Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Monday, 22 August 2016

Mystery in Mile End Park

Cycling along the Regent's Canal, one gets used to the narrowboats moored alongside, and they seem to be more numerous than ever this summer. Mostly they look almost as purely functional as they did in their cargo-carrying heyday, even if their interiors might be well and truly spruced up as mobile homes with all mod. con. Some are clearly only being used as temporary, rough-and-ready or even downright scruffy boltholes for the knit-your-own-bicycle artistic set. I've seen the odd mobile café and bookshop as well.

They all look ready to move, as indeed they mostly must: "home moorings" aren't that common and are expensively over-subscribed, and only a maximum stay of 14 days is allowed anywhere else.

But then one day there was this - a complete garden occuping every square inch of roof and the minimal decking. Not, you might think, the most easily moved. Canals may not be prone to massive waves and washes, with a maximum permitted speed of 4mph, but it would only take a small bump in a lock or a sharpish turn to topple over a few pots and statuettes.

Nevertheless, a few days later, it had gone, or at least, none of the boats on view had anything like this degree of decoration. If they put all this lot inside, there wouldn't be much room for anything or anyone else: so where did it all go?

Click to enlarge