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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!

7 Responses to “Boat Blog: A feast of boats, hounds and sausages (Part 1)”

  1. Greygal said

    Great pics Sue! And you’re being far too modest – that turn into Duckett’s Cut was superbly done! That would have been one of my classic ‘no can do right hand turn’ cock ups. Have you thought about where the extra two beds are going to go?!

  2. indigodream said

    You’re too kind!

    Two more greyhound beds? Well, I guess there are a few inches to spare at the front, if we accept that there will be absoluetly no room at all for humans and we’ll need to walk down the gunwhales n case we disturb a sleeping hound! We will, of course, have to maintain the all-important standing space in front of the coffee machine!

    We have many more photos and some great portraits of your dogs – give us a nudge before the 14th so that we remember to do you a CD.

  3. Nicki said

    What a fantastic adventure – makes you realise how lucky we are to have discovered greyhounds – they really are fabulous!!

  4. Roger Brenton said

    If I hadn’t seen this blog with my own eyes I’d never have believed it was possible to get 6 hounds (large) onto a narrow boat. More terrific publicity for the gorgeous greys. Well done.

  5. indigodream said

    It was a bit of an experiment (!) – it could have gone horribly wrong with six hounds but we had a most wonderful day!

  6. Peace of Pearce said

    Another good day out in good company but very surprised at the security lapse following our long stay in Three Mills Lock. Security was high with floating orange boats with staff aboard, I warned them of Indigo Dream coming up from the tidal like Noah’s Ark, not one boarding?…………..what has happened with our rabbies protection at our boarders? Luckily it was full of the racing dogs from the Olympic stadium, no steaks this time so they were not so keen to the starting line.
    Indigo looked good Sunday afternoon as she was polished, a great time to hurl abuse from the tow path….”Missed a bit”

  7. indigodream said

    Thanks, Peace of Pearce, am still laughing!

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