Saturday, 30 June 2018

Early start - well for us. 29th June 2018

Friday 29th June 2018
Godmanchester to St Ives
6.25 miles, 3 locks

The earth is so baked on Holme Port Meadow is now so baked that cracks are appearing.  I have skimmed back through the blog and reckon the last time we had rain was 26th May and that was overnight.

As soon as Monty and I returned from our walk we got the lock ready and were in it by 08:00 in an aim to beat most of the heat and to ensure we arrived in time to secure a mooring in St Ives.

The moorings at The Three Jolly Butchers, Houghton was empty.  We will try to stop there at some point as Chris has memories of going there with the children when they were on a Dad's/children canoeing weekend in the 1980's.

 Houghton lock was not only deserted (a rarity), but it was set in our favour and we were able to sail right in.

This is the first time I have seen one of these

Not one gongoozler to see Chris working hard

Now a thatched boat house - that has to be posh!

 I wish they had had one of these signs at Houghton lock when those lads were jumping off the bridge and then into the lock.

At 10:15 we approached the GOBA moorings in St Ives - no sign (thankfully) of the regatta last time we left here.

Peeking down the Waits it looked busy, but Chris decided to give it a go

A long slow reverse, but his efforts were rewarded as there was space for us. All the moored boats were narrow boats which makes it slightly less stressful than a lot of fibre glass, but I am glad to say he made it without touching any of them.

We have never seen five narrow boats down here before and by the end of the day there was a cruiser behind us.

When we travelled along the Cam past Bottisham lock we passed this boat - a name that jumped out at us as when our Monty runs round and round like a mad thing we called them the 'zoomies'.  So guess how surprised we were to find who is moored in front of us

It turns out that he is a retired Royal Engineer and is in St Ives for a special reason - more on that tomorrow.

Heading out for a walk along the Ouse Way takes you through the church yard - something must be going to happen

Not something we have come across before.  It seemed to be well attended when we walked past on a late evening walk.

They were prepared!

After the necessary Waitrose run we had a quiet afternoon - well Chris' was quieter than mine - I went for a mooch round the shops.  The local independent Department Store (Townrow) is selling off Dash clothes as they have gone into liquidation.  I managed to pick up another couple for £15 each that had originally been £45!  I also found a really good gilet for half price, so a successful foray if costly. 

We had picked up some St Ives sausages (nothing that special) and a couple of burgers (really good) from the butcher which Chris flashed up on the BBQ.  There is no where here to get the table and chairs out, so for the first time in ages we set the table up in the bow and ate there.  The cooling breeze was much appreciated.

Friday, 29 June 2018

We have escaped! 28th June 2018

Thursday 28th June 2018
Buckden Marina to Godmanchester
1.5 miles, 1 lock

A slight change to the morning routine - Chris took Monty off for a walk whilst I did a few chores.  Alex arrived to re-fit the bow thruster housing around 10 am.  By the time we had paid the bill for the service (it took forever for them to get the invoice ready), moved round to the diesel pontoon it was 12:30 by the time we left.  It was another scorcher, so we just did a gentle trip down to Godmanchester.

First things first - you have to get out!  Not that easy in limited space with a lot of cruisers around.  A gentle reverse until, thankfully, an empty double pontoon gap appeared in that line of cruisers which Chris was able to reverse into and then get the bow facing the right way.

This is looking back at where we had come from

Next comes quite a tight corner - we needed to go left to pass the other side of Daisy

We made it to exit along the long passage past yet more timber homes

Nearly there

Needless to say we made it safely, turned right to get to the fuel pontoon, turned round, filled up, paid and we were then on our way.  Just one lock for us today at Brampton and a cruiser in it coming up - good timing on our part.

This is our first solo lock for quite a while.  Fortune was with us as a cruiser came along to come up and the helmsman came and gave me a hand with the bottom vee gates.

Before I could open the slackers on the bottom gates I had to wait for this fisherman to collect his rods and move away from the current that would soon be upon him if I had just let rip emptying the lock.  This is the first canoeing fisherman I have ever come across.

The next question was 'do we do another 4.75 miles and two more locks and get to Hemmingford Grey during the hottest part of the day or do we call it quits, moor up and set off early to St Ives in the morning?  Sense prevailed and we stopped.

Sadly the backwater was full, so we have tucked in at the end of the mooring by the lock

with a large cruiser at the other end.  Once again a crew member came out and offered help with ropes.  They mostly seem to be very polite round here.

The view from the side hatch is wonderful, but

although there is locking activity to watch from the other side, there is no shade to offer a peaceful spot to park your chair and while away the afternoon with a book.  It is, however, immeasurably better than being stuck in a marina.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Marooned at Buckden Marina - 27 June

Wednesday 27th June 2018
Buckden Marina

We are stuck in a hot metal tube in blazing sun with no shade to sit out in! 

Fortunately there are good dog walks from here, but that is all. 

The engineer (Alex) has delivered the bow thruster engine to an expert who is stripping it down.  We should know by tomorrow how serious the problem is and how long it will take to repair.  In the meantime Alex has agreed to re-fit the bow thruster casing, so we can at least be on the move.  He will then come to us, as long as we are no more than an hour away, to re-fit the motor once it has been repaired. 

We did have visitors to lighten our day.  Sue, Ken and their two grandsons came over.  We had lunch in the cafe here, followed by a short walk and then back here for tea and biscuits. 

An old chain ferry past Offord Lock


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

First a rescue, then one long yawn.... 26th June 2018

Tuesday 26th June 2018
GOBA moorings to Buckden Marina
0.25 mile, 0 locks

The usual morning job - a walk with Monty.  This time along the Ouse Valley Way.  It was all quite atmospheric with a mist rolling across the river.

What can I say about the walk?  Well it was definitely trouser country to avoid the many nettles.

Other than that - not a lot apart from gates!

which meant a lot of waiting for me to catch up and let him through

The cruiser that pulled in last night was still there this morning, hiding in the mist

We discovered that the filter change had had no effect.  The next option was that the fuel gauge had broken and they were out of fuel, so we gave the helmsman a lift to the marina where he hoped to get a 5 gallon can of petrol.  As it turned out he was a godsend as it was far from obvious which way we had to go.  His boat resides here, so he could direct us.  A phone call was then needed to find out exactly where we were due to go - we knew it was H17, but this is another marina that only has the numbers at the non water end of the pontoon - absolutely useless for visiting craft!

Postscript to our friend's problem - the boat (in extremely good condition) is actually over 22 years old and it appears that the flexible fuel pipe (a form of rubber resistant to fuel) had eventually perished inside and this had prevented fuel from getting  through - a new pipe will sort out the problem.  Hopefully it will last for the next 22 years!

Safely moored, the first job was to empty our very large bow locker, so an engineer could look at our bow thruster.  Maybe 15 half bags of coal is slight overkill, but they make good ballast (we ride high at the front) and we won't be caught out by a cold snap!

We arrived at 09:30.  The service engineer arrived at 12:20 and the bow thruster man around 16:45!  It was a long, boring and very hot day with nowhere to hide in the shade.  We do, however, have the go ahead to stay here overnight, which is a blessing.

Update on the work - the service is done, but the bow thruster needs a new bearing which the engineer does not have, but he knows a man who does.  He will return sometime tomorrow.  The contents of the bow locker have been moved onto our pontoon (we are hoping our neighbour does not live aboard - he does and is happy to walk round our stuff!) and a power lead has just been delivered so we can if necessary (and it might well be) put the electric fan on.

Postscript no 2 which might raise a smile:  Posted today on our C&RT volunteer website:

"A crew of Swedish tourists discover the delights of the Tardebigge flight on what must be the hottest day of the year so far. They were well prepared though, they’d brought along a full set of waterproofs......."

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

A Leisurely Day - 25th June 2018

Monday 25th June 2018
Godmanchester to GOBA moorings before Buckden Marina
3 miles, 1 lock

Yet another day of wall to wall sunshine and blue skies.  We are beginning to feel rather spoilt, but are certainly not complaining.  Monty and I headed off to Port Holme Meadow for our morning perambulation - what a difference a few weeks makes. I took this photo on 6th June when everything was lush and green with an abundance of wild flowers in bloom,

Today it was dry and brown with not a flower in sight

 One end has been cut down - I suspect the rest may follow in due course.

A quick foray to the One Stop shop to get the paper took us past this building on the main street

Nan, if you see this can you please let me know what these two 'scarecrows' are there for?

The Chinese bridge - so scenic

 Once we were off we travelled to the end of the backwater where there is more than enough room to wind (turn round)

taking us past that Chinese bridge again

Back up to the lock from where one boat had gone

and on to Brampton lock - the mill wheel is operational.  It is a shame that there is nowhere to moor - it must be worth exploring.

We were joined by Protea in the one lock of the day

Just a short way from the lock we found the moorings we were looking for and even better they were empty!  It is an idyllic mooring - total peace and quiet with very little foot fall going past the boat.

Mid afternoon we were joined by a cruiser who just made it in before his engine packed up completely.  He thought it might be clogged filters, so set too to change them both.

We had a quiet, relaxing, peaceful afternoon and the day finished with a barbecue - Monty, as always, had to ensure Chris did it all correctly!

ps - is there anyone out there who uses blogger and can give me a clue why suddenly I am not getting email notification when comments are waiting for moderation? I have checked my settings and it all looks okay.  Any suggestions would be gratefully received.