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Archive for May 12th, 2014

Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014 – Day 9

Posted by indigodream on 12 May, 2014

Please support us - even a tiny donation can put a smile on a retired greyhound's face..

Please support us – even a tiny donation can put a smile on a retired greyhound’s face..

Sunday 27th April

Stoke Bruerne (top lock) to Buckby (Bridge 12)

Setting off on the long lock-free run to Buckby - are those hounds looking wistfully towards Richard a run with the bike? Nah! They were asleep a few minutes later :-)

Setting off on the long lock-free run to Buckby – are those hounds looking wistfully towards Richard wanting a run with the bike? Nah! They were asleep a few minutes later πŸ™‚

There were fewer hound bed distribution dramas last night – I think they’re finally worn out! Yet, they were awake before the alarm and just as well – we needed to make a timely start to a very unusual day’s cruising.

We’d paid for overnight car parking at the Canal Museum car park – worth every penny as it’s so convenient for the canal. The parking fee needed to be topped up at 8am, though the car wouldn’t be there for very long. The hounds had a morning bimble and were just agitating for their breakfast when Kathryn from nb Leo No. 2 called in to wish us a good trip. She witnessed the greyhounds at their best – Henry and Archie gave her an enthusiastic welcome, then settled on deck to scoff their breakfasts; Herbie, who’s been out of sorts, lay on the sofa and refused to get up for his breakfast. Imagine the sight,Β  Herbie reclining regally on his sofa while Kathryn rubbed his tummy and I hand fed him choice morsels of roast chicken – but he’s not spoiled you understand πŸ™‚

At 9am, we set off towards the Blisworth tunnel. I don’t like driving through tunnels, I get all disorientated, so Richard drove us through, managing to avoid the worst of the cascades while the hounds and I found reason to stay snug and dry inside. At the far end, Richard took his bike and cycled back to the car while I cruised the long lock-free pound to Buckby bottom.

No sooner had Richard disappeared over the brow of the hill than I had a bit of a drama. It’s quite narrow beyond the tunnel and I spotted a boat moored quite carelessly with its bow poking into the canal. I was tutting away, because I knew I’d have to visit the trees in order to pass, but as I approached my tutting turned to something more serious – the moored boat’s bow was adrift and was virtually blocking the canal in front of me.

In the meantime, there was locking to be done! Roger and Margaret on nb Mary Beth...

In the meantime, there was locking to be done! Roger and Margaret on nb Mary Beth…

I was teasing Nick yesterday that “you know when you’re in the trees when the mop is bowling along the roof towards you” – ah yes, as I tried to creep past the boat, the mop was on the move! Luckily it stopped before it was pushed into the canal or hit me in the face! I managed to get between the offside and the bow of the adrift boat and pushed it into the bank. I had it pinned there while I was considering how I could get it secured when I saw a boat coming the other way – blast! Now I needed to get in front to make room for the incoming boat to pass. I wanted to get off to try to get the adrift boat tied up again, but without me pinning it in place, it had drifted out again. The logistics of getting moored up on a high bank with pins while keeping the hounds on board defeated me temporarily. But the oncoming boat came to the rescue – I explained the situation to them and they volunteered to stop and re-tie the offending boat – they had four crew on board. I was unashamedly girlie about it, explaining that I was single-handed, had lots of hounds to manage etc etc – they gave me the cynical looks of the sorely put-upon but they did oblige and did get the boat retied – phew!

The rest of my morning went much more smoothly – the dogs were absolutely exhausted. Archie felt obliged to be on deck but he didn’t have the energy to do any looking – I wrapped him up in Ty’s fleecy coat, put a sheepskin down and he curled up for a snooze.

Now, I wasn’t in the least bit bored on my trip, but I did settle into a strange torpor – I bumbled along, resisting the temptation to moor up and have a snooze with the hounds! I didn’t take any notes, I didn’t notice anything in particular, though this stretch of canal is as fine as any, especially the countryside just part Gayton Junction.

I must have been passed by around 15 boats heading towards Gayton, but there was no traffic going towards Buckby – I had the canal to myself!

On his way North - on the Aire and Calder - hope he makes it :-)

On his way North – on the Aire and Calder – hope he makes it πŸ™‚

In the meantime, Richard was having a vastly different experience, he cycled back to get the car then drove to the car park at Buckby Top Lock. There he met our old friends Roger and Margaret, slaves to greyhounds Bess and Shari on their narrowboat Mary Beth. Richard knew they were coming down the flight today and also knew that they hate the heavy locks there, so he volunteered to help. It all worked well, he finished helping them down the locks and cycled down to meet me about half a mile away from bottom lock. We had a merry meeting there – the crew of nb Mary Beth joined us for a cup of tea and the six hounds had a joyful reunion – apparently Bess and Shari have missed their company.

It was gone 3pm when we bid a fond farewell to nb Mary Beth and headed for the Buckby flight. Richard was having a day full of exercise! We joined nb Opal at bottom lock and travelled up the flight with them. They were pleasant enough, but Richard and I have a pretty slick routine and sometime it can be strange to share locks with boats that don’t! They were astonished by Richard’s lock-wheeling – they have two bikes on board but it’s never occurred to them to use them in that way πŸ™‚

We did have a strange experience at bottom lock, as the two narrowboats approached, a little tupperware cruiser in front entered the lock and conspicuously closed the gates in front of us. It was a strange thing to do, but it turned out that he was only going up one lock and really it was more practical for the two narrowboats to travel together. The cruiser’s owner got talking to Richard as we moved up the locks – he’d noticed that Richard was quite strong and asked for help to move some very heavy batteries from his car to his cruiser to power his electric motor. There’s a tale there – he’d recently bought the cruiser for Β£250 and was cruising it to the far north, including a trip on the Calder and Hebble – blimey, I’d have his BSS checked before that journey!

We got to the pound below top lock and decided to moor there for a week, just shy of Bridge 12. We got the boat packed – there wasn’t much to carry and the four hounds enjoyed a last walk before being bundled into the car for the long drive home. And it was a long drive – the M1 was fine but the M25 had an abundance of Sunday evening queues – better get used to it –

Photoblog:

This is why Archie likes the deck - there's just not enough room on the sofa!

This is why Archie likes the deck – there’s just not enough room on the sofa!

No matter how you lie, that sofa is just not big enough!

No matter how you lie, that sofa is just not big enough!

Herbie proving for once and for all that it is a one hound sofa - HIS sofa, in fact!

Herbie proving for once and for all that it is a one hound sofa – HIS sofa, in fact!

Plenty of room on deck (well, when there's just one greyhound!)...

Plenty of room on deck (well, when there’s just one greyhound!)…

I took a fancy to this house - as always I have an eye for the expensive - Β£850,000 this one :-)

I took a fancy to this house – as always I have an eye for the expensive – Β£850,000 this one πŸ™‚

Another potential mooring place - not far from Bridge 26...

Another potential mooring place – not far from Bridge 26…

Sad that this house (by Bridge 26), needs to be so thoroughly boarded up...

Sad that this house (by Bridge 26), needs to be so thoroughly boarded up…

There's a story behind this red boat...

There’s a story behind this red boat… and Richard is very jealous – they are off cruising for TWO years!!!!!!

Luckily there's plenty of room for tired hounds to snooze on the way home :-)

Luckily there’s plenty of room for tired hounds to snooze on the way home πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

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