A birthday weekend in London (part one)

We left Bull’s Bridge last Friday morning heading towards London with plans to pick up my grandson Jamie at Alperton – his first visit to the boat!

JamieOnRoofHe settled onto the roof happily and stayed there for the best part of the trip.

BoatReflection We’d hoped for a berth in Paddington but were to be disappointed. It was completely full, as was Little Venice and Primrose Hill.

BusyLondonIt looked very like we weren’t going to get a central London mooring at all when, just below Camden Lock,  a space appeared. Thank you Gladys (goddess of parking, mooring and generally getting a space where you need one).

MooringCamdenIt was going to be busy but there was another boat there and the owner assured us that it was a generally safe area. Noisy but not prone to break-ins or ‘bother’. It was Ellie’s dream location, virtually beside Camden Market.

The tow path here is very busy with tourists, many of whom want to stop for a chat. One dripping chappie in nothing but a soaking wet pair of pants asked us for the use of a towel to dry off. He’d just swum across the canal and back for a bet and had scored himself £60. The canal’s busy too with trip boats and this enterprising gondola. It cruises up and down from 10am to 7 or 8 pm, treating passengers to some gentle music along the way. Looked like bloody hard work in the heat!

SingingGondola

Our first stop was to the Ice Locker – a Wetherspoons beside Camden Lock – we were all hot and thirsty.

SpoonsCamdenUnfortunately Jamie had to leave us here as he had to go and earn a crust, so it was down to the three of us to make the most of an evening in Camden.

Wetherspoons was busy and, bizarrely for the start of a summer weekend, running short of beer. By Saturday they had absolutely no real ales or cider. Not the best bit of stock keeping! We had a wander around and found The Hawley Arms – a great pub with a core clientelle of uber cool youth but with a good atmosphere and ample stock.

20140718_174333A couple more drinks were just about all we could manage before heading back to the boat. It had been a hot and tiring day and we wanted to save ourselves for a bit of birthday sight seeing on Saturday.

 

 

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