Canals are a tremendous way to see London from a different angle: usually from the back rather than the front. They weave their way through the suburbs, brushing up against parks and providing cheerful locales where congregations drink, eat and sell goods. Such activities depend upon the prevailing perspective. Camden Lock provides a bohemian haven, with beads and ethnic stalls (if you define Chinese entrepreneurs selling rude T-shirts as such). Little Venice is a pleasant and rather sterile pool, where grand houses and fine restaurants offer a more sedate view. Or you can prefer the poorer and forgotten paths of Mile End and Victoria Park: that becomes the route of joggers and cyclists.
All of these feature along the Regents Canal and provide a taster for what London has to offer. There are certain points that I would like to come back to: especially the houseboat bookstall.
Yet, the cleanliness of the canal does appear to depend upon the boroughs. To the east, clear stretches are punctuated by dross; to the west, its finery is more apparent: look closely and the scum is floating out of sight (in the Paddington basin).
It is a good walk for a short winter day: a modest counterbalst to the Lea Navigation: and opening up the Grand Union. The sequel beckons: oh to be in Brentford now that winter's here....