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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 40 – River Thames

Posted by indigodream on 26 August, 2016

Rewind to Saturday 23rd July

Henley to Goring

Such a fair morning...

Such a fair morning…

We travelled to the boat on Friday night and had a pretty good journey, arriving early enough for me to shop for supplies in Waitrose. We had the three Beanz with us – Richard dropped me off at the shop, then dropped the dogs off at the boat, then came back in time to pay for the shopping and do the carrying! When we got back to the boat, Archie was howling – probably because he’d heard us coming up the towpath, but he’d attracted an audience of concerned citizens who though he was being abused terribly! We hastened on board and let him out so that he could tell them personally what a hard life he was enduring!

We settled in and watched another lovely sunset over the river – it’s such a fine spot and it’s no wonder that boats flock here from far and wide.

The following morning we were up early to greet some very special guests, Cyril and Kate, ex of narrowboat Tamesis, who’d caught the bus to Henley to join us for a cruise up to Reading. We’d last seen them in 2013, when they were contemplating looking for a Freeman cruiser so that they could stay on the water – at the time, Freeman’s were in short supply. However, they’d been in my thoughts as, in June I realised why Freeman’s were in short supply – they’re all on the Medway! Sadly, they’d had to change their plans and haven’t replaced their beloved narrowboat; luckily they have plenty of friends on the water so they can still get to cruise every year.

Not mpressed - though the river was lovely :-)

Not impressed – though the river was lovely 🙂

It was set to be a scorchingly hot day, but the morning was just right and we set off upriver with Cyril at the helm, grinning like a pumpkin. Cyril and Kate are such lovely people and we chatted the morning away. I can’t believe I haven’t got any photos of them – I was sure I’d taken some – never mind!

All too soon we were in Reading, where we picked up some more guests – Tina with mini-hounds Macey and Elise and her friend Sue with greyhound Malcolm, the latest Indigo Dreamer! But no sooner had we picked them up than we dropped Kate and Cyril off near to their home – sadly they had commitments in the afternoon and  couldn’t stay longer – we bid them a fond farewell – it had been great to see them.

We carried on upstream, having a much smoother journey without the lengthy delays at every lock. It was ridiculously hot, and despite having all the doors open and the fan on, we worried that the hounds were overheating. We stopped for lunch at a meadow a little way upstream from Reading – it was a fine spot with a beach area where we took the hounds for a paddle. Words cannot express how unimpressed they were with their dunking – they are not natural water dogs! Macey, being Macey, had a game of chase with a passing dog – Archie joined her with enthusiasm and zoomies ensued – it was blisteringly hot for such shennanigans so we got them back in the river! Although the hounds didn’t appreciate the water, we quite enjoyed wading in with them and, of course, the subsequent shower as they shook themselves dry!

Wavng a reluctant goodbye to Still Rockin' and No Problem XL

Waving a reluctant goodbye to Still Rockin’ and No Problem XL

We continued upstream and as we passed through Beale Park we spotted widebeams Still Rockin and No Problem XL. We pulled over – the river was plenty wide enough to accommodate two “fat narrers” and a narrer! We piled off the boat and had a merry catch up on the towpath – Macey, having laid claim to Indigo Dream, proceeded to investigate Still Rockin – she heartily approved of their facilities and it seemed likely that she would jump ship! We calculated that between the three boats we had 9 dogs – all mixing harmoniously on the towpath. We only had a brief stop – it was so hard to drag ourselves away, but we needed to get a bit further upstream – Beale Park is in the middle of nowhere and we would need to get back to a car at the end of the day.

We had planned to moor somewhere below the lock at Goring, but the towpath moorings were jam packed and the lock moorings were fully booked; we asked the lock-keeper about moorings and he commented that he’d seen a narrowboat moored on the left back just upstream of the weir. We were chuffed – there was a perfect meadow mooring just waiting for us – we would never have thought to stop there if the lockie hadn’t mentioned it. Our mooring was adjacent to a very quiet towpath with a gate between us and the downstream meadow. This meant that we could let the hounds out for an off-lead bimble – even Herbie, though he only took a cursory interest in the countryside before going back to his bed.

The pack - what a shame (but not a surprise) that Archie had pushed himself into the front and obscuring lovely Malcolm!

The pack – what a shame (but not a surprise) that Archie had pushed himself into the front and obscuring lovely Malcolm!

Richard cycled to Goring station to get a handy train back to Henley; we lounged on the boat enjoying cool drinks, houndie cuddles and houndie chat – bliss! At 7pm-ish, we wandered over to the Swan at Streatley, just over the river from Goring. It was just the right distance for an evening stroll through the abundant meadows. Although the pub was dog-friendly, getting a table was such a palaver – it really was too stuffy to be inside, and there was a free table on the riverside terrace, but the staff were fretting over whether a dog at another table might not like our dogs, despite all dogs showing no reaction to each other! In the end we settled outside at the back of the pub and they did eventually consent to take our food order. It had been such a hot day, we plumped for lots of starters and nibbles rather than a big meal – Richard joined us just before the food arrived (service was slow). The food was delicious, but very pricey, as were the drinks, so the pub doesn’t get a great review.

With the night drawing in, Richard piled all of our guests into the car – Malcolm the greyhound balked at getting into the car – apparently he always does; but he looked astonished when, instead of a drama, Richard just scooped him up and put him in the boot! Richard drove our guests back to Reading and I wended my way back to the boat with the Beanz. But I had a little treat – as I was deciding which path I needed to take at the back of the pub, I met a man walking a lovely blue greyhound – I did take his racing name but promptly forgot it! Inevitable we had a chat – the man was relatively new to greyhound ownership and completely besotted already – exactly as it should be 🙂

By now it was dark and I was so pleased that I’d carried a torch with me, though there was a certain magic in walking back through the long grass, enjoying the silence of the riverbank.

We were all exhausted by the time we got back on board and the hounds were anxious for me to swing our bed down from the wall so that they could get settled. Richard was quickly back and we enjoyed a peaceful night on a wonderful mooring.

Photoblog:

Open water swimming has really taken off in the last few years - we like the orange floats otherwise swimmers are virtually invisible..

Open water swimming has really taken off in the last few years – we like the orange floats otherwise swimmers are virtually invisible..

 

The mysterious red postbox has disappeared from Sonning Bridge, but we did notice in another incongruous stpo upriver...

The mysterious red post box has disappeared from Sonning Bridge, but we did notice one in another incongruous stop upriver…

 

Elsie enjoying la dolce vita

Elsie enjoying la dolce vita

 

Malcolm wasn't quite so sure about the boat, though he settled well enough :-)

Malcolm wasn’t quite so sure about the boat, though he settled well enough 🙂

 

Archie wasn't too sure about cuddles with his diminutive girlfriends :-)

Archie wasn’t too sure about cuddles with his diminutive girlfriends 🙂

 

Elsie and her magnificent ears!

Elsie and her magnificent ears!

 

Happy hounds at the pub - I had taken a sheepie each from them so I don't why four of the six hounds piled onto this one!

Happy hounds at the pub – I had taken a sheepie each from them so I don’t why four of the six hounds piled onto this one!

 

One Response to “Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 40 – River Thames”

  1. Carrie said

    Lovely post & pics as ever!
    I’ve been meaning to ask your advice about feeding dogs. Our puppy had a very mal-nourished start in life and he has some hip and knee dysplasia. X-rays showed he needs an op on his back-leg knees which (one leg in particular), continually dislocate. But if we can help his muscles develop on his hips, his hip problem may disappear. What do you think? Any feeding tips, particular meat, supplements you can recommend? Thanks lovely Dreamers

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