21 October 2012


Or, an ongoing project (now on hold)

As you might remember, I'm a fan of ongoing walking projects, and despite being only a few days into our London-Norfolk walk, we decided we needed another project. Partly this was because we needed some more local walks (the London-Norfolk walk was at a point where we'd have to do a few days at a time to make the travel worthwhile).

So, we decided we'd start walking the Grand Union Canal - aided in part by the purchase of a map (mostly for boaters) of the canal and all its arms, from our favourite map shop. In London, the GUC includes the Paddington arm (and its extension, the Regents Canal), the GUC proper (which joins the Thames at Brentford) and the Slough arm. Then canal wends its way north around London then north-west. Close by, there's the Wendover arm (disused) and the Aylesbury arm.

The there are several more arms - the canal eventually ends up in Birmingham and also in Derbyshire. There's plenty of walking to be had! The walking is also fairly easy as the towpaths are flat, well signposted and easy to follow (just keep to the canal and don't turn down the wrong arm).

There are a few pics of our second leg (in reverse from Paddington to Camden) here. But let's start at the beginning:

Limehouse Basin to Camden (Regents Canal, December 2011):

Ferry to the city


Bridge and pencils

Wonky colours


Camden to Paddington (in reverse, Regents Canal, January 2012):

Paddington Basin

Standing Man / Walking Man

Maida Vale Tunnel

To rescue horses

Watch this space

Floating Chinese restaurant

Paddington to Perivale (Paddington Arm, with our friend J, April 2012):

Let's go!

Reflections: Canalside living

Reflections: Blue

Houseboat on the GUC, London

Fly tipping

Wembley Stadium from Horsenden Hill

View west(ish) from Horsenden Hill

Perivale to Bull's Bridge Junction (Paddington arm to GUC proper, June 2012):

J in a wildflower field


St Mary's Church, Northolt



Bull's Bridge Junction

But! In between those last two, we also headed up to Tring on the train and spent a couple of days walking the Aylesbury and Wendover arms!

Tring to Aylesbury (Aylesbury Arm, May 2012):

The Grand Union Canal near Tring

Marsworth Lock

Marsworth Reservoir

Yellow field and clouds

More picturesque-ness

Between two channels

Made it to Aylesbury

Wendover to Tring (Wendover Arm, May 2012):

The Wendover Arm - sign

Gently, gently, ducks on the water

Wendover wetlands

Blue bridge

It rained on us most of that day, so we didn't get a lot of photos! Anyway, it was a lot of fun learning more about how the canal network, well, works. It was also nice to see the seasons change by the water from winter through spring to early summer.

... And now the project is on hold, because we've moved to East Sussex, so the GUC is no longer so easily accessible. Also, J has a full time job, so getting away is not as easy as before! Still, we're now living in the countryside and it's absolutely lovely. Eventually, you'll get more photos of that - but there are still several from summer to get through, including our amazing trip to Wales!

7 October 2012


We've been in the UK for a year, now... A good time to take stock of what we've done.

* We moved to the UK with a few bags and boxes of stuff and ended up living with DB's parents until August.
* We WWOOFed at a couple of different places in SE England - planting trees, laying hedges, pruning woods and gardens, cutting back brambles, digging holes, etc.
* We visited Brighton and Bristol and went to Westonbirt Arboretum.
* J helped redesign a diversity monitoring form at the Ramblers.
* We helped press cider with a friend in Oxfordshire.
* J did a major editing job for a Legal Aid report.
* We visited Norfolk a few times.
* J volunteered at the London Short Film Festival.
* D had an interview for a Masters place at Brighton University (spoiler: he got it).
* J volunteered at Burgh House and Hampstead Museum from January to September.
* We started a walk from London to Norfolk and got about a quarter of the way (would love to finish it at some point - we just ran out of time).
* D volunteered at an opshop managing their music and media department with great success.
* Spent time with old friends from Australia and the UK and made some new friends here.
* We did a 3 day walk along the snowy tops of the South Downs.
* J did a 12 week internship with Cancer Research UK.
* We did a lot of walks around London and explored it more than we had before. We also did quite a few walks in Bucks & Herts.
* D volunteered at the National Portrait Gallery library doing indexing and cataloguing.
* J did a 3-ish month internship with the Bat Conservation Trust.
* We house-sat for friends in Islington and looked after their cats.
* We saw Stewart Lee, the Infinite Monkey Cage (with Brian Cox), our friend doing stand up, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy stage show with original cast (and Phill Jupitus as the book), several films/film festivals (there are lots of fests in London).
* J did a 3 month-ish internship with the Ramblers.
* We bought a tent and went camping in the back yard, in Wales and in Epping Forest.
* We went to Wales! It was lovely (again). Can't wait to go back.
* We walked the Grand Union Canal (Paddington/Regents Canal arm) from the Thames at Limehouse Basin to the junction with the GUC proper. We also walked the Wendover and Aylesbury arms.
* D volunteered briefly with the Ramblers and built them a small library database.
* We didn't get to go to Norway because the UKBA kept J's passports for a ridiculously long time (they still have them) for a simple transfer of visa conditions.
* J got a job as marketing officer in East Sussex.
* We moved to a tiny old terrace house in Battle with a carload of stuff + a couple of kindly donated bikes.
* J did the Constable Scramble with the folk from Burgh House.
* We bought a car (well, D did all the work).
* D has just started his Masters at Brighton University.