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Archive for August 9th, 2015

Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 20

Posted by indigodream on 9 August, 2015

Monday 20th July

Riddlesden to Snaygill

Archie enjoying the view :-)

Archie enjoying the view πŸ™‚

We had a day of highs and lows – literally high as the canal hereabouts perches above the dales (northern word for valley, apparently!) with magnificent views – it is as beautiful a stretch as I’ve ever cruised. I’ve been a bit sad because some of our friends have long boats that will never cruise these waters. For the Rochdale/Calder and Hebble I thought “c’est la vie” but for the Leeds and Liverpool I’m thinking “if your boat is too long then hire a boat (or invite yourself on board Indigo Dream) – this canal MUST be seen”!

The valley sides are so steep hereabouts that our usual pursuit of looking into people’s back gardens was replaced by the more uncomfortable pastime of looking into people’s back bedrooms (I promise that we averted our gaze!) – the canal was level with the house roofs below!

We’d started out at 10am and it was a fine sunny day full of wonders – I began to regret that I’d agreed to work on Tuesday and would have to cut our long weekend short. As it happens, I never made it to work, but that’s a story for later…

We had a wonderful morning, but as the hours passed the day started to sour – the clouds gathered, it started to rain, heavily; there were just too many swingbridges (the novelty had worn off by now) and it seemed to be taking a long time to get to the mooring that we’d booked with Snaygill Boats. Though Richard wasn’t surprised by how long it was taking, having not missed a page in Nicholson’s when counting the miles we needed to cover! The swingbridges are an opportunity to talk to people, so many had tales of them breaking down (arghhhh), none did fortunately and at two Richard enlisted the help of two little boys who were walking along with their father. One of the boys complained that his finger hurt after holding down the button for such a long time but they seemed to really enjoy working the bridges. I hadn’t catered for us to eat on board today (hoping for a lunchtime pub) so I didn’t have any food that would translate into a lunch and, to top it all, Ollie started to yelp in pain when he moved. By the time we got to Snaygill I was quite dispirited, but the friendly folk at the boatyard sorted our mooring (we’d booked on the way up on Saturday), though we were a bit disappointed not to be on a pontoon. We’re actually near the end of a long stretch of online moorings, brested up to another boat – not ideal for Ollie.

I like this photo, even if it out of focus - it really captures the dreamy quality of our morning's cruise...

I like this photo, even if it out of focus – it really captures the dreamy quality of our morning’s cruise…

With the afternoon wearing on, Richard caught a cab back to Bingley to collect the car and I packed up the boat. In the meantime, Ollie was becoming more and more uncomfortable and lame on his back leg – I decided he needed a vet visit to check that he would be ok for the long drive home. I got him an appointment at the Vets4Pets franchise in Pets at Home, Keighley. The long walk along the online moorings back to the car became critical – but Ollie managed to hobble along and I was relieved to get to the vet by 4.15pm.

There was a lovely vet on duty, obviously a greyhound lover, who gave Ollie the once over, but she couldn’t find an obvious cause for his pain other than maybe he’d overdone things – he had walked a lot more than usual over the weekend in the company of the other greyhounds. He has a complicated medical history, so the most we could do was agree an interim plan of giving him an extra dose of his strong painkillers to tide him over the journey and see how he was when we got home and he’d had a chance to rest.

We set off down the interminable M1, swapping drivers at the Tibshelf services (I think that’s the name). We were pleasantly surprised – although there are limited food options here, there is a pleasant dog-walking and seating area, which is not a feature of the older services. We toiled home, getting back to a melancholy message from my mum that her little pekingese, Sybil, also an Indigo Dreamer, had died. It topped off a niggly afternoon and I was glad to get to bed – though on Tuesday Ollie became very ill indeed and I thought we might be saying goodbye to another Indigo Dreamer…….

r_Leeds-Liv-20Jul15-279

The memorial at Bridge 186 – now I’m wondering whether that circle below the plaque is the old altimeter…

Today’s Trivia:

As we approached Bridge 183 (another swingbridge), we noticed a discreet cross that had been erected on the side of the towpath; then alongside the bridge there was a substantial block topped off with a Polish eagle. The cross marks the site of a plane crash which killed seven Polish airmen in 1943; the structure by the bridge is a memorial where wreaths are laid on remembrance day. Ironically, the airmen were not killed in action, but during a routine training flight when the plane’s wing fell off in mid-air – literally! What a way to go so far from home.

I found some more history here. The memorial was unveiled in 2007, and the plane’s altimeter was apparently built into it. The oldest man in the crew had married a local girl just a month before he was killed in this accident; his widow, aged 84, was present at the unveiling ceremony. There’s a fuller account of the memorial’s construction here, but it is touching that so many local people and businesses felt moved to construct the memorial stone. Richard grew up meeting many ex-RAF Polish pilots, indeed of all the Polish Veteran’s associations in the UK they were the strongest with fantastic links to the RAF. They were some great characters there, many became leading Engineers but sadly none of the ex-Pilots amongst Richard’s family friends are still alive.

Come to the Leeds and Liverpool - this canal just has to be cruised :-)

Come to the Leeds and Liverpool – this canal just has to be cruised πŸ™‚

Ollie Update:

Although Ollie showed no sign of lameness on his front leg when the Yorkshire vet examined him, on Tuesday morning he lost the use of his front right leg – we rushed him to our local vet (his own supervet was off sadly) and had to carry him into the surgery 😦 We feared the worse – had he had a stroke, or had one of the slipped discs in his neck (that we found out about during a scan a couple of weeks ago) slipped further and damaged his spinal nerves? It looked very bleak, but we decided to refer him to a specialist for investigations before making any drastic decisions. I had to cancel my work committment and we dashed him to the Royal Veterinary College hospital in Hertfordshire where he was admitted for tests and intravenous pain-relief. I hated to leave him there, but the neurologist who saw him was able to give us the good news that she didn’t think it was a stroke or spinal nerve damage – his symptoms were pointing at a problem with his shoulder joint.

A barrage of x-rays and tests over the next two days showed that Ollie’s lameness was because of blood in the synovial space of his shoulder joint (the tiny space between the ball and socket bones, which cushions and lubricates the joint’s movement). They drained 5ml of blood from the the joint, which, as far I can work out, is a lot, given that there should be less than 1ml of clear fluid in there. The tests didn’t reveal what caused the bleeding, but the combination of hospital rest, easing the pressure by draining the blood and some heavy-duty pain relief has given Ollie the use of his leg back. Within days of coming home (lots of TLC and intensive feeding), his mobility was back to what it was before the episode and his appetite really perked up. He’s on some new painkillers which seem to making a big difference. The genius vets at the Royal Veterinary College agree that Ollie is a medical mystery and, because of that, we don’t know if or when he might relapse, but for now I’m just relieved that the old boy is still alive!

Photoblog:

Good rummaging country here - of ocurse, Archie and Henry have wee'd here before on nb Greyhound :-)

Good rummaging country here – of course, Archie and Henry have wee’d here before on nb Greyhound πŸ™‚

Lovely...

Lovely…

Swingbridges - there are a tedious number on thie canal, but its the only way when the surrounding landscape is so steep..

Swingbridges – there are a tedious number on this canal, but its the only way to cross the canal when the surrounding landscape is so steep..

Though sometimes the road does manage to drop precipitously under the canal!

Though sometimes the road does manage to drop precipitously under the canal!

Waiting for a lift - they had a slightly longer walk than planned as the last bridge was pinned open so I didn't stop for them!

Waiting for a lift – they had a slightly longer walk than planned as the last bridge was pinned open so I didn’t stop for them!

Sheep!

Sheep!

More dreaminess...

More dreaminess…

The cross marking the site of the 1943 plane crash by Bridge 186

The cross marking the site of the 1943 plane crash by Bridge 186

A tranquil place for a memorial...

A tranquil place for a memorial…

A last view before the rain closed in for the afternoon

A last view before the rain closed in for the afternoon

 

 

 

 

 

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