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Archive for November 14th, 2015

Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2015 – Day 35: Part 3

Posted by indigodream on 14 November, 2015

Rewind to Tuesday 6th September

Weston March Lock to Anderton

You can never tire of this view...

You can never tire of this view…

Even though we’d had the excitement of the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal, the Weaver didn’t disappoint. It’s a beautiful river and, at last, the hounds could get off for the necessary – though they weren’t in any distress.

Amazingly, despite our epic day, it was still only lunchtime when we pulled in at Sutton Weaver swingbridge for hot food and a cream tea. The dogs got off and were soon tethered to a mooring pin (the road was too close to let them off) – they didn’t seem to mind and were soon snoozing on their sheepies. They perked up when lunch was served – the boat’s deck chairs are at a very convenient height for snaffling food.

We were all quite reflective – the weather was warm and sunny – time to sit on the shore and mull over our wonderful morning. But we couldn’t stop yet – we we needed to move up to Anderton so that Doug and James could rejoin nb Chance; Ian and Cheryl would get a train back to nb Winedown in Liverpool. But first we had to bid a fond farewell to Stuart, who, as well as guiding us wisely, had entertained us with tales from his long life as a Mersey pilot.

We set off early afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed the passage upstream – all too soon we were at the Anderton Boat Lift. We scouted the moorings and found a perfect spot just beyond the boat lift moorings. The mooring was fenced and rural, with a long gap between us and the boats moored upstream. The bank was absolutely teeming with rabbits, so Archie and Henry could finally enjoy a bit of freedom (no rabbits were harmed in the making of this post!).

A perfect place for some unrestricted rummaging :-)

A perfect place for some unrestricted rummaging 🙂

Now we had to say a fond farewell to the rest of the crew. It was a little sad, we were so glad that they had joined us and the vagaries of life on the cut mean that we may not meet again, in person, for years – c’est la vie.

It had been an epic day, and we were just preparing for a quiet evening in front of the TV when disaster struck. It started off innocuously enough with Richard coming in from a walk with the hounds to tell me that Ollie’s poo was black. This is very bad news as poo becomes black and tarry because of partly digested blood, indicating of a haemorrhage somewhere in the intestines. I kept Ollie under observation and got some phone advice from his regular vet in Surrey. If it was a minor bleed then it might settle, though when Lou had the same thing (more than once) she was always admitted to hospital for fluids and supportive therapy. But we weren’t so lucky, after drinking a major amount of water, Ollie was spectacularly sick, was in obvious abdominal pain and now had tarry diarrhoea, think old engine oil and a hosepipe  – definitely signs of a major bleed. There was nothing for it, we’d have to get him to an emergency vet.

There is a veterinary hospital offering 24-hour emergency cover in Northwich, but it might as well have been on the moon – my car was sitting in a garage in Wigan and I had absolutely no means of getting it back until daylight. We arranged for Ollie to be admitted to the vets, but how were we to get him there? It was way too far away for him to walk, even without this most recent crisis. We scrambled to the top of the bank and found ourselves in the Anderton Visitor Centre car park, which was deserted and gated at night. We wended our way to the road and found an identifiable junction. The vets had suggested a few pet-friendly cab firms, but they were all supremely unhelpful – either they had never been pet-friendly or they would only carry small dogs. Even when we explained our desperate situation (not the bit about the dire rear!), none would contemplate helping us. In the end, the vet came out to collect us – he found a sad little tableau of me and Richard sitting on a bench under a single street lamp with Ollie flat out on his blanket in front of us. I went to hospital with Ollie and Richard went back to look after the Beanz.

I cannot speak highly enough of Alan Redpath, the vet at Willows Veterinary Hospital – not only a capable vet, he was kind and possessed of a rare courtesy – I felt reassured that Ollie was in good hands. As expected, Ollie needed to be admitted for treatment, though Alan was grave about his propects. I was going to get a taxi back to Anderton, but Alan insisted on driving me back, and on waiting until Richard came to meet me.

With no sense of the tension or occasion, Archie and Henry had a whale of a time running round the deserted and rabbit-infested woods. Herbie was kept on lead until we were within sight of the boat – it’s the only place where he can be reliably let off lead as experience has taught us that he will just run back to his sofa!

It was a morose and exhausting end to what had been a red letter cruising day – what a shame 😦

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