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The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for June 4th, 2010

The Odyssey 2010: Day 19

Posted by indigodream on 4 June, 2010

Monday 31st May

Stoke Bruerne (long pound) to Old Wolverton

Note: the photos are a bit random today – we forgot to  take them until we were well down the canal – we blame Adam and Adrian – we were too busy yakking!

We had a fantastic night’s sleep on the moorings – there’s nothing like a long day’s locking in the fresh air, a big supper, good company, a glass of wine and a quiet mooring spot to put us to sleep!

Swan demanding his modelling fee!

We were up and about by 9am and texted the Debdales to tell them we were decent. In the meantime Richard took the dogs for a walk and picked up a fellow greyhound fan who is much involved with fundraising for greyhounds via ‘greyhound friends‘. She came to admire the 2010 calendar and heaped lavish praise on Blue and Lou – we must get a stock of 2011 calendars (due out soon) – I’m sure we could sell a few on our travels. Adam and Adrian then arrived – Lou’s day was made!

It took a while to get underway – so many distractions – teas, coffees, plans and a meeting with the dainty blue lurcher from the boat moored behind us. He was cute – even Lou took to him! The boat behind us was a very unusual design – an aluminium self-build with a particularly noisy engine (we’re too used to Indigo Dream’s heavily silenced and insulated engine!). The aluminium boat’s cabin looked far too high to get under your average narrow canal bridge, but apparently they’ve been ok.

We set off with Adam who was keen to get his fix of locking; Adrian got his boating fix on the helm. He really enjoyed Indigo Dream’s slightly more powerful engine and large prop – she is a very responsive boat (especially as there was no wind today!).

It was Clapham Junction on the water. There were so many boats on the move, though the ratio of competent handlers to boats was a little low! One little boat coming up to the lock that we were just vacating first set a collision course for Indigo Dream then turned abruptly and drove his bows directly into the bank! Why? He had plenty of room just to tuck into the lock next to us. “We’re not very good” shouted one of the ground crew, Adrian and I contrived to look surprised at this revelation. It’s so good that they were going the other way – imagine if we’d been sharing locks with them!

Instead we shared locks with a very genial old couple who were moving the boat by themselves for the first time – they usually have friends to help. They were so pleased to see our trusty ground crew – the lady from the boat just couldn’t manage the heavy locks and didn’t drive – it’s not a good combination. Never mind, Richard and Adam just flexed their muscles and sorted out the locks with ease – they’re simply the best!

Lovely lurcher....

Blue and Lou were quietly cheerful this morning, mind you, I had increased the dose of their anti-inflammatories last night. If they’re having a quiet day it may be because they’re tired, but it may because they are in a bit of pain with their various arthritic joints. They had a good rummage down the locks and were very well-behaved.

Adam and Adrian stayed on for a little cruise down the lock-free pound. It’s just as well we didn’t press down this far last night – the moorings below the bottom lock were jam-packed. We had a serene cruise down the canal, enjoying the ambience – I was very surprised to see that the oilseed rape was still in flower – that’s a long season. But the main feature of the day was traffic – so many boats – it’s such a different world to the Nene. Of course, there was the all-important chatting to be done. Adam and Adrian told us about various boats on show at Crick – it was fascinating. It’s a dilemma – we didn’t go to see any of the boats not least because we were soaking wet and so were the dogs. Talking to Adam we wished we had, but then again we would have been ‘time wasters’ because we’re nowhere near wanting a new boat (though new ideas are always welcome!)

We let Adrian stay on the helm – we know what it’s like to have a share boat and how acute the withdrawal symptoms between cruises can be!

We dropped our guests off a couple of miles down the canal – they had a bit of a trek back to their car in Stoke Bruerne. It was ok though – it was a fine day for walking, dry but not too hot, and they are in training for a sponsored walk later in the year. It was so great to see them – we hope they’ll join us again when we’re back in London.

We toddled down the canal, getting to Cosgrove in a surprisingly short space of time. There was a bit of chaos around Cosgrove Lock – the infamous hotel boats Oak and Ash were brested up on the water point below the lock and were very much in the way, especially to wide beam boats. Narrowboats could get past them but only if the one on the right went out first and the second boat shuffled across to get out of the right hand gate. Above the lock, there’s a trip boat moored between the lock moorings and the narrows, which means that there’s only room for one narrowboat at the lock moorings – I stayed back on the far side of the narrows but had to stop other boats from jumping the queue! When I pulled in I thought I heard a scraping noise as if we were grounding at the front; but there are mooring rings here and it’s more than deep enough. Where was the noise coming from? It took a while for me to work out that it was coming from something flowing through the pipe bridges overhead.

Pipe bridges at Cosgrove - I wonder what was rattling through them?

The moorings around Cosgrove Lock were jam-packed, especially below the lock. This canal has really filled up since we last passed this way. It’s no wonder really – Cosgrove and Stoke Bruerne are proper boater’s villages….

I must have cruised up here in a dream – the distinctive iron-trough aqueduct over the river Great Ouse came as a complete surprise – you’d think we’d never seen it before! Never mind, it meant we could enjoy it as new……

Despite the traffic, the odd bit of congestion and slow lengths past moored visitors, we made good time. We had discussed several possible targets but decided on Old Wolverton. We’ve moored securely there before and there’s good access to the car via the industrial estate by the canal. I’m pleased to report that the Galleon pub by Bridge 68 is now open so the Wolverton moorings are no longer parched. The drinkers in the pub garden said the food was good as well.

Richard got the train from Wolverton to Northampton with his bike and collected the car. I did the usual domestics and packing. We were away by 5pm and despite a few detours we had a good trip home – once again we’d eluded the worst of the bank holiday car traffic.

We’ve got some people coming on board for a charity cruise next Sunday so we’ll be back on Saturday to take Indigo Dream down to the rendezvous point and give her a thorough clean. In the space of a short weekend we’ve managed to undo all of cousin Denise’s good work……

Photoblog:

Cosgrove is so attractive....

Oak and Ash doing their thing....

Congestion below Cosgrove Lock

Clapham Junction at Cosgrove....

We liked this signage - may be on Indigo Dream 2! The dogs are two labradors......

That's the river Great Ouse - shame we never made it to the navigable end!

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