Saturday, 29 June 2013

Platform 9 to Pride

Yesterday evening we plumped for Paddington station instead of West End entertainment and listened to the Great Western Railway Paddington Station Military Band.


It performs every Friday at 7:30 on platform 9 and the atmosphere was terrific – with the conflicting sounds of roaring railway engines, the public address system and the brass band, it brought a great deal of pleasure both to those who were standing and listening and to those who were using the station for its main purpose.


Today was the main day of London Pride and we went down to Regents Street to join in the fun.  Most of the pics. are self evident and hopefully give a “taste” of the enjoyment that everybody had today:




The Army, ………..


…..the Navy……………


…….. and the Air Force always get a good reception.


The individual entrants involve a great deal of hard work to achieve the desired result!









We spotted Brian Paddick, the former Deputy Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner as part of the Lib Dem entry.




The police, ambulance and fire service contingents also get a rousing reception.


Parade over, we made our way into Trafalgar Square.  The crowds were enormous and fantastic……..


……. for TOWIE fans – here’s Charlie and Bobby.


Nelson’s seen it all before (and more!).


We popped into Soho for a few drinks with the rest of the world.  This is Old Compton Street, great crowds and a great atmosphere!


We had a brilliant time this afternoon, meeting and chatting to complete strangers, some from way off (Columbia being about the farthest).  Doug kept just two of the dozens of stickers he’d been covered with during the day………..


……… and James tried to get himself noticed!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Film fun and food.

We had a great day yesterday.  Firstly, we spent some time with Stephen and Jayne (Dolce Far Niente) trying to find an ‘establishment’ to eat at during the evening.


One of the establishments visited, and we were much happier than we look!


Merchants Square, next to Paddington Basin, comes alive during the sunny days.  The deck chairs are free and even table tennis tables are provided.  There were free massages taking place and music playing and all in an acre of concrete and marble!


‘Dolce Far Niente’ in the foreground and ‘Chance’ further back moored safely after our premature ousting from the moorings round the corner (for ‘maintenance purposes’). 

In the afternoon we went to The Odeon, Leicester Square to see “Behind the Candelabra”.  This was the first film we’ve ever seen together (at a cinema) in 15 years!  We enjoyed the film, with the other 20 people, but with over 20 minutes of adverts and promotions, we now know why we don’t go very often!


The tube journey back to Paddington was like playing sardines at Alton Towers – great fun!


The evening was a great laugh for us all at a lovely little family run Spanish tapas restaurant in Edgeware Road.  Stephen and Jayne’s sons, Thomas and Stephen-James,  found time in their own busy social calendar, to join us.  Thomas, Stephen, Stephen-James, Doug, Jayne and James tucking into Tapas.


Thomas found time to have a dance with his mum before we left.


We finished the day off by going back to ‘Chance’ for cheese and biscuits and coffee and chocolates.  The white ghost blending into the chair is Jayne!  A great evening!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

West End–get ready to be amazed!

Going back to Tuesday evening, we had a great evening on nb ‘Dolce Far Niente’ with Jayne, Stephen and their son Thomas. 


A few drinks and some glorious nibbles where followed by a pizza or two, quickly purchased from the nearest supermarket, and cooked on board.

Yesterday we had a relaxed day in the city………….


……….. Covent Garden was lively and very atmospheric as usual.  We were treated to a “busker” singing famous opera arias – the acoustics were wonderful.

In the late afternoon we returned to ‘Chance’ for a spell on the rear deck in the sunshine with a couple of gin and tonics and watched the Paddington rush hour carry on around us. 

In the evening we went to see Derren Brown at the Palace Theatre.  We’re sworn to secrecy about the contents of the performance but we left totally speechless.  It was astonishing to be in his presence and watch, at first hand, the most amazing things happen.  It was a full house but we were lucky to get a couple of good seats at short notice and it was worth every penny.

This morning (Thursday) we have managed to get a mooring further into Paddington Basin as the area we were on is scheduled for maintenance work for a few days.  In the height of the tourist season – we ask you!  The basin is now packed out with very little chance of much movement in the next few days.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

We can’t stay away.

We left our mooring at Kings Cross yesterday and travelled the 500 yards to the London Canal Museum for last nights mooring.


There was nothing of great interest in our 500 yard journey but then, when we walked into Kings Cross for a meal in the evening, we came across a grass car! …………….


……………. with a smile on its face!

Today, we had an early start to get to Paddington Basin for a few more days.


At St Pancras Lock we looked back to see the skyline of Kings Cross.  Although there is so much building work going on it’s still a pleasant, clean area to enjoy.


In on of the pounds at Camden the water was clear enough to see the vast amount of debris on the bottom.


Camden at 7:30 in the morning – a far cry from the heaving tumult at weekends.


We enjoyed the pleasant surroundings of the canal as it goes through Regents Park.  This is “blow up bridge”.

We arrived at Paddington Basin to find only one space left – still, that’s enough!  We were looking forward to todays highlight which was the arrival of our good friends Jayne and Stephen on nb ‘Dolce Far Niente’, who arrived soon after us and were able to get the space vacated only 5 minutes earlier.  Still, that’s enough!


We were soon having coffee and cake and catching up on things on board ‘Chance’.


Then it was off into Paddington and a very pleasant lunch at Ask.  The lovely manager was extremely helpful and usual.


We returned back to the basin to enjoy the sunshine on the back of the boat.  We had a chat with a lad on a paddle board, who obviously hadn’t fallen in, and who was looking for a mooring.  Despite the basin being full we think he was able to squeeze in somewhere (only joking).


Jayne, Stephen and Doug.  The opportunity for a glass of wine in the sunshine was too much to resist.

Monday, 24 June 2013

The City beckons again.

After the tremendous pleasure and excitement of our day in Barking Creek we returned (safely by train again!) to Limehouse Marina.  In the late evening most of the crews from our happy flotilla met up in “The Grapes”, which is just down the road, for a few drinks and the necessary chin wag about the day.  Thank you, once again St Pancras Cruising Club. 


The wonderful night time view we all had from the balcony of The Grapes.  Antony Gormleys statue in the foreground.

On Sunday we made our way towards Kings Cross by way of the Hertfordshire Union Canal………


……… which meant we had to take the Limehouse Cut and go up through Old Ford Lock (Big Breakfast House!).  After the lock we turned down the Hertfordshire Union and headed towards the Regents Canal.  This is ‘The Fit Controller’ in charge of Old Ford Lock!


We passed the Olympic Stadium again (another picture of it in case they decide to pull it down with everything else)


Having got onto the Hertfordshire Union Canal we were treated to some very talented graffiti at most of the locks, together with a variety of supermarket bags in the canal which regularly got wound round the prop!  Oh well.


Doug asked James to take a few photos of Adrian and himself working the locks.  Sadly, James seemed not to be able to snap anything remotely connected with work!


Oh, maybe something might be happening now!


Yes – there seems to be a little activity in the distance!  Sorry, only joking.   We had a great couple of days with Adrian aboard and he certainly did his share of the work.

After the Hertfordshire Union Canal (long name – short canal!), we joined up with the Regents Canal.  At Kings Cross we moored up on the secure moorings and were welcomed (immediately as usual) by the very helpful and happy security staff. 


Adrian had to leave us in the afternoon but not before we had a last meal together at Prezzo in Kings Cross.  Thanks for your company Adrian – we had a super time with you and we’re looking forward to the next time.

For the rest of the day we did a bit of shopping and then ended up in Soho for a drink (seemed to have got on the wrong bus!). We returned to ‘Chance’ by 10:30 for a bit of cheese on toast and an early night this time.