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Archive for May 6th, 2013

Boat Blog: Mooching along the Grand Union (8 – part two)

Posted by indigodream on 6 May, 2013

Sunday 29th April

Note: we are a week behind with the blog!

Stoke Bruerne bottom lock to Stoke Bruerne top lock

Ten go boating! This is the nearest we got to a group photo :-)

Ten go boating! This is the nearest we got to a group photo with every dog in shot πŸ™‚

The record breaker….

We got to Stoke Bruerne bottom lock just after 2.30pm and were greeted by the first of our guests – virtual friend Whitybywoof (aka Jackie), husband Rob, adorable greyhounds Gilmour and Kryssy, Billy Whippet and honorary greyhound Jodie. We got Ty and Ollie off for a greeting – the hounds got on straight away, though Ty just wanted to get back to his bed as soon as possible. We had a bit of a wait for our second guests so we filled with water and got some refreshments underway.

We were wondering how long to wait for the rest of the party when we caught sight of some greyhounds above the bottom lock. We piled on board and set off up the flight. As we rose up bottom lock we were greeted by the rest of our guests – virtual friends Holly Bobbins and Grandma Bobbins! It was a great greyhound tweet-up! Once we got to towpath level, we piled more dogs on board and so the record was broken – we had 10 dogs on board – greyhounds Ty, Ollie, Kryssy, Gilmour, Holly, Harry and Blue together with Billy whippet; Jodie, a diminutive ‘honorary greyhound’, and Uncle Ben, the cuddliest chocolate labrador. There’s a whole album of photos here….

We simply had the best time up the Stoke Bruerne flight – I took the helm and everyone else concentrated on keeping curious dog noses inside the profile of the boat! Kryssy did a Blue and managed to hurdle over the “dog-proof” deck to run after her hu-dad on shore. She enjoyed the experience immensely!

More greyhounds - greeting Alison from Greyhound Friends, who wasn't expecting to see such a horde on board :-)

More greyhounds – greeting Alison from Greyhound Friends, who wasn’t expecting to see such a horde on board πŸ™‚

As we rose up through top lock, we spotted another pair of greyhounds on the towpath – it was Alison, who lives in Stoke Bruerne and is much involved with Greyhound Friends. We have met Alison before – she kindly hosts an annual garden party to raise funds for Greyhound Friends – we went to one a few years ago; however there was no expecting her to recognise the mad crowd on the back deck waving her over for a chat. It’s just as well that she’s a friend of Holly’s, otherwise she might have run away! Alison, and many others on the towpath, were gobsmacked to see all the lovely hounds on board – and that was just with the 7 that were visible – no-one believed that we had another three indoors! We tried to persuade Alison and her hounds to join us on board – that would have taken us to an unassailable 12 dogs on board, but she sensibly declined πŸ™‚

We passed the busyness of Stoke Bruerne top and its canal museum then winded in the quiet shade of the Blisworth Tunnel approach. We then moored up near the tunnel and settled down to some tea, danish pastries and lots of chat. I was surrounded by 6 people and 10 dogs, you wouldn’t think they’d fit but there was room to spare; ok, not a lot of room, but we would have had space for Miffy and Monty if they’d stayed on πŸ™‚ I was so happy to have so many hounds on board- it really lifted my spirits and did a lot to alleviate the big hole caused by Lou’s absence.

The hounds had various degrees of difficulty with the boat steps – the ones that we designed specially for infirm hounds! Back to the drawing board methinks – Indigo Dream II will have an extravagant Busby Berkley style staircase so that the hounds can shimmy from cabin to deck with perfect ease πŸ™‚ I will also need to get a long rug for Gilmour, who was terrified by the wooden floor but was fine when we laid a path of duvets and blankets for him to walk on!

Watch our for this pair! That's Wyn and....Denise! Even my own mum thought it was me :-)

Watch our for this pair! That’s Wyn and….Denise! Even my own mum thought it was me πŸ™‚

We could have chatted all night, but we had homes to go to and we said our fond farewells – we hope that this will be the first of many cruises with our virtual, now real, friends.

We then had a dilemma – we were moored in the stretch approaching the Blisworth tunnel, some distance from the canal museum. The mooring bollards near the museum are signed “48 hours” but there are no signs further back so we assumed that they were standard towpath moorings i.e. 14-day. It was a bit late for us to contemplate moving back down to bottom lock, so we left her moored up and resolved to confirm the mooring situation on Monday.

We soon packed up and, much to our relief, had a smooth drive home – we were all catatonic by the time we got back – especially Ty and Ollie, who’d had a thoroughly over-stimulating weekend. It’s Tuesday now and they’re still sleeping it off πŸ™‚

We checked the CRT website on Monday – b”££$%, we were on a 48-hour mooring! We rang the mooring officer, who kindly gave us permission to stay there until Friday – this was a great relief to us as it would have been tricky for us to get back before then.

So our plan is now to turn back and get down the Stoke Bruerne flight on Friday – hopefully before the bank holiday rush. We need to be back in Limehouse by May 31st so we’ll need a bit more focus on our return trip – we have limited weekends as we’re going to Rome to celebrate my big birthday; but the boat will not be idle – we’ve persuaded cousin Denise and husband Wyn to move the boat one weekend – watch our for them – Denise and I have become more alike as the years have passed, but you’ll know it’s not me because she’ll be pushing the lock beams while Wyn drives!

Photoblog:

See, there's plenty of room - especially when the dogs are clustered around for sausages :-)

See, there’s plenty of room – especially when the dogs are clustered around for sausages πŸ™‚

Gilmour, Holly and Kryssy - the girls liked looking back - that's unusual...

Gilmour, Holly and Kryssy – the girls liked looking back – that’s unusual…

Blue, looking at camera, used to be a total jellyboy but he really took to boating life and was very confident :-)

Blue, looking at camera, used to be a total jellyboy but he really took to boating life and was very confident πŸ™‚

Noses in girls! Keeping curious dog noses from catching on lock gates was a big job...

Noses in girls! Keeping curious dog noses from catching on lock gates was a big job…

This was a great Olympic looking team - Rio here we come!

This was a great Olympic looking team – Rio here we come!

The lady on the towpath in the background owns two greyhounds - she was on holiday on a hireboat but she didn't have them with her...

The lady on the towpath in the background owns two greyhounds – she was on holiday on a hireboat but she didn’t have them with her…

There was very little traffic on the flight today - funny that the hire boat we met had a greyhound owner on board :-)

There was very little traffic on the flight today – funny that the hire boat we met had a greyhound owner on board πŸ™‚

Houndie twister - it's THE new deck sport...

Houndie twister – it’s THE new deck sport…

Ooh wassat? Something's caught their attention...

Ooh wassat? Something’s caught their attention…

Ooh is it time for a walk? - moored up near the Blisworth tunnel..

Ooh is it time for a walk? – moored up near the Blisworth tunnel..

Look out for little Billy Whippet - he could just see over the edge of the deck...

Look out for little Billy Whippet – he could just see over the edge of the deck…

Formation ducklings! Mum soon rounded them up...

Formation ducklings! Mum soon rounded them up…

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