Sunday, 30 September 2012

A good deed done

We were still the hot ticket in town with the cows when we woke in the morning-much to the disgust of the dogs and Daisy

We had a leisurely start to the day, pulling pins at around 11:30. It was a beautifully sunny day but the wind had really picked up again and we had a great deal of difficulty getting away from the mooring. MR was seriously pinned to the armco and  it was quite a while before G managed to get her off.

Turning the first bend we could see in the distance a cruiser which appeared to be stuck on the inside of the next bend, just before the road bridge and Twenty Pence Marina. G asked me to go onto the bow and prepare to take their bow rope so we could get them off, but we could only give it one chance, otherwise we would be broadside with the wind and probably joining them in the shallows. All went well as the guy on the Bridge Hire cruiser did exactly as he was asked (so often they panic and throw the rope much too early) and his rope was round our 'T' stud, G put MR into reverse and the cruiser slipped off the shoal like a knife out of butter. He then headed straight into the reeds on the opposite bank! Never mind; it was deeper that side and there was nothing else we could do.
We realised later that he was just sat there with his engine off and we wondered what he would have done had we not happened by - G suggested he might be waiting for the tide to come in!!!

We had to keep some speed on just to keep her straight, at the next bridge on a bend, G tooted MR's horn long and hard but, at the point of no return, a cruiser appeared. The cruiser held back and, when we passed him, G asked (as a matter of interest) whether they could hear the horn. Whilst listening to G and answering, "no" he, also, disappeared into the reeds! Then he seemed to turn the wheel the wrong way and ended up facing back the way he came - last we saw of him he was broadside!

We had more excitement in an hour and a half than we normally have in a month

Moored up at Pope's Corner it was down to sorting the wood I'd started to pick up the previous week - that makes it officially winter then
 the dogs helped
 Daisy watched. I do wish she'd stop pottering along the edge - I'ts surprising she doesn't fall in more often really
 Last lot split and stashed away - a good job done and I enjoyed the excercise
Just a shame we still haven't got a working fire yet - hopefully that will all change this Friday
An early dinner and a walk across to Little Thetford with the boys and back in time for Doctor Who - we should sleep well tonight

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The call was a good one!

When we woke yesterday morning we new that we'd made the right decision the previous day as this was the view behind
 The blackboard warns of a low airdraft and we wouldn't have got under the bridge to lock down at 2.0 metres. With higher tides now and more 'fresh' due at the weekend we could have been there a loooong time - it's nice to get something right for a change
so we set off for pastures new in sunny but windy weather only for the sun to disappear and the wind to increase - I started searching for a scarf for the first time this year and G really had to concentrate to get MR round the narrow marsh bends in the wind. Worse, we only saw two things to break the monotony.
This lovely barge
and this cow that thought the grass was greener on the other side halfway across
So we gave up and stuck pins in somewhere near Australia Farm. We had a very early dinner after which I set off with the dogs. The walk was equally desolate and the ground was covered in thistles so the dogs hated it - to our left is the first turned earth I've seen this season
 The only things to break the monotony was this pretty little cottage
 and the concrete bridge (which has no pavement and some bastard nearly touched my coat sleeve when he passed us) had a bit of a rainbow - oh, unless you count two little blue irrigation pumps!
 Who says money boats don't grow on trees

the two footpaths I tried both ended in the middle of impenetrable bramble bushes, so we gave up and headed for home; as soon as the dogs spotted the boat they were gone and curled up in their beds before I reached the boat - I only went out in the cold wind for their benefit. Oh well, at least we had an hour's exercise
 As dusk fell, the hay bales on the opposite bank grew legs
 and the cows gathered around to discuss the stranger in their midst - they were obviously bored too
 and then the heavy clouds cleared and we had a very pretty light display and G managed to get out and fish for a bit as the wind dropped and there's a special edition of 'Mrs Brown's Boys' on the box tonight ..................... mudder, fardder, kindly disregard this letter 

PS by the time you read this, 'Mrs Brown's Boys' will have been on last night

Friday, 28 September 2012

We decided it wasn't safe to stay in St Ives

as we didn't want to be trapped upstream of Hermitage lock. With the lockie there telling us that the water had risen by 8" overnight and with a series of higher tides now about to start, we thought we'd better make a run for it or risking staying this end for some time. The problem with getting off the tidal bit is that the lock sits under a low road bridge and there can be insufficient headroom for long periods of time (now how many times have I typed that this year!)
So we filled with water to the brim to sit MR as low as possible and we moored on the town wall so that I could dash into town for food to cover us for an unknown period of time as we didn't know where, and for how long, we might be stuck. The irony was that it was a beautiful sunny day.
 This is far and away one of the prettiest moorings anywhere, let alone St Ives, but we never use it
 as your roof is level with the paving and far too tempting for 'happy' people to jump on and off of during the night
 needless to say I returned to find G happily chatting to the gongoozlers whilst cleaning his tiller arm
 so we winded and were off - leaving the gongoozlers to feed the swans
 The current was getting ever stronger and we stonked down to Brownshill Staunch where, although in theory the lock was against us, the water was running straight through. There was less rise and fall than in John Sergeant's waltz. All of the massive sluice gates were open.
 We moored on the lock landing and had a further conversation with the lockie at Hermitage who thought we might get through later in the day as the tide fell. So we made the decision to go through Brownhills onto the rise and fall EA pontoon in Earith. If we were going to be there awhile there was sewage disposal, pump out, refuse disposal and diesel - bearing in mind our fire is disconnected so we're running the central heating more than normal.
 Feeling we'd been very sensible I re-set the lock (still having to wait for the time delay, despite level water), but try as we might we couldn't get MR off of the lock landing - the stream kept shoving us back on. In the end we sort of bumped her round and in, it wasn't elegant but we got her in and not a single glass broken.
 The scene on the other side was as if we'd been dropped into a different planet
 just look at this lot!!!!!!!!!!
 The river channel is in the foreground 

 but then the two channels converge
 So we moored up gratefully to the safe pontoon at Earith (having shifted along an unoccupied wide beam which was moored 6ft back from the end) and settled down for lunch knowing that we would be fine there indefinitely if we neded to.
 We took some further airdraft measurements and reckoned we were an inch lower than we used to be - that probably means we've more rubbish on board and in our bellies! Another conversation with the lockie at 5 ish and we decided to give it a go
 we got through with a top box seam to spare and here we are safely on the other side and allowed to moor on the down river lock landing for the night. We asked why, with so much water on the other side, that the sluices weren't open to dump water down the 40ft drain/Old Bedford River, especially as it looked half empty. Evidently the RSPB wouldn't let them as the far end of that waterway was saturated and would damage birdlife if they let any more water through!!!? On the downstream side we heard the water levels were quite low and a narra had got stranded - who knows
 Anyway, we were safe and through and moored in time for Daisy to go a mousing

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Came across this flyball competition whilst on our wanderings - about one hundred border collies all barking their happy heads off
 When they stopped for lunch they offered me the course for B and M to have a go. After loading the balls I turned round and my dogs had gone!
 Where were they? In the river paddling
 Nice to see a pretty sunset after all the thick cloud recently
 After one night in Godmanchester we set off on our way and it did stay dry at first, but miserable
 passing all the flood defences which have the locals up in arms - the general concensus is that it's costing 9 million pounds and the area is NOT one that floods, "I've lived here since 1963 and it's never flooded and they are putting higher railings round the town next to the water in case anyone falls in. Well no-one's fallen in since I came here in 1963 AND it's opposite the pub and why can't they spend the money on fixing the pavements and the......~
 approaching Huntingdon bridge, the derelict house/boatyard still remains deserted
 Unless of course the  house has been 'preserved' as a museum for Hitchcocks 'The Birds' it looked sinister enough in the grey light
 immediately the other side of the bridge there is this upmarket restoration/conversion so you'd think someone would want to do with it. Does anyone know the story behind it's demise/desertion?

floodwatch/water level info
Rang Hermitage lock this morning; the water has come up there overnight about 8 inches so it looks like we have to move quicker if we're going to get through. The water here (at St Ives) was up 4 inches but has dropped one this morning - that's one inch, it's not started getting smelly! So all is well here

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Scurrying around in the rain

Like most of the rest of the country it tipped it down pretty much all day and we arrived at St Neot's soaking wet. On the ditches we wouldn't move in that weather, but on the Rivers you have to or run the risk of being stuck where you are due to strong stream warnings. Graham then took a bus back to get the car and drive it to Ely then taking 2 trains to get back again - what a performance, but we have decided to keep it for a little longer.
After re-stocking in Waitrose we headed for Godmanchester to get off the main River as the EA man said the river will probably go onto strong stream by tomorrow. It was bright but windy and only 3 locks but it was a bit fraught as there is nowhere to moor in between locks and Baxter had a poorly tummy - only just making it to the second lock

Yesterday none of the animals wanted to move and Daisy chose a new spot to sleep - in the middle of the dog beds leaving the dogs with a bit of a predicament
 Baxter tried to squeeze on in front of her
 Not looking very comfortable
 but when Muttley tried to move in behind her he got severely smacked - look at Daisy's body language. Shame Muttley didn't