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The Odyssey 2009: Day 14

Posted by indigodream on 1 May, 2009

Monday 27th April Banbury

As I mentioned, me and the dogs (or should that be the dogs and I?) had an uninterrupted night on board and were woken the following morning by the loud drumming of rain on the roof.

Greyhound aerobics (1)

Greyhound aerobics (1)

I was planning to use the Indigo Dream for business today – my friend (and colleague) Matthew was coming down at 11am for a work meeting,  so my first mission was to walk the dogs and buy some provisions for lunch.

I found a good dog-walk around half a mile down the towpath. Walk away from town past Samuelson Bridge and the residential moorings just beyond it. Just past the last boat there’s a gap in the hedge leading to a well-worn path through the meadows flanking the river Cherwell. Predictably, it was Blue who found the gap in the hedge, but, for once, it didn’t lead him into trouble! We had a good walk though we got absolutely soaked. At one time I asked the dogs if they’d like a slosh in the river – silly me, they were already as wet as could be, and so was I. We hurried back to the boat with the rain increasing in ferocity with every step we took. I’ve never seen the dogs so happy to be back on board.

Looking at the sheer amount of water and mud we’d carried back with us, I gave up on trying to present Matthew with a clean floor and headed off to town instead. You could tell the weather was bad – when I left, the dogs didn’t look the least bit interested in coming with me. The last time I went to M & S in Banbury (2 years ago) I wore my usual boating gear and a security guard followed me round the store for my entire shopping trip. I was equally disreputable this time, and soaking wet to boot, but this time I was greeted courteously and ended up talking about boating with the friendly staff. I topped up with food and resolved not to leave the boat again until the rain had stopped.

Dog aerobics (2)

Greyhound aerobics (2)

I had a great meeting with Matthew – it was the first time he’d met the dogs and they were very good. In fact, they were so inert  that you’d think I’d had them stuffed and used them as scatter-cushions 🙂

By 3pm the rain finally cleared – Matthew set off for home and I took the dogs for another walk – this time we went a little further – there’s an almost endless walk available through the meadows. We turned back after about a mile and retraced our steps – I wasn’t sure whether the path would circle back to join the canal again. A couple of miles was plenty for the dogs and, after eating a huge dinner, they settled in for some serious rest while we waited for Richard to pick us up.

Richard was very gallant, having been forced to leave his car in Oxford overnight (long story), he came back in the evening to collect it then drove to Banbury to pick us up. We were all very grateful, especially the tired dogs who appreciated a relaxing trip in the car (it’s one of their ‘safe’ places).

When we got home I was musing about the weekend’s cruising which had been great, even in the rain. Now, thinking about Tolkien and how he based ‘the Shire’ on the rustic wonders of Oxfordshire, I started to read “Lord of the Rings” again (for the nth time). I came across this quote which I think sums it up perfectly:

“Not only was there wonderful sunshine and delicious rain, in due times and in perfect measure, but there seemed something more: an air of richness and growth and a gleam of beauty beyond that of mortal summers…..”

This is why we go boating – to escape the very human glooms of the credit crunch and flu outbreak into the innocent solace of our glorious countryside.

2 Responses to “The Odyssey 2009: Day 14”

  1. Jill & Graham said

    I cannot believe that we were stuck in & around Banbury for so long and still managed to miss you all! Where are you heading now? Love the photos – thought of you & Greygal yesterday whilst nattering to a lady on a boat with 3 greyhounds.

  2. indigodream said

    Well we have only just made Banbury, moving on tomorrow with a vague aim of getting close to Leamington Spa by Monday night but we have guests so there may be frequent pub stops on Saturday ….


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