Friday, 19 February 2010

Brentford - catch it while you can

After exploring the alleys and back ways of Brentford by the river the other day, it occured to me how much change I've seen in the fifteen years I've lived here. I can't claim to predate the flats on the the Brentford dock estate (60s, built on the site of the railway/Thames interchange yard), but the picture above is of what is now the Ferry Lane estate, once the site had been cleared. The visible building housed Peerless Pumps in the past, is now a restaurant (although I'm not sure if that's still a going concern). In the nearly-canalside Brewery Tap pub (pool table, dogs welcome, folk & blues most evenings) there's an amazing overhead photo of Brentford from around the 1920s, which rewards careful examination - and now all that's left of Brentford's heyday is a little light industry on the south side of the High Street, long since earmarked (and indeed mostly bought up) for unnecessary redevelopment. Nothing wil happen of course until the developers think they'll get the most money out of it.

Now, they're discussing Brentford Lock West, i.e. the towpath side of the basin, where the visitor moorings and last remaining transhipment shed are. It'll be interesting to see how this affects the (very well used, as in nearly always full) visitor moorings, as canal boats sometimes seem to be the last thing people who buy canalside flats want to see.

On slightly more optimistic news, The Six Bells, the pub just to the east of the high street canal bridge has reopened after being closed for a few months, it's original 40s interior replaced by a fairly generic 'traditional' pub look. Haven't been in yet so can't comment on it personally (i.e. noisiness/telly, wifi, dog friendliness), but it's a Fuller's pub, so that's a start...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

wood & light

A tip off from Neil in the pub on Friday night lead to a largely sunny trip down the Slough Arm on Saturday - they'd been cutting back (in some cases removing entirely) some of the trees overhanging the canal, leaving neat piles of logs awaiting passing boaters - of which of course there are very few on the arm. I loaded up with a few of the thinner bits, and carried them home proudly. Sunday's car boot sale prduced an electric reciprocating saw; but even after buying a 3tpi coarse blade, my circular saw proved more efficient at cutting it all up into short logs to go straight on the stove. It burns quite nicely, for green wood - gently and slowly, which suits me fine. I could leave it for a year, but where's the fun in that? ;-)

Meanwhile the car boot also yielded this Ikea light fitting - I wouldn't have paid £18 for it, but for one ninth of that it was worth trying; halogen bulb swapped out for an LED one and transformer cut off, it's more or less what I've been looking for; a downlight for the dinette table, but will also point almost anywhere in the boat (on the stove, or inside the kitchen cupboards I'm slowly building, even a reading light for in bed).