Tag Archives: Cheshunt

A Railway Rant

24 Sep

I suspect you’ll have heard me talking trains before. Fact is, when you live on the water, they are never very far away and the tracks often run parallel. They actually cross the river at Kecksy’s Bridge, near to my winter mooring.

I’ve no axe to grind with them really – before today that is – I like to see them slice through the countryside, I like to ride on them and I even like some of the sounds they make.

In truth, it’s not the trains that have wound me up today but the level crossings… 010And probably not even them, more the people that operate them or, in all probability it comes down to the dreaded Health and Safety Rules.

This was one of the 10 trains that held me up for 20 minutes this afternoon in sunny Cheshunt. I kid you not – 20 minutes during which the barrier didn’t lift once.  That’s an extraordinarily long time when you are static.

And I thought Roydon was bad.

It’s not like it was a train every two minutes… no it was two or three together then a stonking great long wait. This happened a few times and each time you get to thinking ‘Right, now the barriers will lift’ but no, another brain numbing 3 or 4 minute break before the next sighting.

They even keep you behind bars while the train is stationary in the station.009 Could this be the origin of the word stationary?

So tell me, why can’t they let a few cars/pedestrians/cyclists through while people embark/disembark? This would ease the congestion I’m sure. There were huge tailbacks both sides as you might imagine.

Is it a little man in a uniform exercising his power, having a laugh at the poor, frustrated motorist – already penalised, picked on and punished till their ears bleed. That same motorist. who was by now largely out of their vehicle, stretching their legs, leaning on the barriers looking up and down the track and actually talking amongst themselves.

I have to say that there was no real impatience or rowdy behaviour, as you might expect in this situation, but rather it was a sort of get together. Maybe this is the way that Cheshuntonians socialise – never mind the pub, café or market place, let’s all go down to the station at 4 o’clock and hang around the level crossing. A kind of enforced, non-negotiable break from the daily grind. Got to be good for twenty minutes or so…

It’s quite interesting to see how high the tolerance of the pedestrian is too. They seem to hang around for so long (and notably longer still if they have a bike/pushchair to haul across) before they give in and trudge up the metal stairway to get to the other side.

We are all fond of knocking the ridiculous health and safety malarkey, and no wonder, but I would go so far as to say that it is having the reverse effect. I can fully understand that, in this situation, why folk might dodge around the barriers and run across the track (often with tragic consequences) or hit the throttle and try to beat the barriers when the red light starts to flash.

But tell you what…

The little man in the office didn’t half get those barriers up quick smart when he saw me snapping away with the old camera.


Maybe I look like a local journo, looking for the next opportunity to slag off the railway?

I sure I don’t know.

Pleasant in Cheshunt

16 Sep

BB has moved home again.

But before BB leaves BB, if you follow my drift, here are some shots from the other weekend when John’s no. 1 son came to play.

Like father…003 like son… 002Will these gates ever open…?005And I think Hobo has another fan…IMG_20130826_180323 (2)Roof’s looking good don’t you think…?

We admire this pair…013And like the look of this almost tropical river garden… 014And John covets this aluminium canoe…017

After a very happy month (really – a month?) in Broxbourne, Hobo has taken us further downstream to Cheshunt and pastures new. A new stretch of water for Hobo and towpath for me, new neighbours, new views from the window,  new roads/pubs/shops to discover and a new mooring for the car. The emphasis, you may have noticed, on new.

That, for me, is the beauty of the continuous cruise (albeit limited to the River Lea for now). Call me a gypsy but the prospect of learning and making home of ever-changing surroundings is a joy;  constant stimulation and a true antidote to boredom and stagnation. And, of course, a source of inspiration and ammunition for this blog.

We did some river shopping on the way…002

BB negotiates a deal for a sack of coal – fire season being here once more – and establishes his round for future reference, just about managing to ignore the mess it makes on the newly painted roof…001

What a wonderfully civilised way to do one’s shopping eh? Bye for now then…006But not for long as we share a lock further on… 008Where John could drool over the Lister JP2 engine, which does sound rather good..009

So, my new spot…


Because I have to remain mobile, land-wise, we usually start by finding  safe and convenient parking for Hobo’s car. Turns out that this neck of the woods is just about perfect for this; Lea Valley Park running alongside the river from Waltham Abbey all the way up to Ware. Not only is this a marvellous place to walk and cycle but it also provides vast, free car parking space adjacent to the towpath. And comes complete with a WC,

A café…004 even an ice-cream boat…003

Spot on then.

There’s been loads-a-money thrown at this area – just a mile’s walk away is the Lea Valley White Water Centre, which we duly investigated during the gale-force winds and biting cold of yesterday. We concluded it was a good facility, albeit in a structured/health and safety conscious sort of way. You know how it goes – stay away from the edge, keep behind the fence, no swimming and so on – 2 out of the three which we totally ignored, it being rather too cold for taking a dip…

Didn’t seem to put these partakers off though…002003014015See the girl up front, hanging on to the sides and no paddling to do?016 Well that would have to be me. John though would prefer the wild ways of the river itself, with all its unpredictability, danger and especially the lack of that annoying coach chappie, constantly shouting instruction to pump up his charges. Horses for courses. Or canoes. Whatever..

So, back to the immediate neighbourhood. This is what I see from the boat, looking across the towpath…002I’m surrounded by water… 005

And these are some of the locals…006 007I’m liking it here already.