We've spent the past week down on the River Lea. It's not a river I'd rush back to as it's incredibly difficult to find moorings. All of the visitor moorings are taken up by continuous moorers who moor two and three deep and shuffle about every 7 days or so, in their attempt to beat the mooring restrictions. It's also extremely weedy although these guys were trying hard to keep it under control.
This is what happens when the weed takes hold. It's an unused lock and the weed is at least a foot high.
When we came back up onto the Regents Canal yesterday we didn't expect to get into Paddington Basin but we timed it right and managed to bag the last two vacant spots. Some of the moored boats were here when we had our abortive attempt to moor in the basin over a week ago. Roger spoke to one lady on a boat who admitted that she'd overstayed by several days, as had the boat she was travelling with. She knew she'd been "clocked" by CRT last Monday so was going to move round the corner for a while before coming back for another 10 days.
Today we took the train and went to Richmond for lunch before heading back one train stop to Kew Gardens. We've never been before and I'd really recommend it if you're looking for something to do in London. I took hundreds of photos, here are a few. I'm still having problems with black spots in my photos but Roger's on the case and is hoping to fix it soon.
This is the Tropical House
The tallest banana tree I've ever seen. When we've seen banana plantations on holiday they've been quite short trees, presumably so the bananas are easier to pick. This one must have been 20 feet tall.
Beetal nuts, used as a narcotic
Black pepper tree
Ginger plant, we eat the roots
and my favourite - cacao pods, the seed of which make CHOCOLATE
All of the flower beds were immaculate and the grass was so neatly trimmed it looked artificial.
This was the cactus house
They had many different species of Aloe plant, although they only had one small Aloe Vera specimen which a sign told us is now almost extinct in the wild. It is heavily farmed for its medicinal properties but Kew are trying to arrange Crowd Funding for a project to reintroduce it into the wild.
For the hardened drinkers among you, here is the blue Agave plant that is used to make Tequilla
I'm glad these water lilies aren't native to the British canals and rivers! To give you some idea of their size, the white "spot" on the pad at the bottom of the photo is a 50 pence piece.
After walking all around the gardens we finished off our visit by climbing up onto the Tree Top Walk.
It's certainly a different view of the arboretum and we also saw lots of parakeets flying about. You can hear them calling to each other but because they're green you don't see them until they take to the wing.
That's all for now, please come back soon for another installment of our visit to London.