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The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for August, 2013

Odds Blog: Catching up with friends…

Posted by indigodream on 7 August, 2013

Rewind to Saturday 20th July

Amazingly, we spent the weekend OFF the Thames!

David Phillisp the Harbourmaster presenting at the IWA...

David Phillisp the Harbourmaster presenting at the IWA…

But the tideway wasn’t far from our hearts. On Saturday morning, I was privileged to be part of a team of speakers at the IWA National including Andrew Phasey, interpid Commodore of the St Pancras Cruising Club, Jeremy Batch, head lock-keeper at Limehouse and David Phillips, Port of London Authority Harbourmaster – illustrious company indeed! Our brief was to talk about how narrowboaters can have a safe and enjoyable trip along the Thames tideway – a task admirably completed by our top speakers. It was difficult to see what I could add, so I just talked about what I know – my love of the Thames and the very down-to-earth precautions that we take each and every time we cruise it.

I was a bit disappointed that there were so few in the audience – following the “sell-out” at the 2010 IWA, we had a bigger tent and a whole 2 hours this time. I hope that the small audience reflected the generally poor attendance at the show rather than a lack of interest in the topic. I didn’t notice anyone walking out halfway through, so I hope that the presentations hit the spot! What surprised me was the kind support that we got from boating friends who know the tideway well and couldn’t possibly have learnt anything new!

With our work done, Andrew and Frances invited us all back for a lavish lunch on board nb Doris Katia – veteran of many a tideway trip. There seemed to be far more people walking the towpath than there were on the showground. Many passers-by thought that the moored boats were on display and seemed quite disappointed that they weren’t open to the public! On our way to the water, we did bump into Jan and John (Halfie) from Jubilee – it was a great pleasure to chat to them, allbeit fleetingly.

After lunch, we heaved our very full stomachs round the show – we enjoyed it very much, especially as there were a couple of patchwork trouser stalls there so I could top-up my ragged supplies. We saw the old Spitfire doing a great fly-past. We also met several other greyhounds and lurchers, though Ty was scared and Ollie was aloof. Despite his absolute loathing of our boat engine, Ty’ favourite stall was Vetus, where he lay in the corner, well hidden by a display of engines!

Andrew Phasey in action at the IWA...

Andrew Phasey in action at the IWA…

We only stayed for a few hours because we had another waterway meeting planned – we drove up to Marsworth to meet up with the crew of nb Matilda Rose. We had such a merry evening – Daisy the cat was safely seconded in the back cabin; Ty and Ollie made themselves at home on board – to the point that Ollie took over Baxter AND Muttley’s beds and snapped at Muttley for having the temerity to walk past too closely! Daisy cat let her displeasure be known and Jill let her out onto the towpath for a while (dogs safely indoors). With some sort of catch deathwish, Daisy came and peered imperiously through the mesh door to stare at Ty and Ollie – they didn’t respond at all – well, Ollie might have lifted an ear. Oh the shame of it – Henry and Herbie Beanz will be shaking their heads in disbelief!

We went off to the “Angler’s Rest” in Marsworth – we haven’t been there before but found it to be a dog-friendly pub with good pub grub. The landlady gasped when she saw Ty and Ollie come in and choked out the word “cat”. The pub has a resident black cat that was sitting in the bar keeping an eye on the customers. Ty and Ollie were completely oblivious!

We were sad to leave the Matilda Rose’s but we have the bright prospect of a cruise with them in a few weeks’ time – can’t wait!

We were a bit weary now, but we only had a short drive up to the Hotel Mercure near Milton Keynes – one of the few dog-friendly pubs we found in a quick search last week. It was a nice hotel, though slightly marred by a loud wedding party – our room overlooked the main entrance, where the smokers congregated, with much “whooping” until the wee small hours. Not that Ty and Ollie minded – they were absolutely exhausted after an unnaturally busy day….

Sunday 21st July

We really enjoyed our hotel this morning – a complementary Sunday paper, a buffet breakfast with seating outside the main room so that Ty and Ollie could join us and eat sausages (actually, Ollie doesn’t like sausages so he opted for the continental cheeses). We weren’t in a hurry to move on, so we just relaxed in the hotel lounge until checkout time at noon. We then went off in search of a Costa – we found one in the delightful village of Stony Stratford. With Lattes in hand, we had a bimble down to the river Ouse – it is flanked by a wonderful watermeadow/park with benches where we could relax and finally sit down with our diaries and do some cruise planning. Our last convoy would be on the 24th July and our last tideway trip was planned for 3rd August – after that, theย  whole canal system would be ours ๐Ÿ™‚

Beautiful spot in the parkland adjacent to the river Ouse at Stony Stratford...

Beautiful spot in the parkland adjacent to the river Ouse at Stony Stratford…

Ollie had a little rummage while Ty just worried about stuff; they both dipped their paws into the river, but that’s as close to paddling as these two will ever get!

After that, we drive up to Stoke Bruerne – well-know for being “canal central” but it is also “greyhound central”. We were joining the Greyhound Friends annual garden party. We met up with some previous greyhound friends there and had a nice afternoon of eating cake and getting greyhound cuddles and kisses. Ty was happy hiding under a table; at first, Ollie was beside himself with excitement at seeing so many other greyhounds, but he’s very aware of his dignity and soon settled onto the sheepskin to watch the world go by.

It was coming to late afternoon when we left Stoke Bruerne for the drive home – we got in touch with Sue of nb No Problem to see whether we could fit in just one more merry meeting before going home. Sadly they were out for the evening – but maybe that’s just as well, it had been a busy weekend and we were all fast asleep in our respective beds within minutes of getting back!

At the Greyhound Friends Garden Party - it was lovely to see so many harmonious hounds...

At the Greyhound Friends Garden Party – it was lovely to see so many harmonious hounds…

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Dog Blog: Ty’s doings….

Posted by indigodream on 6 August, 2013

Deer me Pals

Fis is me down the ppub - Aunty Jill sez I brave but reelly Iz hexhaustid!

Fis is me down the pub – Aunty Jill sez I brave but reelly Iz hexhaustid!

Mummy sez that if I wantz to be a dog wot blogs, I needs to have hadventchewers….

“Hadventchewers?” I sed “hows about I be a dog wot duzn’t blog then I duzn’t need hadventchewers”

“Well, Ty, people do love you and they do like to read about your doings so it would be a shame if you didn’t blog”

“But mummy Sue, me fans fink it’s hexciting wen I has sardeens for tea – I duzn’t need hadventchewers” I sed “Anyhoo, we’z had Henry an Archie and Herbie an Eddie an Big Sid an even Bigga Bertie round for a sleepova last weekend – cant’s they just blog about their adventchewers?”

“Well, they might, but sorry Ty, you’ve got some adventures lined up – I hope blogging about them would make you enjoy them more” she sighed

“MUMMY SUE, youz bin my Mummy almost foreva and Iz NEVA luffed an hadventchewer and Iz NOT gonna start now” I sed wif me dominant dog face on…

But it woz no good, we’z got dragged off to have adventchewers – I shud have tried me pafetic face…

Furst, I had to go in the car – I qwite likes the car coz itz full of me favrit duvits; but if Iz in the car then it means Iz going sumwere so Iz dun me best Jellyboy and the car dids shake! Mummy Sue sed “stop that – no wonder my suspension’s gone!”….

The car tooked us to a show, wif tents, an’ boats – I qwite like tents, wot feels safe, but I hates boats – I didnt’s have to go croosing tho and I got lots of cuddles. It woz odd tho, coz there were lots of uvver houndies there – houndies, at a boat show – WOT?

THEN we had to go an see Aunty Jill an Uncle Graham – on a boat – MUMMY SUE! I mets Baxter an Muttley – Baxter wonted to do sexy time on me leg so I wents “Grrrrrrr” then Ollie tooks all the dog beds an wen Muttley wonted his bed Ollie wents “Grrrrrrr” – Mummy Sue sed we woz norty but Aunty Jill sed we woz just bein’ hassertive, wot is gud. Then Daisy cat wot lives on the boat came an give us a cat look fru the window but we cudn’t be bovvered ‘cept for Ollie liftin’ one ear – Mummy Sue sez we’z a dysgrayce!

THEN, after the boat we wents to the pub, but we cudn’ts be bovvered to diss the pub cat; the pub woz nice coz we hads carpit to lie on wif our sheepies but the chef cudn’t cook us a sosidj – we hads to make do wif ham an chippy leffovers. Maybe next time, Mummy Sue cuds teech the cheffy how to cook sosidjes – is not hard….

Huh, fis is Ollie bein' perfick in the park....

Huh, fis is Ollie bein’ perfick in the park….

THEN we wents to a hotel, wot is a room wif beds in – wot woz ok; but ges wot, there woz lots of rooms wif beds an there woz uvva pipple. Lots of the pipple woz drunk and sed “I lost money on him hur hur hur” wot woz a cheek. It woz too much an I woz hexhausted so mummy Sue put sum nice duvets wot smelled of dog so we cuds sleep. I wozn’t too sure about hotels but in the morning we wents down and there woz a brekfust buffit! Iz neva seen a brekfist buffit before – there woz bacon an sosidj an ham an chiz an eggs an toast an evryfing. Mummy Sue sed we wozn’t hallowed to help ourselves so me an Ollie had to order wot we wonted. I had bacon sarnies an sosidjis – lots of sosidjis. Ollie duzn’t like sosidjis but he luffs chiz so he had LOTS of chiz for brekfist. We woz so full, we hads to lie down an have a big snooze wile Mummy Sue reads the papers. Iz just about got used to the hotel wen Mummy Sue sed “off we go”

I hopeds we woz goin’ home but we went to the park – I hates the park – I dun standings and wotchins an jellyboy tremblins; perfick, Ollie, dun paddlin an lyin’ down and looking cute – huh! Iz just about had enuff wen mummy sed “off we go…”

This time we hads to go to a strange garden wif lots of uvva greyhounds an greyhound mummies an daddies – they woz everywere – I dun hidinn’s unda the table, wot woz nice. Sum pipple sed “aaaaw Ty, come on boy, everyone loves greyhounds here – come out for a cuddle” but I woz qwite happy under me table. Wen Mummy Sue sed “let’s go” I woz afraid that there wud be more scary hadventchewers but I gots in the car an snoozed on me duvit and wen I woked up we woz HOME. I luffs home…

After all me hadventures, I sed to mummy Sue “ENUFF”……

I mades a big nest of duvits an I buried meself in it an I tolds mummy Sue “Iz neva leavin this bed eva”…

Me an Ollie woz hexhausted ater our adventchewers so we mades a big nest on Mummy Sue's bed and we is neva, eva leavin' it eva agen (cept for dinna, an treets, an wen mummy Sue wants the bed...)

Me an Ollie woz hexhausted ater our adventchewers so we mades a big nest on Mummy Sue’s bed and we is neva, eva leavin’ it eva agen (cept for dinna, an treets, an wen mummy Sue wants the bed…)

“Not even for your dinner?” she sed

“well maybe for me dinna – if its a nice dinna…”

“It’s very nice, with chicken AND sardines”

“Ok, maybe I cuds get up for me dinna…”

“And how about this nice bit of corned beef filled with cream cheese?” she sed

“ooh, that sounds nice……bleugh, wots fis crunchy fing mummy Sue, iz it a……tablit?”

“It’s on a little one” she sed “just focus on the nice beef and cheese”

“Oh no, mummy Sue, that is just too sneekies – is not a treet if there’s a tablit in it”……

“Fair enough” she sed “how about a bit of ice cream – the crunchy bit is just a nut, honest”

nom nom nom….

Fis is me having a snooze after me buffit brekfust - hotel brekfusts is qwite nice...

Fis is me having a snooze after me buffit brekfust – hotel brekfusts is qwite nice…

A houndie garden party - you cants see me coz I iz hidin' - Iz so clever..

A houndie garden party – you cants see me coz I iz hidin’ – Iz so clever..

Stoopid houndie - even I knows that the bukkit of water is for drinkin' not paddlin'...

Stoopid houndie – even I knows that the bukkit of water is for drinkin’ not paddlin’…

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Boat Blog: A little corporate cruise…

Posted by indigodream on 5 August, 2013

Thursday 18th July

East London Ring

This evening, Richard took a group of clients around the East London ring – in theory a 3 hour cruise which inevitably takes longer on a warm evening when the conversation is good and the refreshments plentiful…

I wasn’t on board, Sinรฉad, one of Richard’s staff members, took the role of hostess; though Richard has been gallant enough to admit that it’s a bit easier when I’m on board because I can cook and helm!

It sounds as if they had a great evening – the weather’s too hot for me, so I was happy to stay at home in front of a fan with the hounds ๐Ÿ™‚

Note: Richard reported that the electric control panel at Old Ford Lock has been changed – the really annoying countdown has been removed and the display is easier to read – hurrah!

Smiles, that control panel has been replaced.

Smiles, that control panel has been replaced.

This was scary, very scary. A biker driving the boat, would he be able to resist doing a wheelie?

This was scary, very scary. A biker driving the boat, would he be able to resist doing a wheelie?

Rapt concentration

Rapt concentration

Never trust an Electrical Engineer iwth a windlass

Never trust an Electrical Engineer with a windlass

Concentration paying off!

Concentration paying off!

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Boat Blog: a mini epic….

Posted by indigodream on 4 August, 2013

Rewind to Sunday 14th July

Limehouse to Brentford and back (hence a smaller epic than the Teddington return trip)

There's something nice about turning left out of Limehouse and not having to cross the big river...

There’s something nice about turning left out of Limehouse and not having to cross the big river…

The tides were very kind to us this weekend – they allowed the convoy to cruise yesterday morning and then have a generous break before tackling the trip to Brentford this afternoon. This also gave us a nice break at home. However, the heat was still terrible so we yet another change in plan. Sarah and Andy would spend the day at our house, essentially dog-sitting Ty, Ollie and their six boys, while Richard and I would take Indigo Dream out with the convoy. The timing was such that we could still have a leisurely breakfast before heading off for Limehouse.

We needed to turn up a bit early as we were tasked with briefing the crew of nb Liberty Bell, who hadn’t made it down to Limehouse in time for Friday’s group briefing. It was an interesting experience – Liberty Bell’s crew were respectful and attentive which made the job much easier, and I thought I’d covered everything. However, when we got on the tideway, I remembered two navigational notes that I’d forgotten to mention. Luckily we could easily fix this by giving them a ring on the river , but it was a real insight into just how much information the St Pancras Cruising Club get through in their evening briefing.

We led our group of three boats upriver – although it was Sunday afternoon, Pool of London was relatively quiet and conditions were excellent, with very little turbulence in the water. Unlike the Barrier Cruises, there was no pressure for us to meet up with the other boats in the convoy, so there was plenty of time for seeing the sights and taking photos.

We got to Brentford well before high tide, so there was a little wait before the lock opened. The lead boats found bits and pieces of chain to tie to below the lock. We tied up to a rusty metal floating platform on the right hand side below the lock and soon had other members of the convoy brested up to us. The boats locking up didn’t have a long wait – it seemed like no time at all before the lock-keeper opened the locks. he used both locks to good effect and we were soon left by ourselves, waiting for the tide to turn. We were fifth in the convoy today, rather than “tail end charlie” – this meant that we got to wave goodbye to all the convoy boats behind us. The rusty platform wasn’t the best mooring – it was protruding bits which gave the gunwhales a good scrape at the front, especially when two tiny speedboats came racing by, giving us a good rocking. We had over an hour to wait for the tide, so we had time for a proper dinner, which was very welcome.

We HAD to go through the centre arch at Tower Bridge - we might have been in the way of a barge wanting to enter St Katherine's dock otherwise :-)

We HAD to go through the centre arch at Tower Bridge – we might have been in the way of a barge wanting to enter St Katherine’s dock otherwise ๐Ÿ™‚

When we judged that it was flat water, we turned away from Brentford’s lock cut and headed downriver. Surprisingly, the river proved to be busier at Brentford than in the Pool of London! However, we were soon free of the trip boats from Teddington and had the river largely to ourselves. Conditions were perfect and the river was the calmest we’ve seen it for a long time – we’d been concerned that a weekend of trip boats would have really carved up the water.

We had an uneventful and enjoyable trip back to Limehouse. The lack of river traffic gave us more leisure to enjoy the sights at dusk – our favourite time to cruise. We were running a little early, but we’d kept in touch with the Limehouse Lockies and they had the lock ready for us. Tonight, I did the turn into the lock cut – it’s very good practice for me and was absolutely fine!

We got back to our berth just as the last of the light faded away – we packed the boat up and were soon on our way. We got an ecstatic welcome from the hounds, even though Sarah and Andy had only left a scant hour before we arrived. ๐Ÿ™‚

Photoblog:

Ok, just the 185 photos this time (!) – more on Facebook….

And we're off - leading our mini-convoy of nb Liberty Bell and nb The Lady C. Liberyt Bell had visitors from Canada - this cruise was an awesome experience for them..

And we’re off – leading our mini-convoy of nb Liberty Bell and nb The Lady C. Liberyt Bell had visitors from Canada – this cruise was an awesome experience for them..

Enjoying the river - glad that they're wearing life-jackets though....

Enjoying the river – glad that they’re wearing life-jackets though….

We often hear the bridge buskers at river level - today it was the bagpipes - sometimes a steel drum - it's nice to hear live music on the water..

We often hear the bridge buskers at river level – today it was the bagpipes – sometimes a steel drum – it’s nice to hear live music on the water..

We sometimes think that we're a bit small on the tideway but these guys are almost invisible!

We sometimes think that we’re a bit small on the tideway but these guys are almost invisible!

This has to be published - it's so rare for Richard to pose nicely for a photo :-)

This has to be published – it’s so rare for Richard to pose nicely for a photo ๐Ÿ™‚

Just as I was thinking that it would be nice for the tideway newbies to see a helicopter landing, one turned up :-)

Just as I was thinking that it would be nice for the tideway newbies to see a helicopter landing, one turned up ๐Ÿ™‚

The correct approach when travelling upstream under Hammersmith Bridge - between the words "Hammersmith" and "Bridge" - this means that the tide won't sweep you into the moored boats at Dove Pier...

The correct approach when travelling upstream under Hammersmith Bridge – between the words “Hammersmith” and “Bridge” – this means that the tide won’t sweep you into the moored boats at Dove Pier…

What do you think - pet, guard pig or lookout? Wish it was a real one!

What do you think – pet, guard pig or lookout? Wish it was a real one!

Calm in Barnes...

Calm in Barnes…

The headroom under Hammersmith Bridge is severely reduced at high tide - nothing to bother a narrowboat though :-)

The headroom under Hammersmith Bridge is severely reduced at high tide – nothing to bother a narrowboat though ๐Ÿ™‚

You've got love that view...

You’ve got love that view…

There was such a moody light in the afternoon - it made for a wonderful cruise; we could really enjoy the views because the river was unnaturally quiet...

There was such a moody light in the afternoon – it made for a wonderful cruise; we could really enjoy the views because the river was unnaturally quiet…

The city's distinctive yet evolving skyline..

The city’s distinctive yet evolving skyline..

Priceless....

Priceless….

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Dog Blog: Ty’s Doings…..

Posted by indigodream on 1 August, 2013

Deer me Pals

I hates boatin'....

I hates boatin’….

After all me weekend adventchewers I sed to Mummy Sue “ENUFF” – me footies back in a bandij an I needs sum snoozies – I’z hardly snoozed for days…

But on the Mondie, Mummy Sue sed “right boys, you have to come boating”

“Ooooh noooo” I sed and wents and hid right under me duvit; I lookeds so pafetic she phoned me secund favirt Aunty Gabrielle and we gots to stay at home; Ollie wozn’t happy, he likes bein’ wif Mummy Sue, even wen she is on the stoopid boat. Gabrielle is mummy to Stiggy greyhound but she’s been a leeky coz her best girl Suzie hound has gone over the rainbow bridge; on the uvver hand, she is smilin’ too coz she’s got a new girl Poppy wot is there to makes Stiggy less sads. Not that we gots to meet them – Aunty Gabrielle keeps her cuddles just for me an I luffs cuddles. Aunty Gabrielle also puts our dinna down – Mummy Sue had lefts us wif no dinna – we’z neglectid!

Anyhoo, on Toosday, Mummy Sue sed “your really do have come boating today – there’s nothing else for it” – oooh noo, I wants to stay at home and have Aunty Gabrielle cuddles but Mummy Sue sed I cudn’ts stay in the house by meself overnight

“Why not” I sed “Iz almost eight, wot is qwite old in hooman years”

“Ty, you have to cum boating” she sed….

It woz a hawful as boatin’ can be – we woz on the foreva, then we’s had a walk were there woz strange pipple an more boats then we woz on the boat foreva agen. Wen I gots home I woz so happy I wee’d foreva – ooh that’s betta; then I hads sum chikkin then I runned into the garden an rubbed me face in around in grass – there’s a video hereย Home sweet home – Iz tryin’ to tell Mummy Sue that I luffs my house, Iz got evryfing I needs – me duvit, a field, places to wee – Mummy Sue, can’ts I just stay here foreva?

Mr Perfick Ollie wot sumtimes duz lookin - but he's not a champion looker - he luffs snoozies...

Mr Perfick Ollie wot sumtimes duz lookin – but he’s not a champion looker – he luffs snoozies…

Ollie luffs snoozies.....

Ollie luffs snoozies…..

Fis is Ollie lookin' cute at Teddington Lock - mummy Sue sed she cudn't get a pic of me coz I woz a jellyboy wot made it looke like she woz shaking the camra - huh!

Fis is Ollie lookin’ cute at Teddington Lock – mummy Sue sed she cudn’t get a pic of me coz I woz a jellyboy wot made it look like she woz shaking the camra – huh!

I LUFFS bein' at home - fis is like wne famus pipple kiss the ground wen they lands - but wot they shud do is rub their faces all ova the ground - 'specially if there's a nice smellin like fox poo.....

I LUFFS bein’ at home – fis is like wen famus pipple kiss the ground wen they lands – but wot they shud do is rub their faces all ova the ground – ‘specially if there’s a nice smell….like fox poo…..

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