I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Friday, 5 September 2014

Brentford Visitor Moorings (Grand Union) – Thursday 4th September

A nice bright morning so we were up and away quite early – well for us anyway!  We said goodbye to Packet Boat Marina and headed to the Grand Union and Tesco – a grand total of 0.27 miles!  We left Muffin on the boat on his own and we could still hear him barking as we went in the store doors!  He was still barking when we got back to the boat but there were two dogs outside who were annoying him.  I spoke to a couple who had been sitting close by and they said that he had been quiet until the dogs appeared.  Hopefully he is improving however he chewed the USB extension lead which hangs in the window from the aerial on the roof to the mi-fi unit – so he had been on the table then!!

Bulls Bridge Junction
We went past Bulls Bridge Junction and onto new waters for us.  It was a nice cruise down to Hanwell top lock.  We haven’t done this part of the canal before and were pleasantly surprised at how green it is.  There were some industrial units but mainly it was green and nice with quite a bit of open land.
House boat with French doors leading out onto the water!
Nice roof garden!
After the second lock we started to see a police presence and wondered what was going on – it wasn’t long before we were approached by a policeman and it seems that a 14 year old girl has gone missing and was last seen by the canal in the area.  Alice Gross has been missing for a week and on Tuesday they found her rucksack in the bushes along the towpath.  There are divers searching and there is talk of draining the canal tomorrow to get a better look.  It must be such a worrying time for Alice’s parents and sister – I do hope they find her soon.

Police divers - not in wet suits
News reporter and camerawoman
The canal runs along the side of the old St. Bernard’s hospital.  When I was a police officer at Heathrow in the mid-1970s we used to get a lot of mentally ill people who were attracted to the airport and I have been to St. Bernards many times to drop them off.  It has had a long history being built for the pauper insane in 1831 and was known as the Hanwell Insane Asylum, and Hanwell Pauper and Lunatic Asylum. In the mid-1970s a UK Government trial was announced to try to reduce the stigma of psychiatric hospitals, at anwell a new district general hospital was built in the grounds of the former asylum. The whole site then being named Ealing Hospital and comprising two wings: the General Wing and for the psychiatric hospital "Ealing Hospital, St. Bernard's Wing". The 'wing' being larger both in physical size and inpatient beds than the main hospital with over 3,000.  So I guess when I used to go there it was only just known as St. Bernards.  In 1992 half the asylum site was sold and converted into a housing estate - £4m was a figure being mentioned at the time for the sale but this must be considered as unsubstantiated gossip rather than fact!!  The current hospital has decided that the asylum buildings can no longer be refurbished in such a way as to support a modern hospital. Plans are to sell of the remainder of the asylum buildings so that they can join the rest as refurbished private housing.  I don’t somehow think I will be buying an apartment there!

St. Bernards

From the bottom lock it was only 2 more locks to the Brentford visitor moorings.  Richard dropped me off before the A4 flyover and I walked up to see if there was any room.  A boat was just pulling out so I phoned Richard and told him to get down quickly before anyone else came along!  Of course the space was too short but fortunately the boat in front could be moved up a ring to make room – there was no one on board so we moved it for him.  Richard saw the guy later who was fine with us moving his boat and said that he thought that he hadn’t left it in the new place!

9.16 miles
10 locks


  1. Hi, Lola (2yr old jet/border collie cross) hates been left, lots of separation anxiety but a kong works for us, I fill it with dried cat nibbles ( but anything Muffin is keen on will do) & top it off with a dollop of peanut butter pushed in a bit to make it just a bit harder to get at ;) We give her it then leave asap, works like a charm, when we get back she is usually laid on our bed which is not allowed normally but we make allowances :)

    1. Hi Julia and Mark. Thank you for your suggestion. We left Muffin last night with a Kong as suggested but apparently he had barked all evening and the Kong was untouched! Back to the drawing board.