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Boat Blog: A cruise for the greyhounds

Posted by indigodream on 4 January, 2014

Rewind  to Saturday October 19th

Paddington to Paddington (via Camden!)

Kryssy (who wouldn't stand still), Keela (this is YOUR cruise) and Ollie (who does like the girls)....

Kryssy (who wouldn’t stand still), Keela (this is YOUR cruise) and Ollie (who does like the girls)….

Many years ago we persuaded our accommodating insurers to allow us up to 8 charity cruises a year, so back in the Summer we gave “Accolade Hounds” a voucher for a day cruise as a raffle prize. We haven’t done many charity cruises recently (tidal waters are excluded!), so it was a great pleasure to welcome a team of greyhound enthusiasts on board today. The raffle prize was won by a charity volunteer, who decided to use the cruise as a “thank you” to the other hard-working volunteers from Accolade and from Stoke Bruerne-based charity Greyhound Friends.

As readers of our medical drama will know, Ty has had a few misfortunes lately, so to save him a bit of stress on Friday night, we decided to travel to the boat on Saturday morning. We’d shopped the day before so it was just a case of delivering hounds and provisions to the boat, finding a free parking space for the car and getting ready to cruise. Doug and James had very kindly moved Indigo Dream to a pontoon so we had a comfortable hour on board before our guests arrived. Today we had resident hounds Ollie and Ty, but we were soon joined by experienced Indigodreamers Gilmour and Kryssy as well as new hound Keela. It was very appropriate as the original raffle was held to raise funds for Keela’s medical costs while in foster. Of course, her foster parents have since adopted her (she lives with Gilmour and Kryssy hounds)!

Five hounds is hardly any by Indigo Dream’s standards, but we did have seven human  guests on board too so the boat didn’t feel too deserted 🙂

Kryssy and Gilmour (and their various slaves) at Camden...

Kryssy and Gilmour (and their various slaves) at Camden…

It was an easy cruise to Camden. Although the visitor moorings in Camden were jam-packed as usual, we did manage to squeeze in to a space where only 3′ of the boat was on the “no mooring” bit – too naughty to stay any length of time, but perfect to drop off our guests and give the hounds a quick walk. The party split up at Camden – some went to investigate the market, but some stayed on board with the hounds and cruised down to St Pancras with us, where we winded just in time to pick up the shoppers just below the bottom lock at Camden.

The day started out overcast but as the afternoon wore on the weather became increasingly unpleasant – cold and drizzly – unlike the forecast which had promised a fine afternoon. Never mind, a release from the cares of rehoming needy hounds, the slow pace of the cruise and the fresh air soon saw most of our human guests snoozing on the sofa, taking their lead from the hounds, who’d largely been snoozing all day!

Being boating enthusiasts, we felt the cruise to be very short; but the practicalities of parking and travelling back (most of the guests had come down from Stoke Bruerne and Bedford) meant that our guests were happy to finish in Paddington mid-afternoon. Even so, finding a mooring in the crowded basin was a challenge – there was one pontoon space – tricky to access as we needed to reverse in between two boats. As we got into position, the vicious Paddington wind caught us broadside from between two tall buildings and blew us right across the canal. There followed a frantic struggle involving the boat pole, ropes and other resident boaters pushing and pulling us back against the wind and get into the space – it was such a relief to tie up!

Our guests didn’t hang around and soon left us to have a little late-afternoon slump – very welcome! We went out to eat early, visiting a Greek restaurant called “Fantasia Palace” which Doug and James had suggested. It looked unpromising from the outside but the food was delicious – wonderful flavours. But by now we were cold and weary so we were glad of the early night and although I thought Ty might wake me for his usual 2.30am wee-break, he decided that Paddington was far too scary so we had a decent night’s sleep.

A last group photo - we do so enjoy cruising with hounds - hope we can do it again sometime (hopefully in Stoke Bruerne)...

A last group photo – we do so enjoy cruising with hounds – hope we can do it again sometime (hopefully in Stoke Bruerne)…

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