Friday, 25 February 2011

Boaters and Sheds - but not boatsheds ....

I don't liveaboard but I'm pretty sure that if I did I'd find storage space a problem. However much I used all available space and however well I avoided the deadly grasp of consumerism I'd find myself pushed into a corner or tangled in stuff I accumulated but couldn't bear to throw away.
The solution for many seems to be a shed. A very practical answer in my view, as I count myself something of a shedder.
So here are the first entries in my Boaters' Sheds Exhibition. The rules say there must be part of a boat in the picture as well as the shed. I have my eyes on others I've passed too. Want to join me? Start collecting now ….

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Lee and Stort at Hertford and Ware

It being the sunniest day for ages I took time out to explore the Lee and Stort Navigation at Ware - or is it Hertford? I think they're joined like Newcastle-Gateshead, for convenience, though maybe at arms length.
I chose Ware because of the huge disparity in distance between Ware and my home near Cambridge on the one hand by road, on the other by boat. I reckoned it was 24 miles or a little over half an hour via the A10 - and 240 miles or 16 full days boating! So I won't be popping down to Hertford on Patience in the immediate future.
On the other hand it's a pleasant spot, with quite a few boats of different kinds moored up around Hartford lock and a few more at Ware lock.
The lock keeper's cottage at Hertford is being done up at the moment too and should look good when complete. There's historical detail about it here.

Also of interest is the New Gauge House building which marks the start of The New River. Neither new nor a river, this is the start of an aqueduct taking fresh water from the Lee to London. Opened in 1613 it winds its way to the centre of London and there is now a 27 mile walk that follows its path. Having seen the other end in an unexpectedly picturesque park in Stoke Newington I was pleased to see its source. More about The New River here.
Also worth noting that the Lee Valley is to become the white water venue for the Olympic Games. Fortunately no white water visible here in Hertford ....

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Considerate Boater

Others being considerate to us is what, I feel sure, we all appreciate.
It's been said that most advice from world religions come down to one thing - do as you would wish to be done to. So I thought I'd share some good news. I've just found a  lovely site called The Considerate Boater which doesn't preach or instruct but guides the reader pleasantly, wisely and helpfully through good behaviour on our waterways. And I've added it to my list of boating links.
It's a beautifully simple site, graphically clean and textually plain, with simple advice modestly expressed.
I guess the vandals and the loud, the litterers and the aggressive won't want to read it, but the rest of us can't fail to pick up some tips here. If the meek shall inherit the earth, perhaps considerate boaters will find their place on the waterways.
Remember - canals are the quickest way to slow down ....

Sunday, 6 February 2011

London Canal Museum

On Saturday, to the London Canal Museum as a delayed birthday treat from middle daughter. Note that you can claim 50% off if you travel by train (though I think you have to apply beforehand).
In the scheme of things everyone will have their favourite waterways museum, or even favour pumping museums such as the ones below.
What's your favourite?
The National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port or the one at Gloucester Docks or Stoke Bruerne?
Perhaps you prefer Foxton's inclined plane or  the Hay Inclined Plane at Ironbridge.
Or Prickwillow Pumping Station or Stretham Old Engine.
The London Canal Museum is handily placed for Kings Cross station and a fascinating walk along the Regents Canal. You can walk or indeed boat past London Zoo, and end up in Camden Market if you wish.
Or you can simply pop into The Thornhill Arms across the way for an excellent pint of London Pride or The Narrow Boat a few yards away along the canal at 119 St Peters Street.

The museum is uncluttered, though with an interesting archive of old canal films constantly running and when we were there an excellent canal related exhibition of photographs. The rather spartan exhibit of half a trad narrow boat gives atmosphere and a sense of the cramped quarters.

I'm all in favour of traditional narrow boats as shown here but I don't think John and I will be dressing up and grabbing pipes and bowlers for our meandering down the Ouse.
Nevertheless a lovely day with good company, lots to see and eat and drink and talk about.