Indigo Dreaming

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The Odyssey 2010: Day 1

Posted by indigodream on 6 April, 2010

Saturday 27th March

Black Horse to Cowley Lock

Imagine the story if Homer had focussed his odyssey on the cabin boy rather than the hero – that’s where this year’s tale begins…….

Bye Bye Black Horse.....

After a winter of productive but messy DIY, Indigo Dream was packed full of new innovations (eg light cabin light that we can turn on by the back hatch rather than by tripping down the stairs in the dark to find the switch on the ceiling halfway down the boat). Sadly it was also packed with dust, sawdust, random bits of wood and MDF, screws, cable ties, toolboxes and not forgetting an ample coating of mud from the towpath. So, our odyssey started with brief move to the waterpoint at Black Horse (a whole 120 feet) and a serious spring clean.

We swept and scrubbed, realising yet again that the downside of having a long boat is that there’s an awful lot of boat to clean – and we didn’t even get to do the outside! Richard’s plan of giving the paintwork a good scrub and a polish was a tad too ambitious for the time available. In the meantime, Blue and Lou perched on the sofa – looking down at our industry with disdain.

Note: I’m a bit behind with the blog but there were notices up warning that the towpath from Black Horse to the Railway Bridge would be closed for repairs for a week from the 27th March. The path was very much open so I assume that the works have been delayed – the towpath certainly hadn’t been improved!

But why all the cleaning? The Indigo Dreamers aren’t normally that fastidious – well, we were being joined by friends Liam and Lena and their 2-year old son Seamus.

We’d arrived at the boat by 9.30am (practically dawn by our standards) – by midday we’d got her looking almost habitable. But then I had to leave – my sister-in-law, Danusia, is getting married at the end of April and I was off to her hen lunch in Farnham. Much as I love Danusia, and much as I hate cleaning, it was a wrench to leave Indigo Dream on a fine spring afternoon….

Liam, Lena and Seamus arrived at 2pm and the crew promptly went to the Black Horse for a farewell lunch. The pub excelled itself with a 4 for 2 meal deal which resulted in the dogs having a lamb shank dinner all the themselves!

and 'Hello' Bulls Bridge....

We have really enjoyed mooring here – good pub, good location; we’d still recommended it despite the theft of our centre ropes. Interestingly we met another boater over the weekend who’s had their tiller pin filched while they were filling with water at Cowley so there’s been a thief around – where  s/he is now I wonder? But do please put this into context – we think crime is rare on the canals. We’ve had long discussions about mooring here again next winter – maybe right from the start of the winter mooring period in October. BUT……….we’ve had the exciting news that from 1st April we’ve got a permanent mooring in Limehouse Basin! So, we are no longer rootless vagabonds, well, we are at heart – we won’t actually be anywhere near our new moorings until July…..

The crew set off in the late afternoon sun – I drove through the rain to Farnham. The crew stopped at Willowtree marina for a pump-out and diesel (40/60 split) – I ordered some fizzy water and a pizza. The crew stopped off at Tesco’s Bull’s Bridge to fill up on provisions – I ordered a diet coke. Indigo Dream meandered down the canal in the dusky afternoon light – I mused on how being a girly girl with the girlies isn’t a patch on being out in the elements on the helm!

I drove back towards the boat in the early evening – I couldn’t wait to be back on board and join the start of the odyssey. Our planned meeting point was Cowley Lock – I scouted a mooring and informed the crew about the one Indigo Dream sized space about 3 boat lengths down from the lock. I then inspected the lockside pub, the Malt Shovel. I know this will be irrelevant to most boaters, but the pub does a very good pot of tea 🙂

The Malt Shovel is not dog-friendly but it does do decent food – I think they’re aspiring to be a gastropub but maybe not quite there yet. The service was ok-ish and they were very welcoming to Seamus. I hadn’t realised that the combination of dogs AND a small child might make us into pub pariahs but we’ve been pleasantly surprised. The pub only gets an ok-ish rating as they managed to miss out some of our starter platter and then some of the extras with our main meal.

The mooring’s adjacent to a park so it’s great for the dogs and it’s surprisingly quiet considering how close it is to Uxbridge. We had a peaceful night once Lou had accepted the fact that she’d been ousted from the sofa onto a piled up bed of cushions, duvets and sheepskins in the galley……..

Today’s Trivia

I’ve been trying to find out more about the bits of industry surrounding our Black Horse moorings but now we’re on the move I’ll concentrate on trying to find out one interesting thing a day about our ever-changing surroundings. But I can’t leave without a mention of the Black Horse pub – I’d assumed it was a typical canalside pub, but apparently there’s been a pub there since at least 1726 (though the current buildings are, apparently, modern). This means that the pub pre-dates the canal by many decades. Of course, it’s now a Fullers pub and the Fullers brewery, or should that be brand, has a rich history as you’ll find out here –


Just a few photos of our new cupboard door and, for security, our new ropes…..

Our new cupboard doors and panel....

The split doors.....

And with the centre panel removed to give better access to the interior - clever eh?

Our new ropes - hands off any pirates that are reading 🙂

4 Responses to “The Odyssey 2010: Day 1”

  1. Graham and Jill said

    Come on Lou and Blue we’re waitin’ for you

    Luv Baxter and Mutley

  2. Neil said

    Off at last. Have a great trip.

    As for the Black Horse and the Malt Shovel we agree with you on both. Malt Shovel very “ish” and Black Horse very good. When we were at the Black Horse recently we went in for a meal on the Saturday night but they weren’t doing food because of staff shortage. The landlady was very apologetic and gave us one free ticket for a Sunday lunch next day. Good beer too.


  3. Greygal said

    Oh excellent, our southern narrowboat is on its way! This is the life, two boats for the price of one! However we will earn our passage with extra muscle, dog fussing and Nespresso contributions – we wouldn’t want to be seen to be taking advantage!! Look forward to seeing you all soon.

  4. indigodream said

    Hi Greygal, dog fussing definitely needed – Lou has a very large bandage covering a load of stitches holding together a nasty gash on her back leg – lots of sympahty needed. Baxter and Muttley please take note 🙂

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