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Archive for July 8th, 2011

Dog Blog: Lynx’s Diary

Posted by indigodream on 8 July, 2011

Friday 8th July

We’s been doin’ sum serious restin’ since me last post coz mummy Sue sez we’s all going on a proper boatin’ holeeday next week an’ ev’ryone knows you need a holeeday to get ready for a holeeday and you needs anuuver one to recover afterwards!

Ty luves nanny Renia's house....

We’s had BIG funder an’ lightnin’ this week – Lou is not bovvered but I woz a bit curious – after all, it woz so loud it woz like the end of the world, which I ‘spect would be qwite hinterestin’, so I’s asked mummy Sue if I could go out to the garden to watch. Can you believes it, she sed “NO” – but I’s could be missin’ the biggest show on earf – she sed I’d just get soakin’ wet and there was nuffink to see – huh! Ty woz qwite brave – he wozn’t a jelly boy at all tho’ he didn’t fink that the end of the world woz worth watchin’ so he just hid in his den upstairs.

I’s got BIG news, but first you’s got to learn me new song – mummy Sue taught me the tune – is “bread of heaven” wot she sings at the rugby ‘cept I’s got better words – are you ready, hwun, too, free……

“I’s a gen-i-us, I’s a gen-i-us, I’s a genius, yes I am, I’s a gee-nius, yes I am”

I’s a genius becoz I’s finally got mummy Sue to say “Ok Lynx you win, you don’t have to go to dog trainin’ any more” – wheeee!!!!! I hates dog trainin’ – is tot’ly borin’ ‘cept for when mummy Sue is gettin’ yelled at and wen the boss lady tells her to put more garlic in her liver cake – is a waste of me precious henergy. You know my mummy tho’ – she sez I’s havin’ a break until the Autumn, an’ o’ course, she’s got her eye on Ty now – I woods say ‘poor Ty’ but’s all fair in love an’ dog trainin’……

Last weekend we’s had a holeeday at nanny Renia’s – well, I say holeeday – I woz qwite bizzy on patrol for foxes. I duzn’t fink that nanny Renia luves me qwite as much as Lou an’ Ty coz they’s just duz a bit of runnin’ then they lies down. Nanny Renia duzn’t unnerstand wot an himportan job I duz protectin’ her from foxes – ‘specially wen I stays out in the garden ’til 11.30pm. Never mind, mummy Sue is still putty in me paws so is ok.I woz a bit wurried on account of mummy Sue and daddy Richard bein’ on the boat unsoopervised so I’s called in me pals Ranger, Archie, Henry an’ Beren to look after them for me – wot a relief – you can’t let you hu-mums out unsoopervised. Me locum hounds dun a brilliant job but I woz jellus coz they gots ice-cream an’ I didn’t – maybe I’ll gets ice-cream when we’s on holeeday.

I got me detectorin' ears up - where's that critter?

But I had to do a shockin’ hinvestigation this week – me pal Archie felled into the canal – but did he fall, did he jump or was he pushed – I’s dun me best hypno stare and sed “mummy Sue, did you push Archie into the canal wif the barge pole” – “no no” she sez “I’m sure I didn’t, but maybe I can convince you better if I make you some fresh liver cake with extra garlic” – well, that proved she woz innocent – people wot make liver cake for hounds don’t go round pushin’ them into the canal!

I woz qwuite pleezed coz now we can add greyhound divin’ to the olympic events – maybe wen we’re wearin’ our natty life-jackets tho – is divin’ not swimmin’ after all! I’s also seen the telly advert for jumbone wot sez it’s a long-lasting chew – hur hur hur – not in our house. So we’s got to have a houndie ‘lympic sport of speed-eating a jumbone – you’s gonna have to eat quick to beat Henry an’ Ty – Mummy Sue it’s a himpossible event coz they don’t make stopwatches wot measure nano-seconds!

Lou duzn’t like the vets much so why did she go free times this week – she had her blood sucked out, then she had staples, like she woz a piece of paper – mummy Sue sez our skin IS like paper – then Lou’s foot swelled up like a balloon – I woz watchin’, coz havin’ yer foot swell up is a qwik way to get mummy Sue to take the bandij off – I’s will remember that – I duzn’t like bandijes. We’s all had bin to the vampire vet this week – we’s all had our blood sucked out to see if we’s can get passports – if we gets passports then we haz to get bizzy learnin’ langwidges again – I’s like that – I duzn’t know half enuff words for “sosidge” yet!

I only needs one word for “Tripe” tho – is simply the bestest, most lushus stuff ever. So I duzn’t unnerstand why mummy Sue went “EEEEEK” wen she woz defrostin’ the freezer the uvver day – she sed there woz a hunhexploded bomb in the freezer – a whole packet of raw tripe wot she had forgotten. FORGOTTEN – mummy Sue, how coulds you? She’s a bit hysterical wen it comes to tripe so she launched “operation tripe” an’ got daddy Richard onto the case – he had to light the barbecue and she made him cook the tripe in a big frying pan outside while she closed all the doors an’ windows an’ put a peg on her nose. It woz torture – daddy Richard puts the barbecue on one side of the fence and we had to sits and look at it from the uvver side. I sed “it’s bubblin’ – it’s reddy – FEED ME” but mummy Sue sed “20 minutes at the rolling boil to kill all the bugs”. S’not fair – 20 minutes is like, years, we’s whined an’ we wriggled an’ we begged but it woz no good – we’s had to wait for it to cook, then we had to wait for it to cool down. Honestly mummy Sue, a dog’s life isn’t long enuff for tripe, but then we gots fed – 0oooh it woz so good – it is the bestest fing ever. But now I is wurried – mummy Sue sez she’s never ever ever going to cook tripe again – we’s got to make do wif hot chikkin and’ liver cake and haggis’ and leftovers. I needs to work on her – I finks I’ll start me own “operation tripe”….

Henry an' Archie doin' soopervisin' while I's on holeeday wif nanny Renia...

Ranger an' Archie keepin' me sheepies aired while I's on holeeday...

Oi, where MY ice-cream?

We's bizzy....

We's onta sumfink....

Yep - the critter's definit'ly up there somewhere....

Here comes the girl!

Ooh nooo - she's after me tail....

Beren doin' soopervisin' - is very handy to have so many locum hounds to do me hessential duties while I has a rest - maybe we should sets up an agency....

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The Odyssey 2011: Day 20

Posted by indigodream on 8 July, 2011

Hopwas to Branston

Sorry – I’m a week behind – again!

Waving farewell to the Herbie's - doesn't her paintwork look good....

Friday 1st July

We dropped the hounds off with Richard’s mum this afternoon – they’re having a weekend of frolicking in her garden for a change. It felt very odd not to have them with us but we were glad we’d left them behind – we had the most tedious trip to the boat. We’re becoming connoisseurs of the M25 – to think that it was such a promising vintage when it was first built but today it was totally unpalatable – it took two and a half hours to travel roughly 30 miles. Thank heavens for the M40 – at least that was working! We had good reason for wanting to get to the boat in good time – we were liaising with the crew of nb Herbie who’d slowed their trip down so that we could meet up in Hopwas.

We got to the boat around 8.30pm and found something of a gathering of bloggers – nb Bendigedig, nb Gypsy Rover (Australia) and, of course, nb Herbie moored up directly in front of us. We quickly loaded our bags onto the boat and went down to the Tame Otter with the Herbies. We had the best evening – their good company, interesting chatter and easy banter lifted our spirits enormously. Neil solved the mystery of which chain owns the Tame Otter – it’s a Vintage Inn, the same as the Coy Carp back on the Grand Union. By the time we got back to the boat we were feeling much better, though I paid for my overindulgence later on in the night – note for the future: ice cold swedish cider and an enormous eton mess don’t mix!!!

Saturday 2nd July

We had a reasonable start to Saturday though it was so strange not to have to walk and feed the hounds – our usual morning ritual. Our dog-free status wasn’t to last though – at 10am we were joined by Sarah and hounds Ranger, Henry and Archie – see, we simply can’t cruise without hounds!

Isn't that beautiful?

We bid the Herbies a fond farewell and got ourselves organised. Sarah and I left the hounds with Richard and set off for Branston – our target destination. The A38 runs very close to the canal around here – it’s incessant buzz impinges somewhat on the quiet water, but it’s damned useful when doing the car shuffle! We left Sarah’s car near the Bridge Inn in Branston – there’s parking in the adjacent street but also on the roadside just over the canal bridge. Richard had set off from Hopwas along the lock-free pound on the way to Fradley Junction. Along the way he met nb Fair Fa’ – a veteran of the Royal Docks convoy a couple of years ago –  he had a nice chat and caught up with their dog news – they sadly lost their two old dogs but now have a puppy!

With Richard on the move we had to meet him along the way – a bit of co-ordination led us to Whittington Bridge – again, there’s useful roadside parking by the bridge.

We had a serene cruise along the canal – it’s shallow so we had no choice but to take it easy and enjoy the abundant scenery. The canalside was a riot of vegetation – the recent rain and summer warmth has led to a frenzy of growth. It was all very beautiful but you’d be hard-pressed to moor alongside the overgrown banks.

We noted in passing the stub of the Wyrley and Essington Canal – sadly not attached to the rest of this fascinating waterway – I know that there’s some restoration happening – I wonder if the two ends of the canal will be rejoined during out cruising lifetime?

Sarah knows this area very well, having once moored her ‘northern’ narrowboat Greyhound at Streethay Wharf before moving her ‘oop north’. She still feels it’s her spiritual home and recognised many of the boats moored there.

We stopped off at the water point just before Fradley Junction to fill our drinking water bottles – we had fond memories of meeting nb Treacle Dolly and their three greyhounds here a few years ago. Then we had another historic moment in our cruising life – we turned right at Fradley junction – new territory for us.

Busy scenes at Fradley Junction...

Fradley was predictably busy – there was one boat waiting to go down – we tucked in behind him and another boat soon tucked in behind us. Indigo Dream’s crew went to investigate the lock and I popped into the very good canalside shop for some ice-lollies – we had a hot afternoon of locking in front of us so it was a good chance to get the appropriate refreshments! As I came back from the shop, I heard a piercing voice from the hire boat behind us saying “are we sure that Indigo Dream is going down the locks?” – “yes” I replied loudly while standing right behind the lady asking the question!

Nb Ellie Rose made stately progress down the locks in front of us – their progress was slowed later when the lady of the boat apparently fell into the canal – she was unhurt and quite cheerful about it according to the boat coming up after them! The slow pace gave us plenty of time to enjoy this busy junction with it’s lively population of boaters, walkers and general gongoozlers; there were also pedal bikes, cars and motorbikes – the ‘towpath’ is the road up to the famous Swan pub. We were particularly impressed with nb Tsar who came up through top lock while we were waiting to go down – she’s a Mel Davis shell and very smart.

It wasn’t just us who benefitted from Sarah’s knowledge of this stretch – the hounds had a joyful off-lead rummage at Common Lock – a site that Sarah recalled was relatively enclosed for the hounds. The young boys Henry and Archie raced along while Ranger gamely bobbled after them.

We cruised on through the stunning countryside, enjoying the fine weather and marvelling at the traffic, which wasn’t excessive, but certainly more boats on the move than we’ve seen all year.

What do you think, boys, has she got the boat properly lined up for the lock??

We arrived in Branston in good time, and, following Sarah’s local knowledge again, we cruised on past the pub and the bridge to the stretch beyond which she assured us would be less crowded. But it’s a popular spot and we were aghast to see that the mown moorings were full.

“Reverse” yelled Richard from the bow!

Sarah sensibly declined and handed the helm to Richard for the long reverse back through the bridge to the few spaces we’d passed earlier – the moral of the tale – “a mooring in hand is worth two in the bushes”!  I took on the role of bow thruster with the pole. We merrily zig-zagged back past the moored boats to the amusement of all concerned.

But then we had the massive drama of the day – I was pushing the bow out of the bank when a movement caught my eye, there was a splosh and the horrifying sight of ripples radiating from the point where one of the greyhounds had gone overboard. To my immense relief, a little black head popped up in the centre of the ripples and I yelled at Richard to stop reversing; Sarah rushed out and we called out to Archie, who proved to be a competent swimmer! We leant over the bow and managed to catch hold of him but I couldn’t get enough of a grip to lift him back on board. We yelled at Richard some more and he ran through the boat to heroically hoick Archie out of the water. Thank heavens – with the immediate danger over we had time to notice that Sarah had started to disrobe in readiness to go in after Archie – well, she’d taken her trainers off! Obviously she’d left her top on as you can’t underestimate the merits of a wet T-shirt as a tool for attracting help from passersby!

Archie was alarmingly quiet after being rescued – he lay on his back where Richard had deposited him and didn’t move at all, though he was obviously conscious. We gently turned him over, wrapped him in a thick, fluffy towel and rubbed him vigorously – he lay there pathetically while the moorers who’d witnessed the whole drama asked after his health. We were seriously concerned – had he banged into the boat on the way down, was it head injuries, internal injuries, had he gone into shock? No, he was suffering from a near-terminal case of the ‘drama queens’ – a syndrome known to greyhound owners everywhere; as soon as we’d passed his audience of sympathisers, Archie sprang to his feet, shook himself off and appeared to have no ill effects from his dunking.

With all this going on, and the fact that we were now being approached by two boats – one from either direction, we decided to abandon the reversing and headed back towards the end of the moorings where a fisherman had miraculously moved, making room for us to get our stern onto the mown part of the bank – phew.

With our nerves ever so slightly in shreds, Sarah and I headed back to Whittington Bridge for the car and left Richard to walk the hounds. The car shuffle didn’t take very long and there followed the debate about where to eat – home-made on the towpath or a visit to the nearby Bridge Inn. We’d been told that the pub served Italian food but that the service was a bit slow. We went there anyway and found a simple but tasty pasta/pizza menu – the service was efficient enough and we had a nice time.

We all walked back to the boat,  but as we got close I heard a high pitch whistle reminiscent of the gas alarm accompanied by some deep throated barking. Fearing another drama I wobbled and wheezed down the towpath, in a rush to open the boat and rescue the hounds from some uncertain doom.  I needn’t have worried – the whistling wasn’t our gas alarm and the hounds weren’t in distress (other than Archie missing his hu-mum).

We bid a fond farewell to Sarah and the pack – it had been another priceless day’s cruising – what a store of memories we’re gathering to keep us entertained in the short days of winter. As Sarah left, we got chatting to the crews of nb Albert, nb Devon Maid and an un-named boat who makes and sells very fine rope fenders. The light had faded to a vague glow on the horizon when we suddenly realised that it was getting chilly and that the local insects had made a meal of us while we were talking – time for bed!

We had a quiet night on the mooring – and slept uninterrupted – just as well, we had a big day’s cruising ahead of us on Sunday…

Photoblog:

Click on this link to see a great action sequence of Richard trying to outpace Archie the greyhound – you need to click really quickly from photo to photo to get the effect – http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2231262908005.2133970.1440854080&l=5ca46f30f2

nb Fair Fa' looking mighty fine in her new colours .....

These carved wooden 'mushrooms' are very popular on boat roofs hereabouts....

Crop pickers hard at work - hard to see what they were picking but there was a lorry advertising parsnips nearby....

Streethay wharf - Sarah and nb Greyhound's spiritual home...

I like this garden water feature - shame it's not still joined to the canal - that would make a very tidy mooring....

Now that's a useful service - you'd need a few cans to fill our tank though 🙂

The canal in summer (1)

The canal in Summer (2)

Indigo Dream against a much photographed backdrop....

Locking is a sociable event at Fradley....

Extraordinary artwork....

Now what does that motto mean?

Henry and Archie having a race at Common lock...

A good time had by all......

Another useful canalside industry....

The canal in summer (3)

Have you got enough sheepskins there Ranger....

The canal in Summer (4)

Looking back to Alrewas Lock - a gentle introduction to the river....

The weir below Alrewas Lock....

I guess you would get a headache if you went under the wrong side....

The canal in Summer (5)

The canal in Summer (6)

Henry and Archie cooling down with an ice-lolly...

Bridge 36 - Sarah called it the 'mousehole' - how apt!

This bench is so welcoming...

The canal in Summer (7)

The olympic looking team in action - I believe there was a cat in the adjacent garden....

They're very talented - they can do indoor looking too....

Three hounds enjoying the back deck....

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