Sunday, 23rd April.
Our Battle Wagon has done us proud for a long time, but it is now time to retire her and send her to the great buggy paradise in the sky. But, before this could happen, we had to take her on one last trip.
After lunch, we took a stroll into Watford, to get a few items for home. We then headed to Pets at Home, to show Erin and Keilyn the rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, fish, snakes, etc., before deciding to make our way home. Erin was bored with being cooped up in the Battle Wagon and was demanding to be released, so that she could walk home. This was a great idea as the weight of the two girls, plus the shopping, really put a strain on the Battle Wagon, which we had abused for so long. So, we headed towards Oxhey Park and the River Colne, where it was safer for Erin to run around. With Erin running alongside the river, we followed the path to Wiggenhall Road, where we crossed onto the Riverside Recreation Ground, still following the river, until we reached Riverside Park.
Erin proceeded to enter the park and have a ride on the swings, clambered over the climbing frames and down the slides. She did this many times, before we decided it was time to head off.
Leaving the park, we joined the Ebury Way Cycle Path, heading in the direction of home. The last time that I had been on this particular piece of the Ebury Way, it had been a torrent of water due to the River Colne bursting its banks, having been swollen by the flood waters. Luckily, the ground had dried considerably, allowing the Battle Wagon to make its way unhindered, except for the odd mud puddle. With Emma pushing the Battle Wagon, Erin and I decided to head off into the undergrowth, beside the old railway line, to see how the renovation of the line was progressing. It is due to be reopened in 2017 , as part of the Croxley Rail Link. It appears to be progressing well, with a most of the line cleared and the trees and shrubs, which had spread like wildfire, being cut right back. Getting as far as we could, we turned round and headed back to Emma and Keilyn.
With the Lairage Land Nature Reserve to our right and allotments to our left, we continued on our merry way until I spotted one an old ceramic insulator ‘pot’ in the undergrowth. These insulator ‘pots’ usually hold up the third rail and, when railway lines are ripped up, are normally just left smashed by the side of the line. The Ebury Way is built on an old railway line that used to run from Rickmansworth to Watford, but fell into disuse many years ago. Eventually the cycle route was put through and it is now a busy thoroughfare. Sometimes, as now, you can find a complete one, but they are rare. So I grabbed a photo. No sooner had I done this than I noticed another insulator ‘pot’, which was made of glass. Having never seen one before, I took a photo, before picking it up to study. Sure enough it was an insulator ‘pot’ and it was made of glass. So, carefully, I placed it under the Battle Wagon, much to its consternation, before we continued on our way.
We then began to notice that the Lairage Land Nature Reserve was still slightly flooded, but not as much as the area around the Electricity Transmission Station and the surrounding fields, which make up the River Colne floodplain, to our left. As we crossed the river we could see swans, swimming in the middle of the cricket pitch, while the old ‘Pill Box’ looked to be on an island, all of its own.
With us being minutes from home and Erin’s legs starting to flag, I decided to put her on my shoulders. Putting her in the Battle Wagon didn’t seem right, plus, although we were now on tarmac, the extra weight makes it creak and protest. Typically, on arriving home, Keilyn had decided to fall asleep, so we left her wrapped up in the Battle Wagon, while we decanted the shopping and my ‘new’ garden ornament, namely the glass insulator ‘pot’, and proceeded inside for a well deserved coffee.
I then spent a good half hour Googling Glass Insulator Pots, finding only one image that resembled the one that now sat in my garden. A little more research led me to discover that they were an ‘experimental’ insulator pot, manufactured for a short time in 1934. Not many were produced, adding to their rarity, and they were predominantly used in the south of England.