Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for January 18th, 2010

Boat Blog: BCN Marathon Challenge 2010

Posted by indigodream on 18 January, 2010

We received our copy of Boundary Post today (the BCN Society’s newsletter).

The exciting news is that the BCN Marathon Challenge is on again this year – put this date in your diaries….

May 29th – 30th 2010

We’ve decided to take part again this year and work our 2010 Odyssey round it – this means that we may not get so far north but there’s plenty to explore in the East so I’m sure we won’t get bored.

If you have a boat in the vicinity of the area in May then we can thoroughly recommend taking part.

If you don’t have a boat then get in touch via the comments – we have room for up to 8ย  ‘day’ย  crew members but we can only offer overnight accommodation to 2 ‘night’ crew, preferably people who don’t mind sharing a bed (with each other and possibly with Lou the greyhound!).

Health warning: we may be grumpy at 5am and towards the end of the second day!

Readers will already know that we did a ‘live’ blog of the challenge last year – looking back I can’t quite believe we managed that. I wonder if we could do the same this year. I have to point out that our account of last year’s challenge is definitely not a guide on how to win ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m so looking forward to getting our application sorted – the planning last year was almost as much fun as taking part – that map of the BCN will soon be adorning our lounge wall again……..

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Boat Blog: BSS Chores

Posted by indigodream on 18 January, 2010

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th January

Richard went up to the boat on Saturday – it was an early start – the gas man was coming to do our BSS work at 9am. I stayed at home with the dogs – we’d just have been in the way and, as the hob was being fixed, I couldn’t even have spent the day making tea for the workers!

Note: The batteries, with the Webasto running for around 2 hours a day, was down to 50% – still lower than we expected but not as scary as the 2% we’ve previously achieved.

I must mention that Andrew Phasey, our BSS inspector, has been very supportive. I don’t know if all BSS inspectors are as helpful, but Andrew’s been generous with his time and expertise to discuss solutions with the gas man and come up with a realistic solution (without re-routing the whole run of gas pipe). The final solution was to sleeve the gas pipes running through the cupboard with the electrics.

The gas work took a surprising amount of time – the men were there all day and needed to go back on Sunday to test the system and sign off the work.

Note: We finally got our proper mooring permits for Black horse so we’re all ‘legal’ now!

I joined them on the Sunday as the gas man was due at a far more civilised time in the late afternoon. We went up for lunch at the Black Horse and enjoyed their huge roast dinner – what a luxury!

Richard had a long chat with our lovely neighbour on nb Donela – she’d recognised us as ‘the boat from the CWF forum’. But we weren’t the only bloggers out today – nb Marmaduke was moored outside the pub – her new owner presumably having discovered the delights of the convenient afternoon’s cruise from Willowtree marina to the pub and back. We didn’t see nb Marmaduke’s owners – they were probably in the pub at the same time as us but I didn’t quite have the gall to shout out “will Marmaduke’s owners please make themselves known” – maybe we’ll catch up with them another time!

Moorings are tricky at Black Horse at the moment – despite the ice’s retreat, the visitor moorings are still full (admittedly some were winter moorers like ourselves) so the water point seems to have become unofficial pub mooring. Maybe we need more mooring rings here, say on the other side of Black Horse Bridge – it’s a popular spot.

After lunch went back to the boat – firmly holding on to the dogs – Donela’s kitten has a distinct deathwish – he’d actually come on board Indigo Dream yesterday (no dogs -phew) – I hope the kitten’s not thinking of including our boat in his territory – big mistake!

Richard had to take down a few panels to give better access to the cupboard at the back of the boat. This has led to some new plans. We’ve been wanting to extend the doorway into the cupboard for a while – for some reason our boatbuilder put in a 6-inch wide doorway into a 2’6″ wide cupboard. Now that we’ve seen how good the access is with a full width opening we’ll definitely be looking for a carpenter to convert the panel into a proper cupboard door. Richard also considered the wiring and reckons it would be easy to install some more lights at the back – it’s a bit dark there.

So, with panels and wires strewn across the boat, Indigo Dream’s definitely got the feel of a PROJECT – who knows, we may even finish this one!

With the plumber due, I took the dogs off for a long walk (by our standards) – wow, the dog walking here is even more magnificent that I’d realised. I followed the towpath towards London (and Horsenden Hill), turned off onto the common by Uxbridge Road Bridge where the dogs had a good rummage; I then crossed the canal at the footbridge with the intention of giving them a run on the playing fields. What I hadn’t realised was that if you turn right (away from the playing fields), you reach Horsenden Meadows – hundreds of acres of open meadows around the foot of Horsenden Hill. This was perfect greyhound country – generous hedgerows for rummaging and wide open spaces for running. The meadows had the largest colony of crows that I’ve ever seen – their glossy plumage as black as holes in the universe against the bright green grass. Lou raced around joyfully while Blue rooted around – we had a slightly longer walk than I intended – I accidentally went one field too far, but the dogs had a great time.

So, here’s a message for F & F on Caxton – come on down, there’s plenty for doggies to see and do in the big city!

Apparently Horsenden meadows are medieval pastures, now maintained by a mixture of mowing and grazing. Fortunately the cattle weren’t there – Blue’s love of rolling in cowpats is legendary! The useful information board showed a range of beautiful meadow flowers and butterflies that may be be seen here in the summer. If all goes well we won’t be here to see them, we’ll be on the 2010 odyssey. Never mind, the winter-short grass suits the greyhounds better ๐Ÿ™‚

We were out for over an hour, just enough time for the gas man to finish testing the system and pronouncing it safe. We were well-impressed with the gas man – he was a personable young man, very thorough, conscientious (turned up when he said he would!) and reasonably priced. Here are his details:

Gas Safe engineer with boat experience: W R (Bill) Beauchamp 07966 402252 – he’s based at Perivale so very convenient for the Grand Union.

It was slightly less effort to leave the boat today – it’s a complete tip! We can’t put all the panels back until Andrew Phasey’s had a chance to re-inspect the works next Wednesday.

When we got home I found out that I’d overdone the dog-walking – Blue and Lou hurled themselves onto their duvets, too tired even to explore their food bowls; they slept through the night, unbothered by the foxes in the garden. It’s 12.30pm on Monday afternoon – the dogs are still fast asleep in their beds, looking warm and contended wrapped in their blankets – what a life!

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