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Archive for April 26th, 2012

Boat Blog: Micro-Odyssey Day 3

Posted by indigodream on 26 April, 2012

Saturday 14th April

Note: More than a week behind now – waaaahh!!!

Cookham to Henley

Dutch barge "Josephine" - have we seen her before?

With Lou still hobbling around and a question mark over Poppy’s fitness, we decided to cruise in shifts again with the help of our trusty crew Sarah and Andy.

It was my turn to stay at home – we didn’t want to leave Lou with Richard’s mum until we know that Lou is clear of the MRSA – the risk of infection is very small (with sensible hygiene) but Richard’s mum is a bit vulnerable so best not to take any chances until we get the swab results. Ty would much prefer to be at home anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

But Poppy was bright and enthusiastic this morning, and Ollie likes being out and about so they’ve gone boating with Richard. It will be their first time on board – I hope they like it because they will be staying with us for the rest of their days. They are still foster dogs (long story) but Poppy’s health is too uncertain for her to be rehomed. Ollie is her life partner – they can’t be separated – but if Poppy should pass away first then Ollie will have the comfort of other hounds to help him adapt.

Of course, the sensible practical and financial option would be to send Poppy and Ollie back to rescue kennels, but that would be so immoral I couldn’t live with myself. So they’ve come to live with us, permanently – I know, you’re astonished, who’d have believed that we would offer Poppy and Ollie a forever home…. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ll hand over to Richard now…

Poppy and Ollie showed a fine grasp of boating - especially the purpose of a large back deck ( with sheepskins!)

Today’s cruising started at Cookham Lock with the very helpful resident Lock Keeper allowing us to drive right up to the lock so that Sarah could off-load her mother. I had got to the boat early to fix the fridge (just a wiring issue), fill the tank with water and move the boat to an easier place for loading on dogs. Ollie and Poppy were today’s company, whilst Sarah bought Andy rather than her mother, along with boating hounds Miffy, Henry, Herbie and newbie Ed. Sarah fostered (then quickly adopted) Ed from Greyhound Homer Suffolk a week before we fostered Poppy and Ollie. After an initial commotion the pack settled nicely so we left Andy on board whilst they did a car shuffle. Our target for the day was Sonning but it was starting to look a bit ambitious when we did not start till 12:30pm!

A wide beam came out of the lock as we were casting off so we let them go first but later overtook them – they had a huge engine but a tiny prop which was churning up loads of water but not giving them that much forward momentum. I did wonder if they were having weed problems as their speed seemed to vary a bit or perhaps we were being too eager? Who cares, we overtook them and a slightly slow hire boat with a very pleasant Canadian couple who we had met at the Cookham earlier.

Of course, on the Thames you overtake someone and then they catch up with you at the next lock. This is the bit of the Thames where lock widths vary, at times the widebeam could fit in alongside, at others they thought they could but no way, we had to use the length of the lock for us all to get in. Quite a few of the locks were unmanned, so Andy became Mr Lock Keeper and Sarah was successfully demonstrating her halleluja bollard lassooing tactic at the front. We debated whether we should shut gates or not, the first locks were easy as there was a boat coming down, then for later locks we opened the locks, filled them and the widebeam crew shut them. When we encountered a lock keeper we asked what the right procedure is and he explained that the preference is to shut the gates but leave the paddles up on the exit gate.

At the end of one long straight a familiar boat came towards us – nb Celtic Kiwi. Since we sold our share in Dragonfly we have only seen her once, but every year we see sister boat Celtic Kiwi on our travels. She was an “Arthur” boat so I am sure a cut above the norm and has very distinctive paintwork. The couple on board enthusiastically waved and then shouted across that they were from Australia and read the blog. Don’t tell Sue, she will be very smug

The Thames at this time of year is gorgeous, the trees are just developing various shades of green and of course passing through towns like Marlow and Henley always makes for a good day. In the end we were running out of time so stopped at Henley, duly paid our ยฃ9 mooring fee in the parking machine (I kid you not) and picked up various cars so we could go off to the Commodore’s knees up at the St Pancras Cruising Club.

Photoblog:

Lovely scenery - this stretch is one of my favourites...

A tasteful slice of Marlow's graceful bridge...

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