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Archive for October 17th, 2012

Boat Blog: Autumn Odyssey Day 5

Posted by indigodream on 17 October, 2012

Friday 14th September

Wargrave Marsh (opposite Platt’s Eyot) to Goring

Perfect rummaging for the hounds – I love the Wargrave Marsh mooring!

We have changed our plans so often on this trip that we’re going to have to borrow letters from other alphabets to signify them all – so here’s plan Ξ¨….

We started the day with plans to get to Reading, pop into Tesco to restore our depleted stores ready for our weekend visitors then cruise upstream etc etc etc….

That plan was scuppered when we slept late (we’d had another disturbed night with the hounds) and had a relaxing morning at this most dog-friendly mooring – we found a sploshing place for Lou, the boys had a rummage, Henry chased a ball (briefly). I could have stayed here for days, but Sarah, Andy and four hounds (including Ty!) were due to join us on Saturday morning and we really needed to be a bit closer to civilisation. Nonetheless, we took our time and eventually cast off at 11.30am.

We had a slightly complicated day ahead as Ollie started his morning by rubbing his face along the edge of the bed – on inspection, one of his eyes was quite inflamed – he is prone to conjunctivitis so I felt he needed the attention of a vet. There was a chance that it would go away by itself, but on the other hand, if he’d scratched his cornea (quite common when hounds rummage in undergrowth) then it would need attention. We set off with Richard at the helm while I researched riverside vets.

The mooring opposite Platts Eyot – have I mentioned how nice it is here? πŸ™‚

I found out that there are surprisingly few vets within easy reach of the river. Now, for us that means within half a mile walk of a mooring. Ollie hasΒ  some compressed disks in his back and weak muscles (combination of his genes and his history of neglect). He’s fine day-to-day provided he doesn’t charge around too much or walk too far! The vets in Reading were at least a mile’s walk from the water; then past Reading there just aren’t many settlements – it’s gloriously rural, which IS glorious, unless you need a vet! In the end, the most accessible vet was in Goring High Street – they say they get a lot of ‘passing trade’ from the river – no wonder!

I got through to the vet just as we approached Tesco in Reading – we had hoped for a lightning fast shopping trip but the moorings were jam-packed. We were just contemplating bresting up to another boat when I sorted an appointment with the vet at Goring for 5.30pm. This meant that we had to shift in order to get there in time. We abandoned the shopping trip, hoping that we could top up our supplies in Goring.

Every shade and texture of green – there’s a “50 shades…” allusion in there somewhere but the trees finished their naughty business i.e. flowering (!) months ago πŸ˜€

We had a surprisingly swift trip upriver – all day we felt as if we were being held back by a combination of the flow and an unhandy breeze. In the end we got to Goring with time to spare. The helpful lockie at Mapledurham rang ahead and checked whether there were any moorings at Goring – he confirmed that there was space for us below the lock. This was not the best spot for Lou, there being a bit of a jump up/down to the path but we had few options – it would be too late to move on after Ollie’s appointment. We moored up then took the dogs for a walk – the Thames path downstream gives almost unlimited walking, but there is a useful little circular walk round the houses which suited our greyhounds just fine. Lou didn’t do the full circuit – as soon as she found a patch of soft grass in a nearby clearing, she lay down and roached until the boys came back round. Note: Roaching – lying like a dead cockroach – in Lou’s case, on her back with all four legs in the air – the sign of a contented and settled hound πŸ™‚

We walked through Goring to the vets – the village itself is charming, as are many along the Thames. We found a useful butcher, where I could top up on meat for us and the hounds (at a very reasonable price); there was a little shop/deli nearby but we weren’t so impressed with that – it was quite costly with a limited stock. At 5.30pm we wandered into the vet – the staff were very friendly and the vet did a very thorough inspection of Ollie’s eyes. He didn’t find much amiss and, by the time we got to the vet, Ollie’s eye was hardly inflamed at all. We took a precautionary tube of antibiotic eye drops anyway – we were about to cruise in really remote places so I’d rather be prepared. Ollie did a command performance in the waiting room – he just collapsed onto the floor, closed his eye and lay there with his long tongue lolling on the floor. Just as well we’d rung ahead and warned them to expect conjunctivitis otherwise they might have called in the cast of ER to save him! I was very impressed with the Goring Veterinary Centre – they were helpfulness personified and I felt that Ollie had a very thorough and thoughtful consultation. I am relieved that the emergency visit didn’t involve Lou though – she was still covered in bruises after falling down the steps – I’m not sure that a new vet would believe that she wasn’t being abused!

We wandered back to the boat and I spend a pleasant hour jointing chickens and making dog stew ready for tomorrow’s invasion – because we hadn’t stopped at Tesco we hadn’t got any hot chicken – now there’s a REAL emergency.

Lou enjoying the long grass – as long as she can sleep comfortably and eat well then I know she’s doing allright…

At 7pm we wandered back into the village – the vet’s receptionist had recommended the “John Barleycorn” pub– it was well off the High Street and we’d never have never found it if we hadn’t had a recommendation. Dogs are allowed in the bar – we squeezed in to the very cosy space – the hounds seem to fill the bar entirely! Lou and Ollie lay on their sheepskins but we think that this was Henry Hound’s first time in the pub and he was a little bit unsettled. Having said that, he was well rewarded for standing up in everyone’s way – it felt as if every person in the village came to say ‘hello’ to the hounds and give Henry, in particular, a big fuss. We spent so much time talking to the locals about the characteristics and care of retired greyhounds (they made the mistake of asking us – honest!) that we barely had time to eat our dinners! It was plain pub grub but very well done with, as I recall, really really good chips.

We got back to the boat full of goodwill after a very convivial night out – I had worried that the roaring of the nearby weir might keep us awake but we were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

I’ve become accustomed, at home, to being woken at 2.30am and 4am by Ty, who is disturbed by the foxes that visit our garden every night. I had hoped to get more full nights of sleep on board, but Lou has been restless with pain every night so far. However, tonight it was Ollie that woke me up at 4am – he was hungry! I was strangely happy – Ollie’s not been eating and has been losing weight and condition – it was good to see him scoffing his dinner or would that count as breakfast πŸ™‚

Photoblog:

Lou having a splosh – she loves to paddle…

Lou posing – it’s almost impossible to take a good photo of her without displaying her shaved fur – this is a good one though πŸ™‚

That house in the centre was probably expensively designed but I can’t help thinking that it looks like several static caravans piled up on top of each other πŸ˜‰

I don’t know what these sculptures represent but I love them – if I didn’t spend all my money at the vets, outdoor sculpture is something I’d invest in…

Neat little ferry just downstream of Caversham Bridge…

Smart – now was this here last time we passed through or is it a new build?

Steam ‘launch’ – it looks so elegant..

The steam engine itself is a slab of a thing in the middle of the boat – even the timber cladding can’t disguise it…

They were setting up a huge dog agility course in this meadow – the competitors were just moving in and it all looked very serious (and the obstacles looked really high!) – that’s one for Sanity Again’s Sally – our hounds, including Henry, resolutely stuck their noses under the duvets as we cruised past πŸ™‚

This is one of the competitors – how professional is that set-up – they’ve even got a mobile dog run – that would be handy for the boat – shame it would block the towpath though πŸ™‚

We took so many photos of this stretch but none do it justice – this is such a beautiful river…

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