Braving the Elements by Cosmo

Before I tell you about our next exploits Daquiri is pestering me to tell you something. Apparently its all my fault! Because I’ve become such a good boy with my nose bondage thing mum got Uncle Alan to bring one for him & he’s not happy. I’m not totally a non puller now but whereas I was at 10 on the richter scale of pulling I’m now at 5.So back to Daquiri so now he’s got one & he doesn’t like it. As he’d watched me try & fail to get mine off he’s trying a different tactic when he has his on he skulks at mums side looking all sorry for himself. Must admit his first stage of that tactic was quite clever as he wouldn’t have a pee with it on either & as mum needed him to so she could go out she took it off. This tactic failed though when mum didn’t need to go out & Daquiri gave up prior to rupturing his bladder. He’s getting better with it & forgets to skulk sometimes. He’s lucky as he doesn’t have to wear it often as when we’re not in towns he’s off the lead all the time now. I have to stay on the lead until we’re at a big open space cos there’s just the irrepressible urge I get as soon as i’m let off to bomb off way into the distance at speed. I cant help it! I’m better now at coming back but can’t stop bombing off.

Anyway enough of Daquiri its my blog turn. We set off Monday morning sadly leaving our little Rembrandt Gardens mooring. We didn’t quite make it to Perivale as mum decided yet again on an unplanned stop at Alperton as there were bollards there & as the wind was picking up it was safer than pins.

The next day the weather was forecast as windy again & set to get even worse the next day so mum wanted to get on her way & try to get to Uxbridge. The wind wasn’t too bad when we set off & that didn’t actually prove to be the biggest problem. After about an hour of cruising it started to rain gently which wasn’t too much of  a problem well certainly for us all snug & warm inside. Mum just put her hood up. Then the rain got heavier & heavier then there was this enormous flash of lightning & a rumble of thunder. That was it we burst through the inner boat doors & dived into the engine room to be near mum – I mean to check mum was OK. But the weather saved it’s best to last then a huge sudden hailstorm came down with  balls of hard ice. Mum was trying to shield herself with her arm & couldnt see anything. She decided noone else was going to be coming past so put the boat into neutral & let it float free & dived for cover. Luckily it didn’t last long so mum was soon at the helm again but she was soaked & frozen so decided to abandon going to Uxbridge where we were aiming for & we pulled up opposite the train station at West Drayton.

Mum had a wonderful hot shower the repair had definitely worked. She then hopped on the train into London to meet up with Jacquie & Kathryn & their mum & dad to see The Railway Children. She really enjoyed the show which is set like you’re sitting on a platform & features a real train & lots of steam. When she got back she took us or quick walkies & we were all impressed to see the bridge all lit up – very posh for West Drayton.

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The next day which was the one that was forecast to be bad was typically a beautiful sunny day. Oh well that’s boating life. We cruised the short distance up to Denham. And at last we were allowed a good old run in the country park. We did give mum a heart attack as we went through to the next area & it turned out to be a golf course. Luckily there was noone playing & we met other dog walkers there so we think it was the norm. We were very well behaved & didn’t dig any holes in the green or leave any piles on the golf course much to mums relief. I did do a lot of bombing around while Daquiri chewed a ball he’d found.

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Thursday mum had a bit of a birdy day on our cruise as first she was wolf whistled at by a parrot on the back of a boat then she saw what she thought was a grebe (it was a cormorant!) & then she saw what she thought was a green/yellow parakeet (it was a grey wagtail). We know all this from the helpful poster at Black Jacks lock.

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Well we had 2 little incidents in the weather today. Firstly we approach Copper Mill lock on the Grand Union where there are 2 strong cross currents. These push us across normally so with all this rain mum knew it would be hairy. We made 1st one ok but 2nd catches us & slams us sideways. Mum manages to just control the boat missing bank by inches looking like an expert. Does anyone see this? no! Next above Stockers lock trying to moor to shut gate & wind catches back end so boat ends up diagonal with nose into towpath with mum frantically trying to pull it across on centre line. She gave up, climbed on the nose, through cratch along gunwhales & onto back. By now the back of the boat is in trees so she has to kneel to steer looking like a right prat. .Does anyone see this? Oh yes several of course!

By the time we reached Rickmansworth it was really windy & at first we thought there weren’t any moorings. We had a plan B we were going to go on the Tesco ones if not as no way was mum going any further in the wind. But we spotted just one up ahead but getting into it in the wind was tricky. If we didn’t get it right first time & the wind caught us we’d be in trouble. With great relief mum pulled in perfectly deftly hopped off & got the center rope quickly through a  ring before the wind could catch us. We were soon tied up & after quick stroll to our old favourite Aquadrome we snuggled down in the warm for the night. Oh yes & that’s something else Daquiri creepy chops has started sleeping on the bed at mums feet. Hes a sneaky one him hes get up there in the night stealthlike while she’s asleep! If I did that she’d be bound to wake up & I’d get caught. She has a sixth sense with me she knows when I’ve pinched something & I’m chewing it even if she’s in a  different room!

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London Adventures Photo Blog Part 2 by Sandra

New Years Day after our bucks fizz & bacon butties we had a wander around the Paddington area & went to have a look at Rembrandt Gardens where I had prebooked a mooring spot or next week.

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On Friday I caught up properly with Kate for a coffee. Kate has a winter mooring in Paddington so knows the area really well. I spent the weekend chilling & catching up on admin but finished it on Sunday evening at the cinema with Kate watching the Stephen Hawkings film.

Monday I moved the boat down to Rembrandt Gardens at Little Venice. This was a new pre bookable mooring scheme & we were the very first boat on it. Such a fabulous idea for boaters like me who are uncertain of coming into London due to the lack of moorings. The gardens although small meant a much better mooring location or the boyz as at least we had a small bit of greenery by the boat. The moorings were in such a fabulous location we were really excited to be there for the week.

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Tuesday saw me off to London Zoo as Kathryn had kindly arranged a ticket for me, I knew the zoo was alongside the canal so I walked up the towpath of the Regents canal. But what was totally amazing was all of sudden the zoo animals were on either side of you. I was just mesmerised to see hunting dogs running (inside their enclosure) up the far side of the canal & was busy taking a photo when all of a sudden next to me I noticed I was being watched by a huge crane inside the wonderful Snowdon aviary which partly goes over the canal. Unfortunately I don’t have time this visit but at some point I will have to come back & cruise  this section.

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I met up with Kathryn who signed me in & then I had a wonderful day exploring the zoo at my leisure. Here’s a small handful of my photos of the amazing animals.

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In the evening I went to a very unusual film club in an unusual venue with Heather another lady boater I’d met out on the cut. Sands Film Club. We had a quick drink in a lovely old pub called The Mayflower first before seeing an old black & white film based around  a nurse in the war. The cinema setup was really unusual with old armchairs as seats

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Wednesday it was off to see my first big West End show – Lion King. It was amazing especially the costumes. I’d recommend this to anyone.

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Whilst I was there I am sure the boyz will have gone loopy as Uncle Alan arrived at the boat with cousin Jake. Once he’d settled them all he came over to meet me at Covent garden for drinks & a meal. We had an aborted visit to the cocktail bar there that is down the old stairs where the public toilets used to be as we decided it was decidedly dodgy & expensive – it was the description of their equivalent of afternoon tea – or afternoon tease that made the penny drop with us. We went into a Bella Italia instead much safer!!

The next day Alan was off early to get a museum fix at The Science Museum & I dog sat & then met up after lunch with both Alan & Helen Marie to do the new glass walkway to Tower Bridge. The glass bit of the walkway isn’t huge & you can walk round it but us height addicts had great fun waking across the glass whilst cars & boats were going underneath.

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And here’s a video of The Tower Glass Walkway

We all had tea together near London Bridge afterwards.

Friday Alan went off for another museum fix at The Natural History Museum whilst I waited in for a chap who was repairing my shower. Unfortunately he couldn’t park anywhere so we re-arranged for Sunday instead. After doing the triple dog walking challenge I strolled across Regents Park & met Alan at Camden market. I managed to have a much more extensive look round this time including a visit into one of the most amazing shops I’ve ever been in – CyberDog. Cyberdog is a trance music and cyber clothing/accessory retail chain, headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It specialises in bright fluorescent dance clothing, often featuring electronic components such as flashing lights. They also specialise in rave accessories such as glowsticks and UV-fluorescent items.Cyberdog was founded by fashion designer Terry Davy and business manager Spiros Vlahos; the two are partners in life as well as in business. They began with a small stall inCamden Market in 1994, mostly selling goa trance items and designer clothing created by Davy. The couple’s pet chihuahua, “Chichi the Cyberdog”, inspired the name of their store and was featured as part of its brand image.

In the evening we went for a couple of drinks in Camden town then to the wonderful floating Chinese restaurant Feng Shang on the Regents canal

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Saturday I was up early as I was off on a Spice walk & Alan was on morning doggie duty. I was walking from London Bridge along the Thames to The Thames Barrier. Good job I got there 40 mins early as it took me nearly 40 mins to find the meet point at London Bridge. It was a bit mixed weather in the morning but brightened up in the afternoon. The walk included a  quick boat trip across the river, a lunch stop at Canary Wharf then on past Excel & the super yacht hotel (if I ever win the lottery!!), a very windy walk across the pontoon bridge finally finishing at the park across from the Thames Barrier.

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Alan had been down to Greenwich so we both caught the DLR up to Stratford & went out to a very tasty & unusual Mexican street food restaurant.

Sunday we bid farewell to Alan & Jake as they headed back up to Sheffield. The shower was fixed so we now have a shower that doesn’t jam on plus a problem on my ever failing horn was fixed with a  squirt of WD40. Think I’m going to try squirting everything that breaks with that it seems to sort out all sorts.

Sunday afternoon I dashed across London for  a quick drink with Kati & Phil who were down visiting the boat show & then in the evening went off with Kate & some of the London boaters to see The Angry Boater comedy Show with the lovely Joel Saunders. Find out here about The Angry Boater. I’d hugely recommend his show for boaters & non boaters alike

And so in a blur of fun laughter & adventures our week long mooring at Little Venice was over. Tomorrow we start cruising again which could be fun as the weather is forecast as windy. I’ll let the boyz have their blog back then as you discover how we fare through the elements