Monday, 30 July 2012

The contrast continues-massive storms & a bit of sun

We came back towards Downham this morning with the intention of heading towards the Wissey to meet up with Yarwood tomorrow-but the rain was bouncing off of the water surface. Downham was good enough for tonight and the fellers were more than happy to watch some Olympics - I wandered into town and replenished the heavily hit chocolate digestive supplies

 Just look at this lot coming our way
 and then out pops the sun again
The boy thrashed me at cards again last night- I remember the days when you used to let let them loose!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

It's raining, it's pouring and all the blokes are snoring

We returned to Denver yesterday with a day visit from the family - why Graham bothered to demolish the fire, chimney etc., with little Andre more than able to take the boat to bits single handed I don't know. Andre could have done it in a fraction of the time! Chenelle walked with Lesley and the dogs and (sort of... ish) handled the encounter with the cows.
So it's school holidays and delivery has been taken of Dainion, first of the grandchildren for the break - now TALLER than me...grrr.. It's lending library time of the year - no doubt Dainion will be returned in due course and swapped for another one!
 Meanwhile, Daisy found these visitors a little tiresome (especially the small one making a beeline for the 'miaow') so took herself off for a swim
 so all back to normal (plus grandson) we took the boat in for a shopping trip to Downham Market. This is the down river view of part of the amazing Denver Sluices
 the beautifully planted flower boxes on the bridge
 and then we headed further off down the Relief Channel to the EA moorings by The Heron - no critique as we haven't visited (that'll make a change then). We have had terrific storms today
 So the fellers are fishing - I think the landing net is massively bigger than the fish just caught!
 Better luck with the next one
Dainion sleeps on Baxter's bed, so Baxter sleeps with us when he's here
Can any one tell me why the males of the species snore so badly - G, Dainion and Baxter (probably Muttley too but next door and out of ear shot) Ted the cat did too. Daisy doesn't and I'm absolutely positive I never have

Monday, 23 July 2012

We're going to have another crack at the tributaries

Our bonnets are getting bees in about sticking boats on lorries and shipping them over to France. We have a lunch date in March on Thursday with some people who have done it!
 In the mean time we saw NB Waterways Routes go past (and we also had a very brief speak in the rain in Ely). Christine up front...
 ....and Paul behind
 This is pretty but high maintenance. 
 So having had a couple of very peaceful days and nights at Fidwell Fen, we are now moored at the 5 mile inn - breasted up so that there is plenty of space for others. We indulged ourselves in a main and pud for £7.50 (the Monday deal) before Lesley and I set out to walk it off.
 Daisy found this arrangement quite acceptable

 Sadly I had to leave Baxter behind - although he's only 9 1/2 years old he has started to become unhappy about long walks  especially when the weather is lovely and warm. Our three Border Collies didn't reach this stage until they were around 13. Maybe he's just lazy but I have to heed his body language - so Joe, Graham and Baxter just sat outside the boats and snoozed/snored whilst Lesley and I and the other 3 canines walked off our puds.

It's lovely out here and what a glorious day

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The sun has got it's hat on

We are moored, very happily, on Fidwell Fen. BBQs have been had. Chores have been done. Birds have been watched. Dogs have been walked. Fires have been removed - and our boat is a mess; but these things have to be done

Friday, 20 July 2012

Dodgems in Cambridge. No sorry; Bumps

So it's bumps, overbumps, technical bumps, acknowledge the bumps, sandwich boats, row overs and blade winners..........not forgetting to stick bumps, lumps of Willow in you. I'm sure Amy and James from NB Lucky Duck can explain all this. I forked out the grand sum of £2 on a programme which explains all this but it's as clear as mud to me. What is clear though is that they are all getting drowned in torrential downpours and thunderstorms but they all seem happy - well those with lumps of Willow do. I think that means they've bumped the boat in front. This is good ( I think).
Strange really as bumping someone's boat with yours usually leads to unhappy exchanges of words and insurance companies. This, however, is what they do in Cambridge in England's green and seriously weird land. No wonder the Americans think we're quaint.
This fabulous, but crazy, tradition starts here by  the very pretty Baits Bite Lock
56 boats of 8 men and 36 boats of 8 women compete in this event - and it hasn't stopped raining
A lovely tradition but completely beyond my comprehension.

So there we go then, got all that? There are 9 million quite a lot of bicycles in Cambridge-the reason being that, if you are a student here, you are not allowed to leave a car within 5 miles of your College. 
James and Amy I'm sorry that, yet again, we didn't get to meet.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

These pics were so horrible they went into my spam bin!

I recently blogged re my sister's beautiful Apaloosa. She, subsequently sent me the pictures of this young colt when she found him - they are so awful that my comp thought that they were begging letters and dumped them in my spam!!!
So these are the 'befores'
Awful aren't they?
These are the 'afters'. Look how he turned out with the proper love and care
Can you believe that this is the same horse?
Just look at that top line now

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The answer is........

I love it when you pose a question and someone out there is always clever enough or curious enough to know/find out.
On my previous blog I was curious to know why my mother's grocery account contained a tuppenny stamp when it was paid each month. Paul from Waterway routes came up with part of the story (see comments on previous blog), but my lovely sailing and caravan mates came up with the definitive answer so over to Beardy Chas and Liz:

Hi G & J
       This subject intrigued me, I can remember as a youngster, my dad sticking 'tuppenny' stamps onto receipts when people paid him for work he had done for them, but I had no clue why, so I have just googled it, and the answer was as follows:- It appears that the requirement for putting stamps on receipts was brought in by the 1891 Stamp Act in order to raise money for the Government. The 1920 Finance Act specified that any receipt for something worth £2.00 or over should have a two pence stamp attached. If it didn’t then the receipt was apparently not valid in a court of law(1). Stamps on receipts were abolished by the 1964 Finance Act.

So there you and I have the definitive answer!!!

Beardy Chas

I find this fascinating; maybe it's something that could be re-introduced in these desolate times - I know, I know tax and more tax, but wouldn't you be prepared to pay a, say, 50 pence 'legitimisation tax' on your plumbers or chippies bill rather than see a massive rise on VAT if it stops us going down the Greek (or should that be Grecian) route? It really wouldn't seem painful and it could raise a lot of revenue. Woops, sorry, I don't do politics.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Dangerous discoveries - skeletons will out!

Whilst frantically scrabbling around to make the boat look tidy prior to short notice visitors last Friday, I picked up 4 little hard-back notebooks of Mum's.  One of them turned out to be an account with her local grocer dating back to April 1964. This was a weekly delivery paid as a monthly account
Where the account was paid the 'twopenny' stamp appears - probably the grocer's service charge.
 £1 19s 6 1/2d seems to be a normal week. Of which I note that by far the most expensive item is 40 Players at 9s 8d. The week that went over £2 was because she purchased 60 players ( I wonder if I was responsible for their increased stress levels). A tin of Lambs Tongues at 3s 9d was quite expensive too.

Unfortunately some sibling favouritism has been uncovered - the week of my sister's fourteenth birthday the spend was upped to £2 10s 1 1/2d. Whilst the week of my 10th birthday (8 weeks earlier), the spend was REDUCED to £1 16s 5d. Now I don't want to start picking fights here, but just how much of a percentage share of, 'Easter eggs as pre-ordered', at a massive cost of £2 8s 9d, did I get?

I am a damaged child.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Horse blog (makes a change from dogs and boats)

As well as running an antiques outlet and antique fares (oh and a new retail furnishings shop), my sister's greatest passion is still horses - although she no longer rides, she puts a great deal of effort into breeding (horses; not herself).
She recently entered her young Appaloosa, Spot (posh name Box of Dominoes), in the 3 Counties show at Powys where he won; coloured class; young hunter class; champion in hand and supreme champion in show. How's that for a first outing? Well done Steph (me thinks I have one deservedly happy sister tonight).

 This is her latest off spring - I wonder if he'll grow up to be a champion?
Altogether now.......aaahhhh!
Lesley and I set off for a good walk with the dogs today whilst the fellers set off in search of bits of wood and wires. We set off in the, now normal, sandals and shortish trousers paddling mode. Within 10 minutes it was lashing it down - despite putting his coat on Baxter was fed up, miserable and shivering. When we arrived home two hours later I rubbed him down, put a new dry coat on him and wrapped a big bath towel around him and there he stayed for h.o.u.r.s. My poor old soldier. Lesley and I were pretty pissed off too - enough really is enough.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Trench foot then

There are two routes from the boat to the flood bank - one where the water level is only approaching the top of your boots but smothers the dogs in sticky burrs which took an hour to remove last night and then there is the non-sticky burr route which is now just over my knees
 So it's sandals and paddling then - one more inch and Muttley is going to have to swim for it at the deepest point on the trail
Not much of a holiday this
 The unlucky owners pondering their alternatives
This guy with the trailer tent is no better off
I'm impressed with the way these bank reinforcements are pre-planted before being located
But I also have to tell you that, whilst 3 of the 4 dogs are quenching their thirsts, the reprobate Fletcher is quietly taking advantage of quick release knots to liberate the odd barge with his teeth - we couldn't believe it and Lesley and I had to take some quick action to stop it trundling off downstream - much to the amusement of a passing walker who witnessed the scenario ...Fletcher.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Here we go AGAIN (or in fact not go!)

So after a mad Friday morning scrabble and a dirty dash out with the dogs, the hoover, duster and polish we pulled pins before 9.00 and I dashed back in to grab armfuls of paperwork, dirty washing, wet boots etc., etc., etc. Why oh why is our boat always full of toot? That's actually rhetorical because I know the answer really - we've a ton of 'stuff' that doesn't have a home. Sometimes it doesn't matter but sometimes - especially when the weather is foul and you've people coming that don't know you and/or boats it matters a lot. Anyway, I did my best in the limited time available - popping up to lock MR and Yarwood through  Bottisham Lock, popping down again to wash up and popping up again to help moor and then being told our visitors were already parking up. As usual of course, this self induced stress is  so unnecessary as it was lovely as always to see Linda (G's sister over on a visit from Australia), her son Nathan (who I haven't seen for at least 15 years) his wife Carly and new baby Sophie. By definition most 'visitors' have cars so, after a cuppa, we drove into the village of Waterbeach for lunch at The Sun Inn. Very nice home cooked grub for around £6 a head and a CAMRA approved establishment. Dog friendly in the bar next door although we left ours on the boat this time. L-R Carly, Nathan and G
 Sister Linda trying to show me the video of the tame kangaroos back home down under - a boat 'roo; now that would be different
 and the newest addition to the extremely large and ever expanding 'Budd dynasty'
 After they'd left I took the dogs off for a walk and found this incredible 'plot' - vegetables, fruit trees, fruit cages, bird boxes - all behind the flood bank at the adjacent private moorings. Very nice; sadly no signs of surplus produce for sale

 Yarwood and MR from the opposite bank
 G's fishing being hampered by swans and cygnets
and this was the picture of the weir stream adjacent to Bottisham Lock at around 7.00pm last night
this was it around 11.30 am today!
Strong stream warnings. Navigation closed
Lock Landing!!!! Well it was here when I jumped off yesterday
And here comes a hire boat approaching Bottisham Lock - how are they meant to know that everything's shut down - they'll not be on the EA's phone list
The bottom gates are locked open to stop use and ready to 'reverse' the lock if necessary but there are no signs, no warnings, no nothing. We explained what was going on and they headed back to Ely; later on we found a narrowboat in the lock looking equally perplexed. No-one is born with knowledge and experience - imagine if it was you just having picked up your first ever boat in Ely and this was your first ever lock
Bottisham Sluice!!!!
Our boats on the GOBA moorings above the Lock in the distance
Cambridge is off then!