The Retirees go Abroad – London in July – Paddington Canal and Little Venice

Buckingham Palace only opens to the public two months of the year and we can hardly say we have been to London unless we have been to see the Queen. We have timed our visit so that it is after Greg’s visit and before we go to Edinburgh which means we are in the early period of the summer school holidays. Expecting that traffic will be hectic, we have planned to leave Thistle at Potters Bar Rail Station and travel into London by train.

The traffic on the M1 was as expected and we made Potters Bar within 3 hours instead of the two hours determined by Tommy. Fortunately we got a train to London almost immediately but where we thought we were going to Kings Cross St Pancras Station we ended up at Moorgate. No worries it is on the Circle Tube Line so we make our way over to Bayswater, but all this adds another hour to our travel. Next time we will look for parking at Cockfosters Tube Station and cut out one change.

Our hotel is “close to the Tube”. It is if you can walk through walls. Due to the road layout a two minute walk turns into a 7 minute walk. Oh well, that life!


All this “travel” and a very delayed lunch through our order being lost leads Kerry to want to rest before doing any exploring so I go off on my own. Up Inverness Tce to Porchester Sq to Westbourne Green across country to Delamere Tce and I find myself in Little Venice on the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal. Here is evidence of London’s industrial past and the continued use of canals even in this big city for recreation. So I walk the canal through Paddinton to St. Mary’s Hospital where it ends in a new high rise development.

On the way I met a family of ducks so used to pedestrians that they pose for my photo.Then I meet a 2nd family followed by a coot family with its nest on the rudder of a canal boat.

Along the tow path I also encounter a variety of canal boats some obviously well used and some obviously abused. At Paddington rail station there is a new development incorporating the canal and around by St Mary’s there is that new high rise development I mentioned. By the way note the footbridge across the canal that is in segments raising up for water borne traffic.

I then walk back along Praed St into Bishopsgate Bridge St and finally into Inverness Tce where I encounter a beehive in a backyard and a bust of George Kastriot Skanderbeg (1405 – 17 January 1468), a 15th-century Albanian nobleman on a street corner.

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Very strange so I did some research as to why he is important and why his bust is here. My research discovered that because of Skanderbeg’s military skills he and his little Kingdom presented a major obstacle to Ottoman expansion, and he was considered by many in Western Europe to be a model of Christian resistance against the Ottoman Muslims.

He was admired for defending the region of Albania against the Ottoman Empire for 25 years, however he did not gain support in the Ottoman-controlled south of Albania or Venetian-controlled north of Albania

The London Evening Standard reported that “The bust (of Skanderbeg) was inaugurated at Inverness Terrace in Bayswater to mark the 100th anniversary of Albanian independence as police halted traffic and Albanians gathered to cheer.” There you go.

By the time I got back Kerry was rearing to go and I was weary from a long walk but off we went to see what I had found.

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.