Friday 16 November 2012

To the woods

Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful, just as forecast, and Lesley and I needed a fix of autumn colours. G emptied the car of coal and we loaded up the four dogs and headed off through Mildenhall to the woods. It would have been quite rude not to stop by at Lesley's Brother and Sister-in-laws' house so that they could come too with their black lab, Bentley. This is where Floyd and Fletcher go on their holidays; my two had never been before, but you'd never know it...relaxed or what?

After stopping to collect 5 dozen free range eggs between us from the local farm  (a snip at £7) and utterly delicious, we hit the woods - beautiful. This was what we needed.

Quite a few others had the same idea and, at one point, we had a pack of 12 dogs; not a grumble amongst them - even Baxter managed to break into a canter and the occasional game of chase me
That is actually a dog under there (not a powder puff), probably a bitch given the amount of attention she is receiving from the boys.
Feeds the soul doesn't it?
Star romp of the day was Muttley and a 6 month old Dalmatian called Archie. 
Brilliant day, we must do stuff like this more often

Thursday 15 November 2012

Recovery of NB Gurnamore

They've finally recovered NB Gurnamore from Ditchford Lock. It looks like they've had to lower the stretch by about 4 feet to do it. G found this video on You Tube. Click if you want to have a look

Saturday saw us back in Ely and I think we might have started a trend for this boat tieing together business - WB Pippin leaving Ely tied to NB Irene with James Duck on the front. Someone might want to tell them that one of them is pointing the wrong way - although it's difficult to spot as Irene sports the type of cratch cover at the front that is normally seen at the back!
Our reason for returning was to attend the firework display in the foreground of the floodlit Cathedral. It was extremely popular and the weather held up, but for a light drizzle

After ringing round a number of restaurants we'd given up on the plan to eat out as they were full.. We were split up from Lesley and Joe in the crush and then they phoned to say they'd managed to get a table in a nearby Indian Restaurant - a really good meal and it rounded off the evening nicely.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

All back to normal

Monday night we had a bite in the Jenyns as we were moored on that side for once - we don't normally moor on that side as we have to keep Daisy in due to the proximity of the little road - the depleted water levels dictated our staying overnight. We left on Tuesday morning in bright sunshine, but it was quite chilly, and the water levels were back up.
I say 'we' left but, in fact, they left. Both boats strapped together again so that, this time, Lesley could play trolly dolly for both boats. With a cheery wave they disappeared into the sunsetshine much to the amusement  of the local residents who wanted to know if we'd had a row, broken down, etc etc. Plenty of time to catch up on the local gossip as I was on car moving duty - a journey of about 20 minutes as against the boats' journey of about 2 hours.
I love this old house but am extremely curious about the single solar panel on a place of this size. Maybe it runs the heated towel rail in the au pair's bathroom, or perhaps the toaster in the gardener's shed.
After catching up on the gossip about the "mass eviction" at Popes Corner, I trundled off to give the dogs a good walk as we were heading off to the EA moorings at the Ship Inn and the dog walking there is rubbish
We had a lovely walk along the Relief Chanel but, unfortunately, couldn't complete the circular walk back along the Ouse as the use of the last little bit of path has been withdrawn - this has been a permissive path for the last 10 years but 'permission' has been withdrawn this last September. I' would love to know why

The big sluices on the Relief Chanel separating the non- navigable from the bit that's navigable to Downham Market. Thinking I would have loads of time to kill I extended the walk and the boats were already moored by the time I reached them. We then went and had a pint with the new owners - it would have been rude not to.
The day ended with a magnificent sky
and we set off early the following morning leaving Yarwood's crew to snooze
we headed off down the Little Ouse to get diesel from Danny and Natalie (and 5 eggs hot from under the chickens' bums)
A beautiful morning for a cruise before picking up the car (me) and picking up Yarwood (G) and moving on to Littleport. I seem to be doing a car cruise at the moment.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Who pulled the plug out?

Sunday it rained. It rained and it rained and it rained. We were going out for Sunday lunch with Lesley and Joe, but no-one could face the long troop through rain and mud up to the road. Apart from Lesley and I having to do something with the dogs (in my case the bare minimum) no-one stirred from the comfort of their boats.
Monday dawned bright, sunny and busy. Downham Market for groceries, dog walking and then a visit to our solicitor's in Ely to try and finalise the paperwork on Mum's bungalow. On the drive back G and I had a little wager - the loser was to cook dinner (pretty clever on my part as I cook dinner anyway). Graham lost the wager so cooked dinner and then we ran out of water - this is only the second time ever that we've run out of water through stupidity; running out because we're stuck in ice, floods or droughts goes with the cc territory. My glass was definitely half full though as I couldn't wash up either (a night off).
We were due to service the boats across the river before we left in the morning, so it wasn't the end of the world - I scrounged a pan of water off of NB Yarwood which filled the dog's bowl and the kettle for our tea in the morning (Daisy only drinks blue milk). When G took the dogs out for last wees he loosened the ropes right off as the water level had dropped a bit and we agreed we'd get up early to go and fill with water.
We climbed out of bed this morning, with some difficulty, to the sound of  Yarwoods engine revving. Not only did we have no water in the boat, we didn't have much under it either and both boats were stranded.
 Good job our ropes were loose. We rang EA who said that they'd had to open the gates to reduce the flooding in Cambridge but that they would shut the gate and we should be afloat again in 4 or 5 hours. Lesley went off with her dogs whilst Graham tried to flush Joe off with our engine. Eventually they got Yarwood off and Joe put a gang plank out to re-board Lesley and the dogs.
 Except jelly boy Floyd (Ty is not the only one) didn't fancy the gank plank at such a severe angle so we put him on Matilda Rose with our boys whilst we concentrated on bow hauling MR off.
"Cor mum - they don't have very big beds round here and they haven't left any food lying about"
Eventually both boats were off - Yarwood mooring across the river in deeper water and MR to the waterpoint. All these shenanigans started about  7.00am this morning and it was 12.30 by the time we had restored MR to some kind of order and people were fed.
As our ropes were loose it was not a big deal (could have been a very different story if they were tighter), just a lot of hassle - made worse by our being daft enough to run our water tank dry BUT emptying the river wasn't an accident. If EA can send out strong stream alerts to our 'phones, why can't they send "we're pulling the plug" alerts using the same system? I feel an e-mail coming on.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Ladies Day

Graham kindly drove Lesley and I into the station at Downham Market so that we could have a day out in King's Lynn by train, doing what we enjoy most - having a good old poke around and trying to get a feel for days of old. You won't  get a lot of historical facts from me, as Lesley is our Historian, but I have to give you a bit of background to make sense of the place.
King's Lynns geographical position on the extensive inland waterway system made it ideal for trading and by the 13th Century was one of England's most important ports. It attracted traders from the Hanseatic League; a group of German Cities whose ships travelled in convoys for protection against pirates. They bought in fish, furs, timber, wax and pitch and took away wool, cloth and salt. Their influence and wealth in this town can still be seen in abundance.

 Now I'm not really into all this stuff but we left at 9.30 and returned at 4.30 and hardly scratched the surface - what an amazing town. I could spend at least another 2 days here and that's without retail therapy.

Greyfriars Tower
Greyfriars Memorial
King's Lynn Minster
We nipped in here for 3 reasons: it was open, it was free and it just started lashing down with rain 

The Holy Trinity Guildhall dating back to the 1420s and is part of the Town Hall complex
 Then we wandered out onto the South Quay - it was perishingly cold and, given we'd left in the sunshine, neither of us had sufficient clothing on. We'd tried to re-enter civilised society by looking vaguely respectable - we'd even eschewed walking boots and wellies, our reward was to be frozen. At that point I made a brilliant discovery; my woolly dog walking hat was in my rucksack, hurrah! That helped a bit.
 Across the River is the church of West Lynn - a pedestrian ferry still runs  across the Ouse when there is enough water

 The Green Quay exhibition area was closed but the area itself is still interesting

Sculpture reflecting the fish drying industry
An amazing level of detail
The last remaining warehouses of the Hanseatic League
This is the Old Custom House and was still used as such until relatively recently - it's a small museum now and one of the exhibits made me smile. It was a chest known as a King's or Armada chest. One of these was owned by Henry Hare, a Customs Collector. On his death in 1733 it was found to contain over £3,000 in gold coins and was escorted to London by, 'trusty guard' - it must have been worth millions in todays money?
 One of the buildings in this 'listed' area was boarded up and the boards painted with 'muriels' (you have to be a certain age to remember that one)

 I think they're lovely and stopped the building standing out like a sore thumb

 This enormous building is the Baptist Chapel and is situated adjacent to the area where the poor fisherfolk lived, although they weren't allowed in it or to be buried there. The Chapel is bigger than a lot of cathedrals
 These 2 cottages are the only two remaining one up one down fisherfolk cottages and now form part of a Museum which also houses a smoke house in True's Yard
 We missed the gaol, The Walks, Red Mount Chapel, South Gate, etc., etc. We were intending to have something a bit special for lunch but we simply ran out of day and ended up with a pint and egg and chips; nothing wrong with that though (oh and coffee and toasted teacakes in the St George's Guildhall Arts Centre). I will definitely go back for more it's like no other place I've been to.