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Archive for March, 2014

Boat blog: Not Surrey either!

Posted by indigodream on 25 March, 2014

Actually Hammerfest, reputedly the northernmost town in the world. Surrey was covered in Spring blossom when we left, it’ll be a while before we see a flower up here πŸ™‚

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Boat blog: not the Indigo Dream….

Posted by indigodream on 25 March, 2014

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Boat Blog: Almost the Olympic Rings Trial (3)

Posted by indigodream on 22 March, 2014

Wednesday 19th March

The cruise between City Mills Lock and Old Ford Lock covered some very familiar ground, though between the Olympic, Crossrail and sundry other construction projects in the area, there’s somethingΒ  new in the landscape every time we cruise. Nonetheless, the familiar waters gave us a chance to concentrate on refuelling the crew (we had enough fuel for the boat, though the cheap diesel at New Era is always a draw).

We were very excited when we arrived at Old Ford Lock and turned right into the Bow Back Rivers. Now we have cruised this way before – many times – but the last time we came here, the Olympic Stadium was just a round earth embankment! Need less to say, the waterway was barely recognisable and it is now properly dredged, not just a shallow dish in the middle. Unfortunately, you can’t cruise right round the Bow Back Rivers at the moment, there’s a Crossrail Coffer Dam in the way. We can only hope that this ring will open again once they’re done – it will make a charming ring cruise πŸ™‚

Before I move to the photos, I have to thank the St Pancras Cruising Club for allowing us to join them on this very special cruise – I can only hope that the convoy has persuaded the powers that be to allow boats back on the Bow Back Rivers…

Photoblog:

Turning into the Bow Bakc Rivers (well, the Old River Lea to be precise)..

Turning into the Bow Back Rivers (well, the Old River Lea to be precise)..

I'm not really a rebel but there was something deeply satisfying about cruising past these "no entry" signs :-)

I’m not really a rebel but there was something deeply satisfying about cruising past these “no entry” signs πŸ™‚

The now diminished Olympic Stadium..

The now diminished Olympic Stadium, after the excitement of 2012 it is sad to see it unused….

The Stadium still looms though

The Stadium still looms though

The sheet piling here marks the entrance to the old Pudding Mill River - we remember it as a shallow channel filled with reeds and wildlife

The sheet piling here marks the entrance to the old Pudding Mill River – we remember it as a shallow channel filled with reeds and wildlife, we don’t think it was ever navigable, just a source of water for the Mill and later Bow Power Station

Now you see it...

Now you see it…

Flashback to 2008 - the Stadium was to be built just behind that temporary bridge

Now you don’t – the site in 2008

We remember this when it was just cranes...

We remember this when it was just cranes…

Flashback to 2008 - Stadium being built

There they are – back in 2008

This graceful bridge is original - though it used to have the traditional black/white paintwork

This graceful bridge is original – though did it once have the traditional black/white paintwork?Β  Must check our photos.

Carpenters Road Lock - now minus it's top gate and unlikely ever to be used as gateway to a ring with the Waterworks River...

Carpenters Road Lock – now minus one gate and minus what we think was the gas main over the top – it is unlikely ever to be used as gateway to a ring with the Waterworks River…

Flashback to 2008: Carpenters Road Lock as was

So maybe things haven’t changed substantially….

Great views - the red "steps" on the left are the piers of a footbridge that used to carry the crowds over to the Olympic Stadium

Great views – the red “steps” on the left are the piers of a footbridge that used to carry the crowds over to the Olympic Stadium

The last time we were here we were part of the excited crowds visiting the games - the closing ceremony in fact :-)

The last time we were here we were part of the excited crowds visiting the games – the closing ceremony in fact πŸ™‚

The cruise gave a really intimate view of the Olympic Park - ok, you could say you'd get that from walking the park but any boater will tell you the difference :-D...

The cruise gave a really intimate view of the Olympic Park – ok, you could say you’d get that from walking the park, but any boater will tell you the difference πŸ˜€

nb Keture testing the turning width at the current limit of the navigation...

nb Ketura testing the turning width at the current limit of the navigation…

We did a few turns to check the "turning circle" available - 60' is not a problem and we reckon that you could turn a 70 footer using this notch...

We did a few turns to check the “turning circle” available – 60′ is not a problem and we reckon that you could turn a 70 footer using this notch…

The landscape looks very sere in its winter clothes...

The landscape looks very bare in its winter clothes…

This is an interesting structure..

This is an interesting structure..

Ohhh nooo, the boom's back in place - please let us back in sometime....

Ohhh nooo, the boom’s back in place – please let us back in sometime….

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Boat Blog: Almost the Olympic Rings Trial (2)

Posted by indigodream on 21 March, 2014

Wednesday 19th March

The Waterworks River….

We were due to have an LLDC dignitary on board with us, but our guest was caught up in work. I was a bit disappointed, we needed official witnesses to this landmark cruise. Yet there was something very nice about relaxing and have a jolly cruise with good friends instead. Fortunately, there were other dignitaries from LLDC and CRT on board nb Doris Katia to experience the convoy’s success (failure was obviously never an option!).

We set off in good spirits, though maintaining a 90- second gap between boats was more of a challenge than you might think – a 40 second gap seemed like a more comfortable distance. Yet there was no rush – especially when we came to the first “pinch point” at City Mills Lock. We locked through in pairs – our convoy partner was a familiar friend, nb Peace of Pearce with skipper Kevin along with crew Sally and Eric from nb Cherie – also veterans of many a tideway adventure.

The next “pinch point” was the sheer distraction of the Waterworks River itself and all the sights of the Olympic Park. We have already given feedback to Andrew to allow enough time for boats to take photos of their reflection in the mirrored footbridge that crosses Carpenter’s Road lock – we were transfixed :-)….

Photoblog:

The bank-side briefing...

The bank-side briefing…

Nb Peace of Pearce waiting for City Mills Lock - we're on the opposite wall - where the wind had planted us!

Nb Peace of Pearce waiting for City Mills Lock – we’re on the opposite wall – where the wind had planted us!

Neil at the helm - taking care of the tricky angle into the lock...

Neil at the helm – taking care of the tricky angle into the lock…

The Waterworks River - a new stretch of water for Indigo Dream....

The Waterworks River – a new stretch of water for Indigo Dream….

The control panel at City Mills Lock - but we're only going to the Olympic Park, not the moon :-D

The control panel at City Mills Lock – but we’re only going to the Olympic Park, not the moon πŸ˜€

Looking back to the weir that connects the Waterworks River to the Bow Back Rivers (three connected Rivers - Bow Back, City Mill and Old River Lea)

Looking back to the weir that connects the Waterworks River to the Bow Back Rivers (three connected Rivers – Bow Back, City Mill and Old River Lea)

Plenty of headroom! Though we did take the bike off the roof and the flagpole from the back deck (the flagpole got clattered under a low bridge earliet - oops!)...

Plenty of headroom! Though we did take the bike off the roof and the flagpole from the back deck (the flagpole got clattered under a low bridge earlier – oops!)…

A glimpse of the Olympic Park...

A glimpse of the Olympic Park…

There's still an air of old-fashioned East End dereliction in places :--)

There’s still an air of old-fashioned East End dereliction in places :–)

The beautiful aquatic centre - along with the coloured "bollards" - looks like someone's planted a boxful of crayons in the water!

The beautiful Aquatic Centre – along with the coloured “bollards” – looks like someone’s planted a boxful of crayons in the water!

A fine view of the ArcelorMittal Orbital...

A fine view of the ArcelorMittal Orbital…

Happy crew...

Happy crew…

The park had a lot of busy workmen - as an official convoy, we had to wear lifejackets - should be glad we didn't need hard hats :-)

The park had a lot of busy workmen – as an official convoy, we had to wear lifejackets – should be glad we didn’t need hard hats πŸ™‚

Mirrored bridge over Carpenter's Road lock...

Mirrored bridge over Carpenter’s Road lock… Richard went to a meeting yesterday with one of the ex-ODA guys responsible for park wide utilities, the first question obviously was did you get to boat round the park. This bridge was a real headache for them as they could not manage to get a big gas main through it so had to go under the lock so think lots of £££££s

There's only one thing to be done with a reflective bridge...

There’s only one thing to be done with a reflective bridge…

It's a reflective bridge - these photos just have to be done :-D

It’s a reflective bridge – these photos just have to be done πŸ˜€

Such a graceful structure...

Such a graceful structure…

Close up - there seemed to be some members of the public in the park - they seemed to take the boats for granted - but then, boats on a waterway, what's the novelty!

Close up – the Aquatics Centre is now open to the public with tickets starting at Β£3.50. Members of the public were walking round as we went past – they seemed to take the boats for granted – but then, boats on a waterway, what’s the novelty!

It's the contrasts that make the London waterways so interesting - here development and dereliction sit side-by side....

It’s the contrasts that make the London waterways so interesting – here development and dereliction sit side-by side….

More contrasts....

More contrasts….

Back at City Mills Lock - time for a quick bacon roll before re-assembling the convoy and setting off for the Bow Back Rivers :-)

Back at City Mills Lock – time for a quick bacon roll before re-assembling the convoy and setting off for the Bow Back Rivers πŸ™‚

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Boat Blog: Almost the Olymic Rings Trial (1)

Posted by indigodream on 20 March, 2014

Wednesday 19th March

Team photo - the combined crews of nb's Doris Katia (our esteemed leader), Ketura, Peace of Pearce, Salar, Galatea and us, of course :-)

Team photo – the combined crews of nb’s Doris Katia (our esteemed leader), Ketura, Peace of Pearce, Salar, Galatea and us, of course πŸ™‚

That splendid cruise title came from Andrew Phasey of the St Pancras Cruising Club. After endless months of negotiation, Andrew succeeded in getting permission for a trial convoy of boats to explore the “Olympic” waterways – the first leisure boats to cruise these waterways since they were closed for construction of the Olympic Park in, ooh, 2010?

Before that closure, we were avid explorers of the Bow Back Rivers – until they put the booms across the access points. Before that we used to be able to sneak round with Indigo Dream decked out as a work boat complete with yellow flashing light and crew in proper PPE!

We were very excited to be asked to participate in this landmark convoy, but there were some logistics – part of the route (Waterworks River) is semi-tidal and also carries a lot of “fresh” downstream after rainfall – this means that the headroom under some of the bridges can become prohibitive. Several dates were suggested then rejected, but today we had perfect cruising conditions. Naturally we had to be escorted,Β  by aΒ  team of cheerful “minders” in a bright orange rib who obligingly removed the booms to allow us to explore the navigations; of course they were also careful to close them again, once they’d made sure that none of us had taken up an illicit mooring in the park!

We were keen to share the cruise, but short notice meant that many of our cruising friends weren’t available; however we were delighted that Kath and Neil of nb Herbie (veterans of many an Indigo Dream adventure) and their good friend Rick (in turn a veteran of many adventures on nb Herbie) could join us. We were all assembled in Limehouse by 9.30am-ish – time for a round of coffees and a catch-up before we set off up Limehouse Cut to our rendezvous point.

Here’s the cruising plan (which makes more sense on the map!):

The Route

The Route

1. Limehouse to Three Mills Water Bus Stop – this is where we assembled the convoy, had our final briefing and took on guests from CRT and LLDC (London Legacy Development Corporation). This was a very important cruise – the future opening of these waterways might depend on the success of this trial – so no pressure πŸ™‚

2. Three Mills to City Mills Lock – familiar waterways as this has been an exit point for other tideway excursions.

3. City Mills Lock to Carpenters Road Lock and back – this is where it get exciting – we haven’t cruised this part of the Waterworks River before and it gives a great view of the Olympic Park (particularly the aquatic centre) and brought back many fond memories of our walking the park in the run up to the closing ceremony (and many more memories for Richard who was a Gamesmaker during the opening ceremony and in the stadium during the first week of the games).

4. City Mills Lock to Old Ford Lock – very familiar ground – this waterway was the main transit route for navigation before and during the Games.

5. Below Old Ford Lock along to Bow Back River to Crossrail’s Coffer Dam and back – we’ve cruised this stretch many times in the past, when it was all dereliction and/or a building site for the budding stadium. We’d hardly recognise it now!

6. Below Old Ford Lock to Limehouse – a waterway so familiar we could just mooch along and reminisce on what a great day we’d had – another coup for the St Pancreas Cruising Club and hopefully the start of many cruises along the Olympic Waterways – they were worth the wait πŸ™‚

That’s the overall plan – I think I’ll leave it there for now and post the photos of the more exciting stages over the next couple of days….

Flashback to 2008 - the Stadium was to be built just behind that temporary bridge

Flashback to 2008 – the Stadium was to be built just behind that temporary bridge

Flashback to 2008 - Stadium being built

Flashback to 2008 – Stadium being built

Flashback to 2008: Carpenters Road Lock as was

Flashback to 2008: Carpenters Road Lock as was

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Back on the Bow Back River :-)

Posted by indigodream on 19 March, 2014

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Dog Blog: Can you give “Chance” a home?

Posted by indigodream on 10 March, 2014

March 10th 2014

When Sarah fostered greyhound Smoothie last year, we all expected her to fail and for Smoothie to become the latest member of her extended pack but instead, Smoothie has the best, amazing WIN-WIN solution – whatever happened he couldn’t lose. Smoothie has been adopted by, wait for it, a woman who researches and writes a cookbook full of wholesome houndie treats! Can you imagine his life – he has adoring new owners, a houndie sister to play with and he gets to be a treat taster…

Chance (aka Red) is such a good looking hound...

Chance (aka Red) is such a good looking hound…

Buoyed by this success, Sarah has now fostered a new hound – a dainty ginger lurcher called Chance (that’s his kennel name, he actually answers to Red!).

Chance is a young boy and, being only part-greyhound, has a bit more energy to spare for running and playing – he loves to play! Although he’s very young, he/s had a hard life and needs a steady home with people who will love and give him the security he needs. We think that Chance will enjoy the stimulation of training classes, which will also help him to get used to the big wild world and all the wonders in it.

Here’s Sarah’s expert write-up:

Location: Chance is living with his foster mum in Suffolk.
Key Points: Affectionate, BEAUTIFUL! Very sweet and puppyish, non-destructive, lovely temperament, eager to learn and please, settles well, great with other dogs, LOVES going out in the car, clean in the house, can be left with other dogs for short periods.

~ Personality ~
Generally: Adorable, clever, shy at first and then adores his people, cuddle monster.
Chance is an adorable puppyish little lad who is very affectionate and sweet both with other dogs and people. He is still very puppyish in his ways as he can be shy and a little wary of new situations but when he realises that he isn’t going to come to any harm he relaxes and takes on his new life with gusto although he also has a maturity which means he isn’t always an ‘in your face kind of guy’ and always loves a good snooze.

He is a bright little boy who will thrive with training as he has already come so far in just a week. He loves other dogs and would ideally have canine company who will play with him although he is currently living with large dogs so it will be great for him to socialise with all sizes. He also adores people though he can be shy at times so will need a family who will give him all the confidence that he needs. He will tap you with his paw when he wants more cuddles so already developing a truly lovely little personality.

Chance loves zoomies...

Chance loves zoomies…

~ In the Home ~
Generally: House savvy, can be left for short periods with canine company, house-trained, non-destructive.
Chance is generally very good in the home especially as he has only been in a foster home a week or so. Chance can already be left for short periods with no problem and is clean in the house and non-destructive. Gentle on-going training will be a must for this little boy to make a family member to be proud of and he is a very quick learner!

~ Other Animals ~
Generally: Good with other greyhounds, loves to romp with his greyhound friends, not yet small dog or cat tested.
Chance adores other greyhounds and is very good with them although they don’t always indulge him with play at the moment even when he asks nicely poor little lad! He hasn’t been small dog or cat tested yet but this can be arranged prior to adoption if needed. Chance can be a little grumbly around his food with other dogs at times but this is most likely linked to his difficult past and is something that we are sure he will grow out of quickly when he knows that he gets a full tummy on a regular basis and that no-one is going to let him go hungry again.

Chance is a bit more alert than our greyhounds but he loves his comforts too...

Chance is a bit more alert than our greyhounds but he loves his comforts too…

~ Out and About ~
Generally: Can pull a little through initial excitement, but soon settles down, loves the car, needs recall work.
Adores going for car rides and enjoys his 2 x 30 minute walks a day that he is getting at present but would be happy to go for longer and would love to be off lead eventually so he can stretch those gangly long legs!

Chance can pull slightly when his puppyish excitement takes hold but he is already learning not to pull and is very responsive. Once a strong bond has developed with Chance and his new family and he has been given recall training, walks with him should be a dream. Please note Chance should never be let off the lead near public roads or livestock.

~ Where Can I Live? ~
We feel Chance will be happiest to live with at least one other dog to show him the ropes and hopefully play with him! We feel Chance will need a family where someone is around most of the time and an active home would be great so he can enjoy long walks and adventures. Chance would be happy to live with older children who won’t frighten him and with whom he can bond and become best friends with.

~ Where Am I? ~
Chance is currently living in a foster home in Suffolk but can be homed anywhere in the UK as long as we have a home-checker available. Please be aware however that you will be required to both meet him and collect him from Suffolk.

~ Want To Adopt Me? ~
Please form a very orderly queue for this little beauty who now needs his very own forever home. Chance is neutered, vaccinated, de-flead, wormed and microchipped and a home check will be required as part of the adoption procedure.

Here are some photos of Chance enjoying some zoomies in our paddock:

Playtime...

Playtime…

Chance is always inviting the hounds to play :-)

Chance is always inviting the hounds to play πŸ™‚

But he's also learning how to "stand and stare"...

But he’s also learning how to “stand and stare”…

Busy busy...

Busy busy…

Silly ears :-)

Silly ears πŸ™‚

Irresistible :-)

Irresistible πŸ™‚

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Dog Blog: Ty’s doing’s

Posted by indigodream on 9 March, 2014

Sundie 9ff March

Deer me pals

Who's for an adventure then? Ollie? Miffy?

Who’s for an adventure then? Ollie? Miffy?

We woz all havin’ a luvverly lie-in wen Mummy Sue sez….

“Ok houndies, how about an adventure? There’s lots and lots of houndies in kennels that still need a home – YOU can come with me and help to raise money and give people cuddles so that they want a greyhound too”

“Mummy Sue, you iz so funi” I sez “Iz veri hapi to give cuddels but peepul needs to cum here, by appointment”

“Meh!” sed Miffy, wot is Ollie’s gurlfrend wot is on holidaze here….

“Adventure? With you? Oh yes mother” sed Ollie

So Ollie an’ Mummy Sue wents orf an’ di workins, wot wored Ols out, while me an Miffy hads a luvverly Sundie in our favrit beds…..

Uh, Mummy Sue, duz I look like I needs an hadeventure...

Uh, Mummy Sue, duz I look like I needs an hadeventure…?

Fis is houndies wot is doin' werkins, on a Sundie, huh!?

Fis is houndies wot is doin’ werkins, on a Sundie, huh!?

Ollie werkins - altho he woz the oldest houndie there he dun standing for ages and had to have cuddels....

Ollie werkins – altho he woz the oldest houndie there he dun standing for ages and had to have cuddels….

Fis is me frend Brennan wot woz a scaredy wuss jellyboy just like me, but now Mumm Sue sez he's all brave - aaaw, Brennan....

Fis is me frend Brennan wot woz a scaredy wuss jellyboy just like me, but now Mumm Sue sez he’s all brave – aaaw, Brennan….

Mummy Sue woz confoosed becoz Brennan looks just like me pal Henry Beanz - but Henry Beanz woz at home!

Mummy Sue woz confoosed becoz Brennan looks just like me pal Henry Beanz – but Henry Beanz woz at home!

Mmmm, maybe werkins is ok....

Mmmm, maybe werkins is ok….

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ollie duz have gurlfends all ova de place...

Ollie duz have gurlfends all ova de place…fis is Nellie

Ollie doin' yawnin -he hads to stay awake for too hours plus in the car wot is foreva wifout a snooze...

Ollie doin’ yawnin -he hads to stay awake for too hours plus in the car wot is foreva wifout a snooze…

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ollie woz zorstid wen he cumed home - Iz neva eva doin' werkings - Iz 'tired!

Ollie woz zorstid wen he cumed home – Iz neva eva doin’ werkings – Iz ‘tired!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Boat Blog: Ty’s doin’s

Posted by indigodream on 2 March, 2014

Deer me Pals

Mummy Sue haz bin naggin’ me to do sum ritin’ about Step-Mummy Sarah’s boat – larst year Iz woz forced to do boatin’ – I hates boatin’ but Mummy Sue sed “Step Mummy Sarah’s got an adorable little boat just for you with a little Ty nest in the front – how about that then?”

Hmph, Iz put me thouts wif me pics but basic’ly I hates boats and Step-Mummy Sarah’s boat is a boat – KEW EE DEE

Fis is me nest - wot is at the frunt - wot kept on goin' clang bang coz Step-Mumm Sarah duz't kno how to drive her new boat yet - huh!

Fis is me nest – wot is at the frunt – wot kept on goin’ “clang bang” coz Step-Mummy Sarah duz’t kno how to drive her new boat yet – huh!

Iz not hard to pleeze - I just needs me bed, me fud an' me field wot I uses for meditayshum...

Iz not hard to pleeze – I just needs me bed, me fud an’ me field wot I uses for meditayshum…

Fis is the cabin - I hope you notes that fere is NO SOFA! An then chairs is too weeny even for a weeny hound like Ollie...

Fis is the cabin – I hope you notes that fere is NO SOFA! An them chairs is too weeny even for a weeny hound like Ollie…

Ommmmm....

Ommmmm….

Me nest is right in the frunt....

Me nest is right in the frunt….

Zzzzzzzzz, sorry, Ommmmm.....

Zzzzzzzzz, sorry, Ommmmm…..

...so if Step-Mummy Sarah goes "clang bang" in the locks I iz the furst to know!

…so if Step-Mummy Sarah goes “clang bang” in the locks I iz the furst to know!

Sumtimes we gets burds breechin' the peece wif their tweetin' - sigh....

Sumtimes we gets burds breechin’ the peece wif their tweetin’ – sigh….

An' fere woz LOTS of fings for Step-Mummy Sarah to go "clang bang" into...

An’ fere woz LOTS of fings for Step-Mummy Sarah to go “clang bang” into…

Nuffink here duz "CLANGBANG" tho...

Nuffink here duz “CLANGBANG” tho…

Wen Step-mummy Sarah is not doin' "clang bangs" the engin' duz "GRRRRRRR" an' sumtimes the bottom duz "sccccrrrrrape" plus and the frunt is near the back wo sumtimes we gets "clangbangsccrrraaaapegrrrrrr" - I disided Iz not goaan rite boat reviews for a livin' - anyway Iz RETIRED mummy Sue....

Wen Step-mummy Sarah is not doin’ “clang bangs” the engin’ duz “GRRRRRRR” an’ sumtimes the bottom duz “SCRRRAAAAAPE” ” plus and the frunt is near the back so sumtimes we gets “CLANGBANGSCCRRAAAAPEGRRRRR” – I disided Iz not goin’ to rite boat reviews for a livin’ – anyway Iz RETIRED mummy Sue….

Boats? Huh, you can keep 'em...

Boats? Huh, you can keep ’em…

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