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The Odyssey – Summer 2008 Day 2

Posted by indigodream on 6 June, 2008

Stocker\'s LockCowley Peachey – Batchworth

We’ve had another leisurely cruise today – we have NEVER cruised without a schedule before and it’s rather nice!

We started our after lunch (unheard of for us) – the morning was occupied by Richard’s search for a puncture-proof bike tyre and for free parking in Uxbridge – this didn’t materialise! In the meantime Blue and Lou made the best of our dog-perfect moorings and had several energetic rummages in the woods interspersed with cooling dips in the shallow River Colne and long snoozes to recover and dream about whatever it is they were chasing in the bushes. This was a great mooring.

Being the first night of the cruise I didn’t sleep so well – there’s something about the noises outside being different to those at home. Every time I wake up yet again at the sound of crunching footsteps on the towpath I remind myself of Caliban’s words in Shakepeare’s ‘Tempest’ – “The isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not” – I always find this reassuring! However, this waking up at odd noises doesn’t last past the first night as the fresh air seems to be the best sedative -it’s only 8pm now and I could just nod off writing this!

It’s been the most glorious day – brilliant sunshine, hot but moderated by the cooling breeze on the water.

There were a few things that caught my eye today – at our moorings I spotted peacock and Red Admiral butterflies – made it really feel like summer! There was a profusion of birds – the usual ducks and swans but also jays, great crested grebes and the high pitched squawk of wild parakeets. Nothing rare but good to see the wildlife thriving anyway. I was captivated by the colours on a male mallard – they get so close to the boat – they’re so vibrant. Where we moored there is a pair of swans with 11 fluffy cygnets – I’d be amazed if they all survive but there is a marina opposite and narrowboaters are complete suckers when it come to feeding the birds.

A few days ago I ‘what’s in a name’ – we were particularly taken by a small cruise today called “may contain nuts”!

If I ever offer you a green salad made from plants that I’ve picked from nature then REFUSE! I’ve been trying to identify the unbelliferates which grow in profusion along the waterway. So far for the one plant I’ve guessed at Cowbane, Hemlock Water Dropwort, Angelica and Chrevil. The problem is that while Angelica and Chervil are edible, the other two are deadly poisonous! I think I’ll keep buying my salads in bags in Tesco! One plant you can’t mistake though is the wild dogs roses flowing like pink waterfalls from the hedgerows. The trees have stopped flowering now (I can tell because my hayfever’s better!) and have given way to the summer blossom.

We passed the infamous ‘Stink Hole’ today – a mooring basin which is entirely surrounded by a large sewage works. When we went past it soundly deserved its name though Richard said it wasn’t so bad when he cycled back to the car. Last year we met a couple who moored their (in nb Clumber) – they say it’s amazing what you’ll put up with when a mooring’s that cheap!

We moored up about a mile north of Batchworth Lock – by the Ebury Way – a long and useful footpath which took us back to Batchworth for the car. There are good facilities in Batchworth but for supper we went (by road!) to a fine canalside pub called the Coy Carp – really good food – we’ll call there again! No worries about towpath noises in this mooring – it is silent apart from the birds. Their chorus, together with the loud banging of ducks pecking weed off the hull woke me up at 6am! Only long enough for me to look out the window, observe what a beautiful morning it was, say ‘b****r off’ to the ducks, cover Lou with a blanket (she was a bit chilly) – I soon went back to bed and slept through ’til 9am. Richard cycled back to get the car last night so he heard nothing at 6am

Out mission today is to find a vet which sells protective boots for dogs’ paws. Both Blue and Lou managed to acquire cuts on their pads yesterday. They’re not too serious though Blue’s cut is quite deep and Lou’s is right at the base of the nail. This means they’ll take ages to heal and I’ll worry about infection hence the protective boots. Typically we have several pairs of these boots at home but I didn’t think to bring them – I don’t know why – minor wounds are a regular feature with these dogs! Other than that they’re having a great time rummaging around the footpaths – Blue now has a dressing on his side (to cover the staples) and a blue bandage on his foot – this means that he’s getting a lot of sympathy and kisses from ladies on the towpath!

Meanwhile Richard has stuck his head into the engine compartment. Our central heating uses a Webasto (supplied by BK Marine, fitted by the excellent Neil Coventry – based in Cheshire 07960 454492) but with loads of extra filters. We got an airlock after Richard changed a filter and the self bleed was not working. Fortunately Neil had fitted a little pump on the last filter so we could do a manual bleed. Thanks Neil.

Our previous share boat (Dragonfly http://www.boatshare.co.uk/dragonfly/index.htm) used to use grease in the stern gland by the kilogramme. The annual greasing of the Vetus used less than 10g of grease! We got our grease from Kings Lock Boatyard in Middlewich 01606 833633 (not a lot of money plus £1 for postage and packing and really useful advice), when they first said 25g tube Richard wondered how many we should buy – we were told one tube will last years and that seems to be spot on.

One Response to “The Odyssey – Summer 2008 Day 2”

  1. Matthew said

    Hi Guys,
    Well what a fantastic trip you are having. Never realised quite how sickly greyhounds could be. What a pair of old crocks (obviously the dogs not you two!).
    There seems to be loads of trips back to the car. Is Richard cycling back to the car each day and bringing it close to wherever you are moored just in case you need it?
    Are you getting these comments?
    Matthew

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