Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Sunday 30 September 2012

And now, comfortably 'pitched'

The 'shed draggers', as Joe's daughter refers to us when we are off in the caravan, ( actually it is slightly less politically correct than that..) have arrived safely at our Norfolk destination.  The new and therefore  unfamiliar awning went up yesterday...though not without the usual tensions - a bit like the typical mooring squabbles that many a boating couple will be oh so familiar with... 

We have had a couple of days with my Brother and Sister-in-law, David and Denise, at their home in Bressingham Norfolk leaving Fletcher and Floyd with them for the two weeks we are away.    The dogs will have a whale of a time with Bruv where they are allowed on settee's and beds unlike their life with US where restrictions apply!

Joe 'comfortably pitched' as well

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Comfortably Moored

We pulled pins this morning at 10am and I saw Joe off with Yarwood before I went and retrieved our car and headed off towards Brandon Creek and The Little Ouse Moorings.   We have arranged to leave Yarwood here whilst we go off to Norfolk on holiday ( I know, our life is one big holiday already...) in our caravan.   I met Natalie and Danny, the proprietors, and was given a security key for the water taps, car park and Elsan disposal point and Natalie showed me where they wanted Yarwood moored up. 
I also managed to secure myself half a dozen of Natalie's lovely free range eggs...well her chickens free range eggs to be more precise.

 Yarwood on her temporary mooring
After I had sorted us a hasty lunch and watched the BBC lunchtime News I took the dogs for a roam along the flood bank towards Little Ouse, the village or Little Ouse, the hamlet; all of about four houses and a litter bin.  There is a bridge at this point so I was able to cross the river and head back the way I had come along the opposite bank.
 Gathering in the straw..a view from the flood bank across the low lying fenland.
 The RIVER Little Ouse
 Little Ouse ( The village/hamlet) bridge
 Walking back along the other bank
Yarwood's home for the next few weeks

Tuesday 25 September 2012

There are stalkers and there are STALKERS

Where was I, oh yes, up to my armpits in laundry...

The phone rang.

It was Himself instructing me to call my Brother and give him his estimated time of arrival  (ETA) with the caravan  "Make sure the gates are open so I can just drive in with the 'shed'...." he adds.
So I called Brother David  and while on the phone to him a pair of legs walk past the boat.

Then the same legs walk past again...
The dogs bark.
Legs go past again and their owner sits on adjacent wall.
The dogs bark again.
Anyway, when my phone call ends the phone gives a tweet to announce an incoming text.
Text says
" Yarwood looks splendid in the autumn sun. Dogs are barking at me. Very friendly neighbour. Are you far away?"

And when I open the side door I find that 'the legs' belong to my most favourite stalker, Amanda!
WELCOME!!, Come in in..

It was just lovely to see you and please forgive the bomb site that was Yarwood on laundry day..

Monday, Monday..

A wet Monday morning in Ely after a very wet and extremely windy night.   We were on the move at 8am ( almost unheard of these days) and heading for the service point.  The cunning plan was to fill Yarwood's water tank in readiness for a mammoth laundry session on shore power at  The Swan Littleport.
 A damp and misty morning in Ely
Ely service point and half a tank of water required please..
Once watered I saw Joe and Yarwood off and then walked back through the town with the dogs to retrieve our car.  It was then a case of driving to Littleport and awaiting the arrival of husband and home.  As soon as Yarwood was secured Joe went to find someone in the pub to pay for our mooring and hook-up, but, yes but, the pub is closed and in the process of transferring to new owners so NO hook-up.   The best laid plans etc.
So instead on laundry, Joe changed the oil in the main engine, we then got out the winter wardrobe from below the engine room floor and packed away our summer kit.
Today Joe has driven off to collect our caravan from it's storage site and drag it to my brother David's place in Norfolk ahead of next week's holiday.  The generator is running below the tug deck, I am up to my armpits in doing laundry, the dogs are slobbing in their pits and the sun has come out to play...

Sunday 23 September 2012

Take a walk

Yesterday after breakfast Joe took himself off to Ely Rail station to get the 9.51 to Peterborough, his mission, to retrieve our car from storage.  I had a more leisurely start to the day and then took a walk up into Ely for a newspaper and a wee wander in the sunshine.
After lunch the dogs and I walked along the flood bank towards Little Thetford before turning west into farmland and making our way back towards Ely.
The hedgerows are festooned with hawberry, rosehip and elderberry, a well stocked larder for the birds this coming winter.

I did this walk earlier in the year with Sue (Nb. No Problem) and her dog Meg and here I am again, still enjoying this part of the world and the No Problem crew is now on The Staffs and Worcs canal.

We passed a farmer out bailing his hay crop in the sunshine and probably eager to get it all in before the rain that is forecast for the next few days..  Mechanisation means that one or two men (or women to be correct) are able to run a farm that would have required a dozen when my Grandfather was a lad. 

All gathered in...bar the shouting 

Friday 21 September 2012

Racing the Rain

Looking at the weather forecast last night we thought that another early ish start was on the cards if we were going to get to Little Thetford or Ely before the promised rain.  We were ready for the off at 8.40. 
The cows we were sharing the field/mooring with had gathered by the boat this morning and were staring in the portholes at some batty old woman waving at them..yes that would be me.  And the close proximity of said cattle meant that I had to join the early morning sortie to take the dogs for their widdles... Fletcher doesn't DO cattle and Floyd wants to meet and greet them all... So while I herded the cattle in one direction Joe took both dogs in the other to one side of the field to relieve themselves.  Floyd still managed to touch noses with one of the beast's and got slurped for his trouble.
We had 18 miles and two locks to do today.  Brownshill Sluice, the first lock, was in our favour so that was just 10 minutes to transit.

 Are these Greylag geese perhaps?   There was a flock of these and a handful of Egyptian geese on the saltings between Brownshill and Hermitage locks, the tidal stretch we have to cover before joining the Old West River.  Interestingly, there were no Canada Geese along here.

 Passing the entrance to the New Bedford River.  This tidal stretch would take us to Denver Sluice should we opt to use it.

Hermitage Lock
 Approaching Hermitage Lock an EA operated lock (manned) .  The up stream gates were opened as we approached and we were given the green light.  Once in the lock the Lock Keeper checked our licence and registration number before locking us through on to the Old West.

 And we are away..
 I am 'aving a doze
 Mr. Bull...what a handsome chap and all that muscle and sinew on a diet of grass!
 No flies on me...
 Approaching Stetham Ferry Bridge and the Lazy Otter moorings
 Stetham Pumping House...as was
And finally, tonight's mooring Ely

Thursday 20 September 2012

Onward to nowhere

After a quiet night moored at Godmanchester we got ourselves into gear and started the day at 8.40am this morning working our way through the Town lock, the first of the four we wanted to do today.  We passed a team of workmen already busy driving piles into the river bank at Godmanchester (along the backs of some seriously expensive houses) in a new flood defence scheme.   This is a part of the Gt. Ouse that travellers in the busy A14, that passes high over head as the road spans the valley, will often see flooded.

 Going under the A14 road bridge and not a lorry in sight..
 Lining up for our transit through the Huntingdon Town bridge
 Yarwood in the Houghton Mill lock landing.  This is a bit on the high side for narrowboats and getting in here without damage to paintwork was a trifle problematic especially as the wind was getting lively.
 Lock number two, Houghton Mill
 As we wound through the lovely Hemmingfords we spotted 'Erica' moored up.  We had spoken to the owners yesterday when they were in Godmanchester.  This lovely little craft is a replica Inspection Launch built by Peter Nicholls at Braunston . These type of boats were built for canal company bigwigs to inspect there investments in the days of  privately owned and funded canals.  Steering is by wheel rather than tiller and the wheel is towards the front.

 Lock three, the Hemmingford Lock
 Onwards past St. Ives and through this lovely bridge
 St Ives river frontage
 Our fourth and final lock of the day, St. Ives lock
Moored up in splendid isolation ...bar a few cows that is.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Coveted Cupboards

We have been umming and arring about whether to change our current interior sprung mattresses for foam.  On Yarwood we have a traditional back cabin (a boatmans cabin) which means that during the day the bed gets stored away leaving a very useful living space.  We presently have three mattresses, each are 2'x 4'6" x 7" and they live in the boatman's cabin bed'ole during the day.  At night we remove the cushion on the side bed and lay out the mattresses to provide a very comfortable bed across the back cabin. It sounds long winded but it actually only takes less than fifty seconds to make up the bed.

The reason we have been toying with a change is that the 'comfortable mattresses' take up all the space in the bed'ole - conventionally all the bedding should also live in this space leaving the cupboard above  the bed for 'other' storage.  In Yarwood we store the duvet, pillows etc. in this cupboard and I have been coveting this space.... 

If we change to foam cushions we could get all the bedding in the bed'ole...
With this thought in mind Joe has been surfing the net for suppliers, what type of foam should be used and how much will it cost.  I can tell you, the costs for foam are eye-watering, we were getting prices in the region of £200 per cushion!    It looked like that coveted cupboard space was a lost cause. 
However, yesterday Himself spotted an upholsterer on line who is based in Godmanchester and we were due to be passing through Godmanchester so maybe  we could check with them?

"Good idea, I'll call them" says I.

I called.

'Two pieces of appropriate foam, ie. bedding quality, this size and removable calico covers, how much?'
'And the lead time?'

Today we picked up our new mattress cushions with removable washable covers. 
Pedlar Upholstery ordered our foam yesterday after I had called them, it arrived at their workshop after lunch today and they made the fitted covers this afternoon. 
A very, very impressive service indeed and the cost was reasonable. 
So it you are out in these waters and want something in the upholstery line for your boat I can recommend this family run company.  They do caravan and boat work in addition to the conventional chair and settee stuff.

So now I have an enormous cupboard going spare and you  know how important that can be on a narrowboat!

' No Joe, it's MY cupboard!!'

Places to go, things to do

Having been confined to the boat when we cruise the dogs are eager to get out and about as soon as we have hammered a mooring pin into the bank.  There is a certain amount of nagging going on because I have had the audacity to prepare lunch before going for a route march with this pair.  I don't seem to appreciate that they have places to go and things to be a doing..

And this is just one of the 'things to be a doing' - Fletcher retrieving sticks from the river, again, and again, and again...

The Ouse Valley Way follows the river bank all the way from Huntingdon to St. Neots and it is along this path that we walked yesterday afternoon.  The dogs rummaged and swam and we passed a number of people picking copious amounts of blackberries. I spotted some wild hops growing so I brought a few strands back to make a swag for the galley.

Wild hops

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Down stream to Brampton Mill

After a pleasant and  quiet night in St.Neots we made a leisurely start, filling with water and then washing one side of the boat before heading down stream towards the Town lock.  We were only planning to cover eight miles or so and three locks, a comfortable trip that would give me plenty of time to walk the dogs and Joe time to do whatever Joe wanted to do which turned out to be fishing this afternoon.

Yarwood on the lock landing at St. Neots lock
Filling the beast
And away cruising through some beautiful countryside on clear water

Approaching Offord lock, our second of the day and it's in our favour
I much prefer the size of this lock
And finally,  Brampton Lock
Brampton Water Mill, now a pub and restaurant and the only surviving mill of the four along this stretch of water.  The little ferry boat will be busy all weekend transporting passengers to and from Godmanchester.

Just moored up at Brampton on the Goba moorings in fact Joe is still securing the centre line..