Thursday, 19 March 2015

Running out of gas and dredging

We could hardly believe it. We prepped the after-dinner coffee, put it on the burner to cook and - no gas. No problem. Go outside, switch from empty bottle to full one. No gas. Oops! Forgot, for the first time in 8 years, to buy a new bottle when the old one ran out. Coffee was fine on Squirrel (the coal stove) but we knew we'd not get boiling water for morning tea.

So, up with the late larks and make our way to Crick Marina. Today was definitely a fine boat management day for Pete, who brought Bella into the Marina to discover that someone was already on the service point. Nudge gently to a handy pontoon, slide easily past a boat deciding to leave,  hover near the service point, then come to quiet rest for gas. Proud tillerman. Gas on board, tea made. Whew.

We pulled put, then moored outside the Marina to start the day again with tea and breakfast. Setting out, we came across the dredging work and passed to a smile and wave from the boatman. Good day!

Maxwell learns about locks and tunnels

Yesterday we set out to lovely sunshine, sadly not around today (!). Our new mutt told us last week that he liked boats. So yesterday we did the Watford flight and the Crick tunnel, repeating them today on return. The big discovery is that he doesn't care about any of it, wholly unlike his cousin, Josie. Locks? Fine. Tunnel? OK. Hard reverse to clear the prop? Cool. What our Maxwell doesn't like is being separated from either of us. It was a large set of experiments to find out how best to keep him safe, manage Bella and manage locks. We made it. Pics show how he really liked going to meet the lockkeeper, being on deck, watching the lock walls move and watch the scenery from deck. Especially whilst sitting on Pete's feet. And my, he needed his rest!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Maxwell learns to be outside and to go boating - the first cruise of 2015!

We suspect that our Maxwell spent his life - prior to being with the RSPCA - inside.  We think he probably lived in a very urban area, was regularly taken to a park, probably by car, but spent most of his life inside.  He is very excited when going outside with us and we realised the other day that when we merely sat outside, he had no idea what to do. So today, Pete washed one side of Bella whilst Elizabeth groomed our mutt under the tree.  He then popped back onto Bella for us to do a micro cruise to the marina services point. He loved the cruise.  What a difference to our shaking Josie! We moored up, then he walked with Elizabeth to take the rubbish and recycling off whilst Pete emptied the waste cassettes.  Back on board, we turned and returned to our mooring the other way around so Pete could wash Bella's other side and E cleaned the deck.  Maxwell learned to stay on the bank and try to watch us both. Finally, he settled enough to lie down.  Result!

We then started up Bella again to turn, this time cruising to Norton Junction for the reverse around.  What a happy hound!  He was fascinated by the water, especially as it bubbled around the stern when we went into reverse for the turn.  There was much to watch, even squeezing next to Pete the Tillerman, to see more.  What a success.  After 8 years cruising with a panicked GSD, shivering under the dining room table at every engine noise, this is fabulous. Maxwell the boating German Shepherd.  yes.