A quiet week in Little Venice – Where There’s Brass

Arriving at a new marina, you are the source of the turmoil, the challenging new piece in an already completed puzzle, the silent rows of moored boats, and the imperfect space you’ll have to make. Lines run to the ground. You are the modification, the imperfection of the arrangement. Notes are left on adjacent boats and alternating numbers. Day goes by and you belong. This is home now. The neighbors met and exchanged pleasantries.

Saturday comes and its touching day for many. The rules allow two weeks in an unrestricted berth, no more, and with people now freed from 9-5 the boats start moving. Saturday announces his presence in the wake of shaking your sleep due to movers. The rear doors open to reveal a stretch of tow lane where a mysterious neighbor once used to be, always outside when I was inside.

You find that you have become the old applicant who knows which parts of the service block are broken and which are still working, advises newcomers, guides them, and picks up the ropes. Suddenly pedestrians can look directly into your personal space, and tourists take Instagram photos of the copper kettle while it’s polishing.

The new boats experiment with scale backspace, tossed ropes, and long pieces of 2×4 used as makeshift barges, masterfully handled in some sort of position, the line completes itself again, and the kaleidoscope transforms into a new image.

A boat reflects down the row and a rope hangs over my roof as a young couple tries to lower their broad beam into the space behind me. I go out to see what’s going on and get a wet rope across the top of the head.

“Sorry!” yells, as I push their front end around my fenders and into position. I have a new neighbor.

This is a plum spot. At the entrance to Little Venice is the utility building. Point emptying San, Water, and Chests. The Holy Trinity to live. Toilets are essential to the life of a boat. The idea of ​​living on the water, free of attachment to any one place, a traveler without restrictions and in touch with nature may be very romantic, but if you’re not happy to carry a shit-filled plastic cassette down a checkout lane to an approved disposal point, then this isn’t the life for you.

The faucet is bent, poorly fitted, and water containers cannot be properly placed under it. Carrying two half-filled jars to Spey, a very elegant woman in faux fur and high heels who gets off an inconspicuous boat in class, looks me in the eye and says “Pretty pitchers!” With an Eastern European accent.

The crates are a bountiful horn for the domestic rat, who waits for the sunset to slip between the bars they trap and delight in refilling them. I highlight for a better look, and the largest is massive, completely unafraid, with one squeak to let others know they’re under surveillance before continuing.

There were restrooms here, but they are closed due to “constant vandalism”. The Ilsan point was also out of service due to the exchange breakdown. It is an ongoing problem that regions with the highest demand also suffer from the largest number of problems. The boat passengers are then blamed for this for their “abuse”, often resulting in the withdrawal of services. This often pushes the problem to the following facilities or into the community in general. remembers; “Is there a reason why so many of you do shit in the woods?” It is not accepted that vandalism has to do with the boating community, and it is likely that the collapsing drainage was just heavy use. Carefully designed utility blocks can be more flexible, but it is more difficult to find the budget. London area boaters are on scraps of support and feel little connection to the Canal and River Trust who are supposed to be responsible for providing the service they depend on. The greater the urgency of the facilities, the greater the burden that the existing facilities have to bear. This means that there is a higher chance of something going wrong and a higher chance of getting shut down as a result. The facilities no one is using are always in service and the much needed facilities are often closed.

The lack of a functional restroom meant that I needed to look for the best local option. The local Waitrose provided customer restrooms, so I decided it was a good week to enjoy a higher class of muesli. I was limiting myself to buying one or two items at a time, so I always had an excuse to go back.

In the garden, gym equipment such as a children’s play area is installed, and young people practice repetitive music on bluetooth speakers. I got to know most of the actors from the Bolinder beginning sequence.

A mooring was opposite a row of pontoon boats, each a square of pontoon pontoon with a house built on it instead of a boat that could go anywhere. It’s really just houses spread out on the water, which I don’t understand, because the fun of living on the water is definitely the possibility of travel. One morning when I started the engine to charge the batteries, an old lady appeared at one of the windows. I assumed she would complain, but instead she told me she hadn’t heard such an engine in decades, and it reminded her of her youth, living by the waterways when London still enjoyed the narrowboat traffic from Limehouse up country.

I sat in the cabin and did the cleaning and polishing again. A tour group came from Little Venice with their guide. “And here you can see the traditional roses and castles on the water can. And some rubber ducks.”

Little Venice is one of those places on the net that is special, in a low-key way. A wide triangle of water, with a small tree full of vertigo in the middle, home to tour boats and café boats, but refused to anchor us regular cruisers, and the water remained open and clever, free from intrusion of squalid living boards, and thus we boaters must pile on the bridge, and that We pile up against a barely functional service block like a flutesam on the tide line.

I was moored on the main line to Bulls Bridge and the wider grid. Head to Little Venice and turn left onto Limehouse and Lee Nav. Turn right and you’re at Paddington Arm, a branch that ends between smart high-rises, haunting trapped and tourists. Marinas there can be booked for 10 GBP per day. Maybe I’ll ask my parents to spend a week in the Paddington Basin for my Christmas present.

The streets around Little Venice are smart and the buildings are tall and pure white, many with wide colonnades defining the deep entrances. There’s a lot of money here, but unlike the Broadway market, this is money that’s so well set, ripened, and stayed here, generating the kind of earnest tenure that allows wisteria to be tracked around arcades. The streets feel like generational and brimming with the kind of long term gardening that only those who are safe enough to know they are here to stay should attempt with confidence, and to those who will hand over responsibility when their days are up.

While visiting Lord Alfred in Maida Valley, I made the most expensive new round ever, spending £14.55 on a pint and a half of myrrh.

I had a concert one evening and needed to go to Stratford Station to meet another band member. I also needed new rosin for my perfection, and walked over to Stringers, top-notch violin dealers. Entering this strange place had a very different effect than when entering licenses or restaurants. Instead of panicking, worrying and blocking the exits, the lady behind the desk immediately assessed me and asked if I had an account. This is clearly what top-tier violin players look like.

Sorted for rosin, I hit the pipe, seated before a French magician who was courting a slightly slender lady with a kind of cliché that I considered ridiculous. But it proved frustratingly effective, and they soon heeded the government’s advice to “stumble unreservedly” and look away at the bottom of the wagon only to see a child who looks remarkably like Hitler smiling at me.

In Stratford, there was a man trying to save my soul. He pleaded with us through his microphone, begging us to be reborn. It was a good job, he really meant it, he was smart and a freestyler with great erudition. It must be shocking to believe that almost everyone around you is going to hell, and I totally believe in their honesty. Much easier to be an atheist. If I’m right, it doesn’t matter that he’s wrong, because we’ll all end up in the same place.

The rapper set up his bus gear across the arena and the confrontation began. Unable to preach to rap, the preacher released some praise songs and sang as loudly as he could. Every corner of the city is a contested place, every bitterly resented change by someone losing something, and every uncertain square foot spelled out is a fatal blow to someone else.

The next day I went to meet my friend James who works as a skipper on tour boats and work boats around London. He was to take the electric barge with a party from a famous clothing store that evening, leave Paddington at 6.30 pm, and complete a series of afternoon jobs, starting the heating system and cleaning the fan in the bow thruster. To do this we had to get to the thruster through the weed hatch, a task made more difficult by the fact that although the boat was run to Camden, it was not initially installed through the tunnel at Maida Vale, a problem which was remedied by By putting several tons of ballast underground. This solved the first problem but lowered the weed hatch by 9 inches below the water level which necessitated the fabrication of a steel collar to fit the hole. She helped put the collar from storage and run up the steps on the bow of the ship and secured it in place over the studs. The collar and the extra depth of water meant that James had to roll his sleeve to shoulder length to get to the propeller, which he quickly removed from the bits and tarp.

“So, are you basically self-employed?”

“Yes, I do small parts all over London. Some workboats, a couple of cruise boats, this and the oyster boat. A bunch of us are with RMT, and they don’t understand what we’re doing so they put us together with oil rig workers in their system. I’m getting some fun emails.” continuously “.

The main course of the cruise boats is Camden Locks and back through Regent’s Park.

“It is the only canal in the country that has seen continuous commercial traffic since its inception. The cruise boats started here in 1953 with the Jason Voyage, which was originally a wooden steamer until it fell to bits and they got it instead. Water buses started in 1959.”

We talked about the mounting numbers of boats on the system, and the lack of enforcement.

“It’s hard. They can’t easily evict people from their homes, but sometimes it’s very complicated. There was one time a contractor was sent to recover a sunken boat, and when they got there, they found someone still living on it. They simply did Build a rack over the new waterline halfway inside the boat and keep going. What on earth are you doing in that case?”

James donned his clever captain’s uniform, and I walked off the road before the customers arrived. Spey was moored outside a 50-foot-tall house on board, the aft cabin dangling in the water. I liked it like that, it seemed safer. Anyone who wanted to cause trouble would have to navigate the artillery lanes, making the cabin seem far away. Even as the boat moved behind me, I didn’t fall onto the towpath, preferring to stay outside, in the deep water. It would soon be time to move on by myself again and had an eco-berth booked in Kings Cross.

If you enjoy these blogs, feel free to make a small contribution to my tipigar or visit my online store, where my previous books and albums are sold. I am so grateful for all the support, it really makes a huge difference to me. We’ll be posting the books right up to the last post before Christmas, so I’ll make sure any gifts ordered arrive in time. cheers!

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