A stay in Limehouse

On Thursday we left Waltham Abbey and headed down The Lea towards Limehouse Basin. It’s a particularly weedy stretch of river and, in parts, looks like you could walk on the water.


In fact some of the locals can!


It’s not the prettiest stretch of waterway but there’s plenty to see.

20140807_153727 20140807_153843Some of the locals are quite colourful. We saw this cheerful chap on his unicycle when we were on our way up the Lea.

UnicycleOn the way back he was rowing down to the lock at Tottenham Hale to empty his Elsan along with his 78 record player playing Louis Armstrong’s version of ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’ while he sang along.


We got into Limehouse Basin at around 3pm. Plenty of time for us to have a shower and head out to The Grapes to say a liquid goodbye to Major.


The basin was pretty full but the boats there were happy for us to breast up.

wPreparingForTheOffYesterday morning we had a great couple of hours watching that day’s batch of narrowboats heading out through Limehouse Lock and onto the Thames. It was good to see the routine and figure out exactly what we have to do ourselves.

20140808_084157 WLeavingLimehouse wMeetingFerry2

We were planning on two days in London but with heavy rain and high winds forecast for Sunday we decided to avoid it by bringing it forward by a day. This left us just one day to accomplish all four things we wanted to do in London.

We wanted to see the poppy sculpture at The Tower – ‘Blood swept lands and seas of red’ remembering the dead of the First World War. It won’t be complete until November but it’s already impressive.

PoppiesWe wanted to visit the National Portrait Gallery to see the portraits exhibited in the BP Portrait Award. Our friends Tim and Henrietta both had pictures chosen, the first husband and wife team ever to do so. Unfortunately the photographs I took were rather bad on account of trying to do it sneakily having been told off when I got my phone out to take a picture. Henrietta’s portrait is of James Martin and is one of a series of portraits she’s been working on of famous chefs.

HenPainting Tim’s is a portrait of Henrietta painting the chef Rene Redzepi with their lovely pug Ollie at her feet.


I’ve seen photgraphs of the paintings on line but it was great to see them for real.

Next stop was at Victoria Embankment where Gordon wanted to have a look at HMS President which served as a ‘Dazzle’ ship during the first world war, being camouflaged to confuse German U Boats.

DazzleShip It had a bar which provided a wonderful spot to watch the world go by on the river.


Our fourth, and most important appointment was to have a few drinks, dinner and a catchup with my grandson Jamie. Unfortunately my phone had run out of charge by then so no photographs of that. We had an early evening drink in Simon The Tanner and then had a burger in The Draft House right on London Bridge.

On the way back I spotted this sign. I reckon I now know how Gordon’s been financing our London stay. Looks like he’s a popular boy!




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