Sunday 4th to Sunday 11th September 2011

Uncommonly wet and windy isn’t it. As one skipper shouted across the water “We always book this week in September because the schools have gone back and the weather is always lovely”.

For us, this is the last month of our summer holiday and we (V) are already making noises about returning up the Nene before the rainy season. But there’s still time to potter along the Cam and a tributary or two before checking in at Denver.

For what it’s worth and in no particular order here’s the drivel for the week just gone.

When your engine is noisy you tend to talk louder, this is true no matter how large or small your boat. But I wasn’t prepared for the size of this one when I heard these guys on the river half a mile away.

Just for the records Buckden Marina is selling (?) diesel for £1.31/litre (fixed 60:40 split) and unleaded at £1.60/litre. Crumbs. We stopped there on Monday and found them closed so we borrowed some water.

We’ve searched high and low without success for Boric Acid to ‘get’ our earwigs so we’re making do with permethrin from that famous wood treatment company. Have to be very careful it doesn’t get into the water and judging by the way the wiggies aren’t too bothered I’m having to open their mouths and spoon it down them. Here’s what was hiding under the taff rail this morning.

The Thames is the place to go for deluxe boathouses but I don’t think I’ve seen such extreme corbelling as this on a simple boat stable?
somewhere to sit

There’s a story in the navigation book about St James church at Hemingford Grey, all to do with how the steeple was stolen by the devil. The boring version says it blew down in 1741.
St James

We went to church twice this week, once in St Neots which took us 2 minutes to walk to because it was in the council run hall next to the pontoon on the town side of the river and the second was on the green by the bandstand in Ely.

We didn’t know anyone at the Lighthouse outdoor event in Ely but it looked the sort of place we’d check out if we lived there and to our surprise we met someone we knew back in the 1990s at St Neots’ Open Door church.

We’ve been to St Ives several times and each time it rained. This visit was no exception. Lovely to see the kids back at school isn’t it, but how come they are walking about the streets mid morning? As V said, we were caned if we were caught doing that (my slight exaggeration).
St Ives

Aldreth’s moorings in the ‘eye’ of the storm gave us a perfect sunset, hardly a breath after a breezy day. Just us and the cows to appreciate it.
Aldreth sunset

Talking of cows, here’s my favourite from the bunch that kept us company through the night.
moo the cow

Don’t know why cows fascinate me, perhaps I should have been a farmer. I’d love to have one as a pet or maybe one and a half because you can’t cut bits off a whole one can you.

Ely was surprisingly full of boats. Thought they’d all be back in their marinas by now.
With apologies for poor quality photos from my old mobile phone here we are on market day again, yes the wrong one, the crafty one.
ely market

Ely was practising for the Proms and jolly good it was too. It always sounds better when they’re wearing a costume.
Ely proms

I was out on deck Saturday afternoon cutting a rubber mat to fit a space when I got into conversation with an ex RN, ex MN, ex RNR CPO/2nd mate. Now past his mid seventies he was still as sharp as a teenager, recalling exploits on RN ships in the Gulf during the Iraq-Iran conflict, dropping the SAS over the side and collecting them later without acknowledging their existence. There were several things he said never made it into the ship’s Log including liaisons with ‘tailing’ Russian trawlers.
Originally from Bethnal Green I don’t think he has fully adjusted to the pace of life in Ely.

Talk about co-incidences, I was put in contact with Max, the owner of nb.Vindi Boy. He has the second boat fitted out by Sandhills, the same guys that did ours. My ears immediately pricked up when I heard the name Vindi Boy because it has strong navy connections so I was keen to have a natter. I was right, Max was in the merchant navy way, way back in the fifties. Still very fit and active on the waterways and, best of all, likely to be on our cruising route next year.

Sunday morning and peace has returned after yesterday’s wedding reception in the restaurant nearby.
I wondered whether to stay up all night on rescue duty for those that fell in or mop and bucket duty for those that couldn’t aim straight.

Idly tuning up and down the 80m HAM band I came across a QSO between a net controller in Bath and his ex BBC companions across the country. Nothing unusual there but my ears perked up a bit when he mentioned making contact with a narrowboat near Daventry (search QRZ.COM for G3POM).

Maybe this isn’t as rare a pastime afloat as I first thought because this follows on the heels of another HAM who was operating during his cruise of the River Witham with a 20 foot high aerial on a narrow boat. What happens at bridges I wonder.

Aerials and RFI are major problems on here so I’m all ears when I see others succeeding.

If anyone sees Guy on nb.Virgo tell him I’ll be looking out for him to find out how a Snowdonia telescopic 21 foot whip aerial mounts on a narrowboat.

Apologies to Kass for not warning her that was coming.

For Mike:-

Where are we now?
Sept. 11th Ely
12th Little Thetford
13th Ditto
— Cambridge—

17th Waterbeach