We cruised further down the Regents Canal this morning to the top of Lock 8 which had incurred the damage. On our arrival the Canal and River Trust maintenance team were there and had commenced the repairs to the right top lock gate.
It is difficult to see but the vertical post on the right side has been badly damaged and a lot of it is missing. Apart from the canal boat that hit the lock gate causing the current damage, there was a lot of wood that had rotten away. Lock gates normally last about 25 years and these gates were 22 years old so are therefore up for replacement.
We moored up against another boat which made us three abreast across the canal. Usually, you don’t do this, but no traffic could come up, so we are not in anyone’s way. We were waiting and hoping that they could repair the lock at the latest by 2.30pm which would still give us time to get to our destination down at the Limehouse Lock.
Meantime, we went for a walk in Victoria Park which was right beside us. The park is huge, and I think we can all guess as to whom it was named after. It is the largest park in Tower Hamlets and one of London’s most visited green spaces with approximately 9 million visitors every year. The park spans 86.18 hectares (213.0 acres) of open space and opened to the public in 1845. In the latter half of the 19th Century, Victoria Park became an essential amenity for the working classes of the East End. For some East End children in the 1880s, this may have been the only large stretch of uninterrupted greenery they ever encountered.
On our return, we took this photo looking back up towards the lock. As you can make out from the photo, there are a number of boats waiting to go up the lock and down the lock. By now the time was ticking closer to 2.30pm.
When it got to 2.00pm, we approached the Canal and River Trust chap there and asked about when the repairs would be finished. He said 4.00pm – so that is it. Our dream has come to an end today. We have been planning to do this special trip for nearly two years and it has involved the Canal and River Trust and the London Port Authority. Today we had to unravel it all.
Fraser decided to burn off his disappointment by going for a run around the 2012 Summer Olympic Games area. Di meantime fell asleep on the boat after all the pent-up excitement. Marlene read her book and Wolfgang edited his videos.
We are in the Bethnal Green area of London which has a very large number of social housing towers. We walked through this development in the early evening on our way to dinner and to our surprise it was extremely clean and not at all reflected the view you get through the media. Marlene had found a Thai restaurant for dinner which turned out to have the tastiest dishes at the best prices and pooped all over the Italian restaurant we had eaten at in Paddington Basin.
It was our last night on the boat and really very sad. It sat like the big elephant in the room between us all. Through Marlene and Wolfgang’s trust and kindness we have spent over six months over the last five years cruising around the UK waterways creating so many invaluable memories and friends. We consider ourselves very fortunate. But….watch this space, as they have bought another boat in the Netherlands and we will be there to help them to make more memories.