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Boat Blog: Christmas party by boat…

Posted by indigodream on 20 December, 2011

Friday 16th December

The reason for mooring the boat in Teddington last weekend was so that we could have a short cruise up to Kingston for Richard’s office party on Friday. His team was returning to Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant, where they celebrated Christmas in 2009. It’s perfect for us because we can moor in Kingston with the hounds – we can let them out regularly and it’s a handy distance for a late night stagger from bar to bed!

Kingston by night - the view downstream from our moorings...

We got to the boat just after 2pm, where we were joined by two of my colleague/friends – Lucy and Denise. We’ve worked together on stop smoking training for many years though this was the first time we’ve managed to co-ordinate a boat trip. It had been snowing heavily in Surrey in the morning, but by the time we cast off the heavy snow clouds had been replaced with bright blue skies, incandescent sunshine and an icy breeze. We enjoyed a bracing cruise upstream to Kingston – around half an hour away – even against the river’s flow. It was a sparkling afternoon and I was so tempted to go just a little further – maybe up to Hampton Court and back, but Richard said our restaurant slot started at 3pm so we had to tie up and go (your time slot is inviolable in a Jamie’s restaurant).

We moored on the ‘park’ side of the river – on the right upstream of Kingston Bridge. We had thought of mooring ‘town side’ but Lucy had warned us that Friday was reputedly expected to be the busiest night out of the year and we wouldn’t want late-night revellers throwing up over our decks! The far side mooring is much better anyway – it’s perfect for dog walking, though a bit muddy underfoot, and much quieter for poor Ty’s nerves.

As it happens Kingston was surprisingly quiet and with its tastefully monochrome swags of Christmas lights draped gracefully between buildings it really seemed far too genteel for any post-party shennanigans.

We set off for Jamie’s where we found that our slot actually started at 3.30pm – ah well, time for an aperitif then. I can understand the popularity of Jamie’s Italian restaurant – it is distinguished by the quality of the service and the food is good. But for some reason it doesn’t thrill me – however it a convivial place for a party.

Table tennis relay - the team really threw themselves into the game....

After the meal we checked in with the hounds before going back into town for some 10-pin bowling. I love bowling but I’ve developed surprisingly painful tennis elbow (from various domestic activities rather than tennis!)  – I shouldn’t really have played but it was too tempting. I strapped on a tennis elbow support and got bowling – Richard’s team is quite competitive and so am I, so we had a great time. This was followed by the most entertaining version of table tennis you’ll ever see – two bats and six or seven players running around the table taking turns to pick up a bat and hit the ball back to the other side. The bowling centre staff were laughing – I don’t think they’d ever seen the like – the 10-bin bowlers around were very tolerant as the ballistic ping-pong ball went bouncing around the room!

By now the group was starting to dwindle, but there were still enough people left to make it a party in O’Neill’s, where there was a live band. The only downside of live music in bars is that it is very loud, and, as most of the people weren’t listening, they were talking even more loudly to be heard so it became one big din. By now I was very weary (I was brewing a migraine but hadn’t realised at the time) so I went back to the boat to walk the hounds, leaving Richard to enjoy himself with his team.

After walking the hounds and tucking them up in their pyjamas, I tucked myself into pyjamas and went off to bed with a hot water bottle – it was seriously chilly.  It was quiet on the mooring with the well-muted sound of music and chatter drifting over from the town side. There were two party boats racing up and down the river but their wash wasn’t a bother – the river’s deep and we were well-tied.

Richard came back to the boat in the wee small hours and wrapped the hounds in an extra layer of blankets so we were all comfy. Unfortunately Ty had an attack of the dire rear towards morning and he woke me up at 6am in desperate need for a walk. It was still pitch dark and the town-side revellers, who were still shrieking and shouting at 4am, had disappeared, so Ty felt confident enough to do what needed to be done. Lynx came with us for company, though Lou wasn’t having anything to do with it – the outside temperature was minus 2 degrees. Our little walk was refreshing but I was very glad to get back into Indigo Dream’s snug interior.

One Response to “Boat Blog: Christmas party by boat…”

  1. Tony Corrie said

    I am sad as I read your Blog tonight my feelings are with you.

    Tony and two black Labs by my side

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