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  • clivenmel

June 25th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} John and Irene on board Rosie Piper left us about 9.00 this morning.  Clive waved them off and said that we hoped to catch up with them again in March.  I was still in bed drinking my tea!   Dan the man arrived at 11.00am this morning as arranged.  We have been having some trouble with one or two of the storage drawers on the boat and as our warranty expires at the end of July we thought we might as well get them fixed now.   By 1.00pm he was all done and all the drawers were working beautifully � excellent.    We were going to wait and have some lunch before we set off but Clive noticed a boat coming up the lock just as Dan had left so we decided we might as well head off straight away.  Once through this lock it was just a long cruise all the way to March with no more locks.   I went down to watch the boaters who were coming up so that I could see how these new locks work, they are different to the ones I have been used to.  This would also be the first time I would use the new windlass.  Well the first thing that is different with these locks are the paddles.  Instead of winding a horizontal shaft these locks have a vertical pin so you instead of winding vertically, like cranking an old car, you are winding horizontally, like stirring a pudding � do you have any idea what I am talking about?  Probably not, but I can�t think of any other way to describe it.  At the next lock I will get Clive to take a photograph of me actually doing it!   Once through the lock everything was very different.  It was a narrow, weedy channel with steep sides and it went on and on and on and on!  We couldn�t see the scenery because of the high banks on either side.  This is typical of the dykes or drains in the Fens.    At one point another dyke crossed the one we were on, no bridge or anything, just a sort of crossroads! When we glanced up and down the other dyke again it went on forever in both    directions! One thing about the Fens is that they are extremely windy � it is of courses completely and utterly flat and therefore the wind just whistles over it with nothing to stop it.  So they have harnessed the wind so to speak by putting up a lot of wind turbines, absolutely huge ones!  We saw quite a few of these �wind farms� today dotting the flatlands.  Well they help to break up the monotony!  We also saw quite a few World War II pill boxes marching across the Fens too.   One of the things that amazed me today was the amount of fish that we saw in the water.  It was very clear, if rather weedy, but we could see hundreds and hundreds of fish in all shapes and sizes and some of them were quite big.  I was astounded just how many fish there were.  It is very good to see them though, it shows that the water is very healthy and unpolluted, which is excellent.   After about three hours of cruising we arrived on the outskirts of March and had to slow right down to pass all the moored boats.  Just about every house on the left bank had a boat of one size or another moored at the bottom of the garden.  Finally we arrived at Town Bridge and could see the moorings up ahead but once again they were all full!   We managed to moor up on this side of the bridge and I walked over the bridge to check that there weren�t any spaces up ahead � there weren�t unfortunately, but I did find Rosie Piper!  I went back to tell Clive to stay put when all of a sudden one of the moored boats cast off and set off under the bridge � yippee a space!  Once the boat had gone past we pulled out and nipped into the abandoned space.  Just in time because another narrowboat appeared round the bend up ahead!   This one pulled up on the opposite bank and managed to moor up there on pins.   We went to chat to Irene and John who introduced us to their friends on the next narrowboat, Herbie.  They had already told us about these friends the other evening because they are musicians too!  Whilst we were chatting to them they informed us that the couple on the narrowboat which had just moored up opposite were also musicians.  I glanced across and saw the boat, Guinevere, there was a lady standing on the stern and I couldn�t believe it � I recognised her - Jenny!  She and her husband Ed were members of a folk club that Clive and I used to go to years ago at The Wheatsheaf in Harlton.  The club left that pub in 1999 and moved to The Red Lion at Whittlesford, however some of the folkies stayed on at The Wheatsheaf, including Ed and Jenny, then later moved to a different pub.  So, we haven�t seen them for 10 years, how amazing that we should bump into them here of all places � it really is a small world!  A few minutes after I had gone back to the boat a familiar voice was heard from the bridge � it was Ed!  We had a quick chat with him and promised to meet up later. As we now have 8 musicians on four boats we decided it would be a great idea to take over the pub next to the moorings and have an impromptu session, so as soon as we have had tea and a quick wash and brush up that is exactly what we are going to do � can�t wait!  I can feel a good night coming on!    

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