Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

  • Blog Index as a pull down

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta

  • Recent Comments

  • wordpress counter

Archive for September, 2012

Boat Blog: An afternoon of two halves…

Posted by indigodream on 10 September, 2012

Friday 7th September

The first half: “pastime in good company…”

I’ve been working with the NHS stop smoking team in Teddington for many years – mainly as a freelance trainer but more recently as a smoking cessation adviser – it’s great work – rewarding, worthwhile and tremendous fun to boot!

We’ve been meaning to have a team cruise for ages and we finally made it happen on Friday afternoon – out of working hours so that a) it’s a pleasure cruise b) my ‘crew’ could have a wee drinkie – if you currently work in the NHS you’ll understand why a wee, nay large, drinkie is needed!

We set off from the Teddington moorings at 5pm – cruising conditions were perfect, blue skies, sweet sunshine and the air cooling to a palatable temperature after being roasted through the afternoon. It took me some time to untie the boat – I was surprised to see a centre rope wrapped round a bollard (I’d seen Richard remove both of our centre ropes when we moored) – I assumed that he’d added it just before leaving – ah well….. then I tackled the back rope – it took ages – the knots weren’t how we would usually do them – I assumed that Richard had decided to tie them more intricately in order to secure the boat against the pull of weir – ah well…. I got my crew to untie the front – noticing in passing that the front was tied in a most unusual fashion – I assumed that Marina had tied it and, being a cruiser person, does thing differently – ah well….

Before we set off upriver, I got our deck wine-cooler out, not having realised that one bottle of wine divided neatly between my crew’s four glasses and that the bottle (and subsequent ones) would never need to be parked in a cooler. As responsible skipper, I stayed on the ice-cold diet coke!

So we set off upriver in high spirits – I had told them that narrowboaters always wave as passersby – the whooping and chatting up of stray men was entirely their idea….. 🙂

Richard had an afternoon meeting, so it was a girls-only cruise – I worried, as usual, about the prop becoming fouled but it was fine. Anyway, stuff women’s lib – had we broken down I’m sure that my crew would have enlisted some male help from passing boaters!

We cruised up to Hampton Court then wended our way back to Teddington – it’s such a good cruise – it’s a neat 2 hours and there’s plenty to see – from modern urban to eclectic riverside houses to a grand park and culminating in a palace! Hence the title “pastime in good company…”, apparently one of King Henry 8th’s compositions and one which we sing in the choir that I run!

My crew seemed to enjoy themselves immensely – it was a real refresher after a hard few weeks – our smoking cessation service is changing hands in the great NHS/Social Services re-organisation and we’ll all find out our fates in the next few weeks….

We got back to Teddington around 7pm and I was not pleased to see a group of boys jumping in and out of the water at the lock moorings. I found a spot a safe distance away from them. I was so preoccupied with worrying about the boys in the water and by the stern being close to the weir, that when I turned the boat I managed to crash the front straight into the pilings – bah! No damage done other than to my pride –  this all happened shortly after a crew member had asked – “do you ever crash” and my smug reply “not often and usually when we have a novice at the helm!”. Serves me right!

When we moored, the boys decided to stop swimming and were ready to head for home – leaving a trail of litter behind them. Lucy, our youthful and exuberant boss, and herself a mum, gave them a right telling off – they obediently picked up their rubbish and she told them to put it in our deck bin – sigh! I was really pleased that they’d obeyed her without question and that the towpath was now clean, but less pleased that their rubbish was now mine to dispose of!

We said our goodbyes – it wasn’t in any way a team build, but a relaxing cruise on an autumn’s afternoon was a bonding experience – I do hope that the team survives the re-organisation intact – we’re surely too good to split up 🙂

The Second Half: an unpleasant revelation…

Once my guests had gone I set about my usual ‘leaving the boat tasks’ – on impulse, I thought I’d better ring Richard and see if he wanted me to moor with a centre rope again. We don’t usually do that, because it can heel the boat over if the water levels change, but I thought I’d check. It was then that I found out that he had not moored her with the centre rope; in fact he had removed both centres – the rope I had untied earlier turned out to be our offside stern rope!

I thought back to all of my “ah well….” thoughts from earlier – it was obvious, in hindsight, that our boat had been re-tied, but why? We speculated on whether another boater had moved us to make room (though there was plenty of space when we moored) or had a lockie loosened our roped because of the high tides overtopping the weir (though we had taken changing water levels into account when we tied up) – it was a mystery! Richard suggested that I talk to the lockie – I popped down and there it was – a log entry for Wednesday 5th saying that a trip boat had found Indigo Dream adrift across the lock cut – the lockies reported that she had been untied and cast adrift – probably by local youth.

I am grateful to whoever managed to re-tie her – thanks!

Now, Indigo Dream came to no harm, despite being set adrift in a busy lock cut flanked by one of the most powerful weirs on the Thames; nothing had been stolen and the boat had not been vandalised. But I was both furious, horrified and plain sad. Furious, because petty crime always makes me so angry – the youths who cast us adrift will never be caught, disciplined or even deterred – though I have reported the incident to the police. Horrified because it’s such a potentially dangerous thing to do – especially on a big river. Sad, because Teddington is one of my favourite mooring spots on the entire network and it’s a bit tarnished now, though I hope that the incident was a one-off and not the start of a new anti-social relationship between the local youth and visiting boaters.

Nonetheless, I was thoroughly dispirited after talking to the lockie – I wandered back to the boat and disconsolately retied all the ropes, adding another at the front, making sure to use a ridiculous number of half-hitches so that it would take such a long time to untie that any vandals would get bored before they finished! I then secured the free ends of the ropes under heavy things – like the anchor! I also, at the lockie’s suggestion, set up a battery operated night light.

I toyed with the idea of staying on board overnight – I was working nearby the following morning – but I wended my weary way home instead. I did pop over to the boat on Saturday morning and she was fine – no signs of interference. This was a great relief – we can’t leave Teddington until Monday and we can only hope that she’ll be ok for the last couple of nights on the lock moorings….

Note: We’re back on board and she’s fine – let’s hope it was a one-off incident….

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Dog Blog: Dog Swap!

Posted by indigodream on 9 September, 2012

Sunday 9th September

We’ve had agonies trying to decide what to do with Ty while we’re on holiday…..

He could come boating with us, but he hates it and is something of a baleful presence glaring at us from under the sofa. We had thought of leaving him with Richard’s mum, but a fortnight is a long time and last time he stayed there, Ty was a bit quiet – we think he was missing houndie company. But we couldn’t leave any hounds with him – Lou’s medication regime is so complicated I don’t actually trust it to anyone else; Ollie likes being out and about with us so there was no question of leaving him behind…

So, we needed plan C……

Tears of a clown – Henry is really missing his mummy, well, he will when he wakes up…honest!

After much semi-serious discussion with Greygal we came up with the most unlikely plan yet – a dog swap! Ty would go and stay in her house, with a pack of 8, while Henry hound (who has been cruising on Indigo Dream many times) would come for a week’s cruising holiday with us. Sarah, Andy and pack were due to join us next weekend to explore the upper reaches of the Thames anyway, so it seemed like a good opportunity to see how these alternative dog-sitting arrangements might work – Henry is one of the four that will be coming to stay with us for 3 weeks in December.

Sarah and Andy popped in this afternoon – on their way home from Cheshire to Suffolk – via Surrey – I think they need to check the settings on their satnav 😀

They had their four youngsters with them (Henry, Archie, Herbie and Eddie), having had a week on their own nb Greyhound, moored up in Swanley. We briefly discussed whether we should take Archie as well, but Sarah thought we’d have a more relaxing holiday if we stuck with just the three hounds 🙂

The seven hounds had a good run around our house, ate a prodigious amount of food, then it was time to part…

Oh my goodness, I feel terrible – Ty got into their car happily enough, but when I looked in he was having a big jelly wobble. They’re back in Suffolk now and Sarah’s dominant girl, Susie, has given Ty a typically outspoken welcome and he’s immediately run upstairs to hide. Luckily Andy and Ty are soul mates so I’m sure that Ty will be comforted and cosseted, though early indications are that he will be a total big scaredy wuss jelly boy – we had thought that being in a bigger pack might boost his confidence (it does at home..). At least he’s found a place to hide – that’s all he needs really…

Henry, at first, seemed a bit bewildered by the peace and quiet in our house, as well as the large amount of space available. He enjoys lying in the garden – I was worried that he might be lonely, but he seemed quite happy lying there watching the world not going by (our garden is very quiet). He’s settled indoors now and is so fast asleep that I keep checking whether he’s still breathing! I have told him that he should at least pretend to miss his mummy, but he’s had a busy day and snoozing is important 🙂

Henry is an all-action hound, so we anticipate that he will enjoy a week’s cruising – I can only hope that Ty settles and doesn’t spend the entire week casting a cloud of gloom over Sarah’s house!


These were taken during the romp that the hounds had together this afternoon…

Archie hound is a perfect photographic model – he’s always looking into the lens – no matter how fast he’s running….

Flying greyhound – Archie, again – no, sorry, that’s Eddie

Ollie (in the foreground) giving the youngsters a bit of stick…

Eddie, Sarah’s most recent addition, has really settled in – she’s had him for just over 6 months – about the same amount of time as we’ve had Ollie…

Eddie (in front) whom Sarah adopted because he was being overlooked in kennels because he is blind in one eye with a cataract and Herbie – formerly known as Tiny Tim because he was rescued emaciated after being found as a stray…actually that might be Archie..

Henry, our house guest, being very obedient as Richard has nice treats in his hand!

So Henry, how nice was that treat??

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Boat Blog: Barking Creek 2

Posted by indigodream on 8 September, 2012

Rewind to 28th/29th July…

Whoops this post is so far behind the pace – this is Richard’s account of the convoy to Barking Creek – undertaken while I was off being an unwanted Olympic volunteer at the Rower’s village!

That is a big beast to bring up the Thames

Once a year the St Pancras Cruising Club organise a little jaunt to Barking Creek.

Now this involves a few things that those of sound mind would not consider, starting with taking a flat bottomed, shallow draughted boat onto a tidal river, then going through the extremely bumpy waters round the Isle of Dogs, past the Millennium Dome, through the Thames Barrier, doing a quick dance with the Woolwich Ferry, past the entrance to the Royal Docks before turning across what, by now, is a 1/2 mile wide river to go into Barking Creek.

Then you get to do it all over again on the way back on Sunday.

Needless to say you are only allowed to go on these trips once you have satisfied the SPCC that the National Health Service is aware of your poor mental state and will do something about it. Obviously a fine line required there as it so hard to steer wearing a straitjacket.
So why on earth do it? It is an absolutely fantastic trip, it is organised by the SPCC so you know you will only sink once and when you get to Barking the good people and the mighty impressive Bill, who owns the boatyard/moorings, serve up a fantastic barbecue – the social event of the year. Additionally, this year it seemed more important then ever to keep navigation going – thanks to the “Powers That Be” who have exhibited an impressive degree of incompetence, it has been hard to navigate round London. A simple thing like getting a convoy of boats down to Limehouse and out onto the tideway almost defeated the finest minds in CRT.

Nevertheless Andrew Phasey persevered and explained to anyone that would listen that tide times meant that the convoy could only take place on the opening weekend of the Olympics. He flashed an impressive looking tide table at them, there are lots of numbers there and hey, permission was given, but sadly out through Limehouse rather than Three Mills Lock

We wondered would they notice if we sneaked up and undid a few links …

Now, you may recall that I worked the Opening Ceremony as a Volunteer so got back to the boat 2 hours or so before we had to get up and head out through the lock. Sue unfortunately could not come, her Doctor had declined to declare her insane so she had work to do and had the dogs to look after.

I toyed with the idea of going solo, after all they say Belgium was meant to have good weather that weekend; but Sue applied an insanity test and put out an appeal for volunteers. On the way out I was ably assisted by the Lucky Ducks Amy & James, Ian of nb Water Witch and Dave & Wendy who have had boat withdrawal symptoms whilst there boat is being sorted up at Leighton Buzzard. For the way back the Lucky Ducks fled, Dave and Wendy drank loads of alcohol as preparation, Ian bought Jackie along and an impressively fit Roger cycled across London to join us in Barking.

How did we get on? Well there were a total of 7 boats going out in 2 lockings, with us fortunately in the second lock so that gave me 15% more sleeping time. The crew turned up early, well the Lucky Ducks had stayed on board, so they had the important job of throwing a bucket of cold water over me first thing. Locking was smooth enough considering the early hour, the tideway was reasonably gentle and with such able crew I handed over the tiller and brewed gallons of coffee, breakfast figured somewhere and at some time.

In the past we have gone down through Greenwich on a dropping tide and that is always fun -as you pass the cruise ship mooring, the tide tries very hard to push you into the mooring buoys. This time there was no cruise ship but a big grey thing with helicopters and guns rather than fenders so we all stayed clear! HMS Ocean is vast, a very impressive sight

Moorings at Barking Creek

The cruise down to the Barking is a real treat, there is so much to see. Greenwich is great from the water on one side whilst on the other you have the ever changing vista of Canary Wharf. We got to see the cable car working, James took us through the Thames Barrier and then dodged the Woolwich Ferry before going past London City Airport and the entrance to the Royal Docks. The turn into Barking Creek was awesome as ever, Sue has written about the barrage before and it is a mighty impressive sight.

Now the moorings at Barking Creek look like something out of a Mad Max film but instead of chants like “7 boats enter, one boat leaves”, you get to meet Bill and the crowd of boaters up there. They are extremely welcoming and a great bunch of people. We are always recommending that people go on a SPCC Cruise, if you can only go on one then make the Barking Creek cruise a priority if only to go to the Barbecue!

Sunday’s start was far more reasonable, Dave & Wendy had stayed the night and had heroically helped to clear the debris left over from Saturday night’s barbecue before I came into the land of the living!

I will let the photos describe the way back, this time it was Wendy who joined the elite group who have driven a narrowboat through the Thames Barrier before we encountered the usual choppy waters round the Isle of Dogs. The journey back seemed a bit slow and by the time we locked in the tide was running out at pace, particularly for the boats in the second locking. Not wanting to hang around I took us into Limehouse Lock at pace, just as the wash from a City Cruiser hit us – it was an interesting turn but nicely central. Behind us, nb Peace of Pearce had to do a bit of manoeuvering, whilst the last boat had a close encounter of the wall thanks to ‘nasty Eddie’.

A great weekend cruising, my thanks to all who turned up to help me!


Don’t look so worried folks …..

I am sure James knows where he is going

What do you mean “it’s behind me”?

Ah you were not joking!

You get some serious stuff coming in at high tide

and the the river gets seriously wide, just about enough room to wind

The Barrage is such an impressive sight, to get a sense of scale if you click on this photo get a bigger version you can just about see nb Doris Katia going through.

Ah Sunday morning now and waving goodbye to the good people at Barking

Flood gates open and we are off!

Barrage again!

Serious guillotine gate

Heading upstream through the Thames Barrier

Looking confident …

because Wendy is taking us through the Barrier

Another one in the it’s behind you series!

Tax disk and insurance check

This in the alternative “ah it’s in front of you..” series …

But no worries, the boys in black are around offering navigational guidance

Choppy Waters I

Choppy Waters II

Choppy Waters III

Almost …..

Watching the last boat bump in

Now that looks like a man who has enjoyed his morning bobble on the Thames.

but what happened to the mobile phone?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Odds Blog: Back on the Park II

Posted by indigodream on 8 September, 2012

I am sorry folks but it gets worse. Devastating news: Here is a nice lady Architect (President of RIBA) applying foundation to an Engineer

The terrible evidence

Architects being sensitive souls normally don’t want to get that close to an Engineer (though I suppose he was scrubbed up a bit)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Odds Blog: Back on the park

Posted by indigodream on 7 September, 2012

Today Richard was back on the park being interviewed about the work that Engineers and Architects have been doing. Richard was interviewed together with  fellow team member, the talented Alan Pert (but don’t get carried away, he is an Architect).

Having spent so much time there recently it was great to be back.

The photo shows Alan getting his nose powdered. Offers of charitable donations for removal or more photos gratefully received.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Dog Blog: By our new guest dog blogger……

Posted by indigodream on 6 September, 2012

Boaty hadventure on the big lumpty bumpty river – 1 September 2012

*clears throat nervously….*

Let me hintroduce meself. My name is Dudley and I am a magnificent, shiny black boy who lives wiv a pretty white girly hound called Snowy (Snowdypops, to you) and we are helpin’ Auntie Sue wiv her

Yours speshal corrispondent – Dudley (the magnificent!)

blogging fingy, cos she’s busy makin’ jam or somefink like that…

The day started wiv mum and dad wakin’ us up at silly o’clock to go out for a walk, which was a bit rude cos we weren’t really ready to get up yet. Anyway, when we got back there was lots of packing of bags and puttin’ them near the going out door (we only go out that way when we’re goin’ somewhere speshul like seein’ our mates or to have a trip on the boat or the vets, but we don’t menshun that). We LOVES the boat, so I got very hexcited and wagged and wagged me tail so hard it did bleedin’ all on the wall and Mum sed “Oh Dudley…”

“Hexcuse me Duds, but it wasn’t just the wall you got, was it, Duds? You got me too, didn’t you Duds? All over me nice white fur, eh Duds, didn’t you Duds?”

 Stop your hinterruptions, Snowdypops, I is riting an himportant blog. Now where was I? Oh yes, hexcited about going in the car…

Anyway, turns out we didn’t go to our boat. No, we went a long and different way to a big city and to a big long blue metal boat speshally made for hounds. It belongs to Ollie, Lou and Ty, and their hu-mum and dad are Sue and Richard and they do the hard work while the hounds do more himportant fings like lookin’ and snoozin’ and eatin’ and such. It was a super hadventure, cos we hadn’t met Lou and Ollie before (Auntie Sue said Ty was busy bein’ wussy somewhere – I fink he must’ve knowed the river was bein’ bumpy, to tell you the troof!). Anyhoo we soon made friends, got settled and were reddy to go. We had to wear big bright coats wiv handles on in case we went swimmin’ by accident, which was silly cos no hound would surely want to swim in that lumpty bumpty river! Speshally not when there were sheepies to lay on and beds.

Roomies for four – and maybe mores – Auntie Sue duz luv us hounds….

“You had the biggest, sticky-outiest coat of everyone, didn’t you, Duds” *sniggers*

Shaddup Snowdypops! I’s bizzy!

Anyway, the humans all seemed very hexcited when the big doors opened onto the river from the lock. I did do some lookin’, and so did Snowy, Lou and Ollie, but it was lumpy and bumpy… And besides, some nice comfy beds and sheepies were put on the floor, so obviously it was snooze time… But even from our beds we could see lots of big brijes, fast boats and big houses and stuff goin by.

“Don’t forget to tell ’em about the chewds, Duds, and the bacond standwitch, and the cake, Duds. Don’t forget the cake…”

Will you plees stop your interruptin’! Now, I’s lost me place agen… Oh yes… chewds, we had chewds and bacond standwitches, which was very nice. Seems to me that Lou and Ollie and Ty are very lucky to be looked after so well. Maybe mum and dad will take some notice. Then we did a bit more snoozing’, but I finks the humans just kept on looking and natterin’ like what humans do.

Every sometimes I would get up, just to make sure that the boat was going the rite way and to have some fussin’s, but Lou and Ollie’s humans seemed like they knowed where to go. So I had meself another snooze… Next fing I knows, we’s stoppin’ in another of them lock thingies. Once we was through the lock, Richard tied a rope to the side and we all piled off for a bit of a rummage. We was quite glad cos we’d been on the boat for ages and ages and we all needed wees. We met some other dogs of all shapes and sizes, including another greyhound wiv a whippety friend, which was nice.

Lou doin’ lookin’ – that’s a famus bridge but not half as famus as us blogging houndies..

Then we got back on the boat for a bit more of a ride and we noticed that the lumpty bumpty had gone and the boat was quite steddy, so Auntie Sue said we could take our big bright coats off. I was quite glad, cos it was by now quite sunny and I was gettin’ a bit warm…

“Don’t forget the chickin dinner, Duds, that was soooo nice! I was a good girl and I helped clean up all the bowls ready for the cupboard, didn’t I, Duds?”

Yes, girl, you did. You was most helptful…

After a snoozy while, Auntie Sue got us hounds some dinners. I likes to stupervise when dinners is being got so I went to help by watchin’, and guess wot! We had roasted chickin! Real proper roasted chickin! I spect that was cos I was stupervisin’. Anyway we ate it all up… (I’s droolin’ just finkin’ bout it…). Snowy likes to make herself useful wiv bowls and such, so she went round to them all afterwards, makin’ sure they was clean for Auntie Sue to put back in the cupboard for next time. She’s quite good at tidyin’ up food.

Well, after such a lovely dinner we hounds all needed to have a good snooze while the humans did lookin’ and talkin’. Heventually we was back at the place where we got off for a rummage, but this time it was time to go home. We was sad to say goodbye to our friends, but we were very tired and slept all the way home in the car.

Can’t wait till the next time…

Snowdypops luffs a nice snooze…

We’s doin’ sinkronised lookin’ – I is hexcited….

Whoo hoo Auntie Sue, I is doin’ lookins at you 🙂

This our basic sinkronisation move – both looking the same way…

This hadvanced sinkronisation – lookin’ in different directions…

Ollie duz multi-taskin’ – he woz snoozin’ but also protectin’ the diesel by puttin’ his nose on the fuel cap – he is well clever!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Boat Blog: Getting into position

Posted by indigodream on 5 September, 2012

Saturday 1st September

Our first sight of the Paralympic symbol suspended from Tower Bridge..

We’re planning another mini-odyssey in September – hopefully completing the journey up the Thames which was interrupted by the almost constant red boards during April and May. However, we have a backup plan for a jaunt up the Grand Union – we are cruising – come what may! We were waiting for the ‘Indian Summer’ to start, and it’s looking quite promising so far….

With this in mind, we decided to move the boat up to Teddington, a perfect staging post for either a trip up the Thames or a quick diversion down to Brentford and up the Grand Union. The tides, and the weather forecast, were favourable for us to make the move on the 1st, though we won’t head upriver for another week.

In a wonderful bit of serendipity, virtual friends Marina and Si, who have two rescue greyhounds (magnificent black boy Dudley and dainty white/black girl Snowy) as well as a cruiser (Merikala) on the River Great Ouse, got in touch to express an interest in a trip up the tideway. This weekend worked for them, so our plans were set!

We left Ty with nanny Renia this weekend – he’s been quiet and a bit spooked all week after his tideway adventures last week – poor traumatised hound! Lou was having a good day, though, so she was up for a cruise and Ollie just wants to be doing whatever we’re doing, so that’s ok.

I had left a car in Teddington on Friday to facilitate our end-of-trip dog shuttle; this worked very efficiently but I’ll come back to that later. We drove up to Limehouse on Saturday morning, arriving, a bit embarrassingly, about 15 minutes after our guests! The dogs were introduced and we piled on board with just a few minutes to spare for taking on fresh water and completing engine checks. There wasn’t even enough time for a coffee before we slipped from our mooring and headed for the lock.

You can see the state of the water around this trip boat – it was quite bumpy!

There was a really high tide today, so we didn’t have quite the dramatic drop onto the river that we experienced last week. We left Limehouse a couple of hours before high tide (London Bridge), that gave us the benefit of the flow up to Teddington. When we left, the tide was around 5.2 metres – high tide today was expected to be 7.4 meters – one of the highest we’ve ever cruised, though we arrived in Teddington just before the tide maxed out there.

We had another dramatic entry to the tideway – ribs, clippers, trip boats – the river was buzzing! We headed upstream and I took the helm – the weather was much more sullen than forecast and there was a brisk breeze across the water; Saturday lunchtime was probably the busiest time for commercial traffic so the Pool of London was very choppy indeed. I had hoped that Richard would put his ‘barista’ hat on, but we decided to delay the refreshments until we stopped rockin’ & rollin’ and passed onto the calm waters beyond Vauxhall Bridge. The front of the boat got a good wash, but Indigo Dream is very stable on the water and we had no dramas. I was a bit worried that Marina and Si might find it a bit alarming, but they seemed to be enjoying it tremendously! The hounds took it all in their stride; Ollie looked a bit disturbed when we first entered the tideway, but he soon got his ‘sea legs’ – Lou, Dudley and Snowy settled immediately – first to a bit of Olympic lookin’ and later to some world class deck snoozin’…

One of my major tasks before setting out had been to unearth all the dog’s sheepskins and pillows from where they’d been stowed in our front wardrobe. It was an important job, fully warranting my taking out every bit of spare human bedding – duvets, pillows, the lot – in order to reach and extract sufficient dog beds to line the back deck. I had a tremendous sense of familiarity and comfort from seeing the deck entirely covered by four greyhounds lying at their elegant ease, while the humans tiptoed uncomfortably around them!

Four go boating – typical Indigo Dream deck scene!
(with thanks to Marina for the photo!)

We seemed to get upriver in no time, especially after we’d filled up on coffee, bacon sarnies and a superb home-made coffee and walnut cake which Marina had generously contributed. Both hound and human crews got on famously – meeting virtual friends is always a calculated risk, but our common love of boating and rescue greyhounds guaranteed a fine afternoon. The hounds shared a common love of comfy beds and food – sweet!

All too soon we locked off the tideway at Teddington and moored up for a dog-stop and to plot our next move. Marina and Si needed to get back to Suffolk, but as we moored the sun broke out and it became a stunning day on the water. It seemed a shame to stop, though whatever we did we’d need to come back to Teddington as we’d planned to moor at the lock for the week (by arrangement with the lockies – £8 per night for a 60′ boat). While we were plotting, we spotted another greyhound being walked along the towpath with her whippet companion, they were soon joined by another two whippets and we had a little sight-hound party! As we were chatting, the high tide arrived at Teddington and came just to the top of the weir – we knew that might happen, in fact, it can overtop the weir, but we’d never witnessed it for ourselves. It was a dramatic sight, but also sound – the water usually roars over the powerful weir at Teddingon, but now it just sighed as the tide kissed the stream…

It was no good, we just had to cruise a little bit further. We all piled on board and had a bobble up to Hampton Court – the river was busy with boats of every conceivable size and shape – the big ‘paddle’ cruisers seemed to be doing a brisk business. As always, I really enjoyed our trip along this most familiar of waterways – I can’t imagine ever getting bored, especially when we’ve got guests on board – we took pleasure from their enjoyment of the sights and sounds of the river. The highlight for me came in Thames Ditton – I was at the helm, wearing my Olympic Gamesmaker jacket, which is really smart, when I heard a commotion from the far bank. There was another Gamesmaker out on the balcony of his home, waving his Gamesmaker T-shirt in salute – it was a golden moment. I know I had a horrible time as an Olympic volunteer, but I’ll never forget that for a brief time Richard and I were part of something great, and I’ll always cherish that.

The riverscape is full of contrasts – I’m not sure about the merits of the Shard but you certainly can’t miss it…

We got back to the moorings and left the dogs on the bank with Marina and Si while we quickly packed the boat. We had a plan – Richard would drive Marina, Si and the four hounds back to Limehouse – Marina and Si would then head off for Suffolk and Richard would pile our dogs into his car and head for home. In the meantime, I would finish packing the boat, pay for our week’s moorings and take the train to Limehouse, where I would pick up my car and head for home (luckily I had spare keys). The plan worked even better than expected – although I dithered over leaving the boat (nothing new there), I had a wonderfully efficient train journey to Limehouse and got there just after Richard had said ‘goodbye’ to our guests!

We decided to eat in Limehouse and went for the pricey but excellent La Figa Italian restaurant just off Narrow Street. The restaurant opens onto a pleasantly lit square with a melodic fountain and colourful mosaic benches all around. We couldn’t take the dogs into the restaurant so we ordered two delicious pasta dishes and a few drinks to take out – I had to charm a waiter into lending us two forks! We sat outside, with Lou and Ollie lying contentedly on their blankets, and ate our meals al fresco. Maybe it was the fine day, the fresh air, the ambience, but the food tasted superb and it was a lovely way to end the day.

Feeling full and contented, we sorely regretted that the boat wasn’t still in Limehouse! Instead we had to pile into our cars and drove back to Surrey, amazed as always, that it was only 12 hours since we’d left the house – it felt as if we’d been away for an eternity – that’s the magic of the waterways….


This is one of the landing craft from the warship that’s moored just downstream..

Giving the boat a quick wash!

Busy Busy – there is a lot of traffic on a Saturday afternoon but it all calmed down just beyond Westminster..

The Ribs look alarming but they’re generally up on the plane and the wash is shallow….

I would rather take Indigo Dream across the channel in a storm than get on that ‘fairground’ ride 😀

The yellow pole is a headroom marker for Westminster Bridge – I wonder how often the commercial traffic is restricted by the height of the tide?

We’re up in the calm waters of Richmond here – we still thought that these paddlers were a bit brave though!

The ‘Hermit’ is rebuilding (his home was in pieces last time we passed)…

Cadging a lift…
The snoozing greyhounds didn’t even notice our guest!

Most of my weir photos were overexposed (I hadn’t noticed that the camera was on the wrong setting) – but here’s Teddington Weir at high tide…

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »