Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Mince pies and Pork Scratching

This morning Jill came a knocking with a gift of some homemade mince pies.  This close to Christmas it seemed rude not to break open the sherry and toast the season so there we were at 10.30, noshing a shared mince pie and quaffing a glass of Crofts...very civilised.
Joe and Graham had gone  off to the Little Ouse Moorings to see owners, Natalie and Danny and get a new bottle of gas for each boat so they missed the early morning imbibing; Joe has since returned and we now have NO mince pies left...funny that.

When the men retuned, we saw Nb.Matilda Rose away - they have headed into Ely - and then hauled Yarwood backwards on to the EA mooring at Littleport rather than the pub mooring.  We had phoned ahead on Sunday last to The Swan on the River and asked about a hook-up on their shore power but on arrival we were told that they still haven't resolved whether they want to continue offering this service.   We were hoping to use shorepower get all the laundry up to date before going away for Christmas; we will still be up to date but Yarwood's genny is providing the power instead.
I have been out across the fenland walking the dogs this morning leaving Himself to run the vacuum around the boat - a much easier task when you haven't got the dogs sprawled about the boat objecting to being moved!

 Dog walking on a  dank and misty drove road
 Where we were greeted by these wee fellows, Gloucester Old Spots?
 Fletcher keeps his distance, standing on the opposite side of the road from the pigs whilst inquisitive Floyd has to meet and greet each one.
All pressed forward for a welcome back scratch - humans are so useful - and posed for the camera in return

Monday 17 December 2012

Fare thee well West Row

We pulled pins this morning having enjoyed four days mooring at Judes Ferry Inn in the village of West Row in Suffolk.  The Landlord is really pleasant and friendly and he keeps some good real ales.  We did eat in the restaurant one evening but were all a bit disappointed by the fare; too much Masterchef influencing us I expect....

Dog walking in the area was a real bonus, offering a plethora of footpaths and routes to explore and even a walk across country into the town of Mildenhall.  One of the judgements I make about a mooring is the access to dog walking, a good mooring must offer me more than a strip of flood bank to wander up and down for ten minutes.

 On Sunday, after it had closed of course, Jill and I finally located the West Row village shop which will come in handy if/when we come back this way in the New Year.

This morning, Jill and I left on foot ahead of the boats, walking across country to Isleham lock with the four dogs.  It gave us and the mutts some exercise before we piled back on to our respective boats and headed off up stream to Prickwillow again where we have moored up for the night.   Tomorrow Littleport beckons for one night before making our way back towards Ely ahead of Christmas. 

Friday 14 December 2012

Up the Lark without a boat

We are currently moored at Judes Ferry which is the end of the R. Lark navigation ...but not the end of the R Lark.   This morning, ahead of the promised high winds and lashing rain, I took the dogs for a walk along the banks of the unnavigable Lark.    We got the timing a bit wrong, well I did, the dogs don't do time unless it's meal-times and then they seem to have a very KEEN sense of time.  Anyway, the get-out-ahead-of-the-rain worked but the get-back-before-it-started didn't; we arrived back at Yarwood soaked and muddy.
Tomorrow promises better weather, apparently,  so the plan is to walk into Mildenhall along the river and explore the town.

Thursday 13 December 2012

A bit of ice breaking today.....

My goodness, it is perishing cold isn't it?
This morning before the off Joe lit the stove in the back cabin so that the steerer would be warm and cosy - the lock girl and general factotum standing alongside on the gunwale was not so warm and cosy despite the Michelin - man outfit - those of a certain age will remember the Michelin man I am sure?
We de-frosted the standpipe and topped up our water tank before heading off towards Judes Ferry.

Just out of Prickwillow
 The run up stream from Prickwillow to Isleham is a bit tedious with high flood banks and a straight channel most of the way but the crisp blue sky and frosted bank side was just lovely.  When we arrived at Isleham lock the water in the lock and in the long cutting above the lock was frozen.  The difference out here on the fenland rivers is that this is an unusual state of affairs and the locks here are mechanised so the hydraulics do all the ice breaking for you, no hanging on to a lock gate for grim death while you open and close it madly to smash the ice caught behind the gates.

 Yarwood breaking ice along the lock cutting
 At the end of this straight the ice cover ended as we regained the river channel
Above Isleham lock the character of the River Lark changes dramatically, it takes on a tightly meandering course and getting sixty-six foot of narrowboat around the bends took some work!

 Yarwood moored up behind Nb. Matilda Rose on the Judes Ferry Inn staging
When we arrived Joe winded Yarwood and reversed in behind Matilda Rose.  The staging is so high that we are having to use the back doors for access as getting the dogs out of the side doors - our usual access/egress point - is not safe or practical.
We have kept the stove in that back cabin alight - we normally let it die out after cruising because it makes the back cabin a bit too toastie to sleep in - but tonight, I think we might just keep it going, it's that cold!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

A proper winters day

A freezing fog descended yesterday afternoon so it was no surprise this morning to wake to more of the same.   The reed margins were crisp with icicles and remained so most of the day.

 Yarwood on a frosty morning
We were off today to visit family in Norfolk so spent quite a bit of time de-icing the car before setting off in the fog towards Mildenhall and the A11.
 Joe, ice scraper and de-icer to hand
Parsley seed heads still rimed with ice in the late afternoon.
The drive through Thetford Forest was spectacular with all the trees adorned by a crisp icy coating and lit up by a bright winter sun.  We visited family and then walked the dogs at East Harling Common which is close to my brother's home in Bressingham.   By four o'clock with light failing we were heading back to Yarwood where Joe has lit the stove in the back cabin as well as the one in the saloon and we are now toastie warm!  

Four and Six

I am rather fond of a liqueur...

or two...


too many pubs and restaurants serve liqueurs in shot or whiskey glasses which is a bit naff.

so I have been looking for a set of appropriate glasses for Yarwood.  I have looked on line and in some of the cookware stores but nothing  tickled my fancy until I thought to go and have a rummage in  Ely Antiques based in an ancient Malting's by the riverside.  

I saw beautiful etched Edwardian glasses for very little

and I was rather tempted
could I be bothered to hand wash them?
what about bouncing them?
Perhaps not then...

So I kept looking and found a matching set of six liqueur glasses and four sherry glasses.  Well I couldn't leave them when Yarwood had a shelf awaiting them so..
I paid the asking price of  £17 and brought them home...


Tuesday 11 December 2012

Change of plan

Blogger is playing ball again so today some photo's.

It was a bright and cold start this morning, so was yesterday come to think of it, thick frost and frozen lines (ropes) as we prepared for the off.   I had mentioned to Jill (Nb Matilda Rose) that the roads I would have to drive on (we have  our car with us ahead of the Christmas visiting) would not have seen any grit; they are so minor as to be barely more than farm tracks in places, and that perhaps I would be better off staying at Prickwillow ahead of a trip to see family in Norfolk tomorrow.   
By the time we had moored up for water all of 15 minutes after pulling pins my 'thought' had become a plan.   So we on Yarwood have stayed at Prickwillow and Nb. Matilda Rose has moved on towards  Judes Ferry; we will join them on Thursday.

Our view of Ely and it's grand cathedral as we left yesterday
Batting downstream in MR's wake
Breasted up last night at Toms Hole Farm mooring - room for one narrowboat only so hence the arrangement

Off this morning, blue sky and gilded reeds and unlike fellow bloggers/boaters on the canals....NO ICE!
Following MR up stream on the R Lark
Yarwood, or Noby-no-mates, at Prickwillow

Monday 10 December 2012

Moored, Toms Hole Farm

Blogger is being difficult and has not allowed me to upload photo's over the last couple of days so the lovely sunsets of Ely will remain unseen...by you anyway.

We have enjoyed our weekend in Ely but this morning was time to move on.  With both Nb. Matilda Rose and Nb Yarwood serviced, water tanks filled in preparation for  mammoth laundry sessions and the black tanks emptied, we pulled pins and set off downstream in glorious winter sunshine.  We were not going far, just on the River Lark, a tributary of the Great Ouse, where we moored at the first available moorings quaintly named, Toms Hole Farm moorings.  We will overnight here and move on again in the morning, refilling our depleted water supplies at Prickwillow before heading for Judes Ferry and the head of the navigation.
Apart from the inevitable dog walking, today has been a day of chores and the last one is awaiting my ministrations as I type......cleaning the oven.
The oven is dismantled and coated in chemical and now I fear I need to don a little rubber number and get scrubbing!

Friday 7 December 2012

Ten minutes awaiting and....

I got back to Yarwood yesterday morning having been busy in Essex Christmas shopping for the past two days.  We are now moored in a wintry Ely and this morning I went up into the City for an appointment with my bank.  I arrive for the 10.30 meeting five minutes early, book in and take a seat.        
Fifteen minutes later, now ten minutes AFTER my appointment and no sign of the promised financial whizz-kid so I collar the receptionist and ask her to pass a message on...
"I had/have a meeting, 10 minutes ago, I am now leaving would you mind telling Ermintrude that keeping a customer waiting for 10 minutes is EXCEEDINGLY RUDE.....thank you."

So back to the boat and transfer funds from said Bank to......someone else.
I felt so much better!

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Relocation, relocation

With winter set in there is barely any boat movement on the river system here on the Fenland waterways.  For the most part the GRP cruisers have been put to bed, many lifted out of the water and stored on the bank.

 Moored at Clayhithe on the River Cam with Nb Matilda Rose behind Yarwood

 A view of the Cam at Clayhithe, on the right the Cam Conservators depot with weed cutter and assorted craft and on the left the frontage of The Bridge Inn.

 Yarwood on the move.  Joe passes Bottisham moorings and WB. Pippin, the blue widebeam, as Yarwood in brought into Bottisham Lock.

We left Clayhithe Monday morning heading for Upware.  I had walked along the flood bank with the dogs and set the lock, saw Yarwood through and then retraced my steps to retrieve our car.  I arrived at Upware to find that there were no suitable moorings just as Yarwood came into view.  A quick call to Himself and we went to plan B, head for Lt. Thetford just south of Ely.  In the car again and back through Stretham, regain the A10 and head north for the village of Lt. Thetford where I dumped the car and walked to the river side.  Only one boat on the moorings so plenty of space for the likes of us.
Joe will stay here quite happily for a couple of days while I go to Essex for a pre-Christmas visit to Mum and when I get back we will head into Ely for the services.

Moored at Lt. Thetford

Friday 30 November 2012

Frosty walk to Milton

We managed to tax the car yesterday and the Post Office clerk DID look at all the documents I produced so the rummage of the previous day was not entirely wasted time and effort.    Joe is now going to retrieve the car from storage tomorrow so that I can go off to Essex early next week ahead of our planned Christmas visit.  I will stay just a couple of days which will allow me to get Mother into Southend for her Christmas shopping and see my nephew Jack who hits the big SIXTEEN  next week!  Where have all the years gone....

Anyway, last night's temperature drop has frozen the ground so our walk today was in better conditions;  muddy fields and dogs mix wonderfully but the impact on the boat is less desirable as you might imagine.    Today we walked back along the towpath towards Cambridge turning off just before Baits Bite lock and walking up into the village of Milton and Milton Country Park.  A pleasant perambulation for a couple of hours in the winter sunshine before heading back to a comfy chair by Yarwood's stove where I will vegetate until it is time to rustle up tonight's dinner. 

 Cam side walk
A  memorial in Milton Country Park to mark the 50th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings in France on 6th June 1944.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Doc search

It has been a bit of a domestic day today, I baked a banana and walnut cake and cooked a roast with oodles of fresh vegetables for lunch, a late lunch that is after a pint at The Bridge at Clayhithe. 

Between the rain showers the dogs have been walked a couple of times and then Himself and I both turned the boat upside down searching for vehicle documents; we need to tax our car and get it back on the road ahead of the Christmas visit to family in Essex.   We have ended up downloading the insurance and printing a new copy of the certificate because the DVLA site says we need to produce the documents - of course when we present all this paperwork at the Post Office counter tomorrow the clerk will inform us that they don't need it because they are linked to the DVLA server which will confirm MOT and insurance status!

Still, the printer got a dust down....

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Water point...under water

There was fun and games yesterday morning when it came time to fill Yarwood's water tank and take our leave of Cambridge.  We were originally going to move out of town on Saturday but driving winds lost out to prudence in the arm wrestling contest and we stayed put. 
So despite the river bank being swamped by flood waters yesterday we really did to replenish supplies.  I donned my rather fetching rubber shoes (cut down wellies) and prepared to splash about in the very cold water.  Joe winded Yarwood and after a couple of attempts managed to get to the opposite bank against the weir stream.  I stepped down from the gunwale with the centre line on what I hoped/believed was the bank six inches below the water level and got Yarwood secured.  There seemed little point Joe joining me and also getting cold and wet so he stayed aboard passing me keys and water hose and cassettes and I did the necessary.

Adjusting trouser level in the shallower water by the service point

Back aboard and heading down stream out of Cambridge.  All the permanent moored boats had poles down to stop them slipped over the bank.  We gave a farewell toot to Nb Lucky Duck as we passed but they were not about.
I stayed aboard until Baits Bite lock after which I walked the dogs along the river to where we were planning to moor.

Moored at Clayhithe in the sunshine.
Yarwood with NB Matilda Rose behind us

Sunday 25 November 2012

Zomerland coming to grief

Dutch barge (Tjalk) Zomerland came to grief last night slipping her moorings - or having her mooring slipped by some miscreant, who knows -  above Jesus Lock in Cambridge and finding herself held against the weir barrage by the strong stream.

 When I came past a couple of boaters were valiantly trying to get a line to the bank and haul her to safety.

It was a VERY lively night with Himself getting up twice during the dark hours to secure something clattering on Yarwood's cabin top and then to check our lines.  The wind has lessened a bit today but the river levels are up though not on strong stream warning as yet.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Thinking of buying a boat?

If you a thinking of buying a boat, James and Amy, owners of Nb. Lucky Duck, are selling her and want the word out there in blogdom.  Here is the link to Lucky Duck's description and contact details for any enquiries.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

City living...Cambridge

We moved off towards Cambridge on Monday.  Enjoying rather agreeable weather  Jill and I decided to walk to Baits Bite lock with the four dogs and meet the two boats there.  However we had arrived at the lock some half an hour ahead of the boats so after a quick phone call to check, we left Graham and Joe to work the lock between them and we continued our walk into Cambridge.   We moored up on Midsummer Common immediately in front of fellow bloggers James and Amy's narrowboat, Lucky Duck.
Joe and I wandered up into town to pick up our forwarded mail from the Post Office (Post Restante service) and have a wee wander before calling it a day and settling in front of the fire aboard Yarwood.
Tuesday we were awake before cock-crow as the dedicated rowers of Cambridge were up and at it before first light...
and wanted everyone else to know!! 
With dog walking duties fulfilled in the morning the afternoon was spent going to the cinema to see the latest Bond film, Skyfall.  Joe, Graham and I went ( Jill giving it a miss) and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  In the evening we all joined Amy and James and went to the local pub for a drink where we were roped into a quiz night.  Much hilarity ensued and we ended the evening coming a creditable second and having a jolly good crack.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Road to Lode

After a grey and damp Saturday which saw the dogs walked early and the humans heading off into Waterbeach for a pint or two, Sunday arrived guilded in autumn sunshine.  Joggers and walkers were already out and about as Jill and I emerged from our respective boats and headed off to explore.  Jill had Memory Map loaded on her mobile phone but we hadn't gone far before we found we had 'walked off the map' on the phone so we were soon back to our normal state of being lost...
Ah well, never mind.
We continued onwards, walking the bank of Bottisham lode (lode - a man made drainage ditch/dyke) until we came to the edge of a habitation.    Not a clue where we were until we hauled up outside a church and found we were in the village of Lode...

Which takes it's name from,
you've guessed it,

Bottisham Lode

 Thatched cottages abound
 And in Mill Lane we find a working water mill, Lode Mill owned by the National Trust.

 Lode Water Mill
 A tree lined avenue - so unusual and welcome on the fens
Heading back to the boats on an almost deserted country lane

Saturday 17 November 2012

Upware to Bottisham

Having just enjoyed a couple of nights moored at Upware, outside The Five Miles from Anywhere Inn and connected to shore power, we moved off just after 9am yesterday morning.    The occasional access to shore power allows us to 'condition' the battery bank - as if I know what I am talking about???

 Moving off in a cold a misty morning
 Leaving the MR crew snoozing..
After an hour cruising we approached Bottisham lock and once through we moored on the Goba moorings just beyond where we were joined by Jill and Graham after an hour or so.
In the afternoon Jill and I and the four dogs set off to find some alternative ground to cover and came back through a stand of willows where some harvesting had been done.
 A typical fenland scene, a stand of coppiced willow

 I think this is a willow of bridge under construction??

Update - this morning we passed the chaps working on the bridge, along with the child labour.   They told me that they were Engineers and were working with the Woodland Trust and Cambridge University design engineers to build the willow structure.   - apparently the kids spend most of the rest of the week up a chimney..

Willow withy ready for use in the construction of the 'bridge'.
The usefulness of willow is interesting, with modern applications including willow being grown as biomass for use in electricity power generation.  The willow's growth rate is phenomenal and managed cropping makes it a super 'renewable' source of power apparently.