We decided to have a night away on the boat this weekend to see how Rocky would cope with eating and sleeping aboard Princess Lucy. More to the point, to find out how we would cope with 2 dogs with very different 'issues' in such a tight space. Jemma can't manage the steps and has to be lifted in, and out of, the saloon whereas it proved almost impossible to keep Rocky in. He really is a racing snake and slithered out of the front hatch in a nano-second but fortunately only ran to find the Captain who was in the process of ferrying things to and from the Landrover. When we got under-way to Whaley Bridge, we had both dogs up top and there was quite a tangle of leads and tripping hazards. It occurred to us that this may have been the first time that Rocky had seen water or ducks before. It was certainly his first experience of moving at walking speed.
The narrows proved a particular challenge as we tried to stop him from stepping off every time the bank appeared close enough. It's fair to say, that Jemma was showing off by playing the old sea dog (this is a complete lie as she has been the biggest pain in the neck up top before). We got to Whaley and had a lovely walk up the old railway incline and then fed them, got ready and went out for dinner. In spite of trying to wear Rocky out and putting on the radio, he barked and barked as we walked away. Fortunately we weren't moored near any other boats.
The next morning we woke to glorious sunshine and headed for Bugsworth Basin. As usual, we were in complete ignorance of the fact that there was an event on: this time a steam rally, and we couldn't find a place to tie up. We only wanted to go there to let Rocky have a run but it was very crowded. so we went back to Furness Vale. En route, we had never seen so many happy shiny people using the tow path for leisure purposes. Walking, jogging, cycling, ambling. We had pleasant discourse with other dog lovers who admired the new addition to our canine crew. One lovely little girl shouted at us from a bridge "Wow a boat and a dog!".
So all in all, not a bad first time cruising for Rocky. He even lay down in the sunshine on the Stern deck as we headed back home. Jem seemed happy to be the old hand who could show him the ropes. We viewed this performance with more than a little irony.