Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for September 22nd, 2013

Boat Blog: Aimless meanderings (6)

Posted by indigodream on 22 September, 2013

Rewind to Friday 16th August

Well, we almost made it it to the boat today!

It was Richard’s birthday so we had the most slow start to the day. Not that we minded – it gave me an opportunity to catch up with cousin Denise, who was coming to stay the weekend in the house with her daughter Christina, son Rhodri and Rhodri’s girlfriend Shannon. They were forewarned that we’d be boating, so even the opportunity to spend a few hours with them was great. Denise and I spent the afternoon picking blackberries and setting the world to rights while the kids and the hounds snoozed indoors πŸ™‚

As it happened, we packed the car and the 3 dogs (it was quite full!) and set off – just as got to the junction of the M25, the traffic news reported a massive accident on the motorway which had totally blocked the carriageway at a most inconvenient location. Luckily the traffic report happened at just the point where we could turn back and go home! The hounds were a bit bewildered but seemed contented enough with their brief spin in the car.

This meant that we could spend the evening with Denise – it was so good to catch up with her. We finished the day with a blow-out Chinese takeaway and a resolution to start out early in the morning….

Rewind to Saturday 17th August

Cyril on the helm - I think he really enjoyed the day...

Cyril on the helm – I think he really enjoyed the day…

Reading (Thames & Kennet Marina) to Wallingford then back to Cleeve Lock

Spending time with Denise was a real tonic, and we had another special day ahead.

Now, there’s a story here, are you sitting comfortably?

About a year ago, a man in Australia got in touch via the blog to say that he’d been trying to get in touch with Cyril and Kate. We had no idea who “Cyril and Kate” were, and a search of the blog came up blank. We saved, then ignored, the comment – we didn’t feel we could help. Then a few weeks ago, the Australian man got in touch again, this time with a surname for Kate and Cyril – result! Richard remembered their name from the convoy we did for the Mayor’s River Festival back in 2011 – from nb Tamesis II. We got in touch with them (we had their email from the group communication during the convoy) and gave them the Australian man’s contact details.

Now, it turns out that Kate and Cyril live in Reading, Indigo Dream was in Reading – a cruise was in order! Sadly, Kate and Cyril have had to give up their precious narrowboat on doctor’s order and we had no idea how much our simple invitation meant to them. We picked them up at Caversham lock and cruised them up to Wallingford, where they could get an easy bus home. Oh, they were delightful and exceedingly informative company and we chatted happily all day long. Cyril did his best “Cheshire Cat” impression – he was so happy to be back on the helm of a narrowboat πŸ™‚

Kate's smile says it all....

Kate’s smile says it all….

And the Australian man? He was a colleague who worked with then, briefly but intensely, 50 YEARS ago. I’m not sure what prompted him to get in touch after so many years, but they were all delighted by the renewed contact.

When we got to Wallingford, the visitor moorings were jam-packed so we were a bit naughty and dropped Kate and Cyril off outside the pub (where it says “no mooring” – we didn’t mind breaking the rules to give them an easier walk for the bus. Our quick “drop and go” wasn’t quite as smooth as we anticipated – the pub diners were keen to talk to the greyhounds so it took a while for us to get away!

We headed back downstream with the intention of mooring at the Leatherne Bottle – the very nice looking pub just upstream of Cleeve lock. We noted, in passing, that the Beetle and Wedge mooring was available, but we though we’d head for somewhere new. The mooring at the Leatherne Bottle had been taken since we passed upstream earlier, however we thought we might be able to squeeze in. But just as we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t practical, two anxious waiters came out of the restaurant to confirm that we couldn’t moor there and even if we tied up, they were fully booked and we couldn’t eat there.

By now the weather had turned mean, it was cold and squally, so we headed for the meadow moorings opposite the pub, which proved to be just perfect. We found a spot just deep enough for us to bring the back into the bank, which was at a good height for offloading the hounds. It was very quiet, well-fenced and gated at both ends, with very few walkers – this meant that the hounds could have a good romp around the meadow before we battened down the hatches against the increasingly foul rain.

What a hound-perfect mooring...

What a hound-perfect mooring…

The meadow moorings had a Β£4 mooring fee sign – very reasonable, though we didn’t find a way to pay and no-one came to collect – we’d have been happy to pay, it was a fine place for the hounds πŸ™‚

I had bought Richard the DVD sets of “The Game of Thrones” for his birthday and we settled down to watch the first series. I’d heard it was well-reviewed and I’d read a fair few of the original George R R Martin novels. Wow, it’s a gripping series, allbeit verging on the pornographic in places! It kept us entertained for the rest of the holiday and beyond….

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