Well Jason had finally had enough and kicked me out of his lovely house in Hemel Hempstead and sent me to his cosy canal barge on Regents canal London.
Much to my shame I have never had any time or inclination to visit my own capital city. Just a place for rich southerners and too busy and packed I thought. Well my views have changed. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of rich southerners there, rich people from all over as a matter of fact but there is all so many quieter places and places with character. This was where I was weighing my anchor for a few nights and I wish it had been more.
The barge was long and cosy with all the amenities and Jason admitted he he missed life on the old barge but he had moved on and planned to sell it soon. You enter the barge onto the main living area which had a comfy sofa a foot stool Tv etc next was a small kitchen area with a little dining table, then a shower/toilet room then a double bedroom with the engine behind the wardrobe. It even had central heating and a diesel burning stove for use on those winter nights.
Outside by the canal path was a seating area, enough for a small patio set maybe. Some had small workshops here and some had plants growing on this space. It was an ideal place to chill and watch the world go by. I have never wanted a big house. It would just be wasted space to me, and being a great people watcher this was an ideal place to put my feet up and watch joggers running by, people walking to work or just out walking, and people working on their boats or just chilling in the unexpected October sunshine.
BUT… I wasn’t here to just snooze I was finally going to look around London. I’m a big walker so the first thing I did was walk for a few miles down the canal. I had read about a canal museum further up and thought it would be worth seeing. I was wrong. Its situated in an old ice warehouse and they charged £4 to look around. That worked out about £1 a minute. I had seen a small museum run by volunteers in Hornsea that was cheaper and much more interesting.
So with 3 miles of sole worn away off my boots and my pockets £4 down and 4 minutes of my life gone that I would never see again I set off walking back down the other side of the canal and I’m glad I did. After numerous bridges I came to one with some unsavory looking characters openly selling and smoking marijuana. “Crap” I thought, this could be interesting.Trying to look like I belonged and trying to remember if I had been stupid enough to bring all my credit cards and cash with me I strutted past with my stomach sucked in and my chest out trying to look as big and as intimidating as I could be, which isn’t easy at only 5ft 6 tall on a good day. I needn’t of bothered. They never batted an eyelid. I found out I was in Camden which has a very bohemian feel to it and if anything I was probably the only one there who doesn’t smoke the weed mo’n.
By the side of the canal is Camden lock market with its street food and stalls selling clothes and scented candles and I even saw a couple of honest to goodness Punks. I thought they had died out years ago. Next to that is the stables market which is just immense and sell just about everything you could imagine from artwork to wooden Iphone case, there was even a bar with a Jacuzzi. How cool is that.
The next day I decided to give my legs a rest and do the traditional open top bus tour. There are several to choose from but be careful. Your ticket only allows you to go on one route. The ticket costs £28 and can be used for 24hrs from puschase. Not very good value I thought but it did include a cruise along the River Thames too so if you do both you do get you moneys worth. Its a hop on hop off system and they run regular so after stopping for pictures, to sight see or for lunch there is always another one due.
Right I managed to see a lot on this trip. I didn’t have much time to look around as I was only there for the one full day. Rather then describe everything I will just give a rundown of all that I saw while in London.
Regents park, Hyde park, Baker st, Regents canal, Stables and Camden lock markets, Picadilly circus, Tower of London, London bridge (and most the others on the cruise), Houses of parliament, Big Ben (this is a lie big ben is the name of the bell not the clock), Trafalgar square, The Canal Museum (groan), River Thames (Cruise), Downing St, The Science museum, and probably a lot more. You get a free pair of earphones so you can listen to the electronic guide on the tour and the cruise is worth doing just for the chance to have a snack and a cuppa while the views go by.
My favourite bit of London has to be the Camden lock market and the stables market and of course my own barge on Regents canal for two nights. Cheers Jason I will always remember that.
Thanks for reading.