Monday August 31st - Streatham
Friday August 28th – St Ives
I’m afraid we didn’t leave today after all! We were listening to the weather forecast last night and it informed us that there were going to be extremely high winds today – not good! Lady Arwen takes quitea bit of handling when it’s windy and it can be downright dangerous in very high winds. So that was our excuse and we’re sticking to it! Actually it is very windy so for once the weathermen were right and we were glad we hadn’t tried to move on. Instead we just stayed on board and relaxed – we seem to have been doing this a lot lately! Oh well, that’s what retirement is all about– isn’t it?
Saturday August 29th – Earith
After breakfast we went into St Ives to do a bit of final shopping before we set off. We just had to go back to the off-license we had discovered near the launderette! We ended up buying a bottle of Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon and a rather nice bottle of wine. We then wandered down to Waitrose and stocked up on a few other bits and pieces, then headed back to the boat – it was finally time to leave!
It was actually a very pleasant day and although we were quite sad to leave St Ives it was rather nice just to be cruising again. We arrived at Brownhill Lock and went through with another cruiser and when we emerged at the other side of the lock we saw a familiar boat waiting to come in – the wide-beam from St Neots with the grass roof! I managed to have a quick chat with one of the guys on board, his name was Phil. I told him I had taken photographs of the boat when we were in St Neots and that we were intrigued by his turf topping. He explained that in actual fact it wasn’t to blend in with the garden, as I had thought, but firstly for insulation, secondly for sound-proofing and thirdly they moor under a large sycamore tree which drips sap onto the boat and it is evidently just about impossible to remove the sticky goo from the boat roof so the grass has a threefold benefit. Clive conceded that it wasn’t quite as bad as he had first thought but I don’t think we will be mowing Lady Arwen’s roof anytime soon!
Phil on board the turf topped wide beam
We hadn’t got much further when I spotted a Kingfisher flying towards us and then he settled on a tree branch not far away. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots and did manage to get a couple of decent ones. However no photographs of Kingfishers will ever compare to the ones I took back in Market Drayton last year when we had a daily visit by a beautiful female Kingfisher who used to sit on the bow post. If you haven’t seen these photographs yet do go to our gallery and look back to the November album – they’re really quite spectacular, even though I do say so myself!
A little while later we spotted a cormorant tree. These are dead trees, totally bare apart from cormorants! Clive is becoming more and more convinced that cormorants actually strip the leaves off trees just so they can have a good vantage point without any leaves to spoil their view! Either that or they spend their time scouring the rivers and canals looking for dead, leafless trees to congregate in! Anyway, this particular dead tree only had one cormorant on board and he was drying his wings – I think they look great when they do this – they remind me of dragons!
We were heading for the EA moorings at Earith, however when we had passed them coming up the way they were full and evidently there is only room for one narrowboat to moor there anyway. So we were keeping our fingers crossed. As we were meandering down the river we were following a cruiser. All of a sudden the cruiser slowed right down and turned around heading towards us, then he slowed down and turned around again – what on earth is he up to, we thought! We actually wondered if he had engine trouble or had lost steering or something, then he just speeded up and carried on up the river – how odd! I began to think they had been looking at something so started scouring the bank and the overhanging trees. Then all of asudden I spotted what they had been looking at – a seal! Yes a Common Seal was basking in the sunshine at the waters edge, large as life! Needless to say the camera came out and I started snapping away and got several good photos. Clive then remembered that he had read in the map book that there were seals living on this stretch of the river and they often visit the Westview Marina, which is adjacent to the EA moorings we were heading for. Typical – he never mentioned it to me! If he had I would have been on the lookout for them, as it turned out if the cruiser hadn’t behaved so strangely we probably wouldn’t have noticed the seal at all!
Common seal at Earith
A few minutes later we arrived at the moorings and were delighted to see that there was room for Lady Arwen to tie up after all. As soon as we had secured the boat I contacted our daughter, Vicki, who lives only a short distance from Earith and she arranged to come over and see us after lunch.
Vicki duly arrived a couple of hours later and we all decided to go over to see our son Gareth as he had our four year old granddaughter Indeia staying for the weekend. We had alovely afternoon with them, it was so good to see Indy, we do miss her! I had suggested to Gareth that perhaps Indy might come and stay with us on the boat on her own sometime and wondered if tonight might be a good opportunity. He wanted to take her shopping for some new clothes first but then he drove over to Earith with her, along with her new clothes including some new pyjamas! Indy happily said goodbye to her daddy and settled down to play with her Granddad. We had tea then made her bed up. First of all we had to have a fashion show, trying on all her new clothes! A little while later she got into bed and I read her a story and before long she had drifted off to sleep. She woke up about three in the morning saying she was cold – nor surprising as she had kicked the quilt off! I tucked her in and she went straight back to sleep and didn’t wake again till about 7.45am so she did very well indeed. At least we know that she is happy to stay with us without her daddy so maybe she will stay for a bit longer next time. However she is starting school in just over a week’s time (I can’t believe she has grown up sofast!) so we will be restricted to school holidays from now on.
Sunday August 30th – Earith
Gareth arrived mid morning and wasn’t in any rush so he decided to stay and watch the Grand Prix with his dad – while I entertained Indy! We had lunch whilst the GP was on and then about 3.00pm we finally said goodbye to them both as Gareth wanted to take her to the park for a little while. We were on our own again!
Granddad, Indy and Daddy on board Lady Arwen
Monday August 31st – Bank Holiday Monday!
The moorings at Earith also have a water point and a free pump-out facility so we decided to take advantage of both. However yesterday afternoon a small cruiser had limped up the river with the assistance of another boat moored just a little further along the pontoon from us. The cruiser had lost power in the middle of the river! The people on board tied up to the jetty and then abandoned her! So when it came to doing the pump-out this morning Clive had to untie the cruiser and tow her further up the jetty so that we could reverse back near to the pump-out machine! We also needed to fill up with water but couldn’t get far enough up the jetty because of the abandoned cruiser so a resident boater kindly said we could use their waterpoint and hosepipe in order to fill our tank – there are some nice people on boats you know, we meet a lot of them – a very nice class of people indeed really, amongst whom we number ourselves. Well we are nice!
Finally having filled one tank and emptied the other we were ready for off. The gentleman who had helped us out with the water asked if he could hitch a ride down to the lock as he was a friend of the lock-keeper there and it would save him a walk, so he jumped on board and chatted to Clive whilst I was busy below decks washing up and getting the bread maker set up ready to make another loaf – hope it works ok this time!
Once the bread was on the go I went up on deck to enjoy the cruise. The clouds were gradually disappearing and the sun was shining – makes a change for a Bank Holiday Monday doesn’t it!
We pass some really lovely houses and cottages as we cruise along and Clive spotted this one, which is really pretty. One of these days we are going to have to seriously think about finding somewhere to live if and when we have to move back onto terra firma again. I don’tthink either of us would like to be too far from water of some description now and ideally we would like a property with a boat mooring, so we do take quite a lot of notice of the properties that we see from the boat. However, that is a long time off yet!
There were an awful lot of boats out on the river today, mainly cruisers of course. I had to laugh when this one went past us going the other way though. I know fishing is a gentle, laid back pastime but this guy really was taking it easy!
We had decided to try and moor up at Streatham, mainly because it is very close to where Vicki lives and we wanted to check out the available moorings in preparation for when she moves house at the end of September. We need to be as close to her as possible so that she can pick us up first thing in the morning then drive to Cambridge to pick up the removal van that we are hiring. Streatham would be ideal. However the first moorings that we came to, which are right next to the road bridge and a great spot to be picked up from, were full! The second lot of moorings were also full but we did manage to get in on the third lot of moorings, which are very close to a railway bridge but no road! Once we were settled in I went for a walk and found a little arched footbridge crossing the river to a marina. I went over and managed to find somebody on a boat and asked wher eexactly we were and how to get to it from the road. It turns out it is very close to Vicki really– it’s called the Fish and Duck Marina and is right on the junction where the river turns left up to Ely and right down to Cambridge! It is also very easily accessed by road and Vicki will have to drive right past her new house on the way from her old house on the way – perfect! So we shall aim to get back here for the 24th September ready for the move. In the meantime we have time to kill so can do a bit of exploring.
Just after we had moored up the bread maker beeped to say the bread was ready. Well, it’s certainly not perfect to look at but it smells nice and hopefully it will taste nice too. However I am beginning to think that I would be safer using the small packets of bread mix, which do not entail any measuring, apart from the water that is. It is a bit difficult trying to get precise measurements without a set of weighing scales! I only have a metric measuring jug which doesn’t have dry measurements on it and the little measuring cup that came with the machine, which is in ounces! Nightmare!
So we just spent the rest of the day relaxing in the sunshine. Well we thought we had better make the most of it, the weathermen have said it will turn Autumnal towards the end of the week – oh dear! Actually I had just been saying to Clive last week that Autumn seems to be coming much earlier than last year. The berries are already ripening and yet last year they were nowhere near ready at this time. Oh well, never mind, we both love the Autumn– in actual fact its our favourite season.