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Boat Blog: Autumn Odyssey – Day 3

Posted by indigodream on 10 October, 2012

Rewind to Wednesday 12th September

Desborough Island to Bray Lock

I believe this is the Manor which gave the settlement of Lower Halliford its name in the 13th Century..

We really enjoyed the mooring at Desborough and were in no hurry to leave in the morning. We slept, enjoying the peace and quiet, then we enjoyed a good walk with the hounds – Richard found a circular route to exercise the boys, nothing mentioned about squirrels, while Lou and I did a little bobble (she had to have a lie-down halfway but no harm in that!).

I love this part of the Thames – it has an interesting natural and built landscape and a wealth of wealth and history – often intertwined – click here for a potted history of the Shepperton area...

We eventually left the moorings mid-morning – I was half-afraid that fates would find a way to take us back to Teddington….

Fate certainly tried its best, despite designing our boat for our arthritic lurcher Indie, with deep steps with shallow risers, Lou still managed to fall down them spectacularly when trying to get out of the boat last night. It’s a long story, but Lou has the dog equivalent of a groin strain and she doesn’t have the muscle strength to hold her back legs steady – this meant that when she tried to get her back legs onto the first step, her legs flew out from beneath her and down she came.I was really afraid that she’d hurt herself badly but she’s just bruised, a bit sore but otherwise cheerful so we decided that we could cruise on. We’re now supporting her up the steps by putting our hands on her thighs to literally hold her legs together when she’s going up the boat steps (it’s more than your life’s worth to lift her). This seems to work – phew!

Good dog walking on the ‘West’ (upstream) bank of Desborough Island – nice beaches for a doggie swim too!

It was fine morning but I found the breeze to be a bit chilly – well, it is autumn. I resolved not to get so cold today and started layering up quite early in the day. This did seem a bit excessive given that Richard was in a T-shirt but I feel the cold!

It was only a short distance from our moorings to the main channel but we noted in passing that the west end of Desborough Island looks perfect for dog-walking, so an island mooring may be worth a try (if you have dogs able to jump or walk a plank that is!).

We shared locks with the friendly crew of nb Bacas Mist today – their boat is an anagram of the initials of nine names that must be precious to them as they’re listed on the boat. Unfortunately I never did find out whether the people listed were children, grandchildren, friends or a mixture…

We made good time upstream – it was nice to be moving and to feel that we were finally on holiday. Unusually for us, we decided to stop for lunch and moored in Runnymeade. We took hounds for a bobble around the adjacent park where we met another greyhound – a grumpy old hound and his besotted owner. She volunteers for Hersham Hounds –  they have very strict rules on rehoming so they refused to let us have a second hound (6 months after we got Blue from Battersea). Ah well, it’s lucky that we didn’t listen to their concerns that our garden wasn’t sufficiently ‘greyhound proof’. Rescue centres have a hard balance to achieve when deciding whether a home is suitable for the hounds in their kennels – but if we’d believed Hersham’s rules we wouldn’t have gone on to give Lou, Lynx, Ty, Poppy and Ollie a happy home. Luckily Greyhoundhomer Essex were happy to accept our Battersea Dog’s Home “approval” (Battersea did a home check and asked how many we’d be could take!)  – they gave us Lou, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Ollie and Lou seeing eye to eye – Lou spent a lot of time on deck – it was good to have her there….

We moored in the exact same spot in Runnymeade as we had in April, so the sign for the Italian cafe/restaurant nearby was prominent. We’d been disappointed in April because they didn’t open in time and seemed in no rush to do so when Sarah went there to get our morning coffees. Richard was keen to give them a second chance,  I was less so, but then they had deprived three near terminal caffeine addicts of their morning fix so maybe I was judging them too harshly.

We popped in for lunch and were impressed by the charming Italian family that seemed to run the place – the service was efficient and cheerful. There is outside seating, so the dogs were able to stretch out on their sheepskins and the chef was happy to cook us 3 sausages for them – so far so good. I had a fine lasagne, with a very fresh-tasting tomato sauce; Richard had a pasta carbonara, which he thought was acceptable but not remarkable.

Oh my, after making pace this morning, our extended lunch stop took us up to 3pm! We set off in haste, noting, in passing, that the best Runnymeade moorings are by the houses just downstream of the park. There are good moorings further along but not for hounds as there is a busy road adjacent.

Sadly for me, as we cruised along it became obvious that something in my lunchtime lasagne was disagreeing with me quite emphatically. Nothing as severe as food poisoning but enough to put me into cramping pain. I lost interest in the rest of the day’s cruising, being happy to sit in a deckchair clutching my stomach and groaning!

At the Italian cafe in Runnymeade – it’s a pleasant spot and the hounds got a LOT of fuss…and sausages!

We had hoped to get as far as the Cliveden Islands and see if we could snaffle our own island for the night. This would give Henry hound freedom to rummage. However we started looking for moorings much earlier on. We considered the stretch around Eton Dorney, but we were shocked to find that the Olympic mooring restrictions were still in place – as far as Bray! We soldiered on, getting to Bray lock after 6pm. The lock-keeper had finished for the day, so we worked our way through the lock and eyed up the lock-moorings above. The first section is clearly marked “no overnight mooring” but the upstream section looks like visitor moorings. We studied the signage carefully, not wanting to break the rules, but in the end we decided that they were visitor moorings and tied up. It was another good spot for the hounds – the ‘visitor’ section was fenced off from the towpath, which gave us  some security if the hounds should escape unexpectedly; the towpath was well-fenced and gave good opportunities for a bit of linear rummaging.

We took the dogs for a bobble but we were soon back on board – the hounds were hungry! I was feeling really unwell by now, so I was in bed by 7.30pm – not until after I’d given Lou her tablets though…..

Richard retired to bed early as well, but we had a disturbed night. At 10pm Lou came to wake me up – she was hungry – she usually has a light supper at 10pm (though she had had a big dinner at 7pm).  I got up to feed her…..

Later on, Richard got up to let Henry and Ollie out for a wee – Ollie is used to going out before bedtime at 11pm…

But then at 1am, Lou started whining and panting, usually a sign that she’s in pain – I got up to give her some extra painkillers when I suddenly realised that I’d missed her tramadol (strong painkillers) when I did the rest of her medicines at 7pm – no wonder she was in pain! I gave her the tablets and sat massaging her sore muscles until she finally relaxed and fell asleep half an hour later. Luckily that was the last of the hound commotions though I was woken several times by my sore tummy and by the noise of the overnight rain!


“Le Bateau Maman” – a very grand houseboat… with a blog here:

The bruise on Lou’s belly from her fall down the boat steps – I measured it because if an abdominal bruise gets bigger with time it can be a sign of internal bleeding – how do I know this? The vet told me when our old lurcher Indie once fell and bruised her belly – dog ownership has been an adventure over the years! Luckily Lou’s bruise had started to fade by the end of the day…

Something about the Thames releases our inner estate agent! We did fancy this place – the Tower House – on sale for a reasonable £1.5 million – that’s cheap compared to the properties upriver – though this one comes with the title of “Lord of the manor of Shepperton”!

New roof or new build? We weren’t too sure, but getting a good work platform for maintaining your houseboat looks quite involved…

Sensible stilts…

Ollie on the lookout for creepy-crawlies – he’s quite handy when it comes to eating spiders – if you can stand the crunching noise…

Ollie moved in just 7 months ago – I’m so glad that we rescued him – he is adorable!

The upstream moorings at Runnymeade – see how close that road is?

There were a lot of trip boats moored up – I hope that they had a good summer with the jubilee and Olympic visitors – I thought many of them looked ‘new’ but that could just be my unreliable memory at work…

The collapse of Indigo Dream’s olympic lookin’ team (1)…

The collapse of Indigo Dream’s olympic looking team (2)….

The collapse of Indigo Dream’s olympic looking team (3)….

Windsor Castle – it’s such a slab of a place – hard to imagine now the wealth and ambition it took to build it…

Richard thought that the disembodied heads in this EA workboat were funny – I thought they were a bit creepy!

The temporary bridge that was installed to give access to the olympic rowing at Eton Dorney is now being dismantled – I’m a bit sad to see it go but it wasn’t a thing of beauty….

They are really serious about enforcing the mooring restrictions between Boveney and Bray locks – this boom seemed to go on and on along the ‘offside’…

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