An evening of Festivities & foodie gems are discussed & organised. A tittle while later…. An evening of Festivities & foodie gems are enjoyed by all. Thanks guys for a Lovely evening !!

Friday 30th September      For blood is required to be spilled. A pint at least must be bled for other souls to live. The Street of Margaret, near the Regents was finally found after an early departure & over sixty minutes of walking & hunting the place down.

Eventually, Skip is on the return journey, making moor relaxed progress. London’s Fantastic architecture is every where one looks. Simply Magnificent. The heat of the midday sun is quenched with a mighty down-pouring of quite soggy rain from the skies (clouds really) above. The last miles of the return journey are easier faced now.

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Our old friend Paddington is most pleasant in his greetings at Skip’s return to near his favourite railway station.

After a light lunch crew of three are off to Hyde Park. Roxy is making up for her recent lack of ball games with completely nutty (very enthusiastic) chasings. Even when she is ti-red & panting like mad she just wants to play moor. Obviously forgetting we have to walk back Home to Bart. Our girl is k-nacker-ed. A very restful evening is required by all.

Saturday 1st October      Skip, Skippet & 1st Mate Roxy are leaving old London Town today. A tittle sadness is felt as we wave goodbye to friends again. Hope tis not another year before we see you all again. Happy cruising to one & all. Bart cruises slowly westward, passing through the western fringes of olde London Town. Four ‘ers of chuggen & Cap’n Black Bart calls it a day as we berth for the night in Perivale. Same position we was in on our way into London only a few days ago.

Sunday 2nd October      So, we are off, on the move again. Departing Perivale we continue West & then South-West for two ‘ers before Bulls Bridge Junction allows Bart to switch direction South-East heading for Norwood Top Lock which be

soonest followed by the Hanwell flight of seven wide chambers.

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One of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s last projects, the Three Bridges is below Hanwell Top Lock, where the canal aqueducts above the Railway & underneath Windmill Lane above. Darned Clever man that he were.

We ‘ave been swimming these waters for six ‘ers today & descending eight locks so a parking place is successfully sourced & our Bart & Lister are rested for the night. As is the tired crew of two. Not sure aboat the tittle one. The girl. She not be that ti-red, but always Very Good at relaxation & restfulness anyway.

Monday 3rd October      Monday is a day for a river Cruise. A BIG River Cruise. The River Thames. nb:Black Bart has descended the final lock chambers of the Grand union Canal this afternoon. Since swimming out of Hanwell Bottom lock the Grand Union has been sharing waters with the River Brent.

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Osterley & Clitheroes Lock lead Bart & crew into Brentford. We moor for aboat half an ‘er enjoying a Fab bacon Sandwich. Delish. Lister is re-awoken

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& we descend Brentford Gauging Locks, slowing passing the house boats lining the southern ‘tip’ of this canal’s waters. Bart pulls in behind two waiting narrowboats. Lines are secured for only ten minuets as CRT Lock-keeper has turned up. Skippet booked us in for 3.00pm a fews days back. Tis 3 0’clock & Bart moves forward into the now open lock. Brentford Thames Locks. Time for River Fun. Bart & an’udder in South Lock. Narrowboat No.3 in North Lock. Lock-Keeper efficiently processes our craft through & into the last stretch of the Grand Union Canal leading

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nb:Black Bart to Grand Old Father Thames. See you all there……. If you want to come for a river cruise……….

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Black Bart has cruised South, to Brentford from Lapworth Junction, swimming 100 miles of the Grand Union Canal + 13 miles (x2) (both ways) of the Paddington Arm, crawling through three long dark tunnels, ascending 47 & descending 96 Wide lock chambers, sailing over too many strange channels called aqueducts (to mention), swimming along embankments we cannot even remember, through numerous cuttings & Swimming slowly, carefully under 314 (or was that 414) (cannee remember) (lost count) (don’t forget the +54 each way along the Paddington Arm) ‘fixed’ bridges. 

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