Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for March 13th, 2012

Boat Blog: By our favourite guest blogger….

Posted by indigodream on 13 March, 2012

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th March

Archie and Herbie, experienced Indigo Dreamers, facing the camera and new boy Eddie showing his bottom - there's always one! Not sure where Herbie was - raiding the kitchen probably...

Greygal here with a guest blog post. Yes, I am writing this from the bows of the Indigo Dream somewhere on a canal in France. Ha ha, we double bluffed our pals who very kindly lent us their boat for our celebratory weekend and said we’d be off to Bristol…so they weren’t looking when we hightailed it back down the tideway, out into the estuary and across the Channel. Being the Indigo Dream, it only took about five hours as we were able to go at warp factor nine for most of the trip.

Okay, okay, we didn’t actually get that far.. In fact, once Richard had left us snuggled up at Kingston, we only went down to Hampton Court the next day so epic cruise a deux it wasn’t. We made up for it later though!

Now as I have none of Sue’s talent for travel journaling [Ed. so not true!] I’m not going to give you one of her splendiferous chronological diary posts but Greygal’s Highs and Lows.

So here goes:

  • High: Getting to Limehouse on time on Saturday and with the right number of dogs and smelling a diesel engine again – it’s been too long. Charging up to Old Ford to replenish the fuel tank and enjoying a cup of coffee while we’re at it.
  • Low: Leaving Old Ford and finding we had no power. It transpired we’d got Tina Turner’s wig around the prop – seriously, a mad, dense, huge mass of foliage had just stopped us dead and it took 20 minutes and a sharp knife before we were clear again.
  • High: Getting out onto the tideway and feeling that familiar lumpiness beneath our feet and the wind in our hair and doing the customary check on both deck doors to ensure they were bolted. No place to lean and fall out, this.
  • Low: Finding that Eddie the dog had anointed my shoe and not in a baptism sort of way. He’d also liberally anointed quite a bit of deck so I spent the next ten minutes on my hands and knees with poop bags, paper towels and the smell of diesel in my nostrils. I soon went off it then.

    Tina Turner's wig - stopped the prop dead....

  • High: Getting another successful passage through the busy city waters under our belts and breaking through into the calmer reaches of Wandsworth, an achievement celebrated in ID style by eating something tasty and more coffee. Not only is he the consummate captain but Richard is also a very good short order cook.
  • Low but not really: Timings going slightly awry and arriving at Richmond to find the tidal barrier in place. However, as we were right under the Heathrow flight path, we indulged our hobby for plane spotting for half an hour – exciting, aren’t we? [Ed. Richard very excited to see the half-tide barrier being raised – I was very jealous – have always wanted to see it!]
  • High: Getting a billet parkside in Kingston, enabling me to run round Waitrose filling my basket with completely naughty things before booking a table for dinner
  • Low – Having to listen to the couple at the next table at the Thai restaurant bore us to death with their interminable chat about swimming. And of course we didn’t have anything to say to each other, we were a couple celebrating our anniversary. I mean, come off it, who’s still talking by this stage?
  • High with a bit of low – Stuffing ourselves on an absolutely gorgeous Thai meal but feeling like we were about to burst at the end of it. Still feel slightly cheated in that we were told we’d ordered too much and felt compelled to sacrifice the green curry. Bad move in retrospect as we had too much of a red/orange mélange going on.
  • Low: Getting back to the boat and finding the dogs had done a ram-raid on the work surface, helping themselves to my Hotel Chocolat selection
  • High: Getting into bed as we were cream crackered and finding the ID bed is a gazillion times more comfy than ours. We’ve sawn it out and are relocating it onto Greyhound.
  • Low: Waking far too early the next morning to find Herbie pacing up and down. Being fuzzy with sleep I didn’t remember that urgency of pace correlates directly with urgency of needing the loo and by the time I’d worked it out, Herbs had decorated the galley with a cow pat.
  • Low: Having cleaned up the cow pat – thought they might notice it – switching on the coffee machine to get a cup of stimulant brewed only to find it didn’t work.

    You can't beat the tideway - will we ever get bored with it? Well, we'll find out this year for sure 🙂

  • Low: Thinking that it was a low battery/inverter issue, I went to start the engine and it didn’t start. Stimulant need was really kicking in now and I was starting to panic,  Costa not being open till nine on a Sunday
  • Low: Getting the engine started but finding the coffee machine still wasn’t playing ball and trying to stop hyper-ventilating
  • High: Rummaging in the cupboard, finding the inverter, looking at all the red lights displayed, studiously ignoring them and switching it off and on again. Hurrah, a green light and the coffee machine started to purr reassuringly
  • High: Sitting on the back deck with my large latte surveying all the skullers about and wondering if you get extra points for sinking people mad enough to want to use two oars (one oar was one too many for me)
  • High: Bimbling down to Hampton Court in the sun, going the wrong way round an ait and landing in the middle of a sailing race, and realizing that it’s not my boat so who cares if we get into trouble?!
  • High: Going past all these flash houses knowing that a) I’m enjoying the same view, b) my view is ever changing and c) I can move on if I don’t like my neighbour
  • Low: Getting back to Teddington and seeing Richard and Sue come down the towpath, foiling once and for all our plans to steal the Indigo Dream
  • Low: Mentioning to Richard that I thought the engine seemed a bit odd as we came into moor and discovering that I’d broken the throttle cable. Not bad so far – pooped the boat inside and out, flattened the batteries and now busted the throttle.

    One man and his dog - Eddie the hound is Andy's soulmate....

  • High: Richard and A swinging into action, getting the boat fixed and deciding that we would still venture back to Limehouse even if it meant that half the trip would be done in darkness
  • High:Turning the ID into a speed boat as we opened her up in a bid to get back before midnight when I would turn into a pumpkin (half way there with a stomach still full of hot cross buns, pork Penang, mini eggs and chocolate cookies)
  • High: Seeing all the city lit up as we ploughed on through the very lonely and very dark waters, avoiding a massive clump of barges halfway that very thoughtlessly weren’t lit up in any semblance of a Christmas tree or other eye-catching decorative light show
  • High: Richard actually being able to make out the Limehouse entrance in the pitch black (“I think it’s there”) and executing another perfect entry into the lock.
  • High: New dog Eddie getting his boating badge by virtue of sleeping on the back deck all the way along the tideway, tucked under his blue blanket and not even raising his head when we encountered the wake of the last Clipper of the night and went sub aqua for a short while
  • High: The confirmation that we are blessed with warm, kind and thoughtful friends generous enough to lend us their pride and joy for the weekend, and who will still be talking to us once they’ve read what really happened. Sue, Richard, hello? Hello? Hello? Anyone there?

Bits for the log:

New Era Diesel – £1 per litre, took on 127 litres, forgot to ask what is going to happen during the Olympics embargo, open Saturdays 9am to 12 noon, Richard must write down times next time! Throttle cable changed with spare, biggest problem was having to straighten and re-use manky cotter pin behind the morse control, Richard has now bought up the world’s supply of cotter pins so as not to have to repeat the experience.


Cruising the tideway is so exhausting.....

Eddie getting the hang of olympic looking....

The half-tide barrier at Richmond - we could have used the lock (on the left) but Richard has always wanted to see the barrier being raised...

The half-tide barrier at half-mast!

Almost there the barriers flip up at this point to lie flat under the bridge deck...

Are you having a nice day???

Richmond in the Sunday's sunset - one of my favourite river views...

Hope they're watching the tide!

Wow! (though the helm complained that the bridge ruins your night vision)

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