Sunday, 14 August 2011

If the dog floats, does that mean he is a witch?

Monday 1st August to Sunday 14th August 2011

25 Miles, 2 Tunnels– for this fortnight

Totals: 688 Miles, 591 Locks, 21 Tunnels, 18 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges

I decided that for the first week there really wasn’t anything worthwhile talking about – just a lot of time spent working, no travelling and nothing really worth disturbing anyone’s napping time.

A family of swans "terrorising" the end of the Ashby

The highlight this week has been the arrival of our dog, Banjo – a gold spoodle, now 10 years old. He flew in by Qantas and arrived on Wednesday morning at Heathrow.

No trouble with duty-free or declarations and no rabies either. No need for quarantine as he had his paperwork and vet certificates in order. So a trip down to the Animal Centre at Heathrow to pick him up.

Do you ever wonder what has gone wrong when you encounter a government run department that actually runs efficiently; is friendly; and ahead of time? Well you will have a lot to be wary of regarding the Animal Centre because all of these apply – I arrived a bit ahead of time – about an hour – you can never be sure of traffic; I entered the door which was marked for pick-ups; followed the instructions on the inner-door. A person appeared within 10 seconds; asked me my name and the name of my pet; within 2 minutes was back with the paperwork – I only had to sign that I had received it and then a further 5 minutes and Banjo was out.

From the time I stopped the car in the carpark until I drove out, the elapsed time was no more than 20 minutes – surely these people are able to run a whole country – on that basis England would be out of the mire in which it finds itself.

But I guess they are different to the politicians – the animal people are sticking to something they know about.

So the rest of the week was taken up with acclimatising Banjo to his new surroundings; making sure that he got used to the sounds of the boat; starting up, stopping, getting up and down the back steps – not an easy task for a small dog.

Later in the week we moved the boat; let him get the wind in his hair and then moored up; long walks to let him familiarise himself with the English smells.

Saturday was a longer cruise and involved mooring up for water, so we needed to start working on where he should be and he was fine; he was almost mesmerised by the sound and flow of the water from the prop and laid down on the back deck to watch it – the ducks did not deter his concentration and he wasn’t concerned about much else.

After a while he decided to move up onto the roof and wander back and forth to see what was happening around him.

All went well until…..

Being a single-hander, there is always a time that comes for the need of a natural break (as they say in cycling) – you can’t just duck downstairs and spend a penny; I needed to moor up and ‘do what I gotta do’.

Well, anyway, I couldn’t quite get the back of the boat in close to the edge – well it was out a fair way – so far that I needed to move down the gunnel to midway to jump to the towpath and tie up.

It was during this process that Banjo decided that he would emulate what I had done; so he walked carefully down the gunnel, got to where I had jumped from. It is worth saying that he is not the type of dog that is really gung-ho about doing things – in fact he is pretty timid. Not on this occasion – and jump he did.

He is not known as a dog that jumps far and he didn’t astound me on this score – straight into the canal; but no panic, he was on the water, not under and it was only a matter of quickly pulling him out.

Looking like a drowned water rat, he shook himself off and I tied up and went below, leaving him on the towpath.

As I finished there was this strange scratching noise on the outside of the boat – yes – he had tried to jump back on again and missed. Plucking him out again and onto the roof; getting clear of the dog spray as he shook, I untied and got under way again.

Banjo was left to think about what he had done and, not being too cold, he dried off relatively quickly during the rest of our cruise.

In his defence I can say that he has mastered everything else that he has been asked to do – he is very good at getting off and getting back on – when the boat is right along side the towpath.


  1. We will be bringing out our 2 dogs early next year, so its good to know it all worked out well at Heathrow.
    Which pet transport company did you use?
    We will be buying our 2 life jackets as they are not that keen on the wet stuff.

  2. Poor Banjo-I nearly wet myself laughing- so glad he didnt drown!!! Dont you worry: Banjo will soon protect you from the dangerous wildlife of swans, sheep and cows