Wednesday, 27 April 2011

From Rural Idyll to "The Big Smoke"

Finally, after having spent a lot of time in Hertfordshire, near Tring, it is time to "stretch our legs" a bit and head off down the canal.

Drew got some bookings in the West Country, so a few weeks ago we decided to upgrade our Boat Licence to enable us to go onto the River Thames and other rivers. We will be slowly (4mp/h) be moving towards Bath!

The last few days have been spent cruising towards London, where soon we will join the Thames and head off west.

Cruising from morning till the afternoon brings back lots of memories of when we first moved onto the boat. We spent most of our days cruising in a mad dash to get to Yorkshire (we failed!).

Then, as now, the car was in London, which meant that we could spend the day cruising and the evening relaxing. Since about March, when we retrieved the car from London, any cruise along the canal meant a bike ride or walk back for me to get the car and move it along. Now, as we don't need the car for a few weeks, we are able to fill our days with cruising - and cover a fair bit of ground. We left Tring a few days ago, and now are in West London. We certainly didn't push ourselves, but it has been nice to moor up somewhere new each night....

Well, I say new...

We spent most of the first few days re-covering the Grand Union Canal that we did when we first moved off from the Slough Arm over a year ago. Once we passed the Slough Arm, though, on our way to London, we started "virgin territory".

It is odd being in a city again - and moored here. At first I was a bit nervous - imagining gangs of youths attacking the boat our untying our mooring pins - but after a false start yesterday (we abandoned our first mooring after a gang of youths on the bridge were hurling abuse at passers-by) we found a good mooring in North West London. We're now near Ladbrooke Grove - much nicer!

Here's hoping the moorings keep showing themselves, and the weather stays fine - and the cat adjusts to city life!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Heathrow - scene of joy and tears

Any expat knows that an airport is where you experience some of your most extreme "highs" and "lows". What better feeling is there than hurrying through the passport control desk to be greeted by hugs from family you haven't seen in months or years? What compares to the giddy feeling of waiting at arrivals to spot the first glimpse of your family as they arrive for a visit?

My mom and dad, who I hadn't seen in 18 months, arrived for an 8 day visit to the UK a few weeks ago. I could hardly wait! While they were here, we ran them ragged! They stayed at a local Hotel (as our narrowboat really isn't suitable for 4 people to share!) and each day I picked them up and showed them as much of my adopted homeland as I could. We also enjoyed their help in going down the first few locks of the Aylesbury Arm!

While here, we went to London for a day, and to the West Country, visiting Bath, Frome, and places in between. We introduced them to The Archers (a favourite on this boat!) and they got us caught up on what was happening back home.

They also brought a "taste of home" with them - again, expats will know that there is nothing better than a parcel of food from home - Mollases in England is completely different than good Nova Scotian Mollases - and Green Tomato Chow is unheard of in these parts.

Saying goodbye at the end of the 8 Days was tough - it seems to get a bit tougher every time I say goodbye to my family - but they left us with good food and happy memories - even if we left them lighter in both their wallets and their backsides!