Monday 25th to Sunday 31st July 2011.

They’re here and in greater numbers than before. How do they get onboard? Shouts from the bathroom told me there was an earwig in V’s towel. I’m afraid I couldn’t help smiling.

Has anyone discovered a deterrent?
At least with spiders you can scare them off with conkers. Though I did find one in bed the other night – now we know what’s biting V, it wasn’t me after all.

And then there are the flies. If you want to know what swallows and swifts are catching on the river then wipe the boat’s side with baby oil and in the morning you’ll have the answer – half a ton of tiny black flies.

We were greeted with smiles and blog-elloes on Monday, twice in fact.
Nb.Sunrise reads blogs and so does nb.Julanda. Both were on the Downham Market pontoon making the most of the local shops.

Julie and Alan have gone back through the sluice but we should see Sunrise again somewhere on the Fens as we intend staying a little longer, at least until the barbeque has worn out.

We took a day off from boats on Tuesday and caught the train to Kings Lynn. £4 return from Downham Market didn’t seem too bad. A walking tour of the town took in two museums we hadn’t done before, three if you count the café on the river front with an environmental display on the floor above. We picked up a wadge of vouchers from the museum by the bus station and used them to ease our wallets on the remaining entrance fees.

There are some lovely buildings if you wander away from the high street, this one, the Customs House, holds a museum on the first floor, all to do with the shipping trade when there still was one.

Graffiti is nothing new in Kings Lynn, this carved door has suffered an attack from the midnight chiseller. I’m guessing that “Magnum …….” means he loves icecream.

We popped back to Denver river bank mid week and on Thursday we hung around the sluice until low tide to see what everyone was moaning about. Couldn’t believe how quickly the silt has appeared after the IWA festival a couple of years or so ago.

It might be worse than before because it was easy enough to see the mud banks then and slip between them but at this stage in their development they can’t be seen until it’s too late.

Just where we used to pull off the centre of the river and head for the lock is now a submerged island both sides of high tide. They catch you unawares, particularly during neaps, when high tide is at its lowest.
denver sluice

Judging by the grooves cut into the mud there have been a couple of narrow escapes. The lockie told us that recently a boat got caught right on the top and had to stay there until next tide. In fact he almost didn’t get off the mud then because the following tides were lower as springs turned to neaps.

He’s repeatedly warned EA but has heard nothing from them.

I also asked him about popping out on the ebb tide to Kings Lynn and sitting on the sand banks before coming back with the tide but I’m afraid the Editor might knobble that bit of info, so less said the better.

Otherwise it’s all roses down on the Channel, unless the algae covered weed worries you. A little light rolling and you could play bowls on the stuff outside the Relief Channel lock. If only we could eat it. Could the Welsh give us some advice, I wonder.

The sun has been seen once or twice this week, and when it lasts all day it presents us with smashing shades of blue towards evening.
I couldn’t resist taking a photograph of The Dabbler as she cruised serenely up river.

On Friday (29th) V took a walk to Denver to have a look at the mill that we can see across the fields from the sluice. She discovered we’d been there before, long, long ago when we had wheels and it hasn’t changed. Hasn’t changed for hundreds of years, I shouldn’t be surprised.
denver mill

On the way back she accepted a lift from a kind fella on a horse and trap (or cart?). She was beaming from ear to ear when she got back and told me about how she stood on the back step for the journey home. It was only a pity she didn’t get the gentleman’s name, or for that matter, a full photograph.

While V was away I pulled the fridge out, as one does, and stuck a wire on the back so that I could monitor the compressor cycle times. Initial results with a 230VAC fridge show that power is being consumed for an average of 10 minutes each hour, day or night making little difference. What that translates to in Amp/Hours during summer and winter months will be revealed later but just now it varies between 20 and 30 AHr/night (between 10.30pm and 7.30am). [Later…. after restocking the fridge its ‘on’ cycle time increases dramatically, 20 minutes in each hour for 24 hours]

Saturday 30th
By the way, it is a robin’s nest on the back of the life ring, I saw dad making a delivery during our water stop and couldn’t resist taking another photograph. They’re better trained now, no open beaks when I make the sound of a worm.

I take back all I said about the Relief Channel being quiet, it’s very much back on the map these days and today (Sunday) we have a record of nine boats on the DM pontoon.
downham market pontoon

The same pontoon in September 2006, with us in the same place down the far end.

But no matter, I’m still of the opinion that this is a great place to be, cruising the wide open water with the wind in your hair (not much of that left – Ed), there’s nothing like it. Oh I do love rivers.