Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Weekend visitors

Quick catch-up or, where did the weekend go?

Thursday and Friday night we were moored on EA moorings at The Ship.  Thursday evening we were joined by Amy and James of NB Lucky Duck and John of Wb Pippin for a few drinks in the local hostelry - it would have been churlish not to frequent The Ship when we are on the doorstep so to speak.

Saturday morning we pulled pins and headed downstream to Denver as we planned to meet family there on Sunday.    A change of plan Sunday saw us don wet gear and head off towards Ely hoping and praying that there would be a mooring for us..there was, just the one and we did have to 'urge' a cruiser to shufty along a wee bit.

Our family in the form of Joe's daughter Abby and partner Wardy were staying overnight in The Lamb at Ely.  We joined them for a drink and then went to find somewhere for a meal and then it was drinks back at Yarwood.

On Monday morning, with the sun shining again, our visitors joined us for a cruise to the River Cam and the very welcoming Five Miles from Anywhere Inn at Upware.  Here we lunched and half way through the heavens opened yet again.    The rain had ceased by the time it came to leave but just in case, Abby and I stayed inside with the mutts while Joe and Wardy helmed the boat back to Ely.

 Joe has just winded (turned) Yarwood and is about to hand over the tiller to Wardy

 Your turn then..

 Wardy has found the 'accelerater'..

 Wardy 'in charge' all the way back to Ely

We arrived back in Ely needing to drop our visitors off and was there a mooring?  All the way round to the service point where James and Amy were watering Lucky Duck and there was just room to squeeze Yarwood in which we did with the gratefully received assistance of the Duckies.

Eys been boating and beating-up Abby so eys reel tired now..

Friday 27 July 2012


Yesterday morning we moved off of our mooring at Littleport, our 48hrs were up, watered the boats and headed downstream towards the confluence of the Little Ouse.  There is a EA mooring right here and it was vacant and and enticing so that is where we stopped.  After a quick dog walk we piled into Graham's car for the short journey to March where we had arranged to meet a couple of narrowboaters, Olly and Ann, who have spent the last four years cruising the Belgium and Northern French canals/rivers on their narrowboat Wandering Snail.
Olly and Ann are in the process of getting their narrowboat repaired following a recent incident with a JCB so we arranged to meet them at Fox's Marina before finding somewhere for lunch and our interrogation research to begin!

 Lunch at The Little London in March.   L-R Olly, Ann, Graham, Joe and Jill.

We had gone prepared with list and covered a range of things, like banking, the who to use and how to do it, telephones and broadband, helmsman's qualifications, what size ropes/lines to take, where to moor, shopping, sanitation, water supply, where to buy diesel and much, much more.  Ann is in the process of writing a book about their experiences which will be very, very useful for anyone considering taking the plunge and going Continental.

Whilst at Foxes Marina looking at the repair work their boat is undergoing following the JCB incident, we also noted and photographed changes they have made specifically for their European cruising.  As above, two addition dollies added to the bow and a cleat to supplement the normal T-stud.  These add-ons are essential the help hold the boat steady when sharing locks with the enormous commercial vessels that use the Northern European systems.

 A mast for navigation lights, these in addition to the lights on the side of the boat.

Another mast forward for an anchor light - if you are moored on a buoy for instance - VHF radio aerial etc.
We returned with much more information and food for thought and are very grateful to Olly and Ann for sharing their time and knowledge with us.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Taking issue

For those that haven't noticed I have a side bar on the blog template that lists some pet 'hates'.  To be honest they are not so much 'hates' as dislikes or irritants but pet irritant, or pet dislike didn't have the same ring...

Anyway, one of them is;
People that crudely categorise others by the newspaper they read

A couple of days ago I received a comment from Sarah taking issue with my pet hate.  The comment ended up in my spam filter and when I tried to remove/retrieve it, I lost it.   So apologies for this rather unorthodox way of replying.

Sarah's comment/question.

Re. your pet hate no. 12...
Surely newspaper choice is an excellent guide to an individuals views/political outlook/level of interest in celebrities.  Why would anyone read a newspaper they disagreed with or didn't enjoy?

My reply..
Newspaper readership may well be indicative of peoples outlook/views on life but there are any number of reasons why someone would choose a particular paper to read or browse.  People will buy a paper for the sports section or the racing tips  or even the crossword but never read the editorial or give any credence the political stance of the paper.  Associating their political outlook therefore with that of the paper would not be very sophisticated would it?  So no, I don't accept that newspaper choice is an excellent guide at all, but an indicator maybe..
I have also noticed that people that tend to use newspaper choice to categorise sections of society have a tendency to couch it in a rather sneering, derogatory fashion, perhaps you have noticed that also?   Statements like.. "Typical  Daily Mail, Torygraph (Telegraph) or Grauniad (Guardian) readers.."  There seems to be some snobbery or inverted snobbery at play and I think it says far more about the writer/speaker than about the readership of any newspaper.

What do others think??

Upware to Ely

We set off yesterday morning at 9 sharp, waving farewell to the cruiser crews that were already sitting out enjoying the early morning sunshine.  We were heading north into Ely to service the boats and then on to Littleport for a couple of days mooring.
We have a visit to March scheduled for Thursday but that will be by car, Nb Matilda Rose is picking up grandson Danian on Friday and we are expecting Joe's daughter Abby and partner John in Ely on Sunday.  So, for now we will be lingering here abouts but it will give us the opportunity to revisit the Lt. Ouse and see the R Wissey and the R Lark.

 Leaving The Five Miles Inn at Upware

 Following Nb Matilda Rose down the R. Cam

 The A1123 crosses the R. Cam

 Dutch barges moored at Popes Corner Marina

 Popes Corner, entrance to the Old West River and the route to Bedford

 Paddling bovines
 This elderly and neglected river cruiser is sunk at Little Thetford EA moorings, and apparently, has been so for nine months!

 The Ship of the Fens, Ely Cathedral

Breasted up in Ely watering the boats
When we got into Ely we couldn't get on to the service point - someone was awkwardly moored there from the previous night and hadn't yet pulled off.  The kind crew of Nb Epidanes invited us (Yarwood) to moor alongside so while Graham managed to wedge MR enough to pump-out we dragged the hoses along the bank and started filling our water tank.  As soon as MR's pump-out was completed he joined us and cleared the pump-out for another boat.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

A Walk around Wicken Fen

Post lunch yesterday Jill and myself plus three dogs set off for a two hour walk along the flood bank of Reach Lode and into Wicken Fen returning via Burwell and Reach Lodes.

 Owned and managed by the National Trust , Wicken Fen is an important area of wetlands that supports thousands of species. 

 Reach Lode

 A water lily adorning the crystal clear water of Wicken lode.

 Cock-Up bridge on the Burwell Lode

 Reach Lode

 National Trust Wicken Lode trip boat

Burwell Lode

Monday 23 July 2012

500 yard stint..

 It looks like this pair of Great Crested Grebes have finally got shot of the first demanding brood.
The offspring are almost as big as the parents but follow them about shrilling demanding another meal whilst exhausted adults try to drive them away

Acres and acres of purple flowering potatoes - Maris Piper?

 Off this morning at 10.30, dogs walked and one side of the boat washed before pulling pins.  In the background Graham prepares to wind Nb. Matilda Rose and follow us.

 And that's where we are heading, all of 500 yards away

And here we be, rafted (breasted) up with Matilda Rose on the Five Miles from Anywhere Inn moorings.  This is a popular pub for boaters and non-boaters and having two 66' narrow boats taking a great stretch of mooring seems a trifle selfish so we have 'double parked' and left room for others.

We had lunch together out in the pub gardens, main course and desert for £7.50 which is very reasonable.  After lunch Jill and I took three of the four dogs, Baxter is getting older and finding extended walking not to his liking, for an exploratory tramp around Wicken Fen which is owned and managed by the National Trust.

Taking advantage

For those living south of the border down England way it seems our summer has arrived.  It might not be constant and faithful but whilst it is here we are taking full advantage.  Our lovely peaceful weekend mooring was bathed in the shiny stuff all day and Joe and Graham were busy all morning doing 'manly tasks' while the womenfolk were walking the dogs and preparing another lunch al fresco; Stilton stuffed mushrooms, dhal, burgers, sausages, potato wedges and loads of salad.

Graham has ripped out removed MR's wood burner and surround in preparation for a major refurbishment, Joe has completed the fitting of a new water temperature gauge and has been busy on folding chimney mark 3 - he won't allow photographs until it is completed and fully operational.

Today we move barely a quarter mile to the other side of the river and the opposite bank where we will have walking access to Reach lode and Wicken Fen and a chance to explore before leaving the Cam and heading back to Ely and a continued exploration of the rivers, Lark, Little Ouse and Wissey.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Managing Banks

Moored where we are access to anywhere is somewhat limited.  You can walk the flood bank in one direction or the 'wash' in the other direction. 
The R. Cam flows between flood banks and washes, the land behind the banks is below sea level and is a reclaimed, rich peaty soil producing valuable crops;  acres of potato and sugar beet and wheat for as far as the eye can see.  
The washes are areas of low lying land between the river and the flood banks and these are allowed to flood when the river levels are high providing perfect conditions for wild birds.   Heron, Little egret, Oyster Catchers, Terns and Geese populate the the wash and Great Crested Grebe and Swan patrol the river.

 Walking the flood bank

Little Egret
Dark peaty soil and a potato crop

Drainage of the surrounding farmland and the maintenance of the drainage ditches and lodes is vital to the productivity of the fenland land and one of the jobs is keeping the lodes clear of weed so that water flows and can be pumped UP into the river.

 I spotted Mr Weed Cutter busy in a lode behind a pumping station

Not an unpleasant job..

Saturday 21 July 2012

Sunarise..early in the morning

In all fairness I was awake...just lying their wondering why I couldn't sleep..
Himself was snoring happily (can you snore unhappily?) which may provide an explanation for my lack of sleep..
I could hear a boat coming towards us and being a nosey awake person I looked out of the porthole and spied Nb. Lucky Duck slipping past us in the early morning mist..at 06.25 this morning. 
Now that is a seriously early start!
The sun is well up by this time but as I got up to let the  dogs off the boat for their early morning piddles (they have now gone back to bed again) I took this shot.

We are promised a lovely sunny day today so the BBQ will be resurrected, the chairs found in the depth of the hold and who knows, a bit of brass cleaning perhaps?

Friday 20 July 2012

In the middle of nowhere..

Nanook of the Fens here, full wet weather gear today as we pull pins out of the gloop and leave our mooring on Midsummer Common in Cambridge.   We moved off upstream towards the water point at 8.30 as arranged the previous evening Nb. Matilda Rose who were going to follow us 30 minutes later.
 Pulling Off 
Passing Nb Lucky Duck..bye folks

 Ten minutes after arriving on the water point by Jesus Lock MR turned up so we breasted up and got both boats watered and serviced.
 MR winding (turning) using the weir stream to turn the bow

 Yarwood's turn - Joe winds with an audience on the Fox hire boat in the background watching every move

We breasted up again on the railings next to Tesco, climbed the ladder and hoisted ourselves over the railings - rather elegantly I might add  - to get the weekend provisions in.  Once that chore was out of the way we we off down stream again to our first lock at Baits Bite.

Yarwood moored at the Baits Bite lock landing with MR hovering while I get the lock prepared.

 Both boats in Baits Bite lock and me feverishly pressing control buttons - up 'slackers'/down slackers'
I cleared off inside to get a lovely hot shower en route to our next lock at Bottisham.  MR were in the lead now so Jill would get that lock sorted whilst I luxuriated in loads of piping hot water..
We were soon at our weekend stop,  EA moorings near to Upware but essentially in the middle of nowhere as there is no road access and therefore...no road noise, heaven!!

Cambridge day two

Yesterday was a much of nothing day.  Himself was creating havoc in the engine room and back cabin post breakfast... it looked like havoc and mayhem to me.
He said he was investigating the engine wiring because he is about to add a water temperature gauge he has just bought.
It still looked like havoc to me.
So leaving him to his delusions I  went into the City to post a parcel.  I was returning my Satmap Active 10 , a GPS mapping device that I bought in February, got out of the box to set up two days ago to find that it was faulty.   I emailed Satmap and they were straight back to say that they were aware of a batch that had this fault and to return the device for repair; no sooner said than done.
I then took the dogs out for a walk that turns into a pedestrian-bicycle challenge.  I daren't let the dogs off a lead for fear of them being mown down by a speeding cyclist or having speeding cyclist off of their bike.  Katie Melua could so easily sang about Cambridge rather than Beijing, '9million bicycles in Cambridge , it's fact...'
In the evening we took ourselves off to have a pizza and ended up at  La Margherita where two freshly made pizzas and a bottle of house white hit the spot.  And Friday, with our 48hr visit up, we will water and service the boats and head out of Cambridge yet again.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Into Cambridge

It was an up-an-at-em start to the day, I was walking the dogs at 7.30 and we had pulled pins at 8.30 and were on our way into Cambridge some 6 miles up stream.
 Passing the weed cutters at the Cam Conservency base at Clayhithe

 Our first and only lock today, Baits Bite Lock.

There was a crowd of cyclists at Baits Bite lock who were fascinated by what was going on.

 The lock behind us we head off following Matilda Rose under the railway bridge

 We passed this stunning example of a traditional wooden river cruiser - maintaining this must eat up a lot of time/money but what a cracker!

 The fallen and somewhat denuded willow tree at Fort St George Pub.  James of Nb Lucky Duck has been busy cutting back branches to allow safe passage for the rowers on the R. Cam.  The responsible Body, The Cam Conservancy, don't seem to have done a thing...

 Evidence of  James' efforts line the bank side

 Yarwood moored on Midsummer Common

Two boats down from NB Lucky Duck and opposite the multitude of rowing clubs