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Archive for August, 2010

Boat Blog: Tidal Adventures (3)

Posted by indigodream on 31 August, 2010

Apologies – I’m over a week behind with the blog – aaargh!

Friday 20th August

That’s a lot of narrowboats!

We came up to the boat on Friday night for the briefing – we were late, again, as Andrew Phasey kindly pointed out as we sidled into the back of the crowded meeting room! It was ok though – we’ve heard all his jokes before 😀

The only difference with this briefing was the presence of so many boaters and the call from two boaters, who didn’t have their boat, for crew spaces on Sunday. It turns out that the additional boaters were from the Stort Boat Club, who’d ‘gatecrashed’ the briefing on lock-keeper Jeremy’s advice because he thought they might find it useful for their foray upstream on Saturday. The two volunteer crew members were Henry and Bee, who wanted to experience the tideway before bringing their share boat onto the Thames for a trip. We offered to take them on and we arranged to meet them on Sunday morning.

We also met fellow bloggers Halfie and charming wife Jan – we spent the post-briefing evening chatting with them over a few beers – it was so good to meet them. They were joining the convoy in nb Willow, which they’d borrowed from a friend moored on the Lee and Stort.

Saturday 21st August

Limehouse Basin – Thames Barrier – Limehouse Basin

We had a very convivial evening at the cruising club last night, so it was just as well that our convoy wasn’t due to leave Limehouse until late afternoon. I loafed around and did a few boating chores, including filling the water tank, while Richard popped back to Croydon to do some last-minute desk clearance before our holiday. We then hit Asda in Docklands for supplies – we were due to spend a whole week on the boat – hurrah!

Adrian at the helm….

At 3pm-ish we were joined by Adrian from nb Debdale – trying very hard to look sad because Adam was in work and couldn’t join us for the evening’s adventure. Jan and Kevin from nb Peace of Pearce popped in for a coffee and we had a very sociable afternoon whilst Richard quickly did his engine checks, yet again draining a bit of dirt out of the fuel filters . At 5pm, though, it was time to get into the lock with nb Poppy.

We left Limehouse on the ebbing tide, with the intention of passing through the Thames Barrier near low tide and turning back upstream as the tide turned. The aim this week was to turn a little further downstream so that we’d have a shorter wait on the river while the incoming tide covered the cill at Limehouse.

We had a great cruise – enjoying the same sights as last week as well as a many details that we’d missed. Pictures all show how grey and overcast it was but actually the sky just looked dramatic.  Our locking companion, nb Poppy, maintained a sedate pace – they have an old Russell and Newbury engine and were keeping an eye on her engine temperature. We stayed behind her just in case a rescue was needed, but she was absolutely fine.

We were determined not to risk VTS’ ire this week and very nicely asked permission to turn across the tideway downstream of the Barrier. It was duly granted and we breathed a sigh of relief. The VHF radio has been very useful – it’s hard to believe that we ever cruised the tideway without one (which we did, before there was a requirement for one!).

Adrian grinned the entire time as he texted regular updates to Adam. We asked whether Adam had been worried about Adrian coming alone on the tideway with us, and were wisely told that if Adrian was on board at the same time as the dogs then he knew that he wouldn’t be in any danger!

Nice view of the convoy….

We enjoyed the trip tremendously – it was much less choppy this week and I did my first entry into Limehouse Lock cut (I’ve steered from the lock pontoons into the lock before). It was easy peasy – if only it was that calm and simple every time!

But the drama wasn’t over – we’d sent nb Poppy into the lock before with old friends nb Fulbourne, leaving us to do the last locking by ourselves. But as we were waiting in the lock, a call came over the VHF from a dutch yacht wanting to come into the marina. The lock-keepers swung the bridge, opened the lock-gates and let in a rather disorganised yacht who, unfortunately, were more intent on putting down fat fenders rather than getting properly roped up in the lock. It all took time and I was starting to panic that we wouldn’t make it to the pub. They eventually got the message and we hastened to our mooring before decamping to the Grapes for some boater tales. Adrian, Lou and Lynx came with us and we had a great evening, drinking dodgy but delicious guest ales and cloudy ciders with the crews of nb Doris Katia and nb Peace of Pearce – our fellow adventurers from last Sunday’s epic ‘there and back’ tideway cruise .

In the end we had to drag ourselves away – we had an early start on Sunday….

Photoblog:

Lou making a rare visit to the back deck…

Lynx checking our lock approach….

nb Poppy’s skipper looking forward to the tideway….

The domes entrance tot he Greenwich foot tunnel under the Thames – well worth a walk, especially as the Clipper takes you to the doorstep!

Characteristic chimneys of an old power station – there are a few along the river though none to rival Battersea..

This ‘dock’ was made from an old ship (cut in half) – the best sort of recycling!

And another use for a piece of ship!

nb Poppy approaching the barrier – the green arrows make it clear which span we should use…..

The convoy on its way back through the barrier…

Adrian at the Thames Barrier….

nb Fulbourne going through the barrier – she’s a veteran of many a tidal convoy….

nb Poppy passing Tate ‘n Lyle wharf – maybe we should have stopped there – it’s the height of my jam-making season and I reckon I could use a boatload!

Of course, it’s not quite so simple when there are two open spans! This is where it’s useful to have someone to follow (and contact with London VTS of course!)

I wonder what mid-river pier is for – don’t fancy doing a shift on that portacabin on top!

nb Poppy passing by the O2..

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Boat Blog: Tidal Adventures (2)

Posted by indigodream on 20 August, 2010

Sunday 15th August

Are you having a good day?

Today was our longest sojourn ever on the tidal river – we were to ‘tail end’ the convoy from Limehouse to Brentford (though many boats went on to Teddington), then we turned back and went straight back down to Limehouse at speed to catch up with nb Doris Katia and nb Peace of Pearce because we needed to be back in place ready for next week’s cruises.

Greygal and A joined us again but this time they left their pack at home – we’d be non-stop on the tideway for several hours so a potential challenge for doggie bladders! As it happens, Lou and Lynx took the trip in their stride, especially Lou, who loafed on her sofa all day, showing a supreme disinterest in the historic river sights – and the tideway turbulence.

As ever, the photos capture more that I can put into words. Needless to say, it was an awesome journey and we’ll never spot all the sights, even if we cruised this way a hundred times. As usual the first part of the journey was a little choppy but it is surprising how well narrowboats handle a few waves providing you turn so that the wave hits your stern or front first. We set a reasonably fast speed, slowing down every so often when the following boats had slowed in turns to avoid to avoid trip boat wakes. We got waves from people on bridges and people on the various trip boats, we had a bit more time to look around then previously. London from the river looks fantastic, it is wonderful to go past all the sights and under so many of the bridges that we have driven over many times. The weather was a little dull on the way up but cleared to a nice sunny evening for our way back to Limehouse, we particularly enjoyed the glow of London’s iconic riverscape in the luminous sunset. The tide was unusually high today, making for some low headroom under a few of the bridges – there was plenty of room for us but craft much higher would have been stuck.

As ever, there was a fair amount of turbulence on the approach to Limehouse, an adverse breeze had sprung up and was whipping the river into little whitecaps – hmmm. We were vexed by a close encounter with an ignorant Clipper Ferry just outside the lock, but we couldn’t let that spoil an otherwise awesome day. nb Doris Katia and nb Peace of Pearce were waiting for us in the lock – we slipped in between them. Jan, from nb Peace of Pearce looked elated – an apt response for their first trip on the tideway, and a big trip at that. We were grinning a bit ourselves! As we came up the lock, the lock-keepers presented us with some cakes – we were the 50th boat to have passed through the lock that day – it’s the busiest day in Jeremy’s time as senior lock-keeper – a cause for celebration and a suitable end to a great day.

Priceless....

Richard had contrived a meeting in Westferry on Monday morning so he stayed on board overnight. It worked well, he was so close to his meeting place that he had time for a little lie-in and to take the boat round to the service pontoon for a pump-out – he has some guests coming on board for a mini-cruise on Thursday. I drove home with the doggies on Sunday evening – it was exhausting but the roads were quiet and I was well-placed to get the house in order before a mega-invasion of family on Monday evening.

We were excited and exhausted by our tideway adventures – we’ve always said that the river is more interesting than fun – it’s such an intense experience and therefore unmissable!

Note: I’ve added some historical bits to the photo captions – the sources I used were:

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/8608

http://www.portcities.org.uk/london/server/show/ConGalleryCollection.9/chapterId/47/Whats-left-of-the-old-port.html

Photoblog:

Saturday afternoon: The swingbridge being opened at Limehouse (for the outward bound cruiser)

nb Peace of Pearce heading for the tideway - always a few gongoozlers here....

There are a few of these ancient and characterful hostelries along the tideway - that lower deck will be awash at high tide....

The juxtaposition of modern development and old converted wharf buildings is characteristic of the tideway....

Thames Tunnel Mills - named for the nearby tunnel built by Marc Isambard Brunel in the 1830s and completed on the 3rd attempt, the first two scuppered by quicksand and lack of money respectively...

The met on the water - we didn't get boarded on this trip though..

As Greygal said "there's no better way to see iconic London"

We've passed under Tower Bridge - wheee!

And one of the sights that bus will be seeing is a convoy of narrowboats!

nb Ryeland and nb Two Hoots passing under Tower Bridge

Great views in all directions - looking back the HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge...

The bridge are close together here....

nb Ryeland and nb Two Hoots coming under the Millenium Footbridge - watch out for the wobble!

Famous vista....

Duck Tour - glad I'm on Indigo Dream!

Lynx lobbying on behalf of the retired greyhounds....

Vauxhall Bridge has some great statues - hadn't realised they were there....

More graceful bridges - the river gets a bit quieter here.....

That yellow buoy gives you an idea of how fast the tide is running...

I love the ornate details on some of these bridges...

Old buildings, new buildings and new industry - recycling by barge..

Trust Lou to come up on deck when there are no famous landmarks in the background!

Imposing riverside development....

Container wharf - glad to see the river being used commercially but equally glad that their mega-barges weren't on the move today.

River users come in all shapes and sizes....

Elegant shading...

I wonder how much you can see from this observatory given London's nightly glow?

Hammersmith Bridge - note the water level - it's a good our away from high tide...

Hammersmith Bridge at high tide - mind your head!

nb Doris Katia and nb Peace of Pearce heading downstream - we were still going upstream but we caught up with them at Limehouse!

nb Ryeland and nb Two Hoots turning off the tideway at Brentford - happy cruising - it was a pleasure to travel with you....

The river's very green here - that island would be a perfect greyhound rummaging ground...

More ornate detail - on a railway bridge (Kew) - fab!

That could be a seaside promenade!

Mind your head - Hammersmith Bridge

Bit low here as well!

Heliport - we rather be on a narrowboat!

Fine old church, or is it housing now?

Battersea Power Station - such a landmark - wish it could finally be developed.

Wouldn't it be grand to moor in the lion's mouth - of course, at low tide the water would be 7.2metres lower!

Why we don't inhabit the front deck between Wandsworth and Limehouse!

Sunset and the city

The restored Globe theatre

New icons emerging along the skyline.....

Impressive lifting gear on this bridge...

nb Doris Katia approaching Limehouse lock..

The tideway equivalent of the '19th hole' - the ancient 'Grapes' pub....

An inverted triangle of red lights means that the arch is closed to navigation...

Two orange lights means that the arch is open to navigation (keep to the right where possible)

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Dog Blog: Lynx’s Diary (3)

Posted by indigodream on 19 August, 2010

W/c 9th August 2010

It been a bit odd here this week – Blue’s gone and left me all by meself with Lou,  and Auntie Sue’s been leaking all over the place. I got lots of hugs so it was ok. Cor, that Blue was too lively for a hound – me and Lou can have lovely snoozes now and we don’t have bark at no-one, not the postman or the Tesco man or anyone reely. Auntie Sue says she’s got to buy extra locks now that she’s lost her guard dog…..

Me goin' past the O2...

Anyhoo. I was writin’ to say that I been past the Houses of Parliment and asked Prime steak Minister Cami-knickers for better welfare for greyhounds – I mean, look at that photo of me bed at Auntie Sue’s – that’s never big enuff……

Oh, I dun the O2 and the Thames barrier as well – I’s been busy.

w/c 16th August

Auntie Sue says that me an’ Lou are only good for eatin and sleepin’ – d’oh, we’re greyhounds!

We had visitors today – was hexciting an’ I got a lot of fuss. Auntie Sue though I might like to play with her cousin’s son – he’s 12 and likes dogs and I’m used to having kids around. But I was too busy lyin’ on Cousin Denise’s bed when no-one was looking – it was super-super comfy. After that I dun guarding the chinese takeaway – tha’s worth stayin’ awake for.

Me and Lou had some big races round the field – I won coz I’s young and fast, but Lou cheats! She cuts the corner and runs me down – tha’s not fair. I got attacked by a bramble – I told Auntie Sue that I didn’t like blackberries. Auntie Sue had to rescue me coz I was whimpering – she says I’m a big wuss – ‘spect that’s a good thing. She picked a few thorns out of me coat and I had to have some chinese takeaway to calm me nerves.

Look, look, call that a dog bed?

I dun some re-arrangin' - that's better....

I's got a place on the back seat now but I's not sure how to get comfy....

Lynx on the Links!

Ready to T-off (whatever that means - we just do runnin' and ....)

Lou goes in the deep end but I just likes to dip me toes....

Lou and Monty have got the sofa but I'm not toooo uncomfortable....

I dun the tourist stuff - this is me with that big clock...

Oi, Mr Cami-knickers, better welfare for greyhounds, woof!

Auntie Sue pulling me ear off! Not really, just a nice rub for being such a good boy....

Greyhound welfare - don't forget.....

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Boat Blog: Tidal Adventures (1)

Posted by indigodream on 18 August, 2010

Saturday 14th August

Lou allowed Monty to share her sofa - she's such a tart!

I didn’t sleep very well, but the tide times meant that we needed to be up early. Just as well we had the consolation of Greygal and A’s company for the day. They turned up at 8.30am with Monty, the only one of their extended greyhound pack that we haven’t met. They felt that the presence of a large, timid boy might help to fill the gap for the day – they were right – he’s a sweet boy, though I’m not sure that he ever got used to the fact that humans come in Richard-size!

Mind you, there’s no use being sentimental – Blue, being an all-action dog, would have found the tideway boring, boring, boring…….unlike us – we knew were in for an enthralling weekend!

Today we were doing a circular cruise from Limehouse Basin, past the Thames Barrier, then back to Limehouse. We were ‘tail-end charlie’ again and shared our lock with nb Two Hoots and nb Ryeland. Judging from the way they expertly brested up to us (one on the way out and the way in) they know what they are doing but have never been on the tideway. They were delightful people and it’s easy to see the advantage of convoy cruising – it does encourage socialising at locks, you feel safer and in the bar afterwards, of course which is probably less safe!  The only downside is having to wait for the convoy to clear the lock – not so bad when waiting in the marina but a bit hairy on the busy tideway!

The tidal Thames is an adventure from start to finish – Limehouse Lock itself is awesome, especially when the gates open to let the water out – there are no paddles! Because we had crew on board, I got to sit at the front with Greygal and watch the lock gates open – the tide was going down at this point and there was quite a drop down to the tideway – it made an impressive cascade. Greygal had the Indigo Dream firmly held but we both had visions of surfing the wave onto the river!

Note: When locking through Limehouse, loop fore and aft ropes  through the ‘wires’ on the lock walls – take the rope back onto the boat and take a loop round your mooring cleat but do not tie – you may need to loosen slighty from time to time to allow the rope to move down the wire.

Uh, got a tight hold of that rope, Greygal? Water cascading out of the lock - look, no paddles!

As the water equalised, the great lock gates opened and there was the tideway in all its glory.

Note: When you turn  downstream from Limehouse Lock, stay on the port side until you can see round the blind bend – only cross the tideway when you have reasonable line of sight.

I’ll let the photos tell the story – we took over 250! However there are a few highlights to mention…..

  • The crab that we photographed in Limehouse Lock was probably a chinese mitten crab – an alien invader which is gradually creeping up the Thames…..
  • There was a bit of traffic on the water – a big barge tucked in behind us and we realised it was ‘Lennard’ – the fine barge that was the last part of the greyhound obstacle course in Barking Creek! I was amazed to see them – they were moored right on the quayside and blocked in by two other mega-barges – I have no idea how they got out, or how they intend to get back in! Greygal  relived her trip on the Calder and Hebble when we were overtaken by a big humber barge!
  • The river feels choppy to start with but it is surprising how well narrowboats handle this alien environment.
  • It is great circling round the big Canary Wharf buildings
  • As we rounded the Isle of Dogs, we experienced a thrill of fear when a large cruise liner came into view. Luckily she was moored up otherwise I think we’d be saying “this river ain’t big enough for both of us”!
  • Going downstream, as you come round the bend at the Isle of Dogs, there is a considerable current which pushed the boat to the right. Be aware of the drift and use a few revs to stay in the channel.
  • Going out through the Thames Barrier is always a thrill
  • We unintentionally upset London VTS by turning across the river a bit too close to the barrier – you have to ask permission for that, though you can turn further down at your leisure – oops! We’ll know next time.
  • We learnt that if London VTS call you on Channel 14 (the normal watch channel) then they’re just giving you firm advice; if they ask you to change to channel 22 then you’re in for a bollocking! Luckily our transgression didn’t merit channel 22…..

Journey's end - locking up to Limehouse Marina....

We turned with the tide and had to dawdle on the way back to allow enough water to come over the cill at Limehouse Lock – what a great chance to enjoy each and every sight on the river – you wouldn’t get that opportunity on a trip boat. Mind you, neither would a trip boat be rocking around in the wash from passing ferries and the rising breeze, prompting me to cling on to the front doors (I was lookout for the lock) and spontaneously start singing “eternal father strong to save”. It was with some relief that we turned into the lock cut – it was no less choppy there but it was reassuring to tie to the rocking pontoons within reach of shore! We locked back in Limehouse with little drama and our first tidal adventure was over.

We met up with our fellow boaters in the Grapes later on – the tide was very high indeed, with water lapping through the boards of the pub’s waterfront balcony. We enjoyed the sight of another enormous cruise liner travelling downriver, preceded by a huge tug which created a wash several feet high; the tug travelling behind the liner was a little more moderate. We supped our pints, immensely relieved that we were securely tied in the marina – I think that Indigo Dream would probably have fitted into this cruise liner’s swimming pool!

Photoblog:

If you were part of the convoy and would like the full versions of these photos please get in touch – we are happy to burn a disk but will probably give you everything so you must not be scared to use your delete button (extensively).

Assembling the convoy at Limehouse Lock....

Rafted up and waiting for Limehouse Lock...

You get all sorts of gongoozlers at Limehouse Lock....

Entering the tideway downstream of Limehouse - the clouds looked more menacing than they were....

Barge 'Lennard' on her way back to Barking Creek....

There's all sorts of stuff on the river.....

That's one brave rower - there's a lot of BIG traffic on this end of the river....

Greewich....

The convoy coming back upstream.....

Greygal and A at the Thames Barrier.....

Cut down to size - nb a new song (I think) dwarfed by the barrier and the Tate n' Lyle wharf....

nb Ryeland and nb Two Hoots coming through the barrier....

nb Felonious Mongoose approaching the barrier....

Monty at the Thames Barrier - he'd rather be in his bed!

That's better...

Lou on the Thames - the one and only time she came off her sofa!

Lynx at the O2

nb Two Hoots at the O2...

Doris Katia leading the convoy past Canary Wharf - difficult to get high rises and low narrowboats into the same shot!

Entrance to London Docklands - we were there a couple of years ago - I'd love another chance to explore....

Monty at the O2....

The convoy going upstream past Greenwich...

The convoy gliding past cruise liner 'Amadea' - I'm glad she's moored up!

Treasure hunters....

This made us laugh!

Waiting for the tide to rise.....

Good use of an old crane 'base' - lots of nautical/wharf architecture along this stretch...

Low tide - just downstream of Limehouse...

Another iconic view....

Having fun?

nb My Talitha...

nb Serena....

nb A new song....

nb Chiltern Rose and nb Felonious Mongoose....

Approaching the entrance to Limehouse Marina - we were all pointing downstream, into the rising tide, for a bit more control at the helm.

It got a bit choppy while we were waiting for Limehouse Lock....

But luckily we were safely in the lock cut by the time these jokers started doing handbrake turns.....

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Boat Blog: That was the week that was…….

Posted by indigodream on 17 August, 2010

We’ve been diverted by Blue’s demise so I”ll just rewind a little for our boat’s log before passing swiftly to the main event – a weekend on the Thames tideway…..

Wednesday 4th August

Driving into Old Ford Lock

Richard took a team of Olympic architects out for a mini-cruise this afternoon/evening, ably assisted by Karolina. One of the great appeals of Limehouse Marina is the range of local cruises available – a trip up Limehouse Cut and the Lee Navigation is a handy couple of hours – perfect for a summer evening and now it has a nice mix of historical and contemporary interest at Three Mills and the Olympics.

Although they’ll have seen the Olympic Park many times, Richard’s guests enjoyed the scenery from the water. They were suitably complementary about Indigo Dream, and particularly appreciated the freedom to explore her well-stocked cupboards! They’d expected to be put in their fixed seats, there to stay – no chance – everyone had a turn at the helm, they were excellent company and drove well.

Friday 13th August

Thanks to the traffic, we got back to the boat rather later than we’d hoped but still in time for our tideway briefing. I was surprised how many boaters there were in the room – we were on for a great cruise. We met up with the crew of nb Peace of Pearce and spent the post-briefing social with them – it was lovely evening! They i.e. Kevin and Jan, were persuaded to come along on the tideway cruise on Sunday – that way they’d have company for the return trip to Limehouse but that’s a story for later.

It was so hard to come back to the boat without Blue – we got him just a few weeks before we took possession of the boat so he was the original Indigo Dreamer. Lou and Lynx are a great comfort though.

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Dog Blog: Blue 10th May 2002 – 11th August 2010

Posted by indigodream on 11 August, 2010

I guess the title says it all – our beautiful boy Blue died peacefully in vet hospital early this morning after a shockingly brief illness over the weekend, though it’s likely that he’s had the underlying disease for some months.

Blue at his best - this is how we want to remember him....

Blue was born on 10th May 2002 in Ireland. His first proper race was in Waterford on 28th May 2004 when he ran 480m / 525 yards in 32.75 seconds, coming first! His early career was splendid and he soon graduated to running at Wimbledon, Walthamstow and Perry Barr. Sadly his second year was not as good as his first, probably due to a knee injury, so he finished his racing career early. He was re-homed initially to a couple who divorced and, sadly, Blue got caught in the cross fire and packed off to Battersea just as our old Lurcher died.

May 2006: New dog on a shiny new boat

So Battersea was were we first met Blue. We went back to Battersea, asked for a small female Lurcher and they produced this large male greyhound and said “trust us”. We duly did and never regretted it.
Our dogs have always spent much of their time off lead and it was a requirement that Blue had to quickly learn to be responsible(ish) off the lead. Early walks were fun. Fortunately the fields just north of us had no sheep in at that time but loads of rabbits! We reckoned that Blue’s first walk there resulted in him running at substantial pace for about 7 miles, a good lesson as he gradually realised that he did not have to find the horizon every time we slipped his lead. Other things also quickly changed, for example, as with all re-homed dogs he would initially try to eat his entire food bowl in one go, that insatiable urge took about a month (or maybe 3 chinese takeaway leftovers) to calm down. Worse was to follow – only a few days after getting him we got Indigo Dream so this blog has been as much about Blue as it has been about our travels on Indigo Dream.

It was wonderful how Blue adapted to his new life. Yes we had incidents like when the guys from Richard’s office took him for a long walk on their way to collect a take-away, a van back-fired, Blue got spooked, periscoped out of his collar and ran back along the road to the office. Blue was fine after his little game with Croydon’s traffic, Simon who had ran after him needed to be defibrillated but he also survived.  I have just realised that I don’t think I ever told Sue this story. Whoops, quickly back to the story before Sue notices. Blue worked out so well that 6 months later we started thinking of getting another one. We went first to Hersham as we had heard that they had Blue’s brother but we just missed him – he is exceedingly happily re-homed in West Wales. We ended up getting a second greyhound, Lou, from  Greyhoundhomer in Ockendon. She has been Blue’s partner in many crimes but it is hard to put into words how much pleasure our two hounds have given us. We have been honoured that they have agreed to spend their retirement with us and it has been a complete delight to see how much they can enjoy life.

August 2008: Anti-piracy device - Blue on the lookout!

Now onto Sue’s account of the last few days, a story that she had to get off her chest but don’t read any further if you’re a dog lover – it’ll only make you cry!

Blue had been slowing down for a few months – the vet thought it was a back injury but in the last couple of weeks we started having him tested for underactive thyroid – the sort of thing you’d expect from a dog sliding into late middle age (he was only 8).

Last Thursday he was still making the ground shake as he ran past but in the evening he just became very ill – finding it difficult to get up and walk, very unsteady on his feet. The first emergency vet though he was in pain but not sure where – probably back, hip or leg. His nerve function seemed ok so he got a big shot of an anti-inflammatory pain killer then Sue’s drug cupboard got opened up for some more exotic remedies. We kept him loaded up on painkillers over the weekend but he wasn’t getting any better. We saw a vet on Saturday who noted a possible deterioration in one reflex but it could as well have been pain causing a difference but she agreed with our request for a referral to a specialist which she left for Monday’s Vet to sort. We had a useless emergency vet on duty over the weekend – she just wasn’t interested when we kept telling her that Blue was deteriorating – she just wanted us to manage him at home until Monday, when Monday’s vet could sort things.

We were frantic by Monday morning but fortunately saw an excellent vet who spotted that Blue had some signs of nerve problems and got us into a specialist vet in neurology. That’s when we got the bombshell, she suspected a tumour in his spinal column in his neck. She admitted him to hospital straight away for basic care – fluids, stronger painkillers and something for his stomach (he’d been vomiting over the weekend) – this is what we’d hoped our own vet would have done – it’s not rocket science.

Dec 2009: Fun in the snow

The condition in his neck which we believe killed him, is unbelievably rare (the Specialist could not find any published data on it being seen before in a greyhound) – we’ve authorised some post-mortem tissue sample so that the vets can learn from it. The brain tumour was treatable but he was on borrowed time – we just didn’t realise it until Monday.

We had a chance to see him yesterday – he was as comfortable as modern medicine could make him, had a deep comfy bed and was wrapped in a snuggly fleece – I don’t think he was in distress, just very very ill – he never really recovered from the anaesthetic that they gave him for the scan yesterday though no doubt the hefty doses of methadone would have kept him slightly under anyway. We left him just before 5pm, he died at about 3am.

We took Lou to say goodbye to him this morning – I know it seems macabre but apparently it’s very important to let dogs see their departed pack mates – they seem to be able to accept death in some animal way and then don’t pine and look for the missing hound. There was surprisingly little drama and Lou seems settled – considerably more settled than me. Interestingly we took Lou & Lynx for a walk afterwards and Lou seems to have taken on Blue’s role of ranging forward often in pace just in case there is a rabbit hiding behind a blade of grass.

Lou and Lynx have been a great comfort to us and to each other but it’s been terrible to say goodbye to our lovely boy.

Blue was our third rescue dog but our first greyhound and he’s been a complete joy. We had so much pleasure from his company, from watching him run and rummage, from seeing his complete and utter contentment in his forever home. How we wish that we could have more years with him. I’ll let the blog stand as his eulogy – I know that many have shared his adventures and nothing I could say here could capture the completeness of his retired life.

March 2009: The chase is on....

We’re in shock – it was all so unexpected.

It’s been a very hard few days but we can say, hand on heart, that I think we gave Blue the best possible life in the time he was with us. We were rewarded in spades by his love and companionship – we will miss him terribly.

When we lose a dog we always feel that we’ve been robbed – it’s never enough time and the grieving pain is dreadful – I can’t describe it. But when we take a new dog on we always make a pledge that when their day is done we will get another rescue hound – we feel that we have a moral duty to do so if we can; but in reality our motives are very selfish – we always feel that rescue hounds give back so much more than we give them. It’s important for these hounds that someone marks their lives in some way and makes them matter – even if it’s briefly.

So, here’s to Lou and Lynx – we’ll do all we can to give them a happy life and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for long lives….

Thank you Blue for the time you have given us. Run free.

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Dog Blog: Lynx’s Diary (2)

Posted by indigodream on 5 August, 2010

Auntie Sue, AUNTIE SUE, this chair's in my way, could you just move it?

Thursday 29th July

What a life – I’s done all the oosual – sleeping, rummaging round the garden, sleepin’, eatin’, sleeping, going for sniffs and wees in the woods, sleepin, lookin’ for rats in the garden, sleeping. Oooh, did I mention I dun som sleepin’?

Ooh, I dun some fartin’ as well – Auntie Sue is happy coz she says it means I’m a proper greyhound…..

Aargh,  Richard woke me up to brush my teeth – he says I got lovely teeth so ’twas ok.

Friday 30th July

Blue, Lou and Auntie Sue is not mornin’ people – just as well  Richard is up early so I can have a run in the garden. Auntie Sue got up to give me breakfast but Blue and Lou didn’t want any – amazin’. We’s been for a walk – was borin’ – no wabbits or squizzles, tho there was lots of nice smells to sniff and a stream to splosh in. I’s not doin’ sploshing no more coz mud makes my coat dull. Lou’s brindle still looks good when it’s muddy but I’s got to look after me black beauty.

I was settled down on one of me duvets when Auntie Sue bundled us in the car again – ooh, are we going on an interestin’ walk this time? Oh no, it’s  Richard’s office – I’s made to work all afternoon – I’s eaten sosidges, had fuss a off Karolina, then Fred, then Agnieszka, then Renia, had a lay down on a different duvet, then I had to eat bacon and rice. I was hexhausted but then we had another trip in the car to a thin house what wobbles. I’s not too sure about it at all – but then I found my duvet and Blue’s duvet and, best of all, Lou let me share her sofa. I tried my new hypno powers wot Blue and Lou taught me – I’s a genius – Auntie Sue bought me TWO hot chickens – I had to share with the humans and with Blue and Lou but is ok – there was just enuff to go round.

I's liking my garden....

Saturday 31st July

The thin wobbly house is a boat and it moves! We moved lots today – it was all new but I was such a good boy. Blue and Lou asked their friends Arthur, Ranger and Miffy out to play. There were SIX of us on board – I’s ok though – I laid on the duvet right at the front, and the one near the front and the one by the sofa and the one at the back, then there was the sheepskin on the back deck – that was nice – but my favrit is the sofa, I love the sofa, I love Lou – she lets me share the sofa. I’s a lucky boy – Lou don’t share her sofa with just anyone.

We went to the ‘lympics but the track’s not ready for us yet so we could not show that Bolt chappie how to run properly!

We met lots of people today – Auntie Sue says I’m a tart – ‘spect that’s a good thing…..

Sunday 1st August

Today I dun sleepin’ – I’s very tired after the ‘lympics yesterday. I dun sleepin’ on the boat, then sleepin’ in the car and then sleepin’ in the house – I’s very versatile when it comes to sleepin’….

Oooh, we had sardeens for our bedtime snack – I loves sardeens – but one tiny tin between three of us isn’t going’ to keep my coat glossy – come on Auntie Sue…….

I’s been here a whole week now – is ok, am getting used to my new routine and I gets lots of cuddles – if i feels a bit lonely I can cuddle up to Blue and Lou – Auntie Sue is amazed – they never shares beds with each other.

Monday 2nd August

I dun sleepin’ and Auntie Sue roasted a chicken – it was a superior chicken so she and Richard ate most of it – cheek!

Tuesday 3rd August

I dun sleepin’ and we dun a walk – we met two Rottweiler’s – they was a bit feisty but Blue dun a little growl and they scarpered……

I’s met Auntie Danusia – she’s a vet but it wasn’t scary. She loved me glossy coat and me handsome ways – she says I’s very relaxed – I’s very chilled!

Wednesday 4th August

I dun playin’ with a sqweeky duck today – it was fun. I run round and round the field and chucked it in the air, it was well dead when I was done. Lou chased me round the field – was fun – I’s had to run fast tho’. We was all tired after all that runnin’ around so we all laid in the grass and watched Auntie Sue pick blackberries. I don’t like blackberries, I likes chicken and sardeens but Auntie Sue says they don’t grow in my garden – hummph!

Autie Sue watched me after I done running in case I had one of my funny turns, but I was fine.

Now mummy knows I’s allright and that I’s happy to stay here for a bit, I’ll just write my diary when I’s done something hexciting or I’s got pictures of my handsome self to show you – even mummy might get bored o’ hearin’ ’bout me just sleepin’ and eatin’…….

Photoblog:

I's looking good in lavender....

Synchronised sleeping....

Wheeee - I's winnin' this race.....

Oooh, wassat?

Busy, busy.....

Blue showing how much space a greyhound really needs on a narrowboat....

Lou likes her comforts as well....

I's not too badly off on the comfort front either....

Me an' my new friend, Miffy. She just fell in the canal - I's gived that a miss!

My foster brother Blue - he's a fine hound....

Look, mummy, I's helping at a lock...

Got to supervise at the locks - Uncle Andy woz watching to make sure I didn't fall in....(or stand on the wrong side of the beam)

Me an' Lou on the prowl...

Look, look, I's at the 'lympics.....

I's having a kip with Miffy and Arthur - wish the Auntie Sue and Auntie Sarah would get their big feet out of the way tho'...

I gets to share Lou's sofa - not many hounds get to share Lou's sofa....

I's let Blue have the sofa for a bit - boatin' and rummagin' is very tirin'....

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Boat blog: A feast of boats, hounds and sausages (Part 2)

Posted by indigodream on 2 August, 2010

Saturday 31st July – a ring with a difference…

Our afternoon cruising plan (thanks to Andrew Phasey for giving me permission to publish his map)....

Three Mills was a grand sight today – the cut was festooned with narrowboats, all joining the flotilla being allowed, for the first time, to pass through the brand new City Mills Lock. We brested up to nb Lynx and clambered on shore for an informal briefing by Andrew Phasey, Commodore of the St Pancras Cruising Club. A total of 32 boats with 90 crew were taking part – what a great event. There were so many boats that we had to lock out of Bow in ten separate groups. We were ‘tail end Charlie’ again, along with our previous locking companions, nb Barbara. Being in the last locking gave us plenty of time to explore our surroundings, fill up with paninis, walk the dogs and watch the rising tide of water and narrowboats sweeping up the river Lea. It took so long to lock the convoy through that nb Doris Katia had made it round the ring and finished her cruise before we’d even got into the first lock.

Ah, we could have wished that our transit of the ring had been so fast, but I’ll come back to that later!

In the end, we locked out of Bow by ourselves – the tide was so high by now that we only had to drop by about 1″! We’ve never turned left into the River Lea before. The turn was quite something – the river was wide and running fast with the incoming tide – it was impossible to turn too sharply as Indigo Dream heeled dramatically into the turn. I had to hastily re-organise the ballast (Andy and Richard!) and we were off, following the incoming tide towards Three Mills. I handed the helm to Greygal – if you enjoy helming a narrowboat then you just have to get your hands on a tiller on the tideway – it’s a great feeling.

The Lea looks great when it’s full of water and, from this angle, the Three Mills looked ready to harness the power of the tide, as they have for many centuries. There’s not much left of the working mills now but it was a grand sight. We turned right up the Lea and followed the District/Metropolitan & City Line upriver – we waved at the tube trains – one driver beeped back – result! I think that boats are a rare sight on this stretch.

We caught up with the convoy outside the enormous Three Mills Lock (formerly known as Prescott Lock). The gates were shut and the red light was on. Greygal did a good job of hovering – keeping Indigo Dream steady despite the tide, the wind and the wash from a little speedboat whizzing excitedly along the river. We had a long wait, 20 minutes or more, we had plenty of water but I was watching out for the turning tide – this river drains quickly!

We were eventually waved into the lock – Three Mills Locks is huge – the six waiting narrowboats fitted in easily – I believe there’s room for up to nine if needed – three in line and three abreast. We tied to a handy post and we locked down to the level of the Prescott Channel. The lock opened but we were advised to wait where we were. A queue had built up at the new City Mills lock and it would be easier to wait in the lock than on the barren navigation.

Annie came and explained about the delay getting us into Three Mills Lock – the mission control houston type control panel monitoring the radial gates at the north end keeps thinking that the west gate is open by 1 degree, well it is not quite so simple – it sounds like it mostly thinks the west gate is open but on occasions it decides that the east gate is open. The lock is impressive with big radial gates, sophisticated flood control monitoring but the contractor has left bolts on the ladders un-tightened, there is some cracking in the concrete, the sophistication of the system makes you wonder will it still be working in 200 years?

Looks this is not fair. Humans have the furniture at home so why is a human on our sofa?

The Three Mills Lock has had a fair amount of stick in the past eg see Narrowboatworld. There does seem to be daily traffic going through it but it is not getting the traffic it deserves. It looks like BW have tried very hard to encourage people to use the waterways, there has been very little take up. You can wonder why? It is clearly late – for example they should have opened City Mill and Carpenters Road locks right at the start so they could have been used to move spoil from Carpenters Road to the Press Centre site and that would have given freight an early boost. Even now BW have not had funding to dredge the length of waterway from City Mill Lock past the Olympic Stadium to Old Ford yet with the park being able to process “contaminated” ground it would have been such a cost effective exercise, but that sort of thinking takes team work …..

Freight by water does not seem to be taking off. Lots has been written by knowledgeable people which I won’t repeat other than giving some more local gossip. In the early days aggregate for concrete was coming up from china clay spoil heaps in the west country, great, a re-use of waste so very desirable. It came up by train but for “logistical” reasons it was being off loaded in Central London then making the last bit of the journey by truck, presumably because there are no transshipment facilities left in London. We think it now comes by train the whole way, which is good, but could it not have come by a mix of boats the whole way? These two big sites (Olympic Park and Westfield’s Stratford City development) have needed vast quantities of materials over the last few years so investment in locks and wharfs should have been justified. There does seem to be a lack of coordination and will in government when it comes to waterways e.g. see this British Chamber of Commerce publication, though BW seem to be inventive in securing funds which include, yes Carpenters Road Lock- see this report.

Lucky we’d had the chance to walk the dogs earlier – we ended up waiting in Three Mills Lock for over an hour, but at least we were off the tideway and didn’t need to worry about being left on the mud! Richard had a little wander around the lock – it has an impressive ‘control tower’ – we’re not sure that the level of boat traffic warrants it, but it does look good! In the meantime, lock-keeper Annie came on board and gave each of our hounds a good fuss – Annie loves greyhounds!

Three Mills Lock is pretty interesting, but not that interesting! After a while Greygal and A started the modern-day equivalent of ‘ I spy’ – using an ‘App’ on their I-phone to identify the planes passing overhead! The greyhounds were contented enough – they were circling between the six beds indoors and the 3 sheepskins on deck – it’s a hard life! However we had to delay feeding them until we got to a place where they could get out for post-prandial wees – locks with high walls just aren’t dog-friendly.

Assembling the convoy at Three Mills....

After a long wait, Annie the lockie told us that the queue at City Mills Lock was down to four boats so we could start to creep forward. It was interesting to look back at the Three Mills mooring club – they suffered considerable disruption while Three Mills Lock, and associated weir, were being built. They’re no longer a tidal mooring but apparently they still have a few issues when BW sometimes change the level of the lagoon on short notice.

The Prescott Channel/Three Mills Wall River (between Three Mills lock and City Mills lock) carries signs of its industrial heritage, with high wharves, monumental mooring bollards and thick mooring ‘posts’ in the quay walls. Three Mills lock and its associated ‘furniture’ all suggests a massive transport endeavour, with giant barges taking the load off the roads. But the road bridge carrying Stratford High Street over the navigation has very low headroom, the draft into the lock is not good (3′ 11″ over one cill) and the navigable channel is far from wide. There are inexplicable contrasts here – Three Mills Lock can take the equivalent of 9 narrowboats, the brand new City Mills lock can only take 2 (hence the earlier jam) – so what’s the optimum size of vessel that they expect to accommodate here?.

While we waiting below City Mills Lock, our old friends, the Olympic security rib, came into view – they were shepherding the boats through the lock and making sure that none of us turned right for a quick look at the Olympic sight – spoilsports! They came up to us and asked are we the boat with the greyhounds? Having just seen the comments on the last post I now understand why!!! Thanks nb Peace of Pearce! Actually thinking about it, we were quite lucky as dogs are not allowed inside the Olympic Park construction boundary, the last time Richard drove in with Blue & Lou he looked in his rear view mirror to see a whole load of Ghurkas running after him as he should not have been allowed in with them 🙂

We locked up the 18 inches or so up to the Bow Back River, it seemed to take an age, and reluctantly turned left towards the Lee navigation.  I was surprised there were still working industrial units on the ‘Olympic island’ – I thought that everything on the island was to be flattened and made as new. However a quick look at the plans shows that the Olympic park only covers the island north of the railway tracks – goodness knows what’s planned for the south but it still looks like a bit of industrial dereliction at the moment. I was in the mood to think ‘good for them’ because industry has to go somewhere! The banks to the right were flanked with swanky high rise apartments – these were still under construction the last time we cruised this way.

We finally joined the rest of the convoy at 7.30pm-ish. The front runners had already set up the barbecue and the party was in full swing, with tall glasses and tall tales being swapped amiably between the crews. We joined with our six hounds and their sheepskins – I can reliably report that sausages were scoffed!

There was a fine atmosphere at the party – we’d all been part of something quite historic. It’s the opening of a new lock, in itself a rare event, and, unless there’s another convoy, the Bow Back River, and City Mills Lock, will now be barred to leisure boats until well after the Olympics. My cynical self can’t help but feel that the locks have been built for the green headline – I don’t think that there are actually that many barge movements to/from the Olympic Park and we haven’t seen any firm assurances that the Bow Back river will ever be opened for leisure navigation again. We’re very pleased that we joined this convoy – if you weren’t there and have the opportunity to do it another time then do join in. Would we do it again? No, it took too long a time for too little reward, but if they open the whole length of the Bow Back River then you’ll see us at the head of the queue…..

It was after dark when we finally cruised back into Limehouse and negotiated our way into our mooring. Our twilight cruise down Limehouse Cut was surprisingly pleasant – the towpath denizens were friendly and interested and we had no bother at all. Richard ably manoeuvred us into our berth and the day was over. It was nearly 11pm and we’d been out on the water for over 12 hours – that’s 12 hours, with six greyhounds, in a narrowboat, without any incidents or cross words/woofs. Next time we’ll try it with Greygal’s full pack and see if we can’t fit 8 greyhounds into a narrowboat….

Photoblog:

The first boats onto the tideway - at 3.12pm - watch how the water levels changes as the time goes by...

The next lock - 3.26pm

Waiting above Bow Lock...

The 3.40pm locking - the lockies were very efficient in Bow...

The 3.50pm lock -the lock is speeding up as the tide comes in - the levels were near equal by the time we got through....

nb Eclipse going up at 4.02pm...

Another 4.02pm boat....

A shoal of little boats came through at 4.13pm

nb Moonshadow at 4.13pm

The last of the 4.13pm lock....

Felonious Mongoose looking mighty fine - it's 4.21pm now....

nb Felonious Mongoose's locking partner...

The 8th Locking at 4.27pm...

nb Peace of Pearce - these good folk were very kind to our hounds in Barking so that makes them top people in our book - we'll have to arrange a social some time - they're moored nearby....

nb Doris Katia arriving back at 4.28pm - we haven't locked out of Bow yet!

4.36pm - and we're off - look at all that water....

Leaving Bow Locks on our left and heading up the River Lea...

First of the low bridges - the District/Hammersmith and City tube lines...

Great view of Three Mills at high tide - it looks beautiful and functional from here, less the historic remnant discarded on the main navigation...

We've been warned that we might see dodgy characters lurking in the bushes around here - oops, sorry Andrew, didn't recognise you 🙂

The high walls of the River Lea...

Waiting outside Three Mills Lock - it's only a 15 minute trip up from Bow...

Novel view - 3 humans on deck (the 3 hounds are at our feet) - that's the tube line in the background...

Fine - but our sort of boats aren't allowed anywhere near the park, and probably won't be until well after the games are over - bah humbug!

View back from Three Mills Lock...

State of "new" concrete at Three Mills Lock

Three Mills lock is quite large.....

I think these are the mechanisms for the adjoining flood gate - they look like giant telescopes from here!

'Aerial' view on Prescott Channel from the control tower....

'aerial' view back over the Lea..

Bazalgette's genius - ornate sewage pumping works...

" I spy with my little eye...." - a Singapore Airlines A380 - that's a BIG plane!

The Three Mills mooring club....

View up towards Stratford High Street....

The headroom was around 2.4metres today - plenty for us!

The view up Three Mills Wall/Waterworks River - and the security rib to stop up from trespassing (and on rabies watch)!

nb Barbara in the jaws of the new City Mills Lock....

City Mills Lock....

Wonder why they need two sets of bottom lock gates....

Enticing view up the closed section of the Bow Back River - it's exactly as we remember it, narrow, windy and weedy!

Leaving City Mills Lock...

Wending our way back along the Bow Back......

The celebratory barbecue in full swing...

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Boat Blog: A feast of boats, hounds and sausages (Part 1)

Posted by indigodream on 2 August, 2010

Friday 30th July & Saturday 31st July

Friday….

Lynx's boat bed - got enough duvets?

Today’s adventure was bringing Lynx, our foster dog, to the boat for the first time. He’d had an exciting day – a long walk in the morning, an afternoon in Richard’s office (being fussed by his dog-loving staff and being fed sausages), then an evening on the boat. True to form, he was fine, he didn’t balk at the bounce of the floating pontoons or the sway of the boat. He was a bit perturbed by the lack of space inside but cheered up when we put down a generous layer of yoga mat, duvets and sheepskins – all a dog needs. The bit of hot chicken he had later was entirely surplus to requirements. Blue and Lou were their usual relaxed selves – they’ve let Lynx into the pack without as much a little growl of protest.

We ate on board for a change and plumped for an early night – we had a busy day planned for Saturday…..

Saturday (Part 1 – the East London Ring – backwards!)

Our early night was wasted as some youths decided to gather at the lock up to the Regent’s Canal and fart around until 3am. They were a distance from the moorings and no bother to anyone but they were so LOUD and sound really carries over the water. I was a bit disconsolate when I woke up on Saturday morning – we needed an early start and it was pouring with rain – we’d left the side-hatch open and the curtains were damp – d’oh. However, by 9.30am it was sunny on all fronts – the rain stopped, the clouds broke and we were joined by today’s guests – Greygal, A and three of her ‘famous five’ greyhounds – Arthur, Miffy and Ranger; the last of her pack, Susie and Monty were grounded so they couldn’t come out to play – another day.

We introduced the dogs on neutral territory before welcoming them on board. Indigo Dream was quite a sight – we needed six greyhound beds – two on the sofa, then four on the floor – the boat was lined with duvets, leaving a narrow greyhound-free corridor for us to navigate. This corridor was later blocked by Ranger, who enjoyed a cool floor and prime spot in front of the fan! The sight of our collective pack, all getting on well, made me so happy and proud – they’re a great breed!

Many of the photos have three dogs (Arthur, Blue and Miffy in this case). It's almost impossible to get all six in the lens!

With the boat full of hounds, and the humans full of lattes, we set off towards the Regent’s Canal. We got to a shaky start, we shared the lock with a nameless narrowboat who  generously observed our crew doing all the hard work – they never lifted a finger, or offered to lift a finger. Richard got a bit cross as the performance was repeated at the next lock. Fortunately we lost them at the next, when we caught up with another boat – they were on their way to Cowley – that’s a big day’s cruise. They proved to be great locking companions and I’m sorry that we weren’t going further with them.

But back to the first lock – it was memorable because greyhound Miffy mistook a thick blanket of duckweed for grass. She just plunged right into the canal and was totally submerged – oh my goodness, what a relief when her head bobbed up and Andy was able to grab her collar and hoick her out. I can tell you now that there’s nothing quite as pathetic as a wet greyhound. She got rubbed down and wrapped in a blanket ’til she was dry – poor hound! For the faint hearted, that was the last hound incident of the day!

We seemed to have such a quick trip up the Regent’s canal – Greygal and A are good company and efficient crew. The dogs had a bobble at the locks, including Greygal’s three, who are normally kept on board. The six hounds behaved impeccably, well, near enough, the odd dog did have an odd wander and Ranger forgot his name sometimes! Blue and Lou are well used to our locking routine, but we were surprised by how Lynx adapted to the canal – he seemed to enjoy the cruising and the lockside rummaging. He got a lot of fuss – in character he’s nearer to Lou than to Blue i.e. Lynx is a total tart. Greygal says if we don’t end up keeping him then he can come and live with her! Oh, I should mention that Lou was offered yet another home by a passersby on the towpath. Aren’t we lucky that Blue’s so loyal!

By now, some of the greyhounds had decided that they wanted to be close to the crew on deck. We carpeted the rubber matting with sheepskins and ended up with a layer of greyhounds loafing around in the sun – Arthur, of course, that’s his spot on Indigo Dream, then, alternately Lynx, Miffy and Ranger – on average we had three hounds on deck and three indoors. Passersby were amazed by the three hounds visible on deck – they could hardly believe that there were more inside!

Lynx helping out with the locking...

Greygal’s a great helmswoman but she handed the tiller to me for the turn into Duckett’s Cut – the entrance to the cut does look like a hole in the wall! But it’s plenty wide enough and I turned Indigo Dream without making a complete fool of myself (phew!). The music festival is still droning on at Victoria Park but today’s cruise was not a reprise of last weekend. The lock ahead of us was occupied and there were several boats coming along behind us – we’d joined the great exodus towards the afternoon’s cruise.

We turned right onto the Lee navigation and joined the queue for Old Ford Lock – along the way the crew of moored boats greeted us and asked whether we were joining the convoy. It promised to be a jolly afternoon. We stopped off by the northern outfall and took another walk to Viewtube – Greygal and A enjoyed the Olympic sight but our ‘tour’ was frequently interrupted by people asking questions about the greyhounds – they’re good ambassador for the cause.

We had to cut short one ‘hound’ discussion because we had to dash down to Three Mills for part 2…..

Photoblog:

Lots of hounds photos – if you’re more interested in boat photos then check out the next post – part 2 of our cruising day….

A rare photo of all six hounds....

We think that this display is part of the Hackney Wicked arts festival - http://www.hackneywicked.com/

Ranger and Miffy...

Greyhounds at the Olympics...

Arthur, Lynx and Miffy proving that there's plenty of room for three greyhounds on our cruiser stern....

Arthur, Ranger and Miffy having a little kip....

Five greyhounds - Blue's hiding at the front of the boat - we never did get all six in one shot!

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