My friends will know that alongside my passion for canals and narrowboating sits an intense love and affection for greyhounds. Happily, their stories are inextricably intertwined. It was when we were looking for a boatbuilder back in 2001 that we met ‘pet’ greyhounds for the first time, four of them being walked by their family at Stenson Lock on the Trent & Mersey. Within a year, we had our first, Susie, and a boat to match, Greyhound.
Fast forward to 2015 and a greyhound gathering at Greyhound Central, aka Stoke Bruerne. Through our mutual love of hounds, we met up there with Sarah Le Vallois and her husband Martin; we had met them a year earlier when they were about to sail round from Bosworth Marina to Wolverhampton to get their first grey and by the time we saw them at SB, they had acquired a second (they now have a third!).
Over the course of the weekend, we were asked over for a drink on their boat and fell to chatting about how they had come to buy it. Whilton Marina came up in conversation (they didn’t buy from there incidentally) as we were having a general chinwag about secondhand boats and brokers…a few comments were made, especially as Whilton seem to do a good trade in affordable liveaboards and then we moved onto other things and the comments were forgotten.
Except a few days later, over dinner, Andy remembered them and asked me a bit more about Whilton and the sort of boats that were heading off to London and Bath, Bristol etc. Rather than explain, I got my iPad out and showed him. A beautifully converted, affordable, 1935 small Northwich (albeit not as historic as some but enough to be legitimate-ish), well, this was the last thing I expected to see.
So life has sort of gone full circle. Our first boat introduced us to greyhounds and our greyhounds have introduced us to Enceladus, in a roundabout, fateful way. I’m also extremely grateful to Sarah and Martin for inviting us over that weekend! That said, the real truth of the matter is that it’s all Andy’s fault….
P.S. A shared love of hounds and narrowboats has also given me a precious friendship, quite a bit of which is recorded here for posterity in a splendid boating/houndy blog – http://indigodream.wordpress.com