Indigo Dreaming

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Archive for July 1st, 2014

Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2014 – day 14

Posted by indigodream on 1 July, 2014

Friday 20th June

Hawne Basin at sunset - it is a lovely place to moor and we were made very welcome...

Hawne Basin at sunset – it is a lovely place to moor and we were made very welcome…

Richard went up on Friday afternoon to get the boat ready for Saturday’s cruise – after almost a month of idleness (a good rest after the BCN Challenge!), the water tank needed refreshing and the toilet tank needed a pump-out. There was also food shopping to be done and Richard polished the boat – part of our strategy to put off having her repainted for yet another year.The good folk at Hawne Basin were very helpful and kindly let us moor the night on the water point which would allow easy access for the hounds.

I had to work, so I followed on with the hounds in the evening. It was the night before midsummer, so it was still just about light when I arrived at 10.30pm. Hawne Basin looked magnificent – perfect reflections in theΒ  treacle-smooth water; earlier Richard had witnessed the brilliant sunset over the water (I’d seen it over the motorway!).

Ty was not thrilled to get to the boat, despite the fact that we had initiated “campaign Ty” a few days ago with conventional anti-anxiety therapy. Nontheless, we were all tired and soon went off to bed – busy day tomorrow.

Saturday 21st June

Hawne Basin to Parkhead Junction and back

We had an exciting day today – a few weeks ago, we offered Perry Barr Retired Greyhound Trust a couple of charity cruises. They decided to run two online auctions and today’s winning bidders were a groups of six greyhound lovers with their four greyhounds (King, Charlie, Daisy and Eddie)!

Group photo with all greyhounds facing the camera - regular readers will know that this is a photographic achievement!

Group photo with all greyhounds facing the camera – regular readers will know that this is a photographic achievement!

They were due at 10am, so we had time to move the boat out of the basin to the towpath, for easier loading. As we moved the boat we realised that we’d had a bit of a misunderstanding – I thought that Richard had paid for our mooring yesterday; Richard thought I’d paid for the mooring back in May – oops! I had to run back to office to pay – they apologised for charging me Β£80 odd – I laughed, it would cost almost that much for one night at Limehouse!

With all our bills paid, we found our guests and set off along the canal. Our plan was to go along the Dudley Canals as far as the Dudley Tunnel South Portal where we’d have a lunch and a dog-walk. Sadly, we didn’t make it that far – in fact, it took us so long to get from Hawne Basin to Windmill End that we had lunch by the Bumble Hole visitor centre! The problem was trash – we’ve rarely had to clear the prop so often and the crowning glory of the day was a car tyre, which took half an hour or more to cut off. It was the first properly hot day of the season and we suspect that a lot of the trash was “churn” – stuff that comes up from the bottom when the water warms up because we didn’t pick up anything on the last leg of the BCN Challenge.

Luckily our guests were a genial crowd and the menfolk were fascinated by the prop clearance – all part of boating life! We ladies just talked greyhounds – all day long! Charlie hound was a natural Indigo Dreamer and contender for the “Olympic Looking” squad; King’s take on boating was “wow, there’s a sofa” – that was it as far as he was concerned! Daisy and Eddie weren’t too sure about the whole thing – they seemed to take their cue from Ty, who was a complete jellyboy, despite being medicated to the eyeballs 😦 Ollie, of course, took it all in his stride!

We had a lengthy lunch, with hounds and humans enjoying the green oasis of the Bumble Hole – we might have spent the rest of the day there but we really were keen for our guests to have the full Dudley Canal experience. This included a run-in with some exceptionally grumpy fishermen – that’s boating for you!

The canal is surprisingly elevated and gives great views down towards Merryhill, many lock miles below. Sadly, we had to turn back at Parkhead Junction – there wasn’t enough time for us to get up and down the locks – though our return journey was much faster – maybe we’d picked up all the trash on the way out!

Charlie - another Indigo Dreaming star :-)

Charlie – another Indigo Dreaming star πŸ™‚

The charity cruises are an interesting experience – essentially we are inviting groups of strangers to share our boat for the day with no ideas of what’s ahead. We do make the assumption that anyone involved with greyhounds will be good people! Our guests were a particularly delightful group of greyhound owners and I hope we’ll keep in touch – with Facebook we’re already friends and I hope that we meet again πŸ™‚

We got back to Hawne Basin by 5.30pm-ish though Charlie Greyhound didn’t leave until nearer 6pm – he loved the boat and didn’t want to leave – such a contrast with Ty, who’d have happily got into anyone’s car on the promise of never having to cruise again!

When our guests had gone, we sorted the first of the weekend’s car shuffles – we had both cars in Hawne Basin so we took both to our favourite car park in Brindley Drive (convenient for Cambrian Wharf) then brought Richard’s car back to Hawne Basin. The hounds came with us and we’d hoped to find a dog-friendly pub or pub garden where we could find some supper. We did try a TGI Friday, which had an outside terrace – we asked whether we could bring dogs onto the terrace – this was obviously not a question they’d had before! The answer was a long time coming, we could bring them on the terrace provided we didn’t actually sit on or near the tables, just in case someone was allergic to the dogs. This set my red lights flashing as “allergy” is such a spurious argument – there were pots planted with flowers and hanging baskets on the terrace – allergies to them will be far more common but no-one bothers with that; and don’t even get me started on the use of air fresheners in hotel bedrooms (I’m very allergic to so many of these)… Anyway, I stomped off in a huff and we went to plan B – a takeaway from a local chinese takeaway and the next episode of “Game of Thrones” Series 3. This lifted my spirits – the 3rd series is every bit as gripping as the first two, maybe more so, because I haven’t read the books this far so I don’t know what’s coming!

Photoblog:

Just a few more images from a lovely day’s cruise..

We had a very civilised lunch at the Bumble Hole moorings..

We had a very civilised lunch at the Bumble Hole moorings..

You can't have too many houndie photos - here's Charlie again - he really loved boating! He's wearing a cool coat which is a bit like a chamoiz leather - retains water without being heavy or dripping - clever!

You can’t have too many houndie photos – here’s Charlie again – he really loved boating! He’s wearing a cool coat which is a bit like a chamois leather – retains water without being heavy or dripping – clever!

Happy menfolk too :-)

Happy menfolk too πŸ™‚

Are we in Greece? Lovely Mediterranean scene of "wild" goats lazing in the sunshine - in Dudley! :-)

Are we in Greece? Lovely Mediterranean scene of “wild” goats lazing in the sunshine – in Dudley! πŸ™‚

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