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Archive for April 26th, 2014

Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014: Day 3

Posted by indigodream on 26 April, 2014

Sunday 13th April

Hayes to Cassiobury Park

Today totally encapsulated what Indigo Dreaming is all about….

Guest hound Peggy Sue showing a fine appreciation of what it means to be a boating greyhound :-)

Guest hound Peggy Sue showing a fine appreciation of what it means to be a boating greyhound πŸ™‚

Firstly, we got up early, ok, so that’s not typical, but it was a beautiful morning and we were on a mission to get to Cowley Lock, or rather, Benbow Bridge, by 10am. We got the dogs walked, and, to my immense relief, Ty felt confident enough to have a wee! In fact, he seemed to get more settled at the trip went on, though we may have to consider leaving him with Sarah more often as the odyssey progresses.

However, we were off to a good start – Richard took the helm and I got onto coffee and tidying up. Back in February we emptied the front cabin in anticipation of having a new floor put down. We didn’t manage to get the carpenter in before the Olympic Park cruise so we piled everything back into the cabin all higgledy-piggledy. We haven’t had a chance to get it sorted since!

We stopped off at Benbow Bridge and were soon joined by our guests for the day – Lorraine, Mike and their greyhound Peggy-Sue. They’d put an enquiry on Facebook about greyhounds and boating – predictably, people recommended that they get in touch with us! Knowing that they were based in Kent, I suggested that they bring Peggy-Sue along for a cruise while we were still in the Southeast – luckily they were free today and so a plan was born!

I wonder how much longer this gorilla's going to last? It's been there since we started Indigo Dreaming 8 years ago!

I wonder how much longer this gorilla’s going to last? It’s been there since we started Indigo Dreaming 8 years ago!

Lorraine and Mike have been boating on the Lee and Stort, but it was a new experience for Peggy-Sue. She was a natural boater – interested but calm; she did her fair share of “Olympic looking” but by the afternoon she’d found the sofa! Ty and Ollie took very little interest in their visitor – Ollie just played it cool and Ty was just too scared to bother. However, all three dogs did enjoy a few bimbles around the locks – it’s always handy to have an extra dog-walker πŸ™‚

It was a fabulous day – the English countryside was a riot of colour and the sky was so very blue. We spent the last week in March on a cruise north of the Arctic Circle, where there was no natural colour – just the white of the snow and the infinity of the sea. I was ecstatic to get home to the vivid palatte of the English countryside – and that was before the spring blossom had really started to riot.

Of course, we had many more boating friends to meet along the way. It was a sheer delight to stop off and have a chat with Jaq and Les from nb Valerie. They’ve had a hard time recently, though I know they’ve enjoyed the love and support they’ve received from the boating community. Later we bumped into old friends Eric and Sally from nb Cherie – sadly we were were locking with a very efficient partner and couldn’t stop to chat – shame!

Skipper about to scarper - he seems to have learnt his boating from Ty :-p

Skipper about to scarper – he seems to have learnt his boating from Ty :-p

We met our new locking partners below Coppermill Lock. For anyone who hasn’t been there recently, watch out for the cross flows below the lock. There is always one strong stream, but there is so much water in the canal, there is now an additional, very vigorous bywash just below the lock. We met our new locking partners here when they overtook our old locking partners just before they were swept into the towpath by the flow.

Our new locking partners were very interesting – not only did they have a beautifullly shiny boat with an old chuffing Gardner engine, but they also own the cottage above Black Jack’s Lock with its island mooring – now that might be an attractive option for the winter. They also had a little lurcher – it was Skipper’s first time on the boat and he seemed to adopt a Ty-like attitude to the whole business and scarpered a few times before finally settling on his bed indoors. Nb Middlesex was going toΒ  Bridgewater boatyard (just below Cassio Bridge Lock) for a survey, so we cruised the whole afternoon with them – they were pleasant and efficient, though I’m not sure why the boat was being steered by two young men while their “old” mum (older than them – probably the same age as me!) pushed the gates around…

My favourite photo - such a special  moment with such special people...

My favourite photo – such a special moment with such special people…

The towpaths were busy with walkers enjoying the weather – this meant a lot of gongoozling, encouraged, perhaps by the young man on the helm of nb Middlesex taking his top off as per diet coke ad!

We got to our target mooring, below Cassio Bridge lock, by 5pm and were soon joined by Graham, Jill, Baxter and Muttley from nb Matilda Rose – this was the next stage of the day!

This was nb Matilda Rose’s last day on English waters – she was due to be craned onto a truck on Monday for their trip to Belgium. They’re planning to spend an indefinite amount of time exploring Europe’s waterways. You can read about their adventures on their new blog, along with the process they went through to get nb Matilda Rose ready for Europe. I’ve been feeling a bit melancholy at saying so many goodbyes on our way out of London, but the Matilda Rose’s have spent the last six months saying goodbye to their many waterway friends. We were privileged to be part of their last night on the water. Jill was already a bit emotional when she had the biggest surprise of the evening – Kevin TOO, regular blog reader/commenter, had driven from Derby to pick Vic and Sue of nb No Problem from Llangollen and bring them down for a surprise last night celebration. So the stage was set for a magical evening…

Aaah, we will miss the MAtilda Rose's - we'll have to contrive a visit to Europe...

Aaah, we will miss the Matilda Rose’s – we’ll have to contrive a visit to Europe…

However, before we could start, I drove Lorraine, Mike and Peggy-Sue back to their car – Peggy-Sue was so very tired – cruising is very stimulating for hounds πŸ™‚

The trip to Uxbridge didn’t take very long, and I was soon back in Croxley to pick up Richard, Graham and Jill for the trip to Watford’s Pizza Express (various vouchers had been obtained) – we were joined by Kevin, Vic and Sue. Oh, what a splendid evening – I doubt whether we covered one-tenth of the things we could have talked about- we were the last to leave the restaurant! Jill and Graham were facing a huge change in the morning, I think that the surprise party was a great distraction, hopefully we’ve sent them on their way in good spirits. They won’t be blogging for a few days but they have posted a photo of Matilda Rose looking settled on foreign waters πŸ™‚

I dropped Jill and Graham off at the boatyard while Richard popped back to Indigo Dream and picked up the hounds. I drove us home, tired but joyful, it had been a quite remarkable cruising day on many levels πŸ™‚

Photoblog:

Some boat names are so clever :-)

Some boat names are so clever πŸ™‚

The classic Indigo Dream pose...

The classic Indigo Dream pose…

Peggy-Sue trying a life-jacket for size - she wasn't impressed - we had a touch of the drama queens as she decided that she couldn't possibly walk while wearing it!

Peggy-Sue trying a life-jacket for size – she wasn’t impressed – we had a touch of the drama queens as she decided that she couldn’t possibly walk while wearing it!

 

 

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