Moving on to Ashwell, last stop this year….

Another wet night, but thankfully mostly dry day as we de-camped and set off down the A1 to our final destination this year – Ashwell a little village just north of Baldock in Hertfordshire. The journey was just shy of 100 miles, but quite eventless as we followed the A1 all the way. A bit busier being a working day but we are happy to trundle along with all the lorries at about 55 mph. Within a couple of hours we arrived and were soon set up on this cozy quiet little site.

In due course we set off for a walk to explore our surroundings and though there are plenty of footpaths around through the surrounding countryside we decided to wander around the village instead. What a pretty village it is…

It looks like it is essential to own a Chelsea Tractor if you live here – who knew?

We spent the next couple of days packing up and settling down the caravan for it’s winter sojourn as we shall be leaving it here until mid January.

Just bimbling around Hunton Bridge…..

Well we haven’t been idle for these past few days, still wandering around, finding bits of countryside, where we can and marvelling at how all the villages have almost merged into one big sprawl, factories and hospitals have been turned into fashionable apartments and traffic – well don’t get me started on that!

Some highs of our week:

A random ‘Triffid’ of a tree in Leavesden Country Park (formerly hospital grounds).

A wood carving and the footpath.

Abbots Langley village – mostly unchanged and looking quite handsome, though now serving a vastly greater population.

The Grove, perched up above the surrounding immaculate golf course and the canal.

St Paul’s Church still sitting pretty at Langlebury, though now squashed beside a very busy intersection.

A deer, calmly grazing in a field, deep in a valley on the way to Bucks Hill that has so far avoided the urban sprawl, with the M25 a distant rumble.

The edge of Chipperfield Common.

We also managed a quick trip back up to the Wirral to visit family catching Hoylake with it’s Christmas lights and a beach run in the rain for Poppydog!

Two thoughts of the day:

I am loving this opportunity to catch up with some very dear friends who I have not seen for ages – we have talked and then some!

I am enjoying my stay here but shall be quite content to go back on living in my ‘bubble’!

A couple of damp miserable days in Hertfordshire…..

Well we haven’t got any of the wildness, just a tad miserable, still as any dog walker knows ‘life doesn’t stop for a bit of wet stuff!’ Yesterday we returned to the canal and this time walked northwards towards Watford, sheltering from a particularly harsh bit of rain under Hunton Bridge.

This is a quieter section of the canal, still within earshot of traffic noise but mostly surrounded by parkland or farmland.

As per, nobody about (they are all in their cars driving aimlessly around!), mindyou it is raining!

We walked by Grove Mill, now trendy houses, nestling in the trees.

And soon we were in Cassiobury Park, a large area of open parkland and woodland. We opted for the woodland walk to give Poppydog a good run around off lead with the trees affording a bit of shelter from the rain.

Before returning to the canal and embarking on the home run!

A pleasant albeit damp 8 mile stroll.

Today, just a relatively short 4 mile walk, with a couple of good ‘off roading’ opportunities for Poppydog. I was curious to wander around the area that used to be Leavesden Aerodrome but is now a village as well as the site for Warner Bros. studios and the Harry Potter Tour.

Ending up at Gypsy Lane for a nice tranquil walk back home.

As we know Poppydog likes to look at the window, well she was having to tippy toe on her hind legs, until Dad came up with this idea !💡 She is now one happy hound!

Two thoughts of the day:

When I see all the new builds and that most have atleast two cars, I can begin to comprehend where all this extra traffic comes from!!

Why oh why do the little ‘Oiks’ think it is cool to graffiti every signpost and bridge along the canal banks with their ‘streetname’ (clever huh?) or something incomprehensible? My favourite will always be ‘Give Peas a Chance’ on a bridge crossing the M25 just near here!

After a horrible journey we are now ‘daan sowf’….

Yesterday we took the caravan up to just outside Blackpool for it’s winter sojourn and we headed down to stay with my Dad for a few weeks in Hertfordshire. We always try to travel on a Sunday as there is usually less traffic but…. where are they all going? The M6 was either stationary or rambling along between 30 and 40 mph all 6 or 8 lanes of it – why and where? And the M1 wasn’t a whole heap better! A 4 hour journey easily turned into a 6 hour one – my saving grace? One, Poppydog was brilliant and two, dinner was on the table when we finally rocked up just before 9pm!

Still today is another day and in fact a jolly nice one too! So off we went for a walk along the canal, only half a mile from home and we are on the towpath at Hunton Bridge heading north.

Under Hunton Bridge looking south.

It is very tranquil down here, though you can never quite escape the sound of traffic, trains and construction, you can manage to zone them out and concentrate on the birds, trees and occasional passing narrow boat.

As we arrived into the built up area surrounding Kings Langley, this rather novel longboat cockpit is quite a feature, don’t you think?

This is how I imagine narrow boats to be – pretty and clearly loved.

But to be honest many of them look well in need of some serious TLC if not outright scrapping and why oh why do they keep so muck junk? This one on the left was rotten, with much peeling paint and piles of junk left rotting on the roof, whereas the one on the right was beautifully painted and tidy.

Apsley Mill was a very trendy looking little marina, where houseboat living is probably combined with a daily commute to the city!

We stopped for refreshments at the Sunnyside Cafe before reaching our destination of Hemel Hempstead – well you can just make out the iconic Kodak House across the green.

On the way back we took time to watch a couple of boats passing through a lock and take a closer look at this shiny beauty!

Much of this canal side has been attractively regenerated over the years on sites that would previously have housed large factories or mills.

A very pleasant 10 mile round trip – we will sleep soundly tonight!

Two thoughts of the day:

Maybe after our round coast trip we should explore the middle of the country by narrow boat?

I still cannot comprehend the amount of traffic we experienced yesterday – I guess we have been living the good life in Cornwall for the past 13 years and more recently traveling around the more remote coastline and had just not realised how much busier it has become!!