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August 2nd 2010 - Jesus Lock, Cambridge

I realise I am now in deep doo doo with all our regular blogees for not having posted anything on the blog for almost a month! Sincere apologies! One of the reasons has been that as we have been retracing our steps I didn't want to bore our reader by repeating everything we saw and did last year.  Also, we have been spending a lot of time with family and friends, which again I thought might be boring to other people.  However several of you have been nagging us for another blog so I had better bring you all up to speed!

I left you in the last blog as we were approaching Ely on 7th July.  We stayed there for a few days whilst assisting our daughter Vicki and partner Ben with their house move.  We also had Gareth and Indy to help as well but I spent most of the Saturday keeping Indy out of mischief and from under the feet of people carrying heavy furniture etc. It was a great relief to us all when the last item was unloaded from the van! All our worldly goods are now residing in Vicki and Ben's garage! There new house is small but perfectly formed and best of all within walking/cycling distance of the Science Park where they both work.  Far better than the half hour drive up and down the A10 twice a day which they had to do whilst living in Wilburton!

On the Sunday afternoon, July 10th, Vicki brought Gareth and Indy over to the boat to stay with us for a few days as we cruised towards Cambridge.  We had a great time with them on board but I think Indy preferred being inside playing on the computer than being up on deck cruising. She did help Granddad to steer though!

First Mate, Indeia Morris!

We arrived in Cambridge and moored up at Jesus Lock on Wednesday July 14th, in the afternoon.  Gareth and Indy stayed one more night with us then the following day Gareth got the bus back to his place and returned with his van to collect Indy and all their belongings.  You may be wondering how we manage to accommodate guests on board Lady Arwen.  Our dinette converts into a second double bed but Indy doesn't really need a big bed so we just make a little bed up for her on one of the seats and Gareth slept on our self-inflating single airbed.  They were both quite comfortable.

Indy in her little bed playing with Graddad's DS!

The moorings in Cambridge are 48 hour maximum stay and no return within 7 days, however as nobody came and asked us to move and as there weren't that many boats coming into Cambridge we stayed put.  One of the reasons for staying was that I was slightly incapacitated!  The previous weekend whilst we were in Ely I had been bitten on my right shin by a horsefly or something.  It was itchy and a bit red so I had nipped into Boots and got some anti-histamine tablets and some cream to put on it.  It seemed to settle down and I forgot all about it.  However on Sunday July 18th it flared up again and this time my foot was very swollen too, I had redness spreading up my leg and down to my toes and it was rather sore! By the time Monday morning came it was a dreadful mess, covered in oozing blisters, extremely swollen and I was convinced I had developed cellulitis, I was obviously in need of medical attention!  So we got a number 2 bus, which stopped adjacent to the mooring, and headed for Addenbrooke's Hospital A&E Department!  I didn't have to wait long to be seen, only about an hour and the doctor confirmed my fears, it was cellulitis!  He gave me a course of Flucloxicillin and told me to keep my feet up for a few days.  For the next couple of days it remained very swollen and blistered and felt as if it was going to explode, then it gradually started to improve.  It looked absolutely hideous, didn't resemble my foot at all, more like an alien's!!

Not a pretty sight and by the time this was taken it was on the mend!!

We didn't actually leave Cambridge until Wednesday July 21st!!  We wandered up to Clayhithe and moored just under the bridge from The Bridge Hotel at Waterbeach.  Thelma came and joined us the following evening, just for one night, before heading off down to Sussex to visit friends.  We stayed another night and then on Saturday July 23rd we set off again and a short while later turned off the main drag, through a lock and onto the Reach Lode.   We managed to find a mooring a the end of a long line of residential boats just at the entrance to the Wicken Lode.  We didn't relish the idea of taking the boat up the Wicken Lode itself as it is very narrow and weedy but after securing the boat we decided to take a walk up the Lode path to the village of Wicken.  It was a lovely afternoon and we had a very pleasant walk culminating in a pint at The Maid's Head pub in the village.  On the way back we were absolutely thrilled to spot a little bird amongst the reeds and managed to take his photograph. He is a Red-Backed Shrike, a rare visitor to East Anglia - we are very privileged to have seen him.

A rare Red-Backed Shrike

We spent a very peaceful night on the Reach Lode mooring then on Sunday morning we set off once more, this time heading for Burwell!  The Burwell Lode forks off the Reach Lode about half way up.  To start with it was fine then we passed a moored reed cutter and after that it was dreadful!  The blanket weed was really thick and poor Clive had to keep stopping, turning off the engine and going down the weed hatch to haul up great handfulls of weed that were wrapped around the prop. 

Blanket Weed!!

Our progress was very slow, the throttle was almost on full and we were hardly moving at all, we even began to wonder if we weren't going to make it to Burwell!  We did finally though, much to our relief!  We were also very relieved to see that the single mooring at the end of the Burwell Lode was free - phew!  Thelma arrived to join us a few hours later and we had a lovely lamb curry which I had cooked long and slow the day before - yummy!

Monday morning dawned and Thelma and I were up bright and early - today was the start of the 2010 Burwell Bash!  This is our annual music summer school.  Thelma has been attending Burwell since 1997 and I started attending in 2001.  It is a wonderful week of music and fun that we wouldn't miss for the world!  We have a brilliant time learning lots of new tunes, meeting new people as well as catching up with old friends. This year it was very multinational, we had people from Norway, Austria, The Netherlands and France - mind you I was the only one arriving by boat!! Thelma also had a wonderful surprise when her daughter Alison, husband Mike and little Harry turned up for the final concert on Friday afternoon.  She was absolutely thrilled to bits (she cried of cours!) as none of her family have ever lived close enough to come to see her at Burwell before.  I was also delighted when Clive, Gareth and Indy turned up too.  A perfect end to a perfect week.

Taken at the Final Concert on the Friday afternoon

All too soon it was over and time to say goodbye to everyone for another year but at least we can all keep in touch on Facebook now, which is great.  Clive managed to have a quiet week of peace and tranquility, all on his own aboard Lady Arwen - he has to make the most of it, it only happens once a year!  He did have the use of his little classic car (Triumph TR6) so wasn't totally confined to barracks!  We rounded it all off by a meal at a local pub, even Vicki managed to get over to join us, which was lovely.

Thelma stayed on board with us for one more night before heading off home on Saturday July 31st.  We met up with Vicki and Ben and Gareth and Indy and visited the Milton Maize Maze! This is an amazing thing.  Every year a new maze is grown out of maize and each year it has a different pattern, usually to commemorate something.  This year a Spitfire was incorporated into the maze  to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.  It was great fun wandering through the high corn, Indy was delighted with the whole thing!  Fortunately they do give you a map to take in with you just in case you get totally lost and can't find your way out! 

Our son Gareth had to go to work the following day so we arranged for him to bring Indy over to the boat that evening so she could stay the night  and spend Sunday with us until he came ot pick her up again after tea.  So we finally left our Burwell mooring on Sunday August 1st.  Again we had severely overstayed our welcome on a 48 hour mooring but the Burwell Lode is a pretty unfrequented waterway.  There was only one other narrowboat that came up during the week for one night and Clive invited them to moor alongside us, which they were happy to do. Nobody came and asked him to move, so he stayed put! 

By the time we were heading back down the Burwell Lode the reed cutter crew had been all the way up to the end and removed the weed so we had a clear passage all the way back.  We moored up once again at the entrance to Wicken Lode.  We weren't intending staying long, only a few hours, so that Clive could watch the Grand Prix.  Once the boat was moored Indy and I left Clive in peace and went for a walk up the Wicken Lode, we had a lovely time.  Clive has come to the conclusion that Indy will grow up to be an Entemologist as she is totally obsessed with bugs!!  However I think, judging from this photo, that she will one day be an intrepid explorer!!

Intrepid Indy!

We arrived back from our walk just as the Grand Prix was finishing.  We had a spot of lunch then set off again down to the end of the Lode, through the lock and back out onto the River Cam.  A short while later we arrived back at Clayhithe and moored up again.  After tea Gareth arrived to pick Indy up and take her home.  Its her birthday on Wednesday, August 4th, she's going to be five!  However in a few days time we will be saying goodbye to her again as she is returning to her new home in Colorado Springs, USA!  We will all miss her very much but its been wonderful to have her with us whilst she has been back in the UK.  We will keep in touch with her by phone and chat with her on the Webcam but she may not be back in the UK now until next June! 

So, this morning we upped sticks after breakfast and headed back into Cambridge.  We need to do some shopping and the loo needs a pump-out too.  So here we are, once again moored at Jesus Lock in the heart of Cambridge.  We will probably stay here until Thursday.  We will be spending the day with Gareth and Indy to celebrate her birthday and Vicki and Ben are joining us after work.

After that - who knows! We have no firm plans now for the foreseeable future.  There are a few waterways in East Anglia that we have yet to explore, like the River Wissey, the River Lark and Brandon Creek.  As we have mentioned before, we intend to go to New Zealand for a few months at the end of November.  We have managed to find a marina where we can leave the boat whilst we are away so all we are waiting for now is our agents to find new tenants to move into our house when the current ones leave in September.  Without tenants we won't be going anywhere at all, in fact we might both end up shelf-filling at Tesco's just to earn a crust!!

One of the things we have been concerned about is the blog.  Do people still want to know what we are doing and where we are?  Should we still do a blog whilst in New Zealand?  Your input on this would be appreciated.

Until the next time then!

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