Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Boat Blog: Weekend without us….

Posted by indigodream on 23 June, 2009

Thursday 18th and Friday 19th June

I travelled back to Indigo Dream last Thursday afternoon, enjoying the luxury of a train journey. It’s so convenient to have a station close to the canal. I’d left Richard, Blue and Lou at home – Richard had meetings so couldn’t take Friday off and I had a much better chance of keeping the boat clean without the dogs and their assorted beds!

The boat was fine on the moorings and it looked so sparkling clean that it seemed a shame to go aboard. But despite being so close to midsummer it was a little too chilly to sleep on deck!

I walked into Wilmcote and explored the excellent local shop. It’s beautifully disguised, with trailing vines covering the pergola over the entrance. Beneath this is a table full of luscious home-made cakes from a local supplier as well as a good range of fresh fruit and vegetables. The shop within is well-stocked and they promised that they’d have fresh bread in the morning. I stocked up with the essentials and went back to the Mary Arden pub for supper – it’s friendly place so it didn’t bother me to be there by myself.

As always, I slept very well on the boat and headed off to the shop. Apparently their bread delivery comes in at 7am – by 9.30am it was obvious that a few locals had already taken advantage. But there were still some very good looking loaves in stock. They’re very friendly here and I was told all about the owner’s pet parrot (ok ok, it was alive  before you Monty Python fans start up :-)).

Then it was back to the boat. I had many good intentions but I was a bit afraid of disturbing the unnatural tidiness. There’s no mobile phone signal here and no hope of an internet connection so I just sat and read my book – very relaxing! Eventually, though, it dawned on me that I should really move the boat nearer to the bridge to make it easier for them to load up. I was quite proud of myself for winding the boat, reversing her down the canal towards the bridge and bringing her in to a single-handed mooring, all against an adverse and gusty wind!

While I was tying up I got the chance to say hello to a dainty black greyhound who was walking down the towpath with her owner. The grey was a little timid – she’d been attacked by a Jack Russell terrier and had what looked like a nastily  infected wound on her thigh. Poor thing!

Cousin Denise, husband Wyn and kids Christina and Rhodri, turned up just after midday and I immediately started to lecture them. They took it in good part  – Denise spent just about every school holiday in my house when she was young so she’s used to my funny ways 🙂

We were short of water so the plan was for use to do a shake-down cruise up to Wootton Wawen so that they could get a feel for the boat while there was still an ‘expert’ on board. This would also give them an opportunity to experience the narrow trough at Edstone and revise their locking technique.

As I mentioned, Wyn’s a natural on the helm so he did brilliantly. Denise and the kids were very competent lock crew and I was increasingly confident that they’d be absolutely fine on board by themselves. We had a steady toddle up the canal to Wootton Wawen where the cheery folk at Anglo Welsh sorted us a pump out. I was a bit amazed because their service area is right on the aqueduct. They told us to hold Indigo Dream in the aqueduct and there we stayed for half an hour for the pump out; we then winded and blocked the canal for another half hour while we filled the water tank. I was a bit anxious but NO boats wanted to pass by – incredible! Sods law dictated that there should have been at least one!

With the water tank full and the toilet tank empty I knew that Indigo Dream’s new crew now had the resources to do as they pleased – to cruise around or just moor up and use Wilmcote as a base.

We meandered back down the canal. It was dreamy afternoon; Christina was sleeping off the last of her exam fatigue (she’s literally just finished her A-Levels), Wyn and Rhodri were practising their steering skills on the helm, while Denise and I sat on the front deck catching up with the gossip. Suddenly we both jumped up and started shouting at an oncoming boat. Their crew looked a bit startled but it was our old share boat, Dragonfly! It’s the first time we’ve met her since we sold our shares almost four years ago. We were shouting to tell them that we’d been owners and that she was looking fine (we think they’ve had the paintwork done). They looked bewildered – Dragonfly always had the noisiest engine so I don’t know whether they heard us. I wonder if they blog? Will there be a post about the mad shouty people on Indigo Dream? 🙂

Wyn and the crew did a fine mooring back at Wilmcote and, with some last minute and largely unnecessary advice, I headed back to the train station.

We had a text from Denise on Friday morning to say that they’d had a great night’s sleep and were busy exploring Stratford. I think they’d taken the train from Wilmcote – it takes less than 10 minutes to get to Stratford (4 hours or so by boat!) and the fare for all of four of them was less than a fiver. Their long weekend is off to a flying start…..

Update – Monday 22nd June:

Denise and family have set off for home after a weekend of roaming around the area by foot, road and rail, in the end they just used the boat as a hotel. Indigo Dream’s still afloat – that’s all we needed to know! Denise has promised me lots of photos so hopefully the next post will be a bit more colourful than this one!

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