Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

  • Blog Index as a pull down

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta

  • Recent Comments

  • wordpress counter

Archive for February 3rd, 2009

Return to Packet boat marina (2)

Posted by indigodream on 3 February, 2009

Sunday 1st February

The mooring in Paddington was wonderfully quiet and I had the most amazing night’s sleep – I didn’t want to end! We had a very slow start while Richard psyched himself up for the next bit – a cycle ride from Paddington to Limehouse to get the car. He could have taken the tube but he’d decided that it was daft to pay to pedal a static bike in the gym when there was this golden opportunity to exercise in the fresh air. This meant that I’d be taking the boat along the lock free pound and would pick him up later.

We got prepared for our separate trips – Richard got Lou out of her pyjamas, wrapped her in her coat and took them both out. Then he sorted out his bike, car keys and such. I got everything up onto the back deck that I could possibly need, dressed up in multiple layers, undressed again to have a wee (no breaks for a solo cruiser!) then dressed up again. Richard sensibly cast me off before going – there was more than a passing chance that if he hadn’t I’d have just sneaked back to bed.

As always, I was a bit nervous of doing new things as a solo boater, but the turn at the end of the basin was fine – the wind helped rather than hindered me for a change. I’ve noticed that as I spend more solo time on the helm I’m getting more confident at getting myself out of trouble, there may even come the day when I avoid getting into trouble ๐Ÿ™‚

Old waterfront houses west of Paddington. I wonder why the windows are barred?

Old waterfront houses west of Paddington. I wonder why the windows are barred?

I pottered down the canal and was amazed at how little I recalled from the trip down. I was minded to believe that BW had just dropped a new bit of canal in here while we were away. But then I worked out that what I remembered from the trip down was the ice – the effort of breaking it, the sight of it, the sound of it, overwhelming all other senses and memories.

I found this stretch to be strangely featureless today. I guess that the bit from Limehouse to Paddington is full of interest – locks, tunnels, landmarks. In a lock-free pound all the action is on the towpath. It was just as well I had no memory of my last trip – at least everything seemed seemed fresh and new to me!

I did have one funny incident where the canal is overlooked by the giant A40 viaduct. I could hear the noise of many motorbikes on the road, all honking their horns. I thought it was a usual Sunday gathering of bikers but according to Richard, it was an organised pack going down to the next big exhibition in Excel. Anyway, one of the bikers happened to look over onto the canal so I waved and honked the boat horn – he waved back – result! I carried on honking my horn – it’s very much louder than the bikes and it made me laugh.

It took Richard a long while to cycle back to Limehouse, then he had quite a long drive back to Uxbridge where he planned to take to his bike again and cycle back to meet me. My mission, therefore, was to get as far along the cut as possible in order to shorten his final cycle ride.ย  There were a few stretches of online moorings but for the most part the canal was deserted and I could motor on apace.

The start of the blizzard

The start of the blizzard

Does anyone out there remember rocket ice lollies, where you can suck at the lolly to get all the fruity juice out and leave the ice behind? It was like that today, as if someone had sucked out all the colour and flavour out of the day. I wasn’t surprised that there was so little activity either on the water or on the towpath. The ice lolly analogy worked even better when I got caught in a blizzard – the roof was white with snow. But half an hour later I was back in the sunshine. You’ll be relieved to know that dogs were tucked up inside with the central heating – lucky them.

Lou was out of sorts today – she’d been off her food all weekend and I think she was tired after a day with the spaniels so she enjoyed a day of peace and quiet indoors. Blue, on the other hand, whinged all day long. He wanted ACTION, NOW. Sadly he was out of luck – I was solo and needed to keep moving. I promised him a stop at Black Horse where I could take advantage of the mooring rings but they were jam packed. The waterpoint was occupied by four boats, oh, and no hosepipes!

A building from a bygone age - it seems all alone in the landscape now

A building from a bygone age - it seems all alone in the landscape now

On we went but I finally relented and bought the boat into the bank for them to have a stroll. I didn’t want to take the time to bang in some mooring pins but luckily the wind was in my favour so I just held the boat on the centre rope while Blue and Lou rummaged around and did the essentials. That was their only respite, I soon bundled them back on board and off we went again (escaping without panic from where I’d manage to ground the boat!) .

My nominal target was to meet Richard just after Bulls Bridge – as I approached the famous bridge I saw a red-fleeced cyclist passing over. I’d missed my target by a few yards. Richard, in the meantime, hadn’t been expecting me to get so far. He was so relieved to see me – I think his legs were just on the verge of giving out. Even so, he heroically took the dogs for a walk before coming to relieve me at the helm.

I went in to get warm and just as I was getting some feeling back into my toes it was time to get back onto the helm for the manoeuvre into our mooring. There was a stiff, gusty, and penetratingly cold wind and I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect. But at least our prop was clear so we had half a chance of getting in. Sadly we failed at our first attempt, the back was nicely in but the front just got swept away so Richard shouted ‘abort’ and we moved out again. I wish we hadn’t, our turning circle was now occupied by a fleet of canoeists – why? What were they doing there? They told us to carry on, but if I had then I’d have sucked them all into the prop whilst reversing so I waved them past. Of course, while this was going on, the wind had parked us neatly in the trees. I eventually got us back to our spot for a second attempt (nearly taking the swan neck off with a branch in the process!). I was absolutely determined to get in this time – no matter what instructions I got from the front! I needn’t have worried, Richard had a cunning plan and used the wind to get us into a good position which I quickly took advantage of by slamming her into reverse and getting out of the way before we could get blown anywhere else ๐Ÿ™‚

Unscheduled winter stoppage! This spaniel threw himself into the water just in front of the boat and swam right across the canal - he seemed to be enjoying himself tremendously!

Unscheduled winter stoppage! This spaniel threw himself into the water just in front of the boat and swam right across the canal - he seemed to be enjoying himself tremendously!

It took us the usual while to pack up and leave the boat. We’d been away from the marina for a long while so we took advantage of the car to load linen for washing and clear out some of the accumulated debris of a month or more’s cruising. Richard, in the meantime, took the dogs out for yet another walk in a successful attempt to stop Blue from whinging.

By the time we got back it was snowing; since then it’s snowed some more. I know we’d have been snug on the boat but I am glad to be home.

Dog Update:

Lou’s perked up once she got home but she wasn’t overly impressed by the snow. We managed to get Blue to the vet (through the snow) on Monday and he’s had his stitches removed. His face has healed really well but only time will tell whether his handsome face will be flawed or favoured by a scar. So, we’ve reset the ‘vet clock’ in the vain hope that we go for more than 3 weeks without a visit this time!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »