So here we go again, off to good old Blighty. We have 74 days of cruising the southern canals this time. Just a quick recap for those of you not in the know. We are looking after our very good friends Wolfgang and Marlene’s canal boat during this time whilst they head back to Germany. We met them back in 2016 when we hired NB Lucy for four months and did the northern canals.
They will spend the time reacquainting themselves with their garden, family and friends. We meantime will be taking Ange De L’Eau for a spin down the Grand Union Canal into London then out west to Bristol, back then to Reading, north along the Oxford Canal and then finish back where we started.
Wolfgang and Marlene have been on the boat since mid April cruising around the Midlands region.
This is the route that we will taking Ange De L’Eau, all going well. There are many variables when canal boating such as flooding, broken locks, bank breaches, drought and the list can go on. So we are not going to count our chickens before they hatch but this is our plan.
Our first day consists of us finishing our packing and ensuring that Toque is as tired as she can be before we put her on the plane. Joannie and Simone (our wonderful house sitters and Toques pseudo parents) along with Fraser took her for a five kilometre walk whilst Di did some final catch up items.
If it was not for these two guys we would not have been able to do the wonderful trips we have done in the last three years. They have looked after both Maples and Toque in 2017; Toque in 2018/2019 and now they will be dogless for this house minding stint. After they drop us at the airport they will be going home to a very empty house.
We headed out at 2.00pm and had to arrange for Toque to go by freight with Air Canada. As the UK has quarantine, all animals must go in the hold of the aircraft. Toque and Maples did this back in 2016. The hold is pressurized and heated to 10c and no doubt extremely dark. We have convinced ourselves that after a while the thrum of the engines will just send her to sleep.
This is us trying to convince her to go in her crate. She will be in her crate for approximately 10 hours which when you think about it, is only a full nights sleep. She is known to sleep for 12 hours. We did warn the Air Canada cargo handlers that she can howl like a banshee. She is warm in her crate with her blankets and a water bottle.
It was then our turn to be dropped at the human cargo depot and bid adieu to the guys.
Our bird is a 787 Dreamliner which are quiet and comfortable planes and even more comfortable if there are bugger all other passengers on board. That probably won’t be the case as they know how to pack you in like sardines nowadays.
The flight is just short of eight hours and takes us into Heathrow. We have to enter the UK here as this is the only airport that has animal quarantine. On our arrival into Heathrow, Toque is taken directly to Her Majesties Heathrow Animal Reception Center and taken from her crate and put in a run. They will process her paperwork and all going well she will be released to us when we get there after we go through customs and pick up our hire car. Last time we did this, both the girls failed their entry which was to say the least, extremely distressing. Common sense prevailed and they were allowed through but with FAILED stamped on all their paper work. We have spent a lot of time ensuring that we have crossed all our T’s and dotted our I’s and even had her pre-checked with an official letter from the City of London to say she is good to go – oh, and plus a disclaimer saying they might change their minds.
We leave Calgary at 18:20 hours and arrive into London at 10:00am having gone over Hudson Bay, Greenland and Iceland and then down into the UK over the top of Glasgow. It is quicker to go over the top rather than around the globe. We will be driving up the M6 to Stone where we hired our canal boat from back in 2016. We are going there to pick up some of our gear from our 2016 trip which has been very kindly stored for us by the boat hire company. There was the thought we would hire off them again for another long canal trip but our fortuitous meeting with Marlene and Wolfgang has changed those plans. We have also organised to pick up Toques food from the vet there as that is where we bought it from before plus we know them from last time. It is then about an hour or so drive down to Leicester where Marlene and Wolfgang are moored. It all sounds rather easy but there has been a lot of logistics involved plus fingers crossed as there has been a lot of flooding in the UK due to torrential rains. This has affected some of the waterways that Marlene and Wolfgang have had to negotiate to get to Leicester but all has gone well.
We will leave it here for the present and our next posting will hopefully tell you of a very smooth quarantine processing for Toque.