Ian Buchanan’s back with a story about the doings of dogs on a canal boat:
‘We take an annual week’s holiday on the Great Ouse heading from our mooring at Little Paxton to Ely and Cambridge. We love the Old West, as it’s also called.
‘So, this year we headed west firstly to Pope’s Corner before turning left to Ely, where our friends Linda and Peter (antique dealers – not boat owners) joined us for a trip down to Wicken Fen nature reserve.
‘All went well until their huge labrador retriever decided to fall off the stern of our wide beam when we were underway. It wasn’t much of a problem I – got hold of the dog’s collar and pulled the soaking monster back on deck.
‘Then half an hour later we saw a cushion of ours had fallen from the boat – probably the dog again – and was disappearing into the distance. We salvaged that after many forward gear and reverses, though in the process a large part of willow tree got stuck in our side hatch.
‘A day or two later we were returning along the Old West and, as we cut a corner on a bend our black labrador Guinness spotted a rabbit and tried to land on the ever-so close bank. He’d never ever before has departed from our ship underway.
‘Well, Guinness’s front paws made contact with the bank but not his stern, so he ended up languishing in the water. I stripped down to my nautical Y-fronts for the rescue but as it turned out I didn’t have to risk life and death – I managed to get hold of him by the collar and yank him out.
‘The photo is of Tess our new crew member, a stray from Bedford who is planning on giving me an early heart attack when her little paws slip and, she qualifies, like the other two for an entry in our slowly-growing log book of dog near-disasters.’
Thanks Ian. We sometimes think about getting a dog, but perhaps it isn’t such a good idea for a small boat sea sailor…