Monday 15th to Sunday 21st August 2011.

Started the week on the Little Thetford (sounds like a small portapotti doesn’t it) moorings and ended up at Mailers Meadow, just past Brampton Mill on the way to Bedford.

Before setting off I converted the electric mosquito zapper to deal with wasps. The thing has never worked terribly well with flies and gnats so I didn’t feel bad butchering it. I replaced the blue light inside the high voltage coils with a stick covered in marmalade and placed the device outside the boat.
Result: Electrical zapper = one wasp, yoghurt pot with water = 4 wasps, conclusion = waste of time and marmalade. Back to the drawing board.

Got the varnish pot out while the sun was shining and made a start on the bits that get wet in winter. Discovered that a varnished wooden door acts like a huge fly-paper. Dozens of little flies now lie between coats of varnish, a bit like thousand year old beetles being found encapsulated in tree gum.

The keeper at Hermitage lock was doing a roaring trade on Tuesday, I can see why he posts his lunch break in all the river guides, he’d never get a moments peace otherwise.

Earith was in great demand for water and pump-out, a veritable pile up while we were there. A slow fill tap and an on-shore breeze didn’t help those boats like Trundle and Gabriel making their way to and from the pontoon.

It was much the same at Brownshill Staunch lock, boats both ways with up to six queuing on our side. Pity they didn’t add another foot to the width when they built the lock.

We kept our eyes open but didn’t see any seals this time through, but we did catch sight of someone we knew standing on the river bank waving. ‘Strordinary, I said, looks like Mary Matts from Foxton Boats with her collie.

St Ives was very welcoming on Wednesday. Town quay was chocka but the field was practically empty and as it hadn’t been a strenuous cruise from last night’s moorings I joined V for a walk to town.
st ives

River navigations being dead ends, everything that goes up must eventually come back down and today was the turn of hotel boats Snipe and Taurus.

Leapfrogging the same boats is inevitable when you’re all heading the same way so we decided to slow down and take out any element of competition for moorings.
Our extra day at St Ives was a wet one though we didn’t sit on our hands because there are always things to be done.
The water pump came out to be fitted with a new micro-switch, a simple one hour job taking three because there’s always something else to do while your head is underneath the cupboards.

St Ives gave way to Brampton Mill on Friday and on the way up it was lovely to see the weed cutters going about their business. I’ve included some pictures in case BW are wondering what on earth I’m talking about.

These little boats look fun, they dash around, spinning on a sixpence and look like they’re going to sink at any moment. And after the little ones comes big brother, you don’t want to mess with him.

I’d love to take all three to the Kennet & Avon at this time of the year. In fact I’d love to drive these boats myself.

One of my favourite camera subjects is riverside churches and the one at Hartford is a classic, this must feature on every trip we’ve done up the Ouse. You’ll excuse me if I take another on the way back down.

Every man and his boat are out at this time of year so the moorings change hands several times a day as plastics tie up for lunch then wander off only to be replaced by others wanting afternoon tea. One was so keen to push away from the bank with a pole that he fell in, but how do you take a picture of that when you’re running to haul him out.

V set off for Brampton and was gone absolutely ages. Further than I thought, she said on her return, there’s the cows to dodge, then the campers, and finally the golf balls.

I can’t see why V doesn’t like cows, they’re tame, sociable and love boats, particularly open portholes.

I have to say these GOBA moorings are brilliant. If we had to survive on EA moorings we’d be cruising through the night looking for one.

Here’s another, further up river t’other side of Brampton at Mailers Meadow.
This one also features a wasp nest, just like the one at Brandon Creek, wasps fly in and out of a hole in the bank just above the waterline.
Mailers meadow

We have been pleasantly surprised by the weather, all forecasts have overdone the rain warnings. In fact we made a serious dent in the charcoal on a day they’d written off with storms. The river had practically no flow until the rains came on Thursday and even then it hardly rose an inch.
We like rivers, they’re cool, even the man who fell in said so.

Guess what we saw flying overhead today, it looks like one of those German planes from WW1. Must have got lost.

And finally some statistics. Kass can stop reading here, the following will send her to sleep.

For those of us who have a morbid interest in fridge electricity consumption I can report that taken over a period of 42 days in the summer (what summer) the average ‘on time’ for our 230VAC fridge was 13 minutes in every hour.