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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014 – Day 1

Posted by indigodream on 15 April, 2014

Limehouse to Paddington

Friday 4th April

And we're off - the first lock of the day and the crew are learning the ropes...

And we’re off – the first lock of the day and the crew are learning the ropes…

Richard came up to the boat in the afternoon to move her from the wall onto the 24-hour visitor pontoon near the lock – he also got on with the usual start-of-trip chores, like getting a pump-out, filling the water bottles and giving the boat a polish – well, one side anyway. He was using a new to us Carnauba wax polish from Craftmaster – he was impressed by the shine and so was I. Indigo Dream’s paintwork has never been more than a molecule thick, but although she’s looking a bit tired after almost 8 years’ exposure to the elements, she came up a deep lustrous blue – lovely! Of course, we may consider a repaint soon – what we’re saving in mooring fees should just about cover it!

I turned up at 8pm with the dogs and some groceries – not that we needed much, we were due to have a large crew on board for the first day of the odyssey and they were bringing their own supplies! We were settling in for the night when we had a lovely visitor – marina manager Robyn and her smart dog Mr Biggles. She’s called in to say goodbye – she stayed for a glass of wine and we all expressed our regret that Indigo Dream was on the move. Robin’s been a good manager and a kind neighbour while we’ve been at the marina and it made me realise just how much I’d miss the community here.

I should mention that this weekend’s Indigo Dreamers were Ollie, Archie and Henry – Ty was having an extended holiday with Sarah as boating through London with a large crew would have been very stressful for him. The houndie crew cordially welcomed Mr Biggles on board – this was a great improvement – Mr B would never venture into the cabin when Lou was around! Typically, Robyn said that she would really miss the greyhounds – she’s really admired what we’ve done for greyhound rescue. We were amazed – we’ve done little enough, though the dog blogs have certainly brought the breed to life for many readers :-)

We were a bit worried this evening – we think that Ollie, who has recently reached the grand age of 11, is starting to lose his night vision and is very tentative about stepping on/off the boat at dusk/dark; boating is also a bit of a challenge for his achy muscles (legacy from having been starved/neglected all those years ago). We’ll see how he goes, but if Ty and Ollie decide to eschew a boating life then I’m assured that Sarah’s Beanz clan will always be ready to step on board :-)

Saturday 5th April

nb Cole (formerly the floating cinema) was a fine locking companion - it was fun doing a crew count at every lock - Cole had to have 12, we had to have 8!

nb Cole (formerly the floating cinema) was a fine locking companion – it was fun doing a crew count at every lock – Cole had to have 12, we had to have 8!

Indigo Dream had a grand send-off this morning. First we were joined on the pontoon by nb Cole (formerly a floating cinema and now a fine trip boat) and her excellent skipper Hazel and crewman – oh, I didn’t write his name down when we were introduced and as he was so quietly competent in the background all day I never thought to ask his name again. We also welcomed a team of Polish builders on board – 20 in all – we met their boss in dog-training class many years ago, and his team have been busy renovating Richard’s office over the last couple of months. This is why we needed two boats for today’s trip. The builders were loud and excited; this state continued throughout the day as their vocal cords were lubricated by the ample supplies of beer and wine they brought with them :-) We also welcomed Karolina, one of Richard’s Engineers who came to be our translator, helper and general enforcer- she’s done a lot of boating with us and is a great crew lady.

Archie and Henry tarted up to the builders during the shore-based safety briefing and had an outrageous amount of fuss. In fact, they had the perfect day – for Archie, it’s was if the crowds in London had come to the canal for the sole purpose of admiring him – he accepted their adulation with aplomb; for Henry, a boatful of poorly supervised food was paradise :-)

Before we left we had another surprise visitor, the genial irishman who we’ll always know as Mr Pentargon (after his boat) – this was another fond farewell as he’s taking Pentargon out of the water for a few months so we won’t be seeing him on the cut over the Summer.

It was a busy day but the weather was lovely and Indigo Dream can find her own out of London. But although the canal has a timeless quality, the towpath and surroundings are restless, forming and reforming as buildings are demolished, rebuilt, demolished, developed; canalside cafes seemed to pop out of every hold in the wall, and the innumerable walkers and cyclists ensured that they’d stay in business – for today, at least….

Camden is perfect for a superstar Archie - the railings keep him safe from being mobbed but allow him just enough access to his adoring fans :-)

Camden is perfect for a superstar Archie – the railings keep him safe from being mobbed but allow him just enough access to his adoring fans :-)

Cruising with nb Cole was a great experience – Hazel being a considerate and competent locking partner, as you might expect. I drove the boat, Richard supervised the locking parties, Archie and Henry tarted up the towpath, Ollie snoozed and the Polish builders drank beer and sang songs (public singing being something that we reserved Brits don’t do enough of!). We found a mooring for lunch and I got Indigo Dream organised as a walk-through buffet (using the food that our guests had brought with them) – this is where the open-plan design comes into its own.

Locks and stops were always fun as we had to redistribute the crew at each one to make sure that Hazel only had 12 guests and we had 8 – this meant a really convivial mixing of the group as people swapped between boats.

We met yet more friends at St Pancras lock; then we passed by our old friend Leonie on nb Donella – everyone had a kind word for us – news of our leaving Limehouse has really spread – though it was such a last minute decision it still felt like news to us!

The next surprise was arriving in Paddington – it wasn’t just the canal that is timeless, it felt as if the whole clock had stopped – it was hard to believe that we’d arrived at our destination. It was late afternoon and a golden time to arrive. As we cruised down the basin, a boat popped out of a mooring right by the new entrance to the station. It was too good an opportunity to miss! We moored up and nb Cole carried on down the basin where they found a pontoon mooring. Our guests bid us an affectionate farewell – they’d had a most enjoyable day.

Richard packed the boat up while I made my way back to Limehouse to collect my car – I’m always amazed that it’s only 7 miles from Limehouse to Paddington by road.

We were soon on our way home – we were staying at home on Sunday because we were doing another infamous hound-swap – Ty would be coming home while Archie and Henry would go to their home. We have an unprecedented situation for the next 10 days – Sarah’s hounds would be at her house and our hounds would be at ours – we’ve been swapping hounds since January and it seemed very strange! It’s not for long though, we’ll soon have the Beanz clan (Henry, Archie and Herbie) back for a month…

Photoblog:

A few of the crew had a go at steering but I took over when they joined the choir at the front of the boat....

A few of the crew had a go at steering but I took over when they joined the choir at the front of the boat….

London was jam-packed today - the boats got a lot of interest..

London was jam-packed today – the boats got a lot of interest..

City Road lock was occupied, as were the lock moorings and not by the community boat! This is not unusual in London nowadays. However, good came of it because we had a bimble down City Road Basin. This would be lovely spot for a few proper visitor moorings (say 48 hours)..

City Road lock was occupied, as were the lock moorings and not by the community boat! This is not unusual in London nowadays. However, good came of it because we had a bimble down City Road Basin. This would be lovely spot for a few proper visitor moorings (say 48 hours)..

Terrapins - unusual for them to pose for a photo...

Terrapins – unusual for them to pose for a photo… and look now three – we had only seen one before

Always new things to see...

Always new things to see…

Camden Lock is Archie's place - even Ols and Henry managed a little tarting thoug Henry would rather blag fast food than fuss :-D

Camden Lock is Archie’s place – even Ols and Henry managed a little tarting thoug Henry would rather blag fast food than fuss :-D

Another cheap way to live in London?

Another cheap way to live in London?

More fast food blaggers at Camden - obviously they didn't approve of the competition from Henry Beanz...

More fast food blaggers at Camden – obviously they didn’t approve of the competition from Henry Beanz…

Paddington had an interesting selection of boats that seemed to be trading various wares - sadly by the time I got out to investigate most had closed but it must make the towpath pretty vibrant...

Paddington had an interesting selection of boats that seemed to be trading various wares – sadly by the time I got out to investigate most had closed but it must make the towpath pretty vibrant…

 

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Boat Blog: Goodbye to Limehouse…

Posted by indigodream on 11 April, 2014

Tuesday March 31st

Limehouse Basin shortly after we moved into our new berth in July 2010 :-)

Limehouse Basin shortly after we moved into our new berth in July 2010 :-)

And it is “Goodbye” not “au revoir” – today we have given up our mooring at Limehouse Basin and have become rootless vagabonds – for 6 months at least, after that, we’ll see….

Increasingly over the last year, we feel that BWML has been pursuing a policy of providing less service for more money – from a customer point of view, this is an untenable business model, but they obviously feel that there will be enough people interested in this offering to make it worthwhile. I emphasise that this is at a policy level, the local managers have always been very helpful.

It’s difficult to enumerate all our reasons for leaving, but here are some key points:

  • A Grade 2 mooring (non-residential) was “sold” to us (many years ago) as being allowed to stay up to four nights a week on board. On occasions we’ve needed this flexibility e.g. when joining early-morning convoys. The new rules state that we are not allowed any overnight stays  – but they assured us that we could move the boat to the towpath wall (not good for hounds) if ever we needed to stay over!
  • During the winter months (November to March), the proposal is that Grade 2 moorers may only access the marina if they have made prior arrangements with the marina office. When we applied for our key fob we automatically asked for 24/7 access but have no idea what we actually got!
  • All these terms would be enforceable by a new electronic key fob access by which the marina office could monitor your movements in and out of the marina. Security is a fine thing, but we feel that Big Brother (in the 1984 sense rather than prurient reality TV) is a step too far.
  • The mooring fees for new entrants are astounding – and are the same for all grades. Being an existing contract, we think we didn’t have to face a doubling of our mooring fees, but the Customer Service Manager could not be bothered to reply to our emails so we can’t be certain that our fees would not double at some point, the advertised 2% rise turned out to be a 5% rise , which was painful enough!
  • Standards of maintenance are slipping e.g. the handrails to the entrance ramp were badly corroded to the extent of being dangerous; after months of complaints and broken promises they were eventually replaced with a shoddy version which had large gaps through which a dog or child could have easily fallen into the water; despite repeated complaints, these were not made safe for several months (not until March, in fact). Unsafe is unsafe, but we might have been less upset if we’d only been paying tuppence ha’penny for the mooring! Oh and it is still a shoddy job even though as far as we can work out Limehouse is the most expensive marina on the canal system.
The start of the construction work to add mooring pontoons for the Olympics...

The start of the construction work to add mooring pontoons for the Olympics…

So, with our contract ending today, we’ve decided not to renew – Richard went up to Limehouse this afternoon to fill the water tank, give the boat a good wash and move her onto the wall as our odyssey was not due to start until the Saturday. We had considered paying the visitor mooring fee to stay on our berth for a few more days, but the fee is now £3.50 per metre per day – we’re 18 metres – you do the maths!

We are the third boat that we know of that has left following the recent correspondence from BWML. It looked like there were 20 or so vacant spots across the marina, granted some of them could be waiting for a boat to appear but we have never seen 9 vacant spots on our pontoon.

Our decision to move is not without sadness, we’ve always loved it at Limehouse, and although we’re not residential, we’ve always felt as if we’re part of the community tucked away on the “dog” pontoon with the other narrowboaters. We will miss our Limehouse friends and, indeed, our London friends – we’re planning to go north out of London this year – to Birmingham for the BCN Marathon Challenge for the end of May then who knows…..

In other news……

The wonders of social media: As if to remind us of the perils of mooring on the towpath, on Thursday night I got a message on Facebook from Amy of nb Willow alerting me to a photograph of Indigo Dream which had been posted on the “London Boater’s” wall. Indigo Dream’s bow was adrift and halfway across Limehouse Cut. In the meantime, another of our boating friends messaged me via Twitter to let me know. If I understand the timeline, the photo was posted at 7.30pm – Richard was up there before 9pm and Indigo Dream was saved :-) We had tied the front to one of those mysterious loops of rope that a previous boater had attached to the pilings (you see them all over the network) – that loop had frayed and broken – possibly yanked loose by a speedy passer-by – there were no signs of vandalism – phew! So, thanks to all those boaters who were kind enough to let us know that Indigo Dream was adrift – who know what might have happened if she’d ended up wedged across the cut! We did speculate whether this was the marina’s revenge – showing us how vulnerable we were outside the secure locked down world of the pontoons….:-)

A view across the "new" pontoons at Limehouse - gradually filling up with new moorers..

A view across the “new” pontoons at Limehouse – gradually filling up with moorers..

Charlie Flowers RIP: In February we had the shocking news that one of our Limehouse neighbours, Charlie Flowers, had been found dead in the water beneath his boat. We don’t know the circumstances of his death, but we assume it was accidental, as he had great zest for life. I didn’t know him well enough to write a eulogy, but I was immensely saddened by the news because he seemed to be such a kind man and a true soul of the waterways. He was always friendly and welcoming, in the most irreverent way, and our abiding memory is of Charlie spotting us from the towpath on the Regent’s canal and halting his journey home to lockwheel us down the last 5 locks or so. He was a dog lover and had an ancient arthritic GSD called Mully – another gentle soul of the waterway. I’m pleased to say that Mully, aged 12, has been adopted by an ex-Limehouse resident and has now moved to the West Country, where he’s apparently happy living the good life.

BSS: When we renewed our licence in January, CRT helpfully reminded us that out BSS was due – gosh that came round quickly! We asked Andrew Phasey to do the inspection again, he’s very thorough and if he’s done the inspection, you know your boat is safe :-) On this occasion, he was mentoring a new inspector, so the boat had an extra-thorough going over! She failed on a few small items, soon rectified, though one was something that’s been the same on the boat since she was built and never commented on before. So we’re now canal and river-worthy for another – hmm, three or four years, I can never remember….

I think that’s the catch-up done. The odyssey starts on Saturday 5th April – if all goes well, it will be a big one so it will be boating posts all the way; only joking, Henry and Archie Beanz have plans to join us a LOT over the summer – there will be dog blogs aplenty :-)

 

 

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Boat blog: Not Surrey either!

Posted by indigodream on 25 March, 2014

Actually Hammerfest, reputedly the northernmost town in the world. Surrey was covered in Spring blossom when we left, it’ll be a while before we see a flower up here :-)

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Boat blog: not the Indigo Dream….

Posted by indigodream on 25 March, 2014

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Boat Blog: Almost the Olympic Rings Trial (3)

Posted by indigodream on 22 March, 2014

Wednesday 19th March

The cruise between City Mills Lock and Old Ford Lock covered some very familiar ground, though between the Olympic, Crossrail and sundry other construction projects in the area, there’s something  new in the landscape every time we cruise. Nonetheless, the familiar waters gave us a chance to concentrate on refuelling the crew (we had enough fuel for the boat, though the cheap diesel at New Era is always a draw).

We were very excited when we arrived at Old Ford Lock and turned right into the Bow Back Rivers. Now we have cruised this way before – many times – but the last time we came here, the Olympic Stadium was just a round earth embankment! Need less to say, the waterway was barely recognisable and it is now properly dredged, not just a shallow dish in the middle. Unfortunately, you can’t cruise right round the Bow Back Rivers at the moment, there’s a Crossrail Coffer Dam in the way. We can only hope that this ring will open again once they’re done – it will make a charming ring cruise :-)

Before I move to the photos, I have to thank the St Pancras Cruising Club for allowing us to join them on this very special cruise – I can only hope that the convoy has persuaded the powers that be to allow boats back on the Bow Back Rivers…

Photoblog:

Turning into the Bow Bakc Rivers (well, the Old River Lea to be precise)..

Turning into the Bow Back Rivers (well, the Old River Lea to be precise)..

I'm not really a rebel but there was something deeply satisfying about cruising past these "no entry" signs :-)

I’m not really a rebel but there was something deeply satisfying about cruising past these “no entry” signs :-)

The now diminished Olympic Stadium..

The now diminished Olympic Stadium, after the excitement of 2012 it is sad to see it unused….

The Stadium still looms though

The Stadium still looms though

The sheet piling here marks the entrance to the old Pudding Mill River - we remember it as a shallow channel filled with reeds and wildlife

The sheet piling here marks the entrance to the old Pudding Mill River – we remember it as a shallow channel filled with reeds and wildlife, we don’t think it was ever navigable, just a source of water for the Mill and later Bow Power Station

Now you see it...

Now you see it…

Flashback to 2008 - the Stadium was to be built just behind that temporary bridge

Now you don’t – the site in 2008

We remember this when it was just cranes...

We remember this when it was just cranes…

Flashback to 2008 - Stadium being built

There they are – back in 2008

This graceful bridge is original - though it used to have the traditional black/white paintwork

This graceful bridge is original – though did it once have the traditional black/white paintwork?  Must check our photos.

Carpenters Road Lock - now minus it's top gate and unlikely ever to be used as gateway to a ring with the Waterworks River...

Carpenters Road Lock – now minus one gate and minus what we think was the gas main over the top – it is unlikely ever to be used as gateway to a ring with the Waterworks River…

Flashback to 2008: Carpenters Road Lock as was

So maybe things haven’t changed substantially….

Great views - the red "steps" on the left are the piers of a footbridge that used to carry the crowds over to the Olympic Stadium

Great views – the red “steps” on the left are the piers of a footbridge that used to carry the crowds over to the Olympic Stadium

The last time we were here we were part of the excited crowds visiting the games - the closing ceremony in fact :-)

The last time we were here we were part of the excited crowds visiting the games – the closing ceremony in fact :-)

The cruise gave a really intimate view of the Olympic Park - ok, you could say you'd get that from walking the park but any boater will tell you the difference :-D...

The cruise gave a really intimate view of the Olympic Park – ok, you could say you’d get that from walking the park, but any boater will tell you the difference :-D

nb Keture testing the turning width at the current limit of the navigation...

nb Ketura testing the turning width at the current limit of the navigation…

We did a few turns to check the "turning circle" available - 60' is not a problem and we reckon that you could turn a 70 footer using this notch...

We did a few turns to check the “turning circle” available – 60′ is not a problem and we reckon that you could turn a 70 footer using this notch…

The landscape looks very sere in its winter clothes...

The landscape looks very bare in its winter clothes…

This is an interesting structure..

This is an interesting structure..

Ohhh nooo, the boom's back in place - please let us back in sometime....

Ohhh nooo, the boom’s back in place – please let us back in sometime….

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Boat Blog: Almost the Olympic Rings Trial (2)

Posted by indigodream on 21 March, 2014

Wednesday 19th March

The Waterworks River….

We were due to have an LLDC dignitary on board with us, but our guest was caught up in work. I was a bit disappointed, we needed official witnesses to this landmark cruise. Yet there was something very nice about relaxing and have a jolly cruise with good friends instead. Fortunately, there were other dignitaries from LLDC and CRT on board nb Doris Katia to experience the convoy’s success (failure was obviously never an option!).

We set off in good spirits, though maintaining a 90- second gap between boats was more of a challenge than you might think – a 40 second gap seemed like a more comfortable distance. Yet there was no rush – especially when we came to the first “pinch point” at City Mills Lock. We locked through in pairs – our convoy partner was a familiar friend, nb Peace of Pearce with skipper Kevin along with crew Sally and Eric from nb Cherie – also veterans of many a tideway adventure.

The next “pinch point” was the sheer distraction of the Waterworks River itself and all the sights of the Olympic Park. We have already given feedback to Andrew to allow enough time for boats to take photos of their reflection in the mirrored footbridge that crosses Carpenter’s Road lock – we were transfixed :-)….

Photoblog:

The bank-side briefing...

The bank-side briefing…

Nb Peace of Pearce waiting for City Mills Lock - we're on the opposite wall - where the wind had planted us!

Nb Peace of Pearce waiting for City Mills Lock – we’re on the opposite wall – where the wind had planted us!

Neil at the helm - taking care of the tricky angle into the lock...

Neil at the helm – taking care of the tricky angle into the lock…

The Waterworks River - a new stretch of water for Indigo Dream....

The Waterworks River – a new stretch of water for Indigo Dream….

The control panel at City Mills Lock - but we're only going to the Olympic Park, not the moon :-D

The control panel at City Mills Lock – but we’re only going to the Olympic Park, not the moon :-D

Looking back to the weir that connects the Waterworks River to the Bow Back Rivers (three connected Rivers - Bow Back, City Mill and Old River Lea)

Looking back to the weir that connects the Waterworks River to the Bow Back Rivers (three connected Rivers – Bow Back, City Mill and Old River Lea)

Plenty of headroom! Though we did take the bike off the roof and the flagpole from the back deck (the flagpole got clattered under a low bridge earliet - oops!)...

Plenty of headroom! Though we did take the bike off the roof and the flagpole from the back deck (the flagpole got clattered under a low bridge earlier – oops!)…

A glimpse of the Olympic Park...

A glimpse of the Olympic Park…

There's still an air of old-fashioned East End dereliction in places :--)

There’s still an air of old-fashioned East End dereliction in places :–)

The beautiful aquatic centre - along with the coloured "bollards" - looks like someone's planted a boxful of crayons in the water!

The beautiful Aquatic Centre – along with the coloured “bollards” – looks like someone’s planted a boxful of crayons in the water!

A fine view of the ArcelorMittal Orbital...

A fine view of the ArcelorMittal Orbital…

Happy crew...

Happy crew…

The park had a lot of busy workmen - as an official convoy, we had to wear lifejackets - should be glad we didn't need hard hats :-)

The park had a lot of busy workmen – as an official convoy, we had to wear lifejackets – should be glad we didn’t need hard hats :-)

Mirrored bridge over Carpenter's Road lock...

Mirrored bridge over Carpenter’s Road lock… Richard went to a meeting yesterday with one of the ex-ODA guys responsible for park wide utilities, the first question obviously was did you get to boat round the park. This bridge was a real headache for them as they could not manage to get a big gas main through it so had to go under the lock so think lots of £££££s

There's only one thing to be done with a reflective bridge...

There’s only one thing to be done with a reflective bridge…

It's a reflective bridge - these photos just have to be done :-D

It’s a reflective bridge – these photos just have to be done :-D

Such a graceful structure...

Such a graceful structure…

Close up - there seemed to be some members of the public in the park - they seemed to take the boats for granted - but then, boats on a waterway, what's the novelty!

Close up – the Aquatics Centre is now open to the public with tickets starting at £3.50. Members of the public were walking round as we went past – they seemed to take the boats for granted – but then, boats on a waterway, what’s the novelty!

It's the contrasts that make the London waterways so interesting - here development and dereliction sit side-by side....

It’s the contrasts that make the London waterways so interesting – here development and dereliction sit side-by side….

More contrasts....

More contrasts….

Back at City Mills Lock - time for a quick bacon roll before re-assembling the convoy and setting off for the Bow Back Rivers :-)

Back at City Mills Lock – time for a quick bacon roll before re-assembling the convoy and setting off for the Bow Back Rivers :-)

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Boat Blog: Almost the Olymic Rings Trial (1)

Posted by indigodream on 20 March, 2014

Wednesday 19th March

Team photo - the combined crews of nb's Doris Katia (our esteemed leader), Ketura, Peace of Pearce, Salar, Galatea and us, of course :-)

Team photo – the combined crews of nb’s Doris Katia (our esteemed leader), Ketura, Peace of Pearce, Salar, Galatea and us, of course :-)

That splendid cruise title came from Andrew Phasey of the St Pancras Cruising Club. After endless months of negotiation, Andrew succeeded in getting permission for a trial convoy of boats to explore the “Olympic” waterways – the first leisure boats to cruise these waterways since they were closed for construction of the Olympic Park in, ooh, 2010?

Before that closure, we were avid explorers of the Bow Back Rivers – until they put the booms across the access points. Before that we used to be able to sneak round with Indigo Dream decked out as a work boat complete with yellow flashing light and crew in proper PPE!

We were very excited to be asked to participate in this landmark convoy, but there were some logistics – part of the route (Waterworks River) is semi-tidal and also carries a lot of “fresh” downstream after rainfall – this means that the headroom under some of the bridges can become prohibitive. Several dates were suggested then rejected, but today we had perfect cruising conditions. Naturally we had to be escorted,  by a  team of cheerful “minders” in a bright orange rib who obligingly removed the booms to allow us to explore the navigations; of course they were also careful to close them again, once they’d made sure that none of us had taken up an illicit mooring in the park!

We were keen to share the cruise, but short notice meant that many of our cruising friends weren’t available; however we were delighted that Kath and Neil of nb Herbie (veterans of many an Indigo Dream adventure) and their good friend Rick (in turn a veteran of many adventures on nb Herbie) could join us. We were all assembled in Limehouse by 9.30am-ish – time for a round of coffees and a catch-up before we set off up Limehouse Cut to our rendezvous point.

Here’s the cruising plan (which makes more sense on the map!):

The Route

The Route

1. Limehouse to Three Mills Water Bus Stop – this is where we assembled the convoy, had our final briefing and took on guests from CRT and LLDC (London Legacy Development Corporation). This was a very important cruise – the future opening of these waterways might depend on the success of this trial – so no pressure :-)

2. Three Mills to City Mills Lock – familiar waterways as this has been an exit point for other tideway excursions.

3. City Mills Lock to Carpenters Road Lock and back – this is where it get exciting – we haven’t cruised this part of the Waterworks River before and it gives a great view of the Olympic Park (particularly the aquatic centre) and brought back many fond memories of our walking the park in the run up to the closing ceremony (and many more memories for Richard who was a Gamesmaker during the opening ceremony and in the stadium during the first week of the games).

4. City Mills Lock to Old Ford Lock – very familiar ground – this waterway was the main transit route for navigation before and during the Games.

5. Below Old Ford Lock along to Bow Back River to Crossrail’s Coffer Dam and back – we’ve cruised this stretch many times in the past, when it was all dereliction and/or a building site for the budding stadium. We’d hardly recognise it now!

6. Below Old Ford Lock to Limehouse – a waterway so familiar we could just mooch along and reminisce on what a great day we’d had – another coup for the St Pancreas Cruising Club and hopefully the start of many cruises along the Olympic Waterways – they were worth the wait :-)

That’s the overall plan – I think I’ll leave it there for now and post the photos of the more exciting stages over the next couple of days….

Flashback to 2008 - the Stadium was to be built just behind that temporary bridge

Flashback to 2008 – the Stadium was to be built just behind that temporary bridge

Flashback to 2008 - Stadium being built

Flashback to 2008 – Stadium being built

Flashback to 2008: Carpenters Road Lock as was

Flashback to 2008: Carpenters Road Lock as was

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Back on the Bow Back River :-)

Posted by indigodream on 19 March, 2014

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Dog Blog: Can you give “Chance” a home?

Posted by indigodream on 10 March, 2014

March 10th 2014

When Sarah fostered greyhound Smoothie last year, we all expected her to fail and for Smoothie to become the latest member of her extended pack but instead, Smoothie has the best, amazing WIN-WIN solution – whatever happened he couldn’t lose. Smoothie has been adopted by, wait for it, a woman who researches and writes a cookbook full of wholesome houndie treats! Can you imagine his life – he has adoring new owners, a houndie sister to play with and he gets to be a treat taster…

Chance (aka Red) is such a good looking hound...

Chance (aka Red) is such a good looking hound…

Buoyed by this success, Sarah has now fostered a new hound – a dainty ginger lurcher called Chance (that’s his kennel name, he actually answers to Red!).

Chance is a young boy and, being only part-greyhound, has a bit more energy to spare for running and playing – he loves to play! Although he’s very young, he/s had a hard life and needs a steady home with people who will love and give him the security he needs. We think that Chance will enjoy the stimulation of training classes, which will also help him to get used to the big wild world and all the wonders in it.

Here’s Sarah’s expert write-up:

Location: Chance is living with his foster mum in Suffolk.
Key Points: Affectionate, BEAUTIFUL! Very sweet and puppyish, non-destructive, lovely temperament, eager to learn and please, settles well, great with other dogs, LOVES going out in the car, clean in the house, can be left with other dogs for short periods.

~ Personality ~
Generally: Adorable, clever, shy at first and then adores his people, cuddle monster.
Chance is an adorable puppyish little lad who is very affectionate and sweet both with other dogs and people. He is still very puppyish in his ways as he can be shy and a little wary of new situations but when he realises that he isn’t going to come to any harm he relaxes and takes on his new life with gusto although he also has a maturity which means he isn’t always an ‘in your face kind of guy’ and always loves a good snooze.

He is a bright little boy who will thrive with training as he has already come so far in just a week. He loves other dogs and would ideally have canine company who will play with him although he is currently living with large dogs so it will be great for him to socialise with all sizes. He also adores people though he can be shy at times so will need a family who will give him all the confidence that he needs. He will tap you with his paw when he wants more cuddles so already developing a truly lovely little personality.

Chance loves zoomies...

Chance loves zoomies…

~ In the Home ~
Generally: House savvy, can be left for short periods with canine company, house-trained, non-destructive.
Chance is generally very good in the home especially as he has only been in a foster home a week or so. Chance can already be left for short periods with no problem and is clean in the house and non-destructive. Gentle on-going training will be a must for this little boy to make a family member to be proud of and he is a very quick learner!

~ Other Animals ~
Generally: Good with other greyhounds, loves to romp with his greyhound friends, not yet small dog or cat tested.
Chance adores other greyhounds and is very good with them although they don’t always indulge him with play at the moment even when he asks nicely poor little lad! He hasn’t been small dog or cat tested yet but this can be arranged prior to adoption if needed. Chance can be a little grumbly around his food with other dogs at times but this is most likely linked to his difficult past and is something that we are sure he will grow out of quickly when he knows that he gets a full tummy on a regular basis and that no-one is going to let him go hungry again.

Chance is a bit more alert than our greyhounds but he loves his comforts too...

Chance is a bit more alert than our greyhounds but he loves his comforts too…

~ Out and About ~
Generally: Can pull a little through initial excitement, but soon settles down, loves the car, needs recall work.
Adores going for car rides and enjoys his 2 x 30 minute walks a day that he is getting at present but would be happy to go for longer and would love to be off lead eventually so he can stretch those gangly long legs!

Chance can pull slightly when his puppyish excitement takes hold but he is already learning not to pull and is very responsive. Once a strong bond has developed with Chance and his new family and he has been given recall training, walks with him should be a dream. Please note Chance should never be let off the lead near public roads or livestock.

~ Where Can I Live? ~
We feel Chance will be happiest to live with at least one other dog to show him the ropes and hopefully play with him! We feel Chance will need a family where someone is around most of the time and an active home would be great so he can enjoy long walks and adventures. Chance would be happy to live with older children who won’t frighten him and with whom he can bond and become best friends with.

~ Where Am I? ~
Chance is currently living in a foster home in Suffolk but can be homed anywhere in the UK as long as we have a home-checker available. Please be aware however that you will be required to both meet him and collect him from Suffolk.

~ Want To Adopt Me? ~
Please form a very orderly queue for this little beauty who now needs his very own forever home. Chance is neutered, vaccinated, de-flead, wormed and microchipped and a home check will be required as part of the adoption procedure.

Here are some photos of Chance enjoying some zoomies in our paddock:

Playtime...

Playtime…

Chance is always inviting the hounds to play :-)

Chance is always inviting the hounds to play :-)

But he's also learning how to "stand and stare"...

But he’s also learning how to “stand and stare”…

Busy busy...

Busy busy…

Silly ears :-)

Silly ears :-)

Irresistible :-)

Irresistible :-)

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Dog Blog: Ty’s doing’s

Posted by indigodream on 9 March, 2014

Sundie 9ff March

Deer me pals

Who's for an adventure then? Ollie? Miffy?

Who’s for an adventure then? Ollie? Miffy?

We woz all havin’ a luvverly lie-in wen Mummy Sue sez….

“Ok houndies, how about an adventure? There’s lots and lots of houndies in kennels that still need a home – YOU can come with me and help to raise money and give people cuddles so that they want a greyhound too”

“Mummy Sue, you iz so funi” I sez “Iz veri hapi to give cuddels but peepul needs to cum here, by appointment”

“Meh!” sed Miffy, wot is Ollie’s gurlfrend wot is on holidaze here….

“Adventure? With you? Oh yes mother” sed Ollie

So Ollie an’ Mummy Sue wents orf an’ di workins, wot wored Ols out, while me an Miffy hads a luvverly Sundie in our favrit beds…..

Uh, Mummy Sue, duz I look like I needs an hadeventure...

Uh, Mummy Sue, duz I look like I needs an hadeventure…?

Fis is houndies wot is doin' werkins, on a Sundie, huh!?

Fis is houndies wot is doin’ werkins, on a Sundie, huh!?

Ollie werkins - altho he woz the oldest houndie there he dun standing for ages and had to have cuddels....

Ollie werkins – altho he woz the oldest houndie there he dun standing for ages and had to have cuddels….

Fis is me frend Brennan wot woz a scaredy wuss jellyboy just like me, but now Mumm Sue sez he's all brave - aaaw, Brennan....

Fis is me frend Brennan wot woz a scaredy wuss jellyboy just like me, but now Mumm Sue sez he’s all brave – aaaw, Brennan….

Mummy Sue woz confoosed becoz Brennan looks just like me pal Henry Beanz - but Henry Beanz woz at home!

Mummy Sue woz confoosed becoz Brennan looks just like me pal Henry Beanz – but Henry Beanz woz at home!

Mmmm, maybe werkins is ok....

Mmmm, maybe werkins is ok….

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ollie duz have gurlfends all ova de place...

Ollie duz have gurlfends all ova de place…fis is Nellie

Ollie doin' yawnin -he hads to stay awake for too hours plus in the car wot is foreva wifout a snooze...

Ollie doin’ yawnin -he hads to stay awake for too hours plus in the car wot is foreva wifout a snooze…

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ollie woz zorstid wen he cumed home - Iz neva eva doin' werkings - Iz 'tired!

Ollie woz zorstid wen he cumed home – Iz neva eva doin’ werkings – Iz ‘tired!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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