Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for May 30th, 2013

Boat Blog: Mooching (back) along the Grand Union (13)

Posted by indigodream on 30 May, 2013

Catching up…

The cottage below Black Jack's lock - it has the best garden :-)

The cottage below Black Jack’s lock – it has the best garden πŸ™‚

At the end of the last boat blog, Indigo Dream was moored up in Apsley Marina awaiting the arrival of Denise andΒ  Wyn. I met them at the boat on Friday 10th May and gave them a quick refresher course in boat handling down past Red Lion lock then left them to it while I went off to sunny Rome.

Sadly, they only had a short weekend – they were called back for a family crisis (now happily resolved) and left the boat nicely moored a short way below Coppermill Lock. I hadn’t realised what a drama they’d had – because they’d been called back to Wales so abruptly, they’d moored where they were – which was a nice spot but a long way from a train station to get back to their car in Apsley. They were helped out by a kind passerby who found them slogging along the towpath with all their bags – he gave them a lift back to their car. I know this, because the chap hailed us at Black Jack’s lock on Saturday and told us the story! Thank you kind stranger πŸ™‚

We knew they’d had to leave the boat in a hurry, so we decided to check the boat immediately after our return from Rome. She was immaculately moored, but sadly, in their rush to get away, they’d forgotten to turn the fuses off, so the fridge was on and open. Our brand new batteries were down to 25% – ah well, that’s the first episode of battery abuse – we’ll try and leave it a bit longer before the next πŸ™‚ We ran the engine for a while and got the batteries back up to 50%. With the hounds still at Sarah’s, we were free to have supper at the Coy Carp – nice!

Sarah and Andy dropped the hounds off to us on Sunday – they’d had an uneventful and happy holiday – the best sort when it comes to hounds πŸ™‚

Saturday 25th May

Coppermill Lock t0 Cowley (Benbow Way)

The Grand Union below Widemead lock - the rural face of West London :-)

The Grand Union below Widemead lock – the rural face of West London πŸ™‚

We shouldn’t have been surprised that we got caught in yet another gridlock on the M25 and didn’t arrive at the boat until mid-afternoon. This scuppered our plan to do a long day’s cruise to Paddington. Instead we decided to mooch through the remaining locks to Cowley and moor up below the lock.

We shared Denham Deep Lock with a boat which had a roof garden worthy of the Chelsea flower show (see photo below). There couldn’t have been a greater contrast between the boats and it reminded me vividly of nb Herbie’s entertaining post of a few years ago about how to judge a boat by its roof – here’s the link πŸ™‚

The weather was benign and we had a very relaxed trip. A little too relaxed in places as a boat winded awkwardly in front of us and proceeded down the canal so slowly that I had to coast in neutral, with the odd burst of reverse, to avoid bumping into them! We shared one lock and they kindly let us go ahead, only for two long-term residents to pull out from their moorings in front of us and proceed equally slowly along the canal. We took a break and stopped at the chandlery at the Uxbridge Boat Centre for a few bits and pieces. Although it can be a bit pricey, Richard has always appreciated the good service here.

The moorings below Cowley lock were pretty full, but we found one space close to Benbow Way (Bridge 189) – perfect for the car shuffle.

After much debate, we left the dogs on board and both got a taxi back to the Coy Carp, where we’d left the car. We thought we’d do the honourable thing and eat there – I’m glad we did – we had a fine meal and drove back to the boat well-satisfied.

Photoblog:

Judging a boat by its roof - couldn't be a greater contrast!

Judging a boat by its roof – couldn’t be a greater contrast!

Herb Angelica - you don't see this so often, but boaters of a certain age will remember iced cakes decorated with the crystallised stems...

Herb Angelica – you don’t see this so often, but boaters of a certain age will remember iced cakes decorated with the crystallised stems…

There used to be a conveyor belt here - not sure where when it was dismantled but the old wharf is obviously not used for gravel transport any more. Mind you, removing rubbish from the Grand Union is a worthy use for the wharf...

There used to be a conveyor belt here – I’m not sure when it was dismantled but the old wharf is obviously not used for gravel transport any more. Mind you, removing rubbish from the Grand Union is a worthy use for the wharf…

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