Boat Blog: Aimless meanderings (13)
Posted by indigodream on 10 October, 2013
Rewind to Saturday 24th August
Runnymeade to Windsor and back
I don’t know where to start – we had such a horrible morning that I still get flashbacks, though, because this is a blog and not a thriller, I will issue a spoiler and say that no hounds were injured in the making of this drama…..
Today we were expecting a group of hound and human friends – Becky and David (who have been before – David is a very famous greyhound author!). Next came Kelly and Debbie with their hound Jack (who has a huge following on Facebook!) and Nicky, hu-mum to greyhound Ellabella. Sadly, Ella hound couldn’t come today, so Nicky bought her niece Ella instead!
We were having an ordinary morning when disaster struck – I was on board with the hounds; Richard was pottering on the towpath when Archie hound suddenly saw a passing husky-type dog and went ballistic. Archie vaulted over the deck door, pursued blindly by Herbie and Bertie. Archie was beside himself with the husky but fortunately no harm was done on either side (though the husky would have been totally justified in ripping Archie’s ear off!). Richard and I yelled at the hounds and got Archie and Herbie back on board, but Bertie, who wasn’t the least bit interested in the husky, got thoroughly spooked and ran off down the towpath. Richard set off in hot pursuit; I secured the rest of the hounds indoors and also went off in pursuit.
That started a desperate chase, which must have lasted an hour, and involved Bertie running a circuit of around 4 miles – at least two of which were along the busy A30 which runs adjacent to the river. I have never been so desperate – I was sure that he would be killed, but by some miracle, and the kindness of the good people of Runnymeade, we got Bertie off the road and back to the towpath. But I’m ahead of myself – the drivers generally slowed down for Bertie, one gave Richard a lift along the road so that he could catch up with Bertie, some drivers that I talked to pulled in gently in front of Bertie to steer him off the road onto the path that led to the river. Another followed down the path to block off his retreat, yet another corralled him at the park. I got onto the back deck and opened the deck doors – to my immense relief, Bertie jumped back on board and went straight inside.
I cannot thank the drivers of Runnymeade enough – not only did they NOT run Bertie down, they actively saved his life…
Bertie spend the next hour or more panting in a little den at the front of the boat – it took two bath towels to mop up the slobber. Having got him back, I was then afraid that he was injured or would burst his heart. But an inspection, when he’d calmed down, showed that he didn’t have any bruises or symptoms that he might have been winged by a car. His front pads were torn and, we found out later, his muscles were very sore indeed, but given the seriousness of his adventure, he was really unhurt!
In the meantime, Becky had her own dramas – her car had broken down the night before on her way to stay with Jack’s hu-mum’s – luckily close enough for them to rescue David while she waited for the breakdown van. Overnight, some n’er-do-well tried to steal her broken down car from outside of the repair place, breaking her lock and damaging the door. Becky was also worried about David – he’s an old boy and hasn’t been very well recently – he was unnaturally quiet on the boat (last time he came he was the life and soul of the party).
So it was quite a tense group that set out from Runnymeade, not helped by the weather – it started raining shortly after we left, got steadily worse as the day wore on but typically stopped after we’d moored up and said “goodbye” to our guests. We cruised up to Windsor – we girls (and hounds) mainly stayed indoors chatting about hounds; Richard did the manly thing, donned his waterproofs and steered the boat. I can’t remember how old Ella is, but she was a real trooper – Richard taught her how to helm and she stayed out in the rain for a large part of the afternoon – she loved it! The rest of us just poked our noses out when there was rope-work to be done at the locks.
We stopped for lunch in Windsor and had intended to have a bimble around with the hounds and take some photos of David meeting the queen. But it was too wet for bimbling, and for photographs. We thought that the queen might make an effort to come down to the boat (being as we had the famous David on board) but she never turned up!
We turned back downstream – I was a bit disappointed, it had been a short and emotional trip – I’d so hoped that we would have a long and joyful cruise; though our polite guests said they’d enjoyed themselves regardless! We did find out that Jack greyhound lives in East London, within easy cruising distance of Limehouse, so we hope that he’ll come again. Needless to say, the hounds were the stars of the show – we thought that Henry, Archie and Bertie were going to be stolen away at the end of the day; no-one ever wants Ollie – mainly because he just says “talk to the paw, I’ve got my mum” and absolutely refuses to tart like the others (though Bertie obviously got the sympathy vote today).
We said “goodbye” to our guests around 5pm – just as the rain stopped. We gave one microsecond’s consideration to moving a bit further downstream but we decided to stay put – keeping a close eye on all hounds – we certainly didn’t want any more adventures. Ha ha! We were about to settle down for the evening when I spotted fresh blood on the sofa – quite a bit of it! A quick inspection showed that Henry had ripped his dew claw – sigh! But this is a typical greyhound injury and one which we were well-equipped to deal with, though neither of us had the stomach to pull off the crooked nail. However I could bathe it and put a dressing over it to stop it from catching on anything.
We gave up and went to bed – it seemed like the safest option