Monday, 25 August 2008

Sojourn in Limehouse

We set off on Friday morning for the last lap to Limehouse Basin. We had not found this stretch particularly scintillating on the way up but it was a fairly good trip down, maybe because the sun was shining which makes everything so much better. Geoff caught this little chap as we went along.

Don't disturb me!

We also passed the 2012 Olympic site with not very much to see yet, we did wonder what it would be like cruising down here in four years time

2012 Olympic site

Below are an indication of what we were passing through, would love to see some of it in 4 years.

Ducketts Cut on the Regent canal

Getting closer to Limehouse, Canary Wharf in distance

Moored in Limehouse

We had called ahead to Limehouse Lock keepers to find out what the mooring situation was. Since we had not been there before and our guide book mentioned a marina we were unsure of what lay ahead. The lock keeper was very helpful and said there was no problem with us staying until Tuesday along the wall which is where you can see us above. He did warn us that it would be a busy weekend and that we would have to breast up which indeed has proved the case. The Cruising Association have their headquarters here and they had a meet this weekend so there were half a dozen largish yachts and motor cruisers alongside the wall also. Their clubhouse is open to all and we had a drink there on the Friday evening and found their prices much cheaper than the pubs. We were given an information sheet with good gen on marina facilities and surrounding area. There are showers, laundry etc and it is altogether a very congenial place to stay. We are still glad Ellie is not with us as the wall is quite high and getting her on and off would have been a problem(It is still very strange on the boat without her though)

Friday evening was beautiful and we had our supper in the cratch as we watched the setting sun (No one alongside us yet) We are surrounded by all these apartments which have obviously been built over the last 20 years. In one of the local pubs they have some historical pictures of the area and one dated 1982 shows nothing here apart from the remnants of the old docks. The local estate agents show some of them for sale over £700,000.

The reason for the stay until Tuesday is that we can do an early morning departure (0715) which means there should not be as much river traffic. Having now been to watch what goes on and seen some of the high speed trip boats whizzing past the entrance we think that is the best time to go. Apparently they don't get into their stride until about 9.30 by which time we hope to be past Westminster Bridge.

Saturday we decided to be sightseers and the aim was Southwark Cathedral. This was to be on foot as this is the only way Geoff likes to view. However we went fairly gently and stopped at various places en route. Before departing we watched a convoy of little boats coming down river to the Limehouse entrance.

One of the first places we passed was Shadwell Basin with lots of apartments and a huge area of water with possible mooring but completely landlocked as far as we could see. What had been a lock and a bridge were no longer in use

Shadwell Basin

St Katherines Dock was the next stop which I found quite an eye-opener. There were quite a lot of large yachts moored there and some very up-market shops and apartments. There were spaces for more boats which we thought was an indication of how much it probably cost to moor there. We stopped for a Cappuccino in one of the numerous cafesSt Katherine's Dock

The old and the new, The Gherkin in the distance

Next came the Tower of London which with an entrance fee of £14 (Concession) we decided not to visit. The crowds around were another turn off.

Chapel in the Crypt All Hallows

Next came an unscheduled stop at All Hallows Church which looked interesting. It is the oldest church in London and you can see more details on their website

A guide inside was very helpful and started us off on an interesting tour. This view of the chapel in the crypt shows the boxes on either side in which are housed people's ashes.

We eventually reached Southwark Cathedral our original goal. Geoff had wanted to revisit the scene of his confirmation in the early fifties. He also found a plaque on the wall commemorating the services of his then vicar Peter Penwarden for his services as vice-provost at the Cathedral. After a good look around we explored the adjacent Borough Market and then found a convenient refreshment place overlooking the river for lunch. The sun was still shining on us so we felt very fortunate.

The plan for Sunday was to return to All Hallows for Choral Communion at 11 but we awoke to pouring rain so decided instead to go to the local Limehouse church of St Anne. This turned out to be a huge mausoleum of a building which was in the throes of a huge make-over so it was more like a building site. However the welcome was very warm and it was an enjoyable morning service.. It was very laid back with the vicar in an open necked shirt. Coffee was downstairs in the huge crypt which was obviously used as an activity room.

St Anne's Church Limehouse

After lunch on the boat we headed off towards Canary Wharf to explore. The buildings are vast and although it is all very well done it is a little souless, although had we been there on a working day it may have felt differently. There are vast areas of water with very few boats, some areas have no boats at all which seemed to us a great waste of water space. Tucked away in one corner we found St Peter's barge This is part of St Anne's Church. See

St Peter's Barge London's Floating Church

On Leaving Canary Wharf we saw this array of traffic lights which was obviously an art structure but as the lights were all changing I think I would have been somewhat confused if I had been driving past the junction it was on.

Sunday evening we were joined by Sister-in-law Edith and her friend Steve for drinks on Petroc before we all went to eat at "The Narrow". This is the pub on the corner outside limehouse lock overlooking the river. Now owned by Gordon Ramsey we enjoyed a really excellent meal whilst we had a fantastic view all up and down the Thames. It was light when we arrived so we could see everything and later we enjoyed all the lights. A nightcap on Petroc before they caught the train on the DLR back.

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