Having moored up today I left Himself to wash down the boat - last nights mooring in March under the trees left Yarwood with a sticky coating of sap - and I took the dogs for a short but much needed walk along a fenland drove.
Floyd switched quickly into hunting mode and took off after a hare but while the hare was giving him the slip I spotted what I thought was another hare....
And sure enough, it was...looking at me looking at him looking at me
Yesterday we stayed moored up on the Lodes End lock landing; with no boats about and certainly no boats wanting to drop down through the lock we were not in any body's way.
As we had filled our water tank on Monday we set about the domestic chores of getting the bedding and towels laundered and dried. Usually the tumble dryer does the drying but a warm day had me rummaging in the hold for the airer; the accursed airer as far as Himself is concerned as it gets in HIS way when HE wants something in the hold - and apparently it is MINE so therefore not required..
Twankey does wash day
Moored at Lodes end
This morning we pulled pins at 8.40 and retraced our 'steps' towards Benwick and Angle Corner before turning right towards March.
Approaching the low White Fen Farm bridge - this is the bridge that stopped NB Matilda Rose (MR)from joining us on Saturday last, they couldn't get MR underneath.
Our exhaust just touches...
Approaching Angle Corner, a WW2 pill box overlooks the junction
Crossing the Greenwich Meridian - not quite as exotic as the Equator but...
Wide and clear and teeming with fish, the banks coated with cow parsley, rape and sedge
Heading into March past gardens and moorings
This Dutch style house has a date of 1690 above the front door
Moored at the service point
Our first point of call is the service block at March where I got the broom and swept up the broken glass scattered about the place. This sadly has a notice saying that the pump-out and elsen point has been withdrawn because it is beyond economic repair. That leaves NO provision for sewage disposal across the Middle Levels unless you go into a marina. Perhaps the Middle Level Commissioners should consider charging boaters a small licence fee and use the income to increase the moorings and facilities on their waterways?
We left Benwick yesterday morning having had a visit from the Nb Matilda Rose crew on Sunday. Jill and I had sat in the sun while Joe and Graham watched the Monaco Grand Prix on board Yarwood after which we had a hastily prepared picnic utilising the bench seat you can see in the photo below. Yes, this IS the very bench that Benwick residents use for a bit of comfortable gongoozeling...re my last post.
Benwick mooring with fitted gongoozeling benches
We were heading for Ramsey and visit to Tesco's which is just by the Town Quay and a quick visit to Bill Fen Marina for diesel, water and a small gas bottle for the BBQ.
Mallards escaping the boat as we cruised along in glorious, glorious sunshine!
Entrance into Bill Fen Marina,through the flood gates that protect it
We have booked to go into Bill Fen Marina (BFM) for a week in early June to allow me to clear off to Essex and visit Mother but in the meantime we went in to BFM to service Yarwood before reversing down High Lode to Ramsey for a Tesco shopping trip. The turning point at the bottom of High Lode is too small to wind Yarwood so it was a case of reverse to Tesco or walk there and lug the shopping back...the reverse won.
Not so much moored, as abandoned, on Ramsey town 'quay'
The mooring here in Benwick is a super new mooring installed by the Parish Council to attract visitors to the village. You would think that in attracting boaters there might be a commercial imperative, i.e,to use the shops and restaurants and pubs but it seems that there are no shops or restaurants and only one pub, The Five Alls.
What does seem to be an attraction however is the mooring itself.
Two benches have been placed on the mooring and this encourages locals to come and sit and stare into the windows of the boat that is but three feet away. The children poke their heads in through the side hatch and mums and dads walk their little ones along the side of the boat explaining that people 'live in there'; it's like living in a gold fish bowl...
We left our mooring at Whittlesey yesterday in glorious sunshine and pulled onto the lock landing at Ashline lock. This is the one lock, that I am aware of anyway, that has a special windlass. No standard windlass will operate the 'penstocks' - the Fenland name for paddles - so we have to carry this heavy windlass for just this one lock. We are heading for the village of Benwick where the Parish Council have just opened a new visitor mooring we thought to try out.
Farewell Whittlesey mooring..
Ashline lock landing
Joe closing the penstocks of the bottom gate
Heading out of Whittlesey into the open fens. The air was redolent with the scent of cow parsley and May blossom
All along this stretch of the Whittlesey Dyke there were warblers flitting in and out of the reed margins but surprisingly, hardly any swallows.
Here be our turn coming up, a sharp right to Benwick and Ramsey on the old course of the river Nene - left would take us to March.
Himself making the turn..
The 'road to Ramsey'...
Stacks of potato crates, a common site on the fens
So here are at Whittlesey and Wednesday morning a very nice man came along and cut the grass on 'our garden' after which we set out the chairs, got out the Kindles and enjoyed the weather.
Then it was a bit of ball throwing for Floyd and Fletcher followed by a visit to the town for a hair cut. Joe's expenditure for his hair cut, £5 whilst my 'dry cut' was £14??? Still slightly less mop-like now and the job offers from local farmers to scare crows might dry up a bit as well..
Olympic ball throwing..
Fletcher on the case..
Early yesterday morning, before the sun got up, we gave Yarwood a good wash. The river water was clean enough to use as a rinse - prior to this the R. Nene was carrying too much silt to be of any value.
Everything off of the roof, a bowl of soapy water and a mop and broom, wind him up and away he goes..
A bucket of river water to rinse - I was supplying the river water and encouragement
Getting there darling, looking lovely!!
We went on the wash the decks and cabin side and I then cleaned the brass. We also took a chance that the weather had now turned for the better and stored the chimney's away. Hopefully that will be the last we see of them until the autumn!
Tuesday morning we woke to blue skies and bright sunshine , summer had arrived! At 09.30 two Environment Agency chaps turn up at Stanground lock - it being Tina's day off - and worked Yarwood down from Kings Dyke on to Whittlesey Dyke. We kept Yarwood firmly in the centre of the lock following Joe's experience with NB. Matilda Rose the previous Wednesday when they had to flush water in to stop MR grounding at the side of the lock.
Here we go, the top gates are closed and the Middle levels beckon..
Whittlesey Dyke, skirting Stanground village
One of the many statuesque chimney's that soar above the landscape on the approach to Whittlesey, here be the many brick fields of the London Brick Company.
Approaching Whittlesey the channel narrows between high concrete walls for a short time, just the place for a sunken craft not to be...
Joe concentrating on getting 66' of narrowboat through the narrow 90 degree corner as we come into the outskirts of Whittlesey
Corner turned, Yarwood straightens and Joe receives the applause of the chap on the bridge..
A beautiful tree lined stretch, so much more beautiful because the sun is shining
Our destination, a mooring alongside the recreation ground, Ashline lock in the distance.