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Archive for October, 2012

Dog Blog: Henry’s Holleedaze – posticardies to me mumi (2)…

Posted by indigodream on 9 October, 2012

Toosdie Septimber 11ff     Deer Mumi
Arnty Sue sez that I haz bin framed for all the michiffsIz haccused of at home – she sez I is the perfick hound – I luffs Arnty Sue, so Is jumped jumped into her bed to keep it warm for her wen she woz in the barfroom – Richard neerly give me a big kiss but then he opened his eyes and reelized it woz me – ooops! xxxx Henry B Beanz

Toosdie Septimber 11ff Deer Mumi
Iz gettin lots of rest – Arnty Sue sed she ‘borrowed’ me coz they woz missin’ havin’ a lively dog about the place – coulds you pleeze text her and tell her that I is retired AND I is on holeedaze…Fanks a million xxxxx Henry B Beanz

Toosdie 11th Septimber Deer Mumi
Iz had a sosidge in a Italian caff – this is me sad face coz the sosidges is all gone. I luffs the caff – there woz lots of peeple who sed “aaaaaw aren’t they luffly” coz me an’ Lou an’ Ollie woz sooper well-behaved – I gots lots of fuss, and a sosidge and sum garlic bread – did I mention the sosidge?  xxxx Henry B Beanz

Toosdie 11th Septimber Deer Mumi
Lou luffs me – she don’t share her sofa wif every hound!
Iz lurning so much stuff here, like about lie-ins and brekfist. Arnty Sue made us stoo for tea – I woz hoiffshul meat-checker wot has to eats bits of steak before she puts it in our stoo. Iz not had to steel any fud coz iz a 24-hour buffit for houndie here! I is as happy as a houndie can be and I is havin’ the bestest holeedaze eva. xxxx Henry B Beanz

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Boat Blog: Autumn Odyssey – Day 2

Posted by indigodream on 8 October, 2012

Rewind to Tuesday 11th September

Kingston to Desborough Island (via Teddington!)

Kingston under a moody sky…

The mooring on the ‘park’ side at Kingston is a peaceful spot, but we had a far from peaceful night as Lou was not well at all – when we got back from the restaurant she was panting and restless, despite my giving her some strong painkillers before going out. I gave her the rest of her cocktail of medicines, including some diazepam for the muscle spasms that seemed to be waving down her back. Half an hour later and she was pacing the boat, in obvious pain, so I gave her some more tramadol and sat with her, trying to massage the spasms out of her muscles. After an hour or so, she finally relaxed as the extra painkillers took hold and she fell asleep sometime after midnight.

She continued to be stiff and out of sorts in the morning so I gave her a full dose of her painkillers/muscle relaxant. I was on the verge of ringing her vet, as we didn’t have enough diazepam to last the holiday if she was going to be this ill throughout, when he rang me! He had the results of her latest urine tests – sadly there are signs that her kidneys may have been damaged by the intensive chemotherapy – there’s nothing much we can do about it – she’s already on medicines to protect her kidneys so we’ll just have to see how they recover from the ‘shock’ (or, more accurately, whether they stop declining). Lou’s vet is great – they arranged for a supply of diazepam to be dispensed from her ‘home’ surgery and shipped to Banstead – which is not far from Teddington (well, nearer than her home surgery anyway).

The fine towpath that runs alongside the river from Kingston to Hampton Court..

So, after a short bobble with the dogs (even the boys seemed a bit tired), we headed up to Thames Marina at Thames Ditton and filled with diesel – we weren’t quite running on fumes, but the tank was probably as near empty as we’ve ever dared. Luckily it’s just a short trip from Kingston to the marina, though the brisk wind made for a high speed mooring that had nothing to do with the revs on the engine! We put 160 litres into the tank at £1 per litre (before duty) – they accept any self-declared split there. Richard also topped up on oil from the chandlery.

We then headed back downstream to Teddington – my car was parked there, and in my fantasy holiday, I would not have been racing back to the vet just 24-hours into the trip! Luckily Lou didn’t need to come with me – she was fully drugged up and spent the morning fast asleep on the sofa – the vet said that the rest would do her a big favour. He was absolutely right – by the evening she was really cheerful, walking well and full of bounce. This was such a dramatic improvement – though a 15 minute walk was enough for her and she did have a lie-down and a roll in the grass halfway!

We moored up in Teddington, wondering whether we ever going to get cruising this week! I set off to do my chores in Banstead while Richard did his chores aboard – it was quite a useful stop as there’s more good dog-walking here and a handy rubbish point by the lock. I got back to the boat just after 3pm and we had attempt number two – maybe we’d finally get upriver….

Big works at Walton on Thames – there are signs warning of divers working – brrrr….

It was a breezy afternoon and I got quite cold, despite wearing my splendid “Gamesmaker” windcheater! It’s amazing how many people recognised it and went on to ask about the Games. I may have to stop wearing it though – I wasn’t given much of an opportunity to be a good Gamesmaker, though Richard has enough great memories for both of us!

I almost cheered when we went through Molesey lock – at one time I thought we’d spend the entire holiday cruising between Kingston and Teddington!

The rest of the day was marked by us dodging the many rowers that were out on the water – they were amiable enough but sometimes a bit random – especially the ‘coaching/safety’ boats! I was musing that the river was big enough for all of us (while silently gnashing my teeth) when I was struck by a wry thought – in the glow of the Olympic legacy, what if rowers were given absolute priority on the river – after all, we’re never going to win gold medals for GB in a narrowboat 🙂

One cheeky rowing coach asked if I’d nicked the Gamesmaker jacket, but concluded that no-one would be that low! It was a particularly peculiar thing to say – I mean, why would he think I wouldn’t be a genuine Gamesmaker – we came in all shapes, sizes, ages and sexes!

We toyed with stopping at the Weir pub, then at the Anglers, both of which have tidy moorings nearby; but we wanted to get a few more miles under the keel. We pressed on through Sunbury Lock – I’m very glad that we did because the lock-keeper was a mine of information about accessible moorings – Lou absolutely cannot be allowed to jump up/down from the boat. We had her thoroughly checked out at the vet last week and the ‘good’ news is that her pain is almost certainly being caused by arthritis/pulled muscles rather than a relapse of her cancer.

We enjoyed the trip up through Walton, reminiscing, as always, about the fun we used to have here with our first rescue dog, Honey, and our inflatable rowing boat! We were impressed by the scale of the bridge works going on at Walton – the existing road bridge was, apparently, meant to be a ‘temporary’ structure, but it’s been there since 1990 at the very least! They are now working on a new structure – there’s a news article here and even a link to a live video stream of the build here! The ‘artist’s impression’ of the new bridge looks very handsome compared to the rough ‘temporary’ bridges that have kept the traffic flowing here for the last 20 years!

The lock-keeper at Sunbury recommended two mooring spots round the back end of Desborough Island – so instead of going up Desborough cut (which takes you straight to the next lock/junction) we turned right and meandered round the island.

Our overnight mooring on the ‘mainland’ – it was a great spot – provided you’ve got provisions on board!

There are decent moorings on the island itself (free for 24 hours) – we stopped for a look – the lower mooring was accessible for Lou, but there is an access road rather than a footpath adjacent and it would be quite a walk before we got into the ‘countrified’ bit of the island. We moved on, admiring a narrowboat that had managed to moor in the rough at the ‘top’ end of the island. We were tempted to join them; but I’m glad that we carried on as we soon reached the District Council moorings on the ‘mainland” (at the back of Lower Halliford). What a superb spot – we had to use pins (though there are some rings) but the mooring is well mown, neat, clean, quiet and flanked by superb parkland for dog-walking. We’ve not moored here before and would never have thought to leave the main channel to find the spot had we not been alerted by the lock-keeper. Shhhhh, keep it to yourselves!

Actually, it’s not that big a secret – there were only two spaces left by the time we arrived – several narrowboats had already colonised the spot….

We did have some vexation with the local paddlers – there’s probably a good reason for why 20 of them came round the corner on the wrong side of the river, focusing on the tips of their canoes and studiously ignoring other river traffic. We waited for the to get out of the way then tried to nip across to the moorings, signalling to the next group, some distance away, that we were doing so. Five of them still paddled between us and the bank, necessitating an emergency stop! It seemed like sheer ignorance to us – the errant five did not acknowledge our presence in look, word or gesture – I forcibly restrained the gesture that my fingers were straining to make 🙂

We eventually moored safely (without squashing anyone) then we took the dogs for a walk, feeling immensely relieved to see Lou looking (and moving) so much better. The mooring does not seem to be near a pub so we ate on board, there’s a good TV signal, though a patchy internet signal, so we had a lovely evening in. One day into the holiday and the dogs are already knackered – cruising is very stimulating. I’m afraid to report that Indigo Dream’s “Olympic Looking” team prospects for Rio have collapsed – Lou’s too ill, Ollie just likes lying on deck out of the wind and young hopeful, Henry, has already given up ‘looking’ in favour of the comfy beds in the cabin. So we had a quiet evening – all the hounds ate their dinners and retired to their beds – the human crew did likewise (but to our own beds not the dogs’ – that’s for the pedants out there :-))

Turks Pier just downstream of John Lewis in Kingston – it looks as if the place has been spruced up and there’s a “to let” sign – I wondered whether Turks Cruiser had gone out of business but their boat were still active on the river. The company has a fascinating history

nb Quercus – we last met during the jubilee pageant – we also saw a cruiser flying their pageant ensign – maybe we should do the same…

We weren’t sure whether these floodlights (pointing at Kingston Bridge) were new – I had a little dig for information and apparently the bridge has been illuminated since 2003!

Nice new build going up here – a bit “architecty” for our taste – with those big windows you either need a big, ahem, ego or big net curtains 😀

Hampton Court Palace under wraps – the normally golden gates were grey with primer last time we passed! We played ‘hopscotch’ up the Thames with nb Bacas Mist..

Molesey Boat Club – justifiably proud of its Olympic achievement…

I’ll never tire of seeing this colony of houseboats – I’ve always fancied one, but the island behind is tiny and crammed – not enough room for the hounds!

This houseboat has a “room to let” – this surprised me, though it looks to be a substantial dwelling 🙂

There’s something timeless about Port Hampton – I don’t know how it’s resisted redevelopment into something more swanky….

Rowers – lots of rowers….

Under construction! There’s not much substance to these ‘huts’ but they’d set you back a pretty penny (well, nearer £250,000)!

The rowers were uncomfortably random at times – I don’t think they realise how difficult it is to stop/change the direction of a 17 ton narrowboat!

Fine moorings at the Anglers – there is long stretch of free (24-hour) public moorings just upstream – we took particular interest in mooring sites during this trip as we were looking for ‘old dog’ accessible for Lou!

Big works on shore at Walton on Thames – no use having a new bridge and no approach roads!

Another view of the works at Walton on Thames – the hexagonal blocks will be an integral part of the new bridge’s structure..

I know that the photo is a bit dark but that’s Desborough Island straight ahead (upstream), Desborough Cut goes off to the left and the meandering river (with some very fine moorings) to the right. Nicholsons warns of shallows on the river section but there was plenty of water for us!

The river section around Desborough Island is lovely – even if the local paddlers, rowers and sailors disapprove – but there’s not other way to get those fine moorings…

Ollie is now a fully fledged Indigo Dreamer – he loves sleeping on deck…

“Hurrah” we though, Henry’s going to revive the Olympic looking team…

The Olympic looking team prospects collapse as Henry sneaks a quick snooze on Lou’s sofa…

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Dog Blog: Henry’s Holleedaze – posticardies to me mumi (1)…

Posted by indigodream on 7 October, 2012

Note from Arnty Sue: Henry send his mummy lots of postcards but everyone knows that postcards always arrive weeks after you get home 🙂

Sundie 9ff Septimber    Deer mumi
I is lurnin’ wot ‘persnal space’ is – to be onest, I duzn’t kno wot to do wif all this piss an qwiet tho I did have a bum-bitin’ race wif Ollie – I duzn’t kno who wun tho coz arnty Sue sed “play nicely boys” – huh!
This is me relaxin’ – Ollie lent me his bed coz Ty took HIS bed on holeedaze but I notice that you didn’ts leave ME a bed. Never minds, Is not sufferin’ too much…  xxxxx Henry B Beanz

Mundie 10ff Septimber      Deer Mumi
Today I’z dun helpin’ – this is me reedin’ the hexpiry dates – Iz hoffered to eat up any food wot Arnty Sue duzn’t fancy. I iz NOT tryin’ to steel food…Dids I mention that Arnty Sue has brilliant idees like brekfist an’ snax before beddies? I finks we shud have these fings too… xxxx Henry B Beanz

Mundie 10ff Septimber     Deer Mumi
I’s a hoffishul Olympic ‘Looker’ – see see, I’s got a proper Olympic volunteer lookin’ after me tho I duzn’s know if it counts coz them trousers is def’nitly not hoffishul uniform. I hopes I is not diskwalified… xxx Henry B Beanz

Toosdie 11ff Septimber      Deer Mumi
Eeeek – Richard sez we’z got have our noses polished is we’s goin’ to be a hoffishul Olympic lookin’ team – wots duz you fink?  xxx Henry B Beanz

Toosdie 11f Septimber      Deer Mumi
Me an’ Ollie doin’ Olympic lookin’ coz our noses iz offishully clean an’ shiny – we’z very smart!  xxxx Henry B Beanz

Toosdie 11ff Septimber      Deer Mumi
I is practisin’ Olympic “under the duvet” lookin’ wot wud be a sooper sport for ‘tired houndies coz we wud be sooper gud at it!
O’ COURSE me eyes is open under the duvet – if me eyes wozn’t open it’d be Olympic snoozin’….  xxxx Henry B Beanz

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Boat Blog: Autumn Odyssey – Day 1

Posted by indigodream on 3 October, 2012

I am several weeks behind with this blog so rewind to….

Monday 10th September

……when the sun was still shining!

Teddington to Kingston

Henry Beanz (who likes his food) helping me to check our stock before going to Waitrose…

Well, as you can see from the header, it hasn’t been the most momentous day’s cruising – we spent so much time alternately relaxing, then faffing around, at home that I was beginning to doubt whether we’d actually start our cruising holiday today….

But by 2.15pm we finally stopped dithering – everything was packed, including the dogs, there was no more to do, so off we went. At least the mid-afternoon start meant that we missed any traffic through Kingston and arrived soon after 3pm. It didn’t take Richard long to walk from the car to the boat with the first load of stuff; it took me much longer to walk there with the three hounds!  Lou, Ollie and guest hound Henry Beanz, were all intent on sniffing and weeing on every blade of grass – this all took a long time! Henry Beanz was taking Ty’s place on board for a week, much to Ty’s relief – he was enjoying the security of Sarah’s home and BIG greyhound pack!

We met up briefly with two of the Stop Smoking team that came to collect the gear that I’d taken to work (Cambridge Road Estate Fun Day) on Saturday – it’s a shame they didn’t have time for another cruise – I think they had such a good time on Friday.

We eventually set off at 4pm, having checked whether Thames Marina in Thames Ditton was open for long enough to fill us up with diesel – they weren’t – they shut at 4.30pm and we were 3 miles downstream. This set the plan for the day – we were very short of diesel so we decided to do a brief run to Kingston and fuel up in the morning. We initially stopped off at the John Lewis moorings (just downstream of Kingston Road Bridge). We popped into Waitrose to top up our boat supplies, though we were disappointed that there is no easy access to the store from the river. Just as well we didn’t need very much food – the shopping was only just a manageable carry from the store to the boat. I must write to them and ask them to make more of their river frontage!

Lou’s drug chart – she is on quite a complex medicines regime and you can’t mess with the chemotherapy – this is why she had to come boating with us – I wouldn’t want to pass this responsibility on to anyone else…

We had uhm’d and aah’d about where to moor overnight – the offside moorings in Kingston or the excellent Albany pub’s moorings near Hampton Court? In the end we decided on Kingston – the ‘park’ side moorings are free for 24 hours and are adjacent to a lengthy strip of parkland towpath which we think extends as far as Hampton Court (though we haven’t walked that distance ourselves!) – it’s perfect for the hounds, despite the access lane for the riverside houses that runs alongside.

We took the dogs for a walk – it’s not unusual for us to walk as an asymmetric pair now – Lou can’t walk any distance at all, but Henry is in his prime and Ollie is keen to keep up with him. Richard and the boys were soon shooting ahead while Lou and I just had a little bobble and headed back to the boat. Unfortunately, Lou has no stamina after her cancer treatment and she is suffering with her arthritis and several muscle strains. She has been in quite a lot of pain today – I think I’ve mentioned before that what she needs is anti-inflammatories, but they interact with her chemo so she can’t have them; she has tramadol (an opiate painkiller) which is good for acute/sharp pain but less effective for generalised aches, which is what she has. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can manage her pain so that we can continue our holiday.

With the dogs walked, we went off to Jamie Oliver’s Italian in Kingston – we’ve been there before for Richard’s office Christmas party but never as a couple. It has a very pleasant ambience, good service  and the food is subtly flavoured and delicately seasoned, making it both light and satisfying. We had planned to stop off at the late-night Patisserie Valerie on the way back to pick up some desserts – their pastries looked delectable, but they looked as if they’d closed some 5 minutes earlier – we may go back there for a breakfast (make that elevenses) croissant!

All Olympic Gamesmakers were encouraged to wear their t-shirts today as a celebration of the Games (many thousands were invited to be part of the audience at the athlete’s parade through London). So we wore our Gamesmaker T-shirts with pride – it became a topic of conversation with passersby (as if 3 greyhounds wasn’t enough) as well as with the waitresses at the restaurant. Richard’s eyes still shine with joy when he recounts his experience as a volunteer – it was a truly great thing to do…

But Lou doesn’t know she’s on medication – she just gets to eat thinly sliced beef with cream cheese every day 🙂

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