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The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for October, 2010

Boat Blog: Quick update…..

Posted by indigodream on 23 October, 2010

Saturday 23rd October

I still can’t cruise – considering that my little toe is less than an inch long, it’s causing pain out of all proportion to its size! Never mind, it’s no bad thing for me to stay at home as Lou is still grounded by a torn triceps muscle, though she’s recovering quickly after some dog physiotherapy. Lynx and Ty are quite happy to race around our garden/field – we have an infestation of rats (outside) so sniffing them out is keeping the boys entertained. Mind you, they don’t do a lot of racing, they’re mainly happy just to arrange themselves carefully on their duvets and sleep!

Last weekend Richard had a little jaunt with one of his colleagues. They went up the lovely Stort to Bishop’s Stortford and left Indigo Dream there for a week.

But now we really need to get back to Limehouse – it’s that time of year when we can’t take the locks for granted – there’s a November stoppage at Fielde’s Weir Lock. So Richard is having a couple of days on the boat – his plan is to single-hand back to Cheshunt (which gets us well past the stoppage), then we’ll do the last push back to Limehouse at the beginning of November. Richard is enjoying the challenge of single-handing but if you should happen to be walking the towpath that way then do open a lock-gate for him!

Note: The Lee and Stort has very good transport links – the railway runs close to the navigation and almost every riverside settlement has a train station – it’s convenient on all levels, especially for Richard by himself.

I know that Richard has been taking photos so I’m sure a more fullsome account of the Stort will follow….

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Boat Blog: One man and his dog…

Posted by indigodream on 15 October, 2010

……aka the adventures of Big Cassidy and the Sundance Lynx.


Indigo Dream all safe above Lattons Lock


Unusually, I was a bit unhappy with the idea of boating last weekend – Lou’s doing very well but she doesn’t have much stamina and I thought that boating would be too much for her (and be too far away from the vet in an emergency). But Richard was concerned about leaving Indigo Dream on the mooring above Latton Lock for another week, what with it being so remote and the towpath being closed (though we had got the ok to moor there from BW). We’d left it a bit late to recruit a crew – we’d been debating whether Lou was well enough to cruise right up until last night.

So what to do?  This morning Richard decided to go up to the boat by himself and single-hand to a more suitable mooring – either at Harlow Mill, Harlow or somewhere downstream! He seemed to be looking forward to the challenge of single-handing through the locks, so he and Lynx set off for a boys adventure while Lou, Ty and myself settled down for some serious loafing around at home…..

I’ll had the blog over to Richard now…..

Saturday 9th October

Harlow to Royden


Shall I help you with those jaffa cakes?


The boat was pointing upstream so the first choice was where to turn? Reversing back through the lock looked very feasible as there was quite a bit of space where the weir stream entered but that would mean missing out on the stretch to Harlow Mill so off we headed for Harlow Mill. The Stort is beautiful so worth doing, we got photographed by the crew re-building the towpath but then found the turn below Harlow Mill Lock very awkward – there are two streams coming with a low bridge over the main stream so not a huge amount of space to turn especially when the flows are contrary. I got round ok and headed down a little slowly as I had seen a Broxbourne boat coming into the Lattons Lock so I was bound to meet them on a bend, and yes we did. Fortunately I was expecting them so was nicely on the right side tight to the inside of the bend, they were a little wide but got over with just a slight panic. I think they were not enjoying the bends, I thought they were great and Lynxie Boy thoroughly enjoyed the constantly changing vistas.


Whoops. I recall reading that a gas bottle or 2 was involved. Nasty.


Out first single handed lock was Lattons. The previous boat had left the top gates open which was rather convenient but left me wondering? Should I close the gates behind me or not? Some locks have signs saying that gates need to be shut for leakage reasons so that is easy. Otherwise there are few clues. It is river navigation which suggests leave them open, the only written advice from BW for the London area is to shut gates but that is general advice to include gates on canals. Some people seem to shut gates behind them, some leave the open. Lattons Lock was one of only two set our way, others were set against us with the bottom gates left open and the paddles left up. Now leaving gates open is debatable on a river, but leaving paddles up is never right.

Lynx was a star at locks, he got off calmly, did not try to jump back on as I climbed down ladders but did get a bit disgruntled when I would not let him out at Harlow Town Lock. Now that lock is awkward as the bollards on the right as you go down are for “BW operational use” only and there is a locked gate between the mooring and the lock. The moorings on the left may well be the lock moorings but the only signs says Harlow Visitor moorings which an unoccupied, unnamed, unlicensed cruiser had interpreted as applying to all of the mooring including the bit with a  water point. That only left one alternative – put the boat into the jaws, tie the front rope to a lock gate and work the lock from there.  At least Harlow Town lock has electric gates on the downstream side


Awkward to moor above Harlow Lock ....


which make life easy, though the paddles being left up was a bit irksome.

These moans make it sound like I had a dismal day. Actually I had a fantastic day! It was warm, the sun not quite managing to break through so a little gloomy but the Stort is such a pretty navigation, well worth doing. I left the boat on the 14 day moorings outside Roydon station and travelled back to Harlow by train. Lynx was a little uncertain about the shakey train but he did really well. Best of all as we walked from Harlow Station back to the car he got to chase a rabbit, he was very very very pleased with himself!

Sunday 10th October


How to travel on a train


Wow, hark at this weather – isn’t it great! But the perfect weather for cruising is also perfect for a bit of work at home – we have made a spirited attempt to tame part of the garden today – it fought back with gusto but we won in the end!

Monday 11th October – Lou Update

After a dismal week of thinking the worse, I’ve just had a call from the specialist to say that Lou’s biopsy showed no sign of a tumour or malignancy – it’s great news.

The specialist now thinks the changes in her spine is consistent with an old injury but he never mentioned this as a possibility last week. He also told us last week that the MRI scan showed a mass on her spine but now he says he’s looked at the scan again and it’s not a mass, just changes in the bone that might have been consistent with a tumour. I’m feeling angry and confused – if we’d taken his first word last week then we could have euthanased her or gone for major surgery which she didn’t need and would have required lead only exercise for the rest of her life – the option of a biopsy was not his first choice and thank goodness we pushed for it.


Boating is such hard work ....


In the meantime, the latest view from the specialist is that her spine won’t actually get better, so it’s just a case of managing her with painkillers (which she tolerates very well) and keeping an eye on her just in case her back gets worse. Unfortunately our specialist isn’t the best communicator so we’ll be seeing our vet for a proper explanation and management plan once the specialist has forwarded the notes. Having gone through the process of thinking that Lou was mortally ill, I’m struggling to make the mental leap back to ‘oh, its nothing serious’ (especially having spent thousands on tests to travel that circle). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want her to be ill, I just need a bit more reassurance.

In the meantime Lou is quite cheerful and is able to enjoy those things that greyhounds enjoy most – a little rummage, a little food and a LOT of sleep! Oh, and bossing the boys around – she’s definitely not too unwell to maintain her dominance! It’s all in moderation though – a 15 minute walk now requires about 6 hours’ recovery time but that’s ok.

It is good news and I thank you for all your kind thoughts and good wishes – they’ve really helped us through a difficult week.

Tuesday 12th October


Bit too late in the day for clear photographs but that is Lou (complete with bald bits) giving Lynx a good chase


Honestly, I thought it was just the greyhounds that were accident-prone but I managed to break my little toe this morning – ouch, ouch, ouch……..OUCH! This means that I won’t be cruising for a couple of weekends as the only treatment is painkillers and keeping my foot elevated as much as possible. The hospital promised me it would be very painful for the first fortnight then merely sore for the remaining 4 – 6 weeks recovery time. I’ve been eyeing up Lou’s painkillers and wondering how low it would be to steal them from her! Only joking – I’ve got some good pills of my own.

Ah. make that greyhounds AND their owners are accident-prone – Lou has now done something to her elbow – the vet says that Lou is being a total drama queen – she’s giving us an extreme reaction considering the strength of the painkillers that she’s on. Gosh it is stressful at the moment, and I can’t go boating to alleviate it – bah!

Anyway, this means that our autumn exploration of the Lee and Stort is now doomed – Richard and Lynx will take Indigo Dream back to Limehouse, eventually, he may have a meander or two along the navigation with his work pals first. In the meantime, Lou and I will stay at home to recover while Ty dispenses greyhound cuddles – it could be a lot worse!

Mooring Guide:

I have finally updated the guide to moorings to include our 2010 travels – sorry it’s taken so long. I keep an updated version in Word but it’s not as straightforward to transfer it to the blog as it used to be. We’re heading back to Limehouse for the winter so the mooring guide will stay up-to-date for a while.

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Boat Blog: Tidying up

Posted by indigodream on 5 October, 2010

Sunday 3rd October

I was little uncomfortable with where I’d dropped the boat on Saturday night – I fretted about whether I’d tied the front rope too tight for the river conditions (heavy heavy rain falling with more predicted) and there was the whole issue of the towpath closure, though it’s not obvious from the water.

The forecast for Sunday was dire, but we actually woke to blue skies and sunshine so we decided to pop up to the boat with a view to moving her upstream a little way. Lynx came along for a little adventure – Ty didn’t want to leave the safety of the house/garden and Lou’s still resting, though she’s quite cheerful in herself.

We had a good trip up to Harlow, and started off by exploring the visitor moorings at Sawbridgeworth. Ah, what moorings? They’re marked on a map but the long row of bollards above the lock are on the offside and are now part of a private development and definitely not to be used by scruffy boating types – what a waste. The towpath side is overgrown and uneven – good for the abundant fishermen but not for Indigo Dream. We wove our way back to the vicinity of the boat. There’s an industrial estate and retail park to the north of Harlow – you can cut through the industrial estate to the footbridge above Latton Lock and thence onto the towpath. We read the towpath closure notice – the whole length from the footbridge below Latton Lock right up to Harlow Lock is closed for 6 months for upgrading work – it’s a long length with no reasonable diversions – no wonder local cyclists and walkers are circumventing the fences and using the path anyway. The ‘works’ are currently only occupying a small area in the centre and I think they’ve closed off an unreasonably large length of path – ho hum.

Indigo Dream was perfectly fine where we’d left her. Her ropes were reassuringly slack, despite the water levels having come up overnight – the stern, which had been aground around a foot away from the bank was now afloat. We decided to move her to the mooring above the lock – she’d be out of the way of the works and nearer to the footbridge out to the industrial estate. With river levels high, the headroom under  the lock bridge was low and Richard just caught the top of his head on the underside of the bridge as we passed beneath – ouch!

That, and the now heavy rain, persuaded us not to cruise to Harlow Mill on the offchance of finding a visitor mooring. We moored up to the decent length of sheet piling above Latton Lock and headed for home. There were no mooring restrictions marked along the towpath closure, but we are close to the works so thought that we should ve inform the moorings officer anyway and they’ve confirmed that it’s ok to leave her where she is for now.

Lynx has a good time by himself – he got several towpath walks and seemed, perversely, to enjoy the rain, though he was wearing his natty red raincoat.

The retail park in Harlow has a useful mega-Tesco so we got lunch there and stocked up with food for a few days. That’ll be a useful stop on  the way back, though we must make sure we only buy what we can carry easily – the footpath back towards the boat is a bit slippery.

We managed a great feat today – when we were in the car and in the shop, the rain stopped and the sky turned blue; when we were on the boat it persisted down with a vengeance.

By the time we got home, mid-afternoon, the sun was out again and we managed to harvest a fine crop from our crab-apple tree. I’m getting to the last of the year’s fruit now but I will have made over 300 pots of jam this year, most of which has been donated to Greyhoundhomer; though I have kept some by for friends, family and anyone else who might be persuaded to make a donation in exchange for a jar! The jam seems to be very popular and is a great excuse for people to give Greyhoundhomer some money……

So, what next for Indigo Dream? Well, that all depends on what happens with Lou. We’re on a 14-day mooring so we may stay put next weekend though it seems likely that we’ll cut short our exploration of the Lee and Stort and head back to Limehouse. We should know what Lou’s prospects are by the end of the week – we’ll keep you posted…..

Lou Update:

We are currently in a state of blissful ignorance – we don’t get Lou’s biopsy results until Friday, so until then we don’t have to make any hard decisions and can just enjoy her company – she’s on an interesting selection of drugs which make her quite cheerful, not in any great pain, able to enjoy short rummages and eating; she’s also enjoying bossing the boys around so that counts as a good quality of life for now 🙂

Useful Information on River Levels:

We have only just found that the Environment Agency actually publish useful graphs of river levels – click here. So for Harlow Mill the graphs are here, scary that the highest river level last year was 1.8m higher then today or to put it another way that low bridge which Richard almost damaged with his head would have been at shin height.  I think it would be nice to have a graph over a longer time period but that is being picky – this is  such a good resource, thank you Environment Agency.

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Boat Blog: Charity cruise

Posted by indigodream on 4 October, 2010

Saturday 2nd October

Cheshunt to Harlow

Looking upstream from the Cheshunt moorings - it's a lovely spot....

We had decided that I would lead the cruise today, with Greygal, leaving Richard at home to dog-sit and pay the eye-wateringly expensive vet’s bill when he went to collect Lou later in the day. I had set the alarm for 6am and by 7.05am I was on the train, heading for Cheshunt. It was an efficient journey and I arrived at the boat around 8.25am, feeling surprisingly calm and refreshed. I had time enough to sit and read my music (I have decided to go for the first of the classical singing diplomas – don’t hold your breath – it may take some years!), make myself a coffee, get the boat ready for cruising and de-cobweb the cabin – again. An early boater passed by – nb Spirit Level – aha, an engineer, I thought, but as she came past the spirit level was “Alcohol 50%, Chris 50% – I like it 🙂

The first guest to arrive was Greygal, who arrived at 9.30am with two greyhounds, Susie and Ranger – time for another coffee and a long chat about hounds. Susie, as top dog in residence, immediately took up Lou’s usual space on the sofa so that she could keep an eye on the back deck. Richard, to his great amusement, had dubbed us “Thelma and Louise” so we needed to check the Nicholson’s to see which weir we were going to drive over at the end of the day!

Shortly afterwards we were joined by Anne, Sue and Graham, who’d done a cruise through Camden with us earlier this year, along with friends Hazel, Jim and Dave and Sue’s brother Paul and mother Audrey. Sue’s family hail from this area and were fascinated to see their old haunts from the water. I think that just about everyone on board had previous experience of narrowboating, not that it’s a pre-requisite for cruising with us, but at least we knew from the outset that they were likely to enjoy themselves.

I’m not too sure what time we eventually set off – must have been close to 11am – there was a lot of chatting and catching up to be done, coffees to be made and danish pastries to be devoured. But with most of the crew drinking double shots from the espresso machine I knew that we’d fly along later! Our start was slightly delayed by Greygal taking an important phone-call – it was momentous news but that’s her story to tell – I do hope that she blogs about it soon (and no, it doesn’t involve greyhounds!).

Our cruising schedule wasn’t too ambitious – Cheshunt to Harlow is around 20 lock miles, so a nominal 5 hours cruising. But we’d allowed for an early finish because the forecast predicted heavy rain by 5pm and it’s always nice to stop for lunch.

Looking downstream from the Cheshunt moorings towards Waltham Common Lock...

It was the most stunning morning – it was very mild and the sun shone brightly for us, illuminating the delights of the Lee Valley in all their glory. Greygal and I shared the helming today and she did a great job. Of course, she’s become very familiar with Indigo Dream over the Summer, but it’s a big ask and she was brilliant. In the meantime, I did what I do best, fussed around in the kitchen and dispensed food and drinks in equal measure. I’ d wondered what it would be like to cruise with just the pair of us ‘in charge’ – it was lovely – all very calm and competent….

I must apologise to our guests – we would normally be encouraging them to helm but I didn’t think it was fair to ask Greygal to supervise, or to put her to work as a galley slave so that I could supervise instead. Nonetheless, the crew seemed to be having a nice time – the weather was great, the scenery stunning, the company convivial and the locks spaced just nicely so as not to be too much strain. The crew were enthusiastic about their locking duties and seemed to enjoy the whole process, picking up little tips along the way, and chatting, endless chatting, with each other and with passing walkers and boaters. (Don’t worry Bob, we have not forgotten, our guide to locks will appear one day ..) Susie and Ranger enjoyed little bobbles around the locks but most of all they enjoyed lying on their sheepskins on the back deck. Our dogs don’t do that, they’d prefer to be inside on the sofa, but Greygal’s pack seem to think that our large back deck – put in for people to socialise – is a purpose built sun-deck for hounds – fair enough! Our guests were suitably admiring of the hounds – Susie and Ranger lapped it up with aplomb, graciously accepting gifts of danish pastries, garlic bread, cheese etc etc.

I lost half of the crew at Dobbs Weir Lock – they’d elected to walk up to Feilde’s Weir Lock where we were due to stop for lunch. I can’t blame them, Dobbs Weir Lock is aflame with vivid virginia creepers and the scenery is breathtaking. I took the advance party ahead in the boat and was just getting set up when the ‘foot soldiers’ arrived. We moored below the water point/lock moorings and, while the water tank was filling, I dispensed soup and bread from the conveniently placed side-hatch which opens out from the galley. The group clustered around the handy wooden bench nearby, extra deckchairs came out and there we were, at the beginning of October, enjoying a picnic lunch outside in perfect comfort.

We could have stayed there all day, but we spotted a boat wanting to come down the lock so the crew leapt into action and helped them down while we got ready to set off upstream afterwards. It was very funny – our crew have all been boating before, some on the Indigo Dream, and had had a crash course in locking technique during the morning. They were confident enough to comment that the hirers locking down were ‘just novices’  and volunteered their wisdom and experience to help the descending boat!

Susie and Ranger on the sun deck....

We turned right onto the Stort and enjoyed its rural beauty yet again. It is a lovely river and the locks are particularly scenic. There were very few boats on the move, and very few moored up – the banks do tend to be uneven and overgrown, as you might expect on a river navigation. One moored boat that we passed had four cats sitting on the roof, fortunately the greyhounds didn’t notice; they were so comfortably ensconced on their sheepskins that they didn’t notice the four cats racing down the towpath as we approached the lock either – phew!

As we travelled upstream, the locks became deeper and more turbulent (nothing we couldn’t handle) and often accompanied by evocative and attractive mill buildings, more often than not converted to housing. Sadly by 3pm it had clouded over and we were getting intermittent showers – nothing too serious and punctuated by dry periods – I was glad that we hadn’t set too ambitious a cruising programme. Nonetheless it was a shock to suddenly find that we were at Burnt Mill lock, our planned end-point, at around 5pm. I don’t know where the day had gone – we’d experienced that strange telescoping of time that comes when you’re in good company and doing good things (whereas my Wednesday morning at the various vets felt like an eternity!).

Unfortunately the sparse visitor moorings above Burnt Mill Lock were jam-packed so we said goodbye to our guests at the lock – the day was suddenly over and I hope that everyone had a good time.

Up to this point, Greygal and I had failed in our impersonation of ‘Thelma and Louise’, having had no dramas all day long. But the last part of the day did turn out to be a bit of a saga…… Fortunately we were approaching all weirs from below and we just missed Ridley Scott taking his afternoon walk.

The locking crew were very enthusiastic!

Our plan was to stop in Harlow Town – Greygal had kindly stayed on board to help me moor. The town was convenient because her car was parked there and I could catch one of the frequent trains back to London. But Harlow was very disappointing – above visitor moorings the bank becomes uneven and overgrown with inconveniently spaced trees jutting out over the water – it’s also severely shallow. There was nowhere decent to moor – I was surprised, you’d think that the town would make more of their waterway. We cruised on, getting somewhat desperate as now we were facing a long walk back to town. We eventually spotted a section of sheet piling and moored up there, a short distance below Latton Lock. It was nigh on 6pm so we hastily packed up and set off down the towpath towards town – just under a mile away. But it wasn’t to be that simple – we got to the footbridge and found that it was securely fenced off – the towpath was closed – we hadn’t realised. So back we plodded to find another way across the river to the footpath we could see on the opposite bank. There was no way out across Latton Lock, we got some directions from a passing walker (the towpath is being used, despite the closures) and headed off to the footbridge above Latton Lock. We weaved our way through the woods and found a path back towards town. It was a long walk at the end of a long day and both human and canine crew were footsore and weary by the time we reached Harlow Town station.

Carthagena Lock - so pretty....

In the meantime Richard had picked up Lou from the veterinary referral centre. He’d had to go and have a lie down after paying the bill, we are hoping that our insurers, Marks & Spencer will be as fair about it as they have been with other bills even though most are like 30 times smaller. That said the awesome bill is for doing things the right way. You know that when you go to these places they will throw the kitchen sink at it and that your dog will be seen by total experts. For example the Internal Medicine Consultant who did the initial examination was Myra Forster-van Hijfte, the Neurologist looking after Lou is the apparently famous Rudolfo Cappello and, according to Richard’s sister, you don’t get better than those two. Richard asked the duty neurologist, Ane Uriarte, to run through the MRI with him. She had diagnosed Blue’s problems so we know her and she kindly found time in a busy morning to show Richard the MRI which hinted that there might be some grounds for hope.

I felt very sorry for the scrappy end to the day – Greygal had done us a huge favour and she’d kindly come with me to find a mooring only to be inconvenienced by the towpath saga. Ah well, it was good exercise – we eventually got to Harlow Town station just before 7pm and said our goodbyes. I will be forever grateful to Greygal (and A) for their help and understanding – it saved us an immense amount of stress and enabled us to continue with the cruise for a good cause.

I must also thank Anne for her enthusiasm and for getting a fine group of people together for the cruise – Greyhoundhomer is a small charity and I know that they’re immensely grateful for the donations.


Typically scenic view at Dobbs Weir Lock...

Ranger and Susie looking utterly adorable - they were good ambassadors for the cause today..

I quite fancied this attractive cottage at Feilde's Weir Lock....

This is a British Saddleback -huge isn't he - you could mistake him for a cow! Here's a link to a site where you can identify any othr heritage pig breeds that you pass along the canal 🙂

View from below Parndon Mill lock....

This is part of the Stort's sculpture trail, featuring many installations along the navigation....

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Boat blog: Getting ready for the weekend

Posted by indigodream on 3 October, 2010

Friday 1st October

We had a charity cruise planned for Saturday and had a full boat-load coming along to enjoy a day’s cruise along the Lee and Stort from Cheshunt to Harlow. But Indigo Dream needed a change of personnel because we’ve had quite a horrible week full of stress and bad news…..

We’ve been worried about Lou for some time; like Blue before her, she’s been slowing down all year and many visits to the vet suggested a combination of her chronic kidney/bladder problems and arthritic knee. But we ‘ve been feeling as if we’re missing something, something big, without any specific evidence apart from a very gradually deteriorating dog. We’ve been musing about her seeing a specialist and were all geared to push our vet for a referral on Friday. But events overtook us – on Tuesday evening Lou vomited a load of blood (our bedroom carpet will neve be the same again) – a quick call to the emergency vet gave us an action plan to manage her ’til the morning. But overnight she had black tarry diarrhoea – a sure sign that she was bleeding quite heavily somewhere in her intestine. I spent the whole of Wednesday morning in the vets – first with out own vet then later at our local animal hospital, which has some world-renowned specialists. They admitted Lou to hospital for supportive care and a barrage of tests – she was to stay there until Saturday.

Her haemorrhagic gastroenteritis, while very dramatic, was an acute condition and seems to have resolved nicely, though she’s no longer allowed to take anti-inflammatory drugs (which limits our analgesic options – this may matter soon) and may need a bland diet i.e. chicken and rice, for some time. The specialist in internal medicine was very happy with her progress, but very concerned that Lou still seemed to be having some abdominal pain, which she’s had for some time (previous diagnoses include bladder infection and generalised muscle spasms). The internal medicine specialist did an abdominal ultrasound and a host of blood/urine tests and Lou’s kidney seem to be in fine working order, though she did find a small area of fluid around one bit of the intestine. The internal medicines specialist called in the orthopaedic surgeon – he says that Lou’s knee has now fused and is no longer causing her pain…..

So they called in the neurologist who studied some X-rays of Lou’s back and dropped the bombshell – two of Lou’s vertebrae are eroded – probable cause – malignant tumour. An MRI scan confirmed a mass on the vertebrae – 80% chance that it is malignant, 20% chance that it is an infection.  Luckily the fluid around her intestine is not a secondary cancer – just general inflammation from the gastritis and nothing to worry about. We authorised a biopsy and Lou’s future depends on the results, which we should get next week.

It it’s an infection then we’ll treat it – it’s a long course of antibiotics and she’ll always have a weakness in her spine. If it’s a tumour then we probably won’t treat as it involves major surgery to remove the diseased bone, pins to keep what’s left of the vertebrae together, up to three months of post-operative pain, chemotherapy to keep the cancer at bay and lead-only exercise for the rest of her life, which may be 3 – 6 months up to a maximum of 18 months if we’re very lucky. The post-operative prognosis would depend very much on the type of cancer. We’re feeling crushed – the thought of losing Lou so soon after Blue is really too much to bear, so we’re clinging to the hope that the mass is a curable infection.

Our cruise was looking increasingly difficult – Lou would be too unwell to leave with Richard’s mum and, to be honest, we’d been thinking of leaving Ty and Lynx at home anyway. Ty was a bit random on the boat last week and Lynx is due his next epileptic fit in the next few days and I was worried that he might be hurt if he had a fit on the bank and fell in the river.  You can tell we are paranoid, Lynx’s first epileptic fit was  very mild, no issue at all, nontheless he was unconscious for 2 minutes , which is fine on land but a disaster in the canal.  Luckily his fits are very predictable at the the moment. The obvious solution was for one of us to stay at home to look after the dogs while the other sorted the charity cruise; but the cruise is really too much work for one, even with what we knew to be a competent crew, many of whom have been on our boat before.

Who could we call? GREYGAL of course!

I will be eternally grateful to Sarah, who came to our aid at a truly desperate time. She agreed to some along and help and, at our request, volunteered Susie and Ranger to represent the cause – you can’t have a cruise for greyhounds without any hounds on board!

I breathed a sigh of relief and, on friday morning, loaded the home delivery of provisions into the car and set off for Cheshunt. I had a good trip up, despite the appalling rain and spray on the M25. I parked within yards of the boat and loaded her up with goodies. I was relieved to find Indigo Dream exactly as we’d left her – we’ve had no problems at the Cheshunt moorings. I moved Richard’s bike onto the roof and gave the inside of the boat a good clean. My plan had been to stay on board overnight, but by 4pm I had done my chores and was feeling gloomy, worrying about poor old Lou and failing to swallow the unpalatable fact that I might have to say goodbye to her soon.

It was no good – I drove home and spent much of the evening hugging Lynx and Ty (who didn’t object at all!). Lou had had to stay an extra night in hospital, but we hoped that she’d be allowed home on Saturday. We went down the pub for supper and that gave me some relief from the circular thoughts spinning around my head. It was much better than brooding on the boat by myself, even though it would mean a cruel early start on Saturday morning…..

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