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Boat Blog: Denham to Cowley Peachey

Posted by indigodream on 16 December, 2008

December 7th 2008

We collected the boat from her winter service today. I’d love to say that she looked good but she’s actually covered in a fine film of soot from the numerous boat chimneys along this stretch (along with quarry dust)! I’m not sure whether I want to know what the boaters actually burn in their stoves round here – coal, for certain, wood, possibly, but judging by the rich aromas they also burn a mix of chicken feathers and entrails as well as putrid socks. Yet another good reason for not having a stove on board.

Indigo Dream is beautiful under the skin though – engine all serviced, diesel leak from one of the filters fixed, webasto serviced, toilet hoses sorted. It was a rather big bill but the boatyard did sort out a lot of little niggles and it’s amazing how these mount up. We were alarmed to find that the full run of hose from toilet to tank (about 30′) will need to be replaced in 2 – 3 years’ time. It’s a big job but then again there’ll be a lot of water under the bow between now and then so let’s not worry about it!

So what have we done with our fully serviced boat? Well cruised her straight back to the marina to shiver in the cold while we go off to the Canary Islands for a week 🙂

It was a lovely day for cruising today – I let Richard have the helm for a change while I first took the car to meet him at Cowley lock and then later at the marina. I got to the lock first and the plan was for me to set it by the time Richard arrived. I did get a bit distracted (you just can’t get the crew….) but Richard forgave me as I was busy chatting to a dainty greyhound (and her owner) on the towpath. She was a lovely mid-brindle with a very delicate build and still very fast. Her owner had raced her then kept her as a pet after she retired – good on him! She got an extra-big fuss from me; I was feeling full of remorse having dropped Blue and Lou off in kennels this morning – they’ll be in for 10 days, their longest stretch yet. I KNOW they’ll be well looked after but I still feel like an unfit mother! Mind you with the cost of kennels perhaps we should look at alternatives?

Once we got through the lock I took the car down to the marina and Richard cruised on through the crisp sunny afternoon. The temperature was only 6 degrees but it was lovely in the sun (provided you were wearing lots of layers).

I had a surprise at the marina – the basin was covered in a sheet of thin ice, as was the entrance to the Slough Arm. Luckily it had been broken in places and had thawed around the heated boats but there was no sign of ice on the mainline. The Slough Arm must just be a cold pocket. Richard picked me up at the marina entrance and I took her in for the mooring. I’ve never cruised the boat through ice before – what a racket! The noise was very disconcerting but not as much as the feeling that the ice was pushing back! She was very sluggish on the helm but it was a still day and we got into our mooring without any drama. We have now perfected a technique where I get on the helm to reverse her in while Richard acts as a ‘bow thruster’ with the barge pole at the front. Beautiful it ain’t but efficient it is!

With boat wrapped up in her mooring (with the webasto set on timer to keep her frost-free over the next week or so) we set off back to Cowley lock in the car. The greyhound’s owner (who was also a fellow boater) recommended the tea-shop at the lock for lunch. It was not your typical tea-shop; instead of dainty scones we tucked into sausage ‘n mash and liver ‘n onions plus soft drinks all for less than £15. The pub at the lock looked good too but we thought we’d trust the greyhound’s owner recommendation – he must have good judgement to own such a fine dog!

With our usual reluctance we dragged ourselves away from the canal – it has an almost electric attraction for us and we always spend far too much time gossiping with other canal folk, messing about with the boat and generally dithering. But tomorrow we’re on a plane and I can’t wait to get some warmth and light into my bones.

2 Responses to “Boat Blog: Denham to Cowley Peachey”

  1. Greygal said

    Have a fab time! You just know they’re going to make you pay for leaving them don’t you? They’ll be expecting lots of extra treats to make up for your absence! Merry Christmas to you all

  2. indigodream said

    Pay? you’re not kidding! When I collected them yesterday, Blue managed to cut his eyelid quite deeply on the way from the kennel block to the reception desk (where I was waiting). Trip to vet for superglue and antibiotics – £65; they’ve both also lost weigh (2kg in Blue’s case) – large supply of dog food £30; tearing hair out and wondering whether holiday worth the bother – priceless!!!!
    Only joking, had wonderful holiday but there must be a better way of preserving the greyhounds (and my sanity) while we’re away.
    Hope you and the pack have a merry Christmas as well. There was a big warning sign in the vets about not letting your dog eat too much turkey. Sadly, Blue and Lou can’t read…..

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