The stretch from Brentford to the bottom of the Hanbury Flight had been significantly cleared of rubbish and debris since we were here last. Well done BW - it was quite a task!
We saw a really alien-like thing whilst moored by the footbridge by Glaxo Smith-Kline. A tree, now very dead, was completely covered in webs and had been annihilated by the caterpillars of the Lackey Moth. I found out what this was because we e-mailed Hounslow Borough Council to let them know and they told us. Really creepy and horrid. It's now over to them.
On Monday we had yet another pair of hands to help - Rebecca (Anne and John's eldest daughter) brought Nicole (Anne and John's youngest daughter) to spend the day with us. Rodney and Gill, who had kindly offered to come and pick Anne and John up to take them home, drove to Rickmansworth in the afternoon and we all (7 of us!) had Salmon Wellington (!!) on board. It pays to have a chef as one of your best friends!
It's easy to see why the area around Batchworth is a popular mooring spot for boaters and, therefore, difficult to get in. There's always lots going on around the lock itself and then there's the Aquadrome with it's variety of water sports close by. Stoker's Lake is a well-established nature reserve and a lovely walk with the River Colne running through it - dogs allowed! This time we also discovered another nice walk called The Ebury Way which utilises a dis-used railway track and goes from Rickmansworth to Cassiobury Park near Watford. We didn't go to see what the town of Rickmansworth has to offer because it was too hot but apparently the High Street is old-fashioned, traditional and full of character. Tesco's has made getting provisions easy for boaters as there is a store right on the canal side with moorings provided.
We are now moored within Cassiobury Park and it has been hot, hot, hot! In the evening, when it had cooled down, we took the dogs for a walk into a large wood which is called Whippendell Wood and is right by the side of the canal. Cassiobury Park itself is a really nice municiple park. The lovely little river Gade runs through it - kiddies paddling in the shallows and attempting to catch tiddlers, dogs paddling too - lots of dogs!
There are pathways through a nature reserve area and the more manicured areas provide picnic spots, paddling pools, a bouncy castle, play equipment and .................... the ice-cream van!
In the past when we have cruised the Grand Union we have missed all this because we have been on a tight time schedule. This time we want to take our time and discover more about the areas we go through. This canal is also heavily locked and when you have to work them single handedly, it can be very physically demanding. I was hoping to be able to lock through with another boat but it never seems to work out that way! Another good reason for taking it slowly. We (that's the royal 'we'!!) also have some serious maintenance to begin - can't be 'put off' any longer!