There was a happy start to the day with a visit from the family bearing croissants and the Sunday Times. Ralph was brave enough to inspect the engine for the first time and it was sunny enough to have the hatch open for him to look out.
When they left we went off for a walk. On one side we have the West Herts Golf Course leading to Whippendell Woods and Horrocks Woods and on the other side Cassiobury Park and Nature Reserve. So its possible to walk for hours through beautiful surroundings and we were lucky enough to live very near for over thirty years. The little train that we used to take our children on when they were little still runs in the park and was chugging around with a full load today. We used to like to walk through the woods to the Clarendon Arms where everyone with children sat outside on the grass on a sunny weekend lunchtime. Alan and a friend once hopped all the way back on a mad impulse! Now the Clarendon Arms has been done up into a very smart dining pub so there isn’t the same lure to walk over in the afternoon.
Cassiobury Park was once the estate of the very grand Cassiobury House where the Earls of Essex lived for 250 years. The family ceased to use the house and eventually it was demolished in 1927 and the parkland was purchased by the Watford Council. As a result its a beautifully landscaped park with lovely views and avenues of trees, with the canal and River Gade running along one edge.
Just behind the permanent moorings opposite are the former watercress beds, now disused but which we remember being in use when we first lived here. Now it is a pleasant open area of shallow water and there were a number of gulls and a little egret.
We want on along the river at the edge of the park, over the canal and along the Lime Avenue through the West Herts Golf course which looked exceptionally attractive with the greens surrounded by the woods and all the colours glowing in the sunshine. The greens were so immaculately manicured that they looked like pile carpet. What it lacked was golfers: maybe they were banished while the greens were frozen. Usually you have to look carefully to make sure that you aren’t going to be knocked out by a gold ball. Then it was on round the edge of the golf course and down to Rousebarn Lane, before taking the steep little road that leads over to Gadebank next to our mooring. Near the summit we spotted a muntjac deer scrambling through the fence and watched it racing across the field.
Statistics so far:-
2141.60 Miles, 1209 Locks, 120 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 36 Tunnels