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Boat Blog: Spring day’s cruise

Posted by indigodream on 15 March, 2009

Saturday 14th March

What a great day. Why? Well, because we met Greygal today – doyenne of the boating greyhounds. It was a lovely spring day – comfortably warm in the sunshine but just a bite in the breeze to remind us that the summer’s ahead rather then behind us – whoo hoo!

We couldn’t face the drive to the boat last night so we pottered up there this morning. We knew we were on for a good day when we had an unimpeded run up the M25 to reach the boat before 10am. Blue and Lou had a thorough rummage in the nearby rabbit-haunt and I went on board, comfortable in the knowledge that the boat was reasonably clean for our distinguished guest. Uh, no, make that NOT very clean, in fact the floor had a deep shag-pile of fluff on it. Where on earth had it all come from? Is there a special fluff-factory somewhere? It’s not even as if I have fluffy dogs…….

I don’t know why I worry about it. Believe me, if we ever come on board your boats we’ll be enjoying the company not looking for fluff! Nonetheless we waged war on the floor and filled the water tank.

Blue decided to whine for an hour despite having had a long rummage. He’s such an action dog and he hasn’t had as much exercise this week because Lou’s been resting with a cut paw. Richard took them out again so that Blue would be on best behaviour when Greygal arrived. As you’ve probably gathered, we were very excited to be meeting one of the great wits of the waterways.

Greygal arrived at 11am when Richard was still out with the dogs. For followers of her blog, she looked fabulously slim and healthy 🙂 We walked over to meet the dogs and she was treated to a scrubby landscape completely devoid of greyhounds! We knew they were nearby but they gave a fine display of their typical behaviour by coming back to us when they were finished ‘hunting’ (rather than when called). Joyous introductions followed, with Lou being suitably tarty towards her greatest fan while Blue was his usual aloof self, though he did allow her to plant a few kisses before scarpering.

Interestingly, Ellesdale II, the floating classroom that we’ve passed before, was actually in use today. It was moored up at the marina and loading up with a more mature group of people than the word ‘classroom’ might suggest! We overtook them on the cut later and everyone looked as if they were having  great time.

With crew on board we were ready for the off, well, almost, we just had to make a round of coffees first, of course, Greygal showed an impressive knowledge of the entire nespresso pod range!

We had a bewildering range of cruising options, but after an awkward exit from our berth (I blame the wind!), Indigo Dream drifted right out of the marina down her usual path towards the Paddington Arm. Our vague aim was to cruise down to the Black Horse for lunch then have a gentle mosey on back – a pleasant day’s cruise with the bonus of a greyhound-friendly pub.

Lou was terribly disappointed when Greygal joined us on deck. I think Lou was hoping on a repeat of Adam’s visit when he sat by her on the sofa and spent the next hour tickling her tummy. Alas, Greygal’s immune to all of Lou’s little tricks, after all, she’s seen them all before!

We meandered down the cut chatting about greyhounds, life, greyhounds, boats, greyhounds, boat toilets (only briefly!), greyhounds, boats, oh, and greyhounds. I do feel a bit guilty as we should have been better tour guides, pointing out the wonders of this stretch of the Grand Union. Instead we just chatted the time away. I can only hope that Gregal’s peripheral vision got the main sights and that her smell-o-vision caught the Nescafe factory and the curry factory near the pub! However our time wasn’t wasted – a minute comparison of our respective packs bought us to the useful conclusion that that Lou and Susie (both being alpha females) should never be allowed to meet unless there’s a vet on standby!

We had lunch in the Black Horse – we like it here though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. We like the fact that they allow dogs and have good pub grub at a reasonable price. We also like the big screens, especially if we’d been there long enough for the rugby. Well, maybe not, when we heard the match report later on any good that boating had done for my blood pressure would have been wiped out by the fact that Wales only narrowly beat Italy!

Greygal was a very good influence on us – we skipped dessert at the pub and didn’t stock the boat up with our bodyweight in doughnuts. She did generously leave us with a box of cookies for us to indulge in once her back was turned (thanks, yummy!).

After lunch we had a little walk down the towpath with Blue and Lou while Richard turned the boat round and started the cruise back. He picked us up just a little way up from the Black Horse where there’s a tiny basin that’s been redeveloped and would make a perfect mooring spot for at least three narrowboats.  Sadly, there are railings round the water’s edge which would prevent access to moorers and the obligatory ‘private’ sigh by the entrance – what a waste.

We had a quick cruise back – the canal’s relatively deep and our big prop makes short work of the miles, despite the lengths of online moorings. Once again, we chatted the afternoon away. It was a lovely day to be on deck – there were signs of spring everywhere – the blackthorn’s in blossom, the swans are getting aggressive in time for nesting and I was only wearing three (rather than 30) layers!

We handed the helm to Greygal and she competently cruised us home. How relaxing it is to have experienced boating guests where we’re not giving gentle hints (i.e. yelling instructions) the whole time. Before we knew it we were back in the marina, though we couldn’t persuade Greygal to manoeuvre us into our tricky mooring. I took the helm for that bit and was relieved when the wind dropped and I was able to bring the boat home smoothly without making a complete fool of myself.

It was tremendous to meet another one of our blogging friends and we’ll be looking for excuses to bump into Caxton next…..

3 Responses to “Boat Blog: Spring day’s cruise”

  1. Lesley K said

    It is a bit strong calling Greygal a Waterways TWIT Sue, she may read this and then all your hard work at cultivating this doyenne is down the proverbial sluice.
    Lesley
    PS. Sounds like you all had a great day!
    PPS. No excuses needed, Caxton can bump with the best of them!

  2. Greygal said

    I may be a Waterways TWIT but I’ve more sense than to make a prat of myself trying to get into a strange mooring! Which Sue pulled off perfectly I may add…And what a brilliant report of the day – captured the detail and essence of a wonderful occasion which proved to me once again that narrowboating folk really are the best. Thanks again, Indigo Dreamers – it was over all too soon so here’s to the next time!

  3. indigodream said

    I think I said that Greygal was a “great wit” (note LARGE gap between the T and the wit) :-)- the other being YOU, Lesley!

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