Saturday 26 May 2012

My Mum

I hadn't cried until, back on the haven of Matilda Rose tonight, I tried to write this post. There were many things - all calm, serene and grown up, that I was going to say... but now I've finally lost it, so all I can say is my Mum, Nancy Winifred, was born on 6th June 1918 and died Sunday morning 20th May 2012
Thank you all so very much for your lovely comments and messages of support - it really does make a difference. Monday we have to go back and continue dealing with the demands of people, funeral and probate but, just for a night or two we have managed to get back to MR and moor away from the world's demands in the sunshine and let the boat put on some sticking plasters

Thursday 17 May 2012

Dear Family, Friends and readers, it is with a heavy heart that I am writing the end of this chapter, as Jill is away caring for her terminally Ill mum who was taken into hospital on Monday, I know your thoughts will be with her to keep her strong through these dark hours, I have left Peterborough for the safety of Foxes Marina in March where I am readying 'MR' for an extended layover. This will be the 1st time in over 4 years that we have left 'MR' for more than a few days. I saw Jill off on the train from Peterborough yesterday on a journey she was dreading, my Love went with her as she waived me goodbye. Now to pack up and and ready the menagerie for a journey into land living, what do we need? I don't know Jill would be so organised. She will return.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Baxter pushes his luck

Baxter spent a considerable amount of time whining at Daisy to get her out of 'his' chair ('her' cruising bed, but normally 'his' when we are moored)  After getting whacked for poking his nose in he ambled off for awhile - having won the battle she, eventually, deigned to let him share. This is a first after 9 years of living together although neither of them are looking exactly relaxed.
 So Saturday dawned bright and sunny; no wellies or wet weather gear needed and I was quite happy to leave my new wet weather jacket in it's bag for a bit a lot longer. We set off for a good walk with all the footpaths now flood free. Our first treat of the day - and the driver gave us a toot as Lesley and I jumped up and down on the bridge waving madly like something out of the cast of The Railway Children old biddies.
 Having crossed the railway, we walked round the Ferry Meadows lakes or, as someone we stopped to chat to called it, Furry Meadows. Such were the number of rabbits sitting about in the sun - amazingly neither Floyd nor Muttley spotted any of them as they were sun basking rather than running - the two dogs were so busy looking down the burrows that they missed them all, thank goodness
 Glorious weather and glorious countryside
 I've often wondered 'why' trees are pollarded, well here's one reason
 and here they are - all pollarded in Short Meadow

 Ferry Bridge again looking very different from the pic I put up 10 or so days ago; The arches are all clear of the water and the reflections undisturbed - all looking very benign

Saturday 12 May 2012

There is a feeling in the air...

...that we might be able to move the boats on Monday. OK there's been a load more of the black stuff (and I don't mean Guinness)
 But our footpaths are starting to reappear from under water
 and we have been able to get to the beer festival at Castor without wading
 The levels are also starting to come down in the river
 Leaving behind the usual detritus
 Yesterday Lesley and I went into Peterborough and did a bit of retail - new waterproof for me (not only is mine now leaking (probably suffering from water fatigue) but it also has an irremediable sticky pocket due to the aforementioned sweetie on the camera lens incident. Followed up with a sandwich at Morrisons (we girls know how to have a good time) and a major grocery shop.
 In the evening Joe kindly offered to drive us all to The Prince of Wales Feathers (it's a short walk but a long way round by road) as The Dead Rabbits ( a Pogue 'replica' band) were playing at the beer festival. The pub was sooooo packed that we didn't really get to hear the band, but we did have a good evening.

Whilst we desperately need to get the boats to Peterborough services and the water rationing has been a bit tedious; the Environment Agency has taken excellent care of us and others trapped in this area and we have had a lovely time in fabulous countryside if willing to take on a'webbed foot' approach. We were probably the luckiest of boaters to get stuck where we did. Despite being into our third week now, I will still happily spend a few nights here on our way back.

Thursday 10 May 2012

I hadn't realised that people in houses had severe water

shortages and that it wasn't just us boaters. Look at this poor feller having to fill up his house tank by bucket!
 Sorry about the poor picture quality (and no, I haven't stuffed another camera) but I was twitching through the nets. Yeah, ok, he had a chimney fire but it was all very exciting for a while.
As you've probably gathered, I've been back to Mum's for a few days - that land of constant showers and washing machines. Except, when I arrived, her shower was jammed! Oh how my heart sank.
 I took Daisy with me as she'd been kept in the boat for 10 days and was pretty fed up - it was nice for her to ponce about outside and grind her teeth at the seagulls. I managed to get a temporary fix on the shower and get the plumber out on Tuesday. I also manged to get 4 loads of laundry through the washing machine.
So here I am, back on the lock and carting water in canisters. What's most worrying me is that we are now rationed to one shower every 3 days - having had 3 showers in 3 days at mum's, does that mean I can't have another for 9 days?

Monday 7 May 2012

Don't you just LOVE the companionship

of boat life. If you have a moment, just browse the comments on the previous blog. Most of the people we encounter are gorgeous and if, occasionally, they are not - we must just try and ignore it and rejoice in the majority.
 Now I am still trying to stop giving you flood pictures, so here are a few pointed at the sky that I didn't use
 OK it's all looking a bit, imminently, wet
 But there is no actual rain and no water on the ground - there was some wild garlic though

 and more than the odd Red Kite
and tree fellers; we burnt the last of that last week (the wood not the fellers)

Sunday 6 May 2012

Oh no - not more camera problems

After spending a fortune on a Nikon Coolpix and dropping it down the loo, then buying another after the insurance company replaced it (with about £70 worth of deductions) and dropping it on the towpath and then sending one off for repair and it coming back bust and returning it again, only it got smashed in the post and the post office refused to pay up as Nikon hadn't kept the return packaging (well, they wouldn't would they) and then I'd spent a lot of money and still didn't have a camera. Phew...deep breath. So I spent a small amount of money on a shock-proof, water-proof camera of far inferior quality with the view that it wouldn't be too delicate for the job. It was in my pocket when the rain made it damp due to a leaky waterproof jacket, but why should I worry - it's an underwater camera.
Imagine my horror when I took these photos today - no it's not low cloud or pouring rain (for once); it's fug on the lens
 ignoring that for the moment, our footpath lay this side of the fence
 basically along the newly formed stream (you've had one day free from water pictures)
 and the pub obviously realises we'll be here for a while and organised a delivery of our favourite Woodfords Wherry
but what's happened to the camera? I really couldn't handle starting another warranty battle.

All is well I think; in the aforementioned damp pocket is a nasty (long) forgotten sweetie bought home for my dearly beloved - I think sticky sweetie might be what's on the lens - relief!

Saturday 5 May 2012

Dog friendly pub site

Lesley raised the issue of dogs in pubs and, specifically, dogs in pubs that do food, the other day. This is a permanent source oif irritation to us both. We respect any publicans right to not have dogs on their premises, but are driven demented by being given the excuses that it's, 'against the law', 'against hygiene regs', 'against health and safety', etc., etc., etc. We know that the only regulatory requirement is that dogs are not allowed in food preparation areas (I tell this to Baxter and Muttley on a daily basis). So I thought I would Google the definitive wording and print it off so that I could hand out a copy to anyone offering me any of these, to them, mellifluous excuses in the future.

Easier said than done, but my searches did come up with this fabulous web site
It only allows the likes of you and me (the users) to add pubs (not the pubs themselves) and they also have to do good beer/wine and good food (at the level they pitch for) to be nominated. There is also an excellent map which allows you to search for nominated pubs in your area.

See, as promised, not a picture of water to be seen - therefore no pictures!!!

Friday 4 May 2012

Anyone for a spot of limbo?

Not much chance of getting a boat under this gate
 This is the highest the water has been so far
Yesterday we persuaded the fellers to join us and the dogs to walk in the pouring rain to the lovely dog friendly Prince of Wales Feathers (the apostrophe omission is not mine) at Castor. It was the first time we had eaten there and the menu was pleasantly unusual and more than reasonable. Given that we are well and truly continuously moored for the immediate future, we were delighted to find that they have a beer festival starting next Wednesday.
Imagine our disappointment, therefore, when we woke today to find that our footpath to
 Castor looked like this
That's the last of our lovely walks cut off now - all that remains is Ferry Meadows via the main road out of Alwalton. Still good for long walks; but the beginning and end is a bit tedious. We shall have to go for wellies (very tall ones) and blisters I think.
 How long before it covers this bridge?
 Only one step remains uncovered by the lock mooring, but the mooring has floated up so the steps aren't really needed - not that the mooring is likely to get any use for a while
This is today's state of the water as we (one day) exit the lock
 I will try to make this the last of the water photos for a while as I know we are all bored by the drought

Thursday 3 May 2012

Feeling like Bear Grylls poor relation

There I was wrestling with the rabbit ready to go in the pot on the fire when I saw a blur of high vis jacket and 2 x2o litre water carriers on a fishing trolley. It was Roy Smith from the Environment Agency - thank you very much
G then took pity on Daisy and took her out on her harness
The main purpose of the Daisy/harness routine is to ease our consciences as it certainly doesn't provide her with any excercise
 she just hunkers down and refuses to move
then, all of a sudden, she made a dash for it and the front piece of the harness gave way leaving G with only the most tenuous of threads via the dog flexi-lead to the bit round her belly - I didn't know G could run that fast as he took off in hot pursuit!

Wednesday 2 May 2012

The Environment Agency chappies visited

"our" lock this morning and reckoned it would be at least a week before we get out of here. I'm rather enjoying it  - let's face it, it's a hell of a lot nicer than being iced in in Birmingham for 55 nights. I did advise them that water would become an issue quite soon, despite our best rationing endeavours and they asked David Barnard to give me a ring (EA R Nene Inspector), he reckons he can sort us out with water, but I don't know in what format.

Anyway, that said, we set off  for another 3 hour walk with water sloshing over the tops of our boots. Yes, I have wellies, but you can't do serious mileage in wellies without getting very sore feet; well I can't anyway - difficult choice that; blisters or trench foot?

So here's the state of the 'water where we live' today
 No changes here then
Our walk today took us to, The Prince of Wales Feathers at Castor. Very dog friendly (Boneos all round)  and very well kept ales I had a pint of Woodford's Wherry and a rabbit supper for £3.20 - OK so the rabbit had to be carried home, skinned, gutted and cooked first. What did you expect for £3.20?
 Smart house in Castor - looking very French. I did nip around to the servant's entrance and ask the chauffeur to move the car for my photo but he was most uncooperative
If you walk as many miles as we have along the Nene Valley, you must get lucky at some stage and spot the train. Lovely.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Here ends this morning's walk!

Once again my crazy intrepid neighbour suggested we donned the wet weather gear and took the dogs out - for the first time in a long while (due to the sun's guest appearance yesterday) my wets were actually dry when I put them on (you see it's not all doom and gloom).
I also had the 'brilliant' idea of encasing my feet in poo bags - unused ones - as even my trusty Berghaus boots aren't up to continuous submergence in flood meadows and I'm starting to get trench foot.
We were heading for the rubbish and re-cycling facilities on Ferry Meadows just outside of Peterborough (hence the back packs).
 That's our gate to the right. That'll be plan B then.
More and more of our choices are being 'cut off' but, as long as our access to the village stays OK we'll be fine for another week - after that we are going to have to find some kind of water supply. Does anyone have any spare waders?