Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Permission Granted!

We find ourselves with a bit of a dilemma; the Town moorings in March are restricted to a 36 hour stay (Why that ridiculous figure is a mystery to all...not a day, or two days, but one and a half days??)  anyway, I digress.   Our dilemma is that the only service point on the Middle Levels is here in March, the mooring times here are restricted, we are 'marooned' until we are allowed out on to River Nene and that could be weeks away, so what do we do?
Answer, contact Brian.
I emailed Brian of Nb Harnser as these are waters he is very familiar with and he moors his boat at Floods Ferry just outside March.  Brian's advice was to stay put and call the Middle Level Commissioners (MLC) to let them know that you are over staying and why.
This morning I called the MLC, spoke to Louise and explained the situation and gave them Yarwood's and Matilda Rose's names and numbers.   I was thanked for letting them know and told 'that is fine but leave as soon as the strong stream advice on the R. Nene is lifted'.
Permission Granted!
Thank you MLC...

Monday 25 March 2013

Stealing a March

Sunday morning we awoke to our share of this spring snow.  Jill and I went off when the ground had aired a bit and walked the four mutts around Upwell.   On our return we collected our respective husbands and dragged them, kicking and screaming, to the The Five Bells for a Sunday Lunch;and what a good lunch it was..  Lots and lots of FRESH seasonal vegetables to accompany the carvery and all for £7.95. 
Replete, we returned to our own boats and watched the Malaysian Grand Prix only venturing out again for another dog walk early evening.

 Yarwood and Matilda Rose huddled together in the snow at Upwell
This morning as Joe prepared the boat for the off I texted Maureen, the lock keeper at Marmont Priory Lock to say we were on our way.  No sign of Maureen when we arrived so I set about closing gates and filling the lock for us to lock down towards March.  At eleven foot wide, this lock is roomy but not roomy enough for two narrowboats, so Graham and Jill on Nb Matilda Rose couldn't join us in the lock. 
 Yarwood entering Marmont Priory Lock
 After Marmont Priory Lock the navigation opens out and for the first time since Salters Lode there is actually some depth of water under the boat.  This stretch is also home to a considerable number of wind turbines!

 The view through the front hatch
Moored in March on the Town moorings
So here we are in March and we may be here some time.  Having escaped the River Great Ouse on Saturday we cannot get out on the Rive Nene.   I called Roy Smith, one of the River Nene Inspectors, for an update on the conditions on the Nene and it seems that water levels are very high still, many of the locks are still reversed and work scheduled for a number of the locks is delayed because of conditions.  Air draft at at Islip Bridge, near Thrapston, is currently 1.2m only so unless your vessel is a submarine you ain't going under that one. 
His advice, stay put and call them next week for an update. 
Seems like one of those DAY-JAR-VOO moments!!

Sunday 24 March 2013

We join the Snow party

On taking the dogs out last night for 'last wees' what did we find...Yes, we join the snow party!

 Upwell, the Church illuminated as a lovely back drop to the mooring here

And this morning, another  dog outing, 'first wees' and a coating of the white stuff everywhere..

Saturday 23 March 2013

An end to nine months on the Great Ouse

We left our overnight mooring at Hilgay Bridge this morning at 8.15 and headed down stream towards Denver lock and our date with a possible escape from the River great Ouse.  To add to the brisk cold wind of yesterday we also had snow today but Joe was wrapped up in a myriad of layers including a rather fetching balaclava to combat the wintry conditions.   It is in weather like this the stove in back cabin is such a bonus and that was lit early enough to be well and truly up and running before we pulled pins this morning.
With  text messages flying back and forth between Yarwood and MR re the latest news on our escape we arrived and moored up across from the lock to await decisions.
 Yarwood tucked in on EA moorings opposite the  Denver complex
 A glimpse of MR through the snow waiting on the lock landing
Close to 10.30 we were summoned across to join Matilda Rose in the lock.  The plan was to be locked out on to the tidal Great Ouse and head down stream on the ebbing tide/flood waters to Salters Lode.   Here we were to wait in the lock entrance until Paul (the Lock Keeper at Salters Lode) could get level water between the Middle Level and the tide.  We may have to wait until noon but if level water couldn't be achieved then Dan, Lockie from Denver, would scoot off to Earith in his batmobile and close the sluices that were letting down flood water from the upper Gt. Ouse.  The news that we were getting out whatever had us feeling jubilant!  Don't get me wrong, there is nowt wrong with this part of the world but we had out stayed our welcome after nearly nine months being out here...
 Nb Matilda Rose leads us out of the lock on to the tideway - through the recently dredged channel

 As soon as MR is safely away Yarwood follows and exits Denver Lock

 Nanook, aka Joe, at the tiller with the Denver complex safely behind us

 There goes MR with a big enough gap to allow Graham to turn her into the awkward lock channel at Salters Lode without Yarwood shunting her up the rudder.
 Safely turned in, us next
 And there we are
And here we go!!! Out into the Middle Levels
Paul did get level water within 10 minutes of us arriving in the lock channel and fortunately it didn't involve closing Earith sluices and flooding half of Cambridgeshire in the process. 
The journey to Upwell was a bit of a shock to system after being on rivers with plenty of water under the boat.  Progress was excruciatingly slow because this channel desperately needs dredging but hey ho, we are out and now moored at Upwell.  Lunch was in the Pub with a celebration round to toast our successful day.  Tomorrow we might just have to do that again and treat ourselves to Sunday Lunch before the Malaysian Grand Prix starts...


We have made it!!
Just crossed from Denver to Salters Lode and now on our way to Outwell, Nb Matilda Rose in the lead.
More later...

Changes afoot

Changes afoot are actually changes in the galley.  My original specification for Yarwood's galley was painted Shaker style doors.  An 'executive decision' made by Himself when I was safely off visiting my Mother during Yarwood's build meant we ended up with varnished sapele doors; as below. 

A year on and the framing of some of the doors was beginning to warp and bow a little and this was irritating the hell out of Joe.   As most of the movement in the doors was above my eye line, being rather vertically challenged, I didn't notice so was not exercised by it but I jumped at the opportunity to get the doors changed and this is what we have done during our sojourn at Brandon. 

We found a kitchen door maker in Huntingdon, went and looked at the products they produced and placed an order.   Last Saturday the doors were delivered and we set to to remove the original and replace with Shaker style doors in an ivory finish and thing are so much lighter and airier!

Friday 22 March 2013

Next stop Denver

Graham and Jill ( Nb Matilda Rose) are sitting on the starting blocks at Denver Lock and we are a 'lap behind' sitting an hour up river at Hilgay Bridge.  Tomorrow morning we will leave this mooring and slip down stream to moor behind them on the lock landing and await the decision on whether we can cross the tidal Gt. Ouse to Salters Lode lock.

It took some time this morning to prep Yarwood for our departure from Brandon.  Joe, wrapped as Nanook of the North, first had to remove the accumulation of weed washed down by flood waters from alongside the boat before diving down the weed hatch to remove three, yes three, sacks of weed from around the prop. That done, we set off down stream like a cork out of a bottle towards the Great Ouse, stopping at The Little Ouse Moorings for fuel,water and gas.  I counted myself very lucky as while Joe was subject the biting cold winds and bitter temperatures on the back of the boat I was playing Widow Twankey and getting all the laundry done inside in the warm.  I prepared lunch and made soup for tomorrow and only stuck my head out in the cold to assist with mooring up and servicing the boat.
Now we are settled for the evening/night, dogs walked and fed and us showered and deliciously warm!

Thursday 21 March 2013

Two planks to safety

The recent flood waters coming down the Little Ouse saw Yarwood steadily rising as the water levels burst the banks.  We went from the use of one gang plank to keep the tootsies dry to having to rig up two planks - Joe did the rigging, I watched from the confines of a warm boat while Himself waded about with trousers rolled to his thighs, rubber shoes and no socks on.

 Two planks to safety

 Frost on the ground and Joe in 'shorts'
When the waters dropped, the planks were gradually removed and stored and we were left with piles of weed that Grey Wagtails picked over...but would they stay long enough for a photo? No.

Little Weed

Get out of Jail free...well maybe, maybe not.

It seems we have a window of opportunity to get off of the River Great Ouse system on Saturday.  I have spoken to the Lock keepers at both Salters Lode ( the lock on to the Middle Levels) and Denver (the lock onto the tidal Great Ouse) and with the dredging of silt that had blocked both locks now all  but complete, there is just a chance that we can get across the tidal stretch into the Middle Levels.  This crossing will be dependent on Paul at Salters Lode lock being able to get level waters so that he can open the lock fully and allow both boats, Yarwood and Matilda Rose, who are both 66' footers and therefore too long to fit into Salters Lode lock, to get through.   Lots of ifs and buts and maybes but if we don't try the next window of opportunity is several weeks away.  So tomorrow will see us pulling pins from our mooring here at Brandon staunch and heading down stream on the River Little Ouse towards Denver. 
For today we will be making a last visit to family for what has become a weekly 'luncheon club' visit to a local  pub/restaurant; well last for a while if our exit is successful...if not, lunch will on for next week again!