Thursday Sept 3rd 09
Wednesday September 2nd – Ely
The weathermen informed us last night that today it was going to be absolutely horrible! It was going to be raining most of the day, heavily! Not nice!! So when we got up this morning and it hadn’t yet started raining we decided to move further down to the other Ely moorings near to Tesco’s so that we could go and do a bit of shopping. However, Clive was very reluctant to leave the mooring we were on without being certain that there was a space available further down. So Muggins here had to go for a walk! I got as far as The Cutter and there was definitely a mooring available there so I sent Clive a text to let him know, but we really wanted to be further down so I carried on walking. I finally arrived at the furthest moorings and there was a space but it did look a bit tight! However the people from the boat in front of the space arrived back from Tesco’s and kindly said they could move down a bit further to accommodate Lady Arwen, so I again sent Clive a text telling him to get down here as soon as possible – I didn’t want anybody to pinch the place before he got here. It’s not quite like a parking spot where you can boldly stand in the spot defying any driver to pinch it at his peril – we are talking about a 60’ stretch of bank here! Anyway, my worries were unfounded, nobody pinched our spot and Clive soon arrived and slotted Lady Arwen in very nicely – I must say there wasn’t much room to spare! Once the boat was secure I decided it would be a good idea to defrost our freezer as there wasn’t much in it and what there was fitted into the freezer compartment in the fridge. So we switched it off and left the lid up whilst we headed off to Tesco’s to stock up.
Once back on board and all the shopping stashed away I cleaned out the now defrosted freezer and decided to spend the afternoon cooking. So I set to and first of all made a steak casserole and then a yummy chicken curry. Neither of these were for tea though, I had made a huge pot of stew a few days ago which I had divided up into two large freezer boxes and frozen. We had decided that as the weather had taken a bit of a dive it would be nice to warm up with a mouthwatering stew so I left one of the boxes out of the freezer. Once the casserole and the curry were cooked and had cooled down I divided both of these into two freezer boxes and stashed them in the freezer, well apart from one box of casserole steak, which we are having for dinner tomorrow! So I feel much better now knowing that we have plenty of stuff in our nice clean freezer!
Thursday September 3rd – Little Thetford
Well the weathermen got it wrong again yesterday – the heavy rain that had been forecast didn’t arrive in Ely till late in the afternoon. We could have got an awful long way during the afternoon if we had known the rain was going to hold off so long – it’s so annoying! Doubly so because today, when we have quite a distance to travel, it is extremely windy! Clive decided to risk it anyway and whilst I was inside tidying up he untied the bow and centre ropes but fortunately he hadn’t yet untied the stern rope – the wind just grabbed the boat and swung it straight out into the river at right angles to the bank! Clive had to pull on the stern rope until the boat came back into the bank then he could actually untie it. Almost as soon as he had set off he regretted his decision – the wind was gusting very hard and blowing the boat about quite a lot, it was even rocking from side to side, which is very unusual.
I was in the galley washing up and just happened to glance down the boat and through the cratch window as the boat listed, just in time to see my planter tilt then fall right over on the bows! To be honest I was sure it had just fallen off into the river! I ran to the stern and shouted up to Clive to slow down then ran back to the cratch and I could see that the planter was teetering over the edge of the bows – eek! I got the cratch cover unzipped and reached round to the front and managed to grab the planter and haul it back into the cratch – I really expected to find it empty, thinking that all the plants and soil had fallen into the river but to my delight and relief it was intact! Phew that was close! I would have been very upset to have lost it.
I went back up on deck to report the good news to Clive and to tell him that he could now speed up again but he was not a happy bunny! He was really struggling to keep the boat on a straight course, she was “crabbing” down the river and rocking alarmingly! We decided that the safest thing to do was head for the moorings at Little Thetford and get safely tied up as soon as possible. Clive moved over to the starboard side of the boat (right side!) and steered from there and I stood at the top of the steps with my head and shoulders out of the hatch so that all our weight was on the starboard side as the wind was blowing from the right. Keeping our weight on that side helped quite a lot with the rocking. Finally we saw the moorings in the distance and I went down to the cratch in readiness. I fastened up thecratch cover and stepped out to grab the rope off the bows, hanging on for grim death! As the boat bumped up against the moorings I leapt off and quickly lashed the rope around one of the mooring posts and Clive did the same at the stern – we were safe, thank goodness! Fortunately these moorings have a steep banking which helped to shelter the boat from the wind, nevertheless it is still buffeting us about!
At least it is fine today and we decided to make use of the unexpected spare time to Springclean the cratch. We got everything out onto the bank and had a good sweep. We had quite a bit of wood stored in the cratch which we had collected several months ago but they were really long pieces so Clive set to and sawed it all up into logs, which are now stored in the two bread boxes my sister gave us last year. We would really like to store these on the roof of the boat but they would need to be covered and fastened down to keep them dry and that is not easy. Our roof doesn't have anything to attach bungies to. So they were stashed back in the cratch along with everything else, however we rearranged it all to give us a bit more space. It looks lovely and clean and tidy now and there is much more room. My planter by the way is staying in the cratch till this wind dies down, I’m not taking any chances!
We were hoping that the wind would have died down a little after lunch to enable us to safely set off again but no such luck. It is now 2.30pm and it is still blowing a gale so we have decided to stay put and just get up early in the morning as we have quite a long cruise ahead of us, about six hours! The reason for this is that we need to get as close to Cambridge as we can on Friday. We have to get into Cambridge on Saturday morning to ensure that we can get on a 48 hour mooring. We are going to a gig on Sunday night in Cambridge. You will recall that I went to my annual music summer school at BurwellHouse in July, well the tutor for the flute and whistle class is a certain Mr Brian Finnegan (of Flook fame) and he just happens to be playing at The Portland Arms on Sunday night, which is right across the road from the Cambridge moorings – far too good an opportunity to miss! Also I suspect there will be quite a few of my fellow Burwellites going so it will be quite a reunion!
So keep your fingers crossed that we have no hold up stomorrow!