Friday, October 27, 2017

Little Venice - Anglophile Friday

A month ago today we left for 12 days in England. My brother and his wife, from Denver, met us in Iceland (flight layover) and we flew together from there to Heathrow. You'll be hearing probably more than you want to know about this trip, but I have to do something with the 1500 photos I took, so be forewarned.

On Saturday, September 30, we took the Tube to Warwick Avenue and walked a couple blocks past very expensive housing, across a little bridge to the Grand Union Canal. I've always dreamed of a vacation on a narrowboat, but seeing that area full of those charming, colorful boats was the next best thing. And walking along the canal was a delight.

Actors Timothy West and his wife Prunella Scales have spent vacations on the canals for years, beginning when their sons were young. Prunella Scales, I think, is best known for Upstairs Downstairs, I stand corrected. As Mike and Sal both commented (below), Prunella Scales 'achieved her greatest success on TV as the nosy, shrewish wife "Sybil Fawlty" on the classic John Cleese comedy Fawlty Towers,' (IMDB) and Timothy West is in a different role every time I turn around, it seems. One of my favorites was an Inspector Campion mystery, 'Police at the Funeral.' After the next series of photos, there's a clip of their 'Great Canal Journeys' from YouTube. They made an entire series, one of those things worth watching.

I wonder if there are any homeschoolers among the boaters.
Wouldn't that be fun!

There's that little bridge I mentioned.

It could be a regular traffic jam at times, couldn't it!

And yes, there are an estimated 15,000 people who LIVE on their narrowboats year 'round.
For some interesting information on narrowboat life, here's a fun website:

I think that gorgeous shrub is 'hardy fuchsia'
Definitely not hardy to the NW Wisconsin climate.

I have no idea what this variegated shrub is. The leaves are leathery like holly, but not pointy, and the berries are so pretty.

And I just remembered a book that I put on my Wish List probably six months ago, 'Maidens' Trip: A Wartime Adventure on the Grand Union Canal. (And I (I mean 'we') just happen to have an Amazon credit. Yea!!)

From Amazon:

"In 1943 Emma Smith joined the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company under their wartime scheme of employing women to replace the boaters. She set out with two friends on a big adventure: three eighteen-year-olds, freed from a middle-class background, precipitated into the boating fraternity. They learn how to handle a pair of seventy-two foot-long canal boats, how to carry a cargo of steel north from London to Birmingham and coal from Coventry; how to splice ropes, bail out bilge water, keep the engine ticking over and steer through tunnels. They live off kedgeree and fried bread and jam, adopt a kitten, lose their bicycles, laugh and quarrel and get progressively dirtier and tougher as the weeks go by. Maidens' Trip is a classic memoir of the growth to maturity of three young women in the exceptional circumstances of Britain at war."

Let me know when you've moored your narrowboat on the Grand Union Canal and I'll come visit. :-)


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Sals View said...

Prunella Scales was best known as Basil Fawltys wife in Fawlty Towers, starring John Cleese as Basil Fawlty. A well loved British comedy.

My husband and I have enjoyed many canal boat holidays around our beautiful country. Next time you're visiting try hiring one for the day and have a little cruise around.

Enjoy your time here.

Sue said...

I'm green with envy, Judy, the little boats are so colorful. Trips like this are forever etched in our minds, my trip to Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Israel many years ago, is as fresh to me as it was then, I will never forget my experience of going down inside one of the pyramids in Egypt. Looking forward to more photos and stories.
Have a blessed weekend.

Vee said...

It certainly explains Prunella’s ongoing concerns about finding a berth for their longboat! I love that Timothy West and Prunella played such a big part in the restoration of some of these old canals, too. Yes, thanks to you, I have happily watched all the episodes multiple times over and, even now, will fire one up on nights when sleep won’t come. Timothy does have the most soothing voice. My favorite episodes have been the one in Scotland and the ones in Sweden. I have shared them with many folks and they have all enjoyed them immensely. (Hope your readers are paying attention to this post as I did one day way last spring when you mentioned the series.) As for reading and seeing more of your journey, bring it on!

Lynne said...

Enjoyed this post . . .
The canal video was informative, delightful.
Oh my the sights and the stops along the way.
Huge canal boats, looks like it would be a bit of a daunting task to navigate.
Going to watch again . . .
Reminded me in many ways of our trips on the Mississippi and going through the locks.
Although the views are much prettier along these canals.
(I never tire of your narrative, pictures, photos.)

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Judy.... your gorgeous photos bring life to your words. It looks like a wonderful vacation.
Thanks for the tip on the book. I am heading to Amazon now.

Lorrie said...

Ooh, a pretty post with all those narrow boats, plus a mention of a series I've never seen, AND a book that looks very interesting. Thanks, Judy!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

How fun was that?? I can't believe that many people live on boats like that. However I think it would be fun to try it! Thank you for sharing, it all looks so charming to me.

ellen b. said...

Love the narrow boats and your walk along the canal. It really would be a slow dreamy trip to travel the canals in one. I won't get bored at all of posts about your trip!

Cathy said...

I so love the beautiful colors of all those boats. I subscribed to their Youtube Channel so I can go back to watch the video later. It looks very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Such delightful and colorful photos from your visit. The link is very interesting and thanks for the book review, too.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Looks fun! I saw a travelog once about the canals of England. I think they were mostly northern England though. It was very fascinating!

Susie said...

Judy, What a grand trip. I loved the photos of all the boats. I did not know that people lived in them on the canals. Glad you could be with your family too. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Judy, it looks wonderful along the canal seeing all the beautiful narrow boats. I've watched their series and always get a chuckle from their humor and apparent love of each other. We were in England the same time as you! We just returned last Friday and I'm having a dickens of a time adjusting to home. Oh and those fushia were everywhere! I really don't understand how they can grow in England and Scotland! I thought it must be too cold. Looking forward to seeing your lastest adventure. I took 4554 photos- thank goodness for digital photography. xo ♥

Terri D said...

I wanted, at one time long ago, to live on a houseboat on a river in Virginia/DC. I worked two jobs toward that goal when I was a single woman just divorced - and then I met Joe. Ha! Amazing photos and we can always close our eyes and dream about life on the water!

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Nice one, Judy. Yes, as someone else remarked, Prunella Scales starred in Fawlty Towers with John Cleese - classic comedy. The Great Canal Journeys series is lovely, gentle, television, soothing to watch.

NanaDiana said...

Oh- I just love the narrowboats and the idea of living on one. WE had a live-aboard that we lived on all summer for three years. I loved every minute of it and it was one of the few times in my life that I was TOTALLY relaxed.

Looking forward to more pictures, Judy. xo Diana

Aritha said...

I love your narrowboats ♥ I thought we in The Netherlands were the only one with houseboats. So i was very surprised :-) My dad i born on a boat.

Lesley UK said...

Little Venice is a really lovely part of London. I have very fond memories of time spent there. We live on the Norfolk Broads, so we are always near water. We often hire a boat for a day , and really enjoy ourselves with a picnic, and sometimes some wine (for me because I'm not driving!). We are on the East coast of England, but we have 4 hardy fuschias in our garden and they thrive in spite of cold winds, rain and frost. I, too, enjoyed the canal series. It's so sad that there will be no more. Prunella Scales dementia has apparently progressed quite rapidly. It's such a cruel condition. Blessings

Marcia said...

I know what you mean about lots of photos to post. I'm trying to share mine from our Scotland trip and its slow going because so much else is happening right now in life. Those canal boats are really neat looking. Are there canal boar tours like river boat cruises?

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I've really enjoyed reading about your lovely trip to England and seeing your photos. Looking forward to hearing more about this beautiful place that I would love to visit, but likely won't because hubby is an ole stick in the! He doesn't like to get too far from home. :)
Thanks for stopping by to visit and have a nice weekend!
xx Cheryl

MadSnapper said...

you are the second blogger to go to Iceland, Mersaud in Bosina just got back from a trip there. those boats are amazing, I don't do boats, but in that narrow canal I would ride on one of these. beautiful photos of your trip

This N That said...

Little Venice looks like fun..I don't think I could live in that small of a space..Fun pictures..

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Looking forward to more from your trip! :)

Carla from The River said...

Hi Judy,
Post as many of your trip as you can. I love traveling this way. :-) I do think homeschooling would be great fun on a boat. Have you ever read Three Men in a Boat?

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

I enjoyed your post today with the gorgeous picture of the church, and the verse you chose. And this is a delightful post, I hope you continue to share as much as you can about your trip, I love learning through the eyes of you and your camera :) I had no idea that many people lived on narrow boats. I imagine it must be quite an amazing lifestyle. Great pictures that you shared!

podso said...

I'm always fascinated by canal boats and those who live on them. These remind me of the canal boats in Amsterdam but seem more colorful. There was one that was famous for the many cats that lived on it. But that was years ago ...


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