Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sunday 31st August

We now have the pictures of the church ceiling that was so spectacular. The church is at least a mile out of town but well worth a visit.

Truly remarkabe hand carved ceiling

Inside St Wendrida's Church

St Wendreda's Church March Cambridgeshire
I have spent some time today picking blackberries and windfall apples. They are both in abundance in this marina. We stayed here as the weather forecast was indicating rain and stormy weather but in the event it turned out to be a nice day. Tonight however, there is rain in the air and it feels like autumn.

Gazebo in March High Street erected to

commemorate the coronation of George V IN 1911

"Lottie" berthed in Fox's Marina

We are on the move again tomorrow- the last few days of our journey.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

30th August 2008

This reminded me of the three Vultures in Disney's version of The Jungle Book

Well it's been a week since we have written on the blog. It is now Saturday and we are in Fox Narrowboats marina, which is just outside March. We have been to the town and today we are going to find St Wendreda's Church which is a 14th Century church famous for it's hammerbeam roof which is decorated with four tiers of 118 angels with outstretched wings. Hopfully will be able to get some photos.

Thought we could get one of these, tow it behind us and call it "The Dog-house"

We have had an uneventful week and it has been good to travel back over previously visited territory. It gives us a much better idea of distances and suitable places to moor - mostly different to our outward journey.

The church at Outwell stuated on a very severe bend with a bridge which Christine navigated very well
We had a bit of a job going through Salter's Lode Lock. We were on the ebb of the tide and there was a brisk wind blowing. I wanted to try but managed to get the boat in completely the wrong position, so Tom had a bit of a disadvantage by taking over at the last minute. It is a really acute turn to get in and I wish we could do it all over again as I feel I would make a better job of it. (I don't think Tom shares my confidence).

Getting readyto set off for the tidal passage between Denver Sluice and Salters Lode

After Salter's Lode we moored up at one of the Well Creek Trust moorings about a mile outside of Outwell. Tom wanted to clean the boat and I walked into the village to get a paper etc. When I got back the boat was gleaming. However later that day, two combine harvesters mowed the field opposite, completely covering the boat inside and out with a fine layer of brown dust. We stayed on the mooring another day to clean up the aftermath.

And to think we were moaning about a bit of dust!!

We have been here two days, and in that time have had our batteries checked yet again, and have replaced four which hopefully will cure our lack of power problem. We plan to move on tomorrow but the weather forecast is terrible so could mean an extra night.
We have got plenty of time to get to Peterborough for Friday. I spent a lot of time yesterday on the laptop, especially as we are hooked up to electricity. We have now got our flights booked to Tenerife for 7th October - you can guarantee that we will have an scorching October now.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Thursday 21st August

We spent the morning at the mooring - Linda and Ebony moved on to St Neots - we caught up with jobs etc.

This afternoon, although the forecast wasn't too good, we decided to go for a long walk to explore the surrounding villages which we hadn't visited so far.
The first one was Hemingford Grey, which has a spectacular church on the waterfront and some very commanding properties

Not so much a commanding property

more a" lean too"
We wanted to visit Houghton with Wyton but realised we had to cross the river at some point in order to do this. We ended up walking through a riverside meadow to St Ives which was about 2 miles away but was the first crossing point.

Luckily for us, "Sunrise" and "Mio Amore" were moored there and as we had met them earlier, they invited us on board for a cup of tea.

"Sunrise" and "Mio Amore" awaiting our arrival
for a well earned cup of tea

An hour later and fully refreshed we set off again and finally came to Houghton - a really lovely village and Wyton which adjoins it

Chocolate Box or what!

On our way back we came upon our ideal retirement location.It is called "The Boathouse" and is situated on a backwater off the Ouse with a mooring big enough for "Lottie" electricity for hook up and water. The trouble is it has only just been sold.

The Boathouse
We were so lucky with the weather as it just started to rain as we got back to the boat.
We got ourselves ready and then it was back to Hemingford Abbots to the pub for our evening meal.
The pub was the Axe and Compass and they were offering Cod in a beer batter with crispy chips and mushy peas which we had seen advertised yesterday on our walk. I made the mistake of ordering two portions of fish and chips as I thought that was what we had decided upon. Christine however wanted to see the menu which we were duly given then the waitress read out all the specials on the chalk board and after much deliberation Christine eventually plumped for the (yes you've guessed it) FISH AND CHIPS!!! It has been a bit of a trial on occasions, for the both of us I am sure. It was the right choice and lived up to our expectations so much so that there was no room left for puddings

This will probably be the last blog for a while (who said Hooray! take their names) as we will be going back over old ground as from tomorrow but will update now and again so watch this space.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Wednesday 20th August

We were awake very early this morning and as it was dry, we decided to cycle to Hartford, a village just outside Huntingdon.

All Saints Church Hartford

It was very pretty and the church above is right on the river front. We had just got back, when it started to pour with rain but luckily we didn't get too wet.
We waited until the skies looked a bit better, but decided to set off on the boat and take a chance. We stopped off at Hartford Marina again to refuel and fill up with water and then made our way to Hemingford Abbots, where we had arranged to meet "Kanbedun Again".

We only had one lock to negotiate but the wind had got up again and the cruiser in front of us had a real problem getting in and tying up. It didn't help that his daughter who was meant to be holding the rope, let go as she had seen a spider. This meant the boat was sideways on in the lock with no one on board and no one able to get the bow rope.
In the meantime we were just outside the lock waiting to go in but the wind took us towards the weir, so we had to re manouvre with great difficulty to get back in position. By this time a crowd had gathered on the bridge of the lock to see the antics - it all ended well and we were on our way again.

We met up with Linda and Ebony and are now rafted against her boat for the night. We all set off for a long walk around the village - and as you can see from the pictures above it is very upmarket with some real picture postcard properties.

Christine enjoyed having a dog to walk again

Drinks at The Axe and Compass
(Home cooked fish and chips night tomorrow will probably eat there)

We stopped off at the pub on our way home and got back just in time before it started to rain again.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Tuesday 19th August

It was cold this morning and we had no sooner finished breakfast than it started to rain. There was plenty to do on the boat while we waited for it to stop and we finally set off about 11am.
It was very windy and we knew it would be difficult but as we were only planning to travel a short distance, we decided to take a chance.

Leaving Godmanchester this morning

Almost immediately we had the first and only lock, but that went very smoothly. We then travelled for about an hour without meeting any other craft and finally reached Huntingdon.
There were no mooring places initially but as we were passing, a cruiser decided to leave, and we quickly turned round and took his place.

The A14 Crossing the Great Ouse this is what we look down on when going to the boat at our mooring

Town Bridge at Huntingdon
( 2 bed ground floor apartment in old mill block on left going for £150k)

Huntingdon Church ( unusual style )

The mooring is set in a park and is only 5 minutes from the centre of town. We walked in this afternoon between showers but it is quite small and we are a bit "shopped out" at the moment.
We came back and spent the evening watching the sculling teams out on an evening exercise.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Monday 18th August

It was pouring with rain again this morning when we woke up. Luckily by the time we had got ourselves ready, it had brightened up and we decided to set off. There was a really stiff breeze but we knew we were only travelling for about 4 hours and only 3 locks.

Christine on the helm and managing the locks (busy girl)

We were very lucky as the river was deserted but each time we came to a lock, a boat was leaving it, which meant we could go straight in with minimum work. The river was very wide for most of the journey but quite attractive with willows and other trees at the water's edge.

We finally arrived in Godmanchester at approx 2pm. We had managed to miss it completely on our outward journey as it is down a little backwater by the lock. This time we found it easily and were lucky enough to get a central mooring.

The Waterfront at Godmanchester
The town is very pretty when viewed from the river but like most of the towns and villages we have visited, some of the back streets are less appealing.

The famous Chinese Bridge at Godmanchester

We walked around for an hour or two and then the rain was threatening, so returned to the boat.

Christine threatened me with thr RSPB
for making these two walk the plank!

It has now been raining for most of the evening and is quite cold.

We have had the heating on in the mornings and evenings for the last few days as we have felt cold.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sunday 17th August

It was pouring with rain first thing this morning but soon cleared up into a warm sunny day, although slightly windy.
We had some good news late last night from Lottie and Lee to say that they had become engaged. Lee had been very brave and had a ring made as a surprise - luckily she loved it.
On their way home from Chester they found us in St Neots to show us the ring. It is beautiful and we all had a glass of champagne to celebrate.

The Happy Parents

The Happy Couple

The Fabulous Ring!!!

We will be moving on tomorrow after a lovely weekend in St Neots.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Saturday 16th August

After an uneventful night, we awoke to blue skies and no sign of the rain that had been forecast. We set off on a shopping trip in St Neots - this is the closest we have ever been moored to the main shopping centre of a town and I was determined to make the most of it.

Our view of The Bridge Hotel

Tom had had enough after a couple of hours so we went back to the boat, where I left him and hit the shops by myself. It was much better for both of us!!

Lottie at St Neots Park Town Mooring

We had been looking for a sideboard for the boat for some time and I managed to find one that I thought might be suitable, so it was back to the boat to collect Tom and I made my third expedition to the town.

The sideboard was perfect and was soon loaded into the van with Tom going off with the driver to take him to the boat. They had to carry it across the park as it was impossible to get a vehicle close to the boat. I stayed well away until I thought all the hard work would be over.

The Bridge Hotel (wide angle view)

We have now been joined by another narrowboat on this mooring, with three others across the river. Although we are in the middle of the town and we can hear music etc, it feels very safe. We are here for one more day as Lottie and Lee are coming to join us tomorrow for a few hours.

St Neots Church

Friday, 15 August 2008

Friday 15th August

A lovely sunny day and we set off at 0945 to make our way to St Neots. The trip was so much more enjoyable on this return journey, as it had rained most of the time when we made our way to Bedford.

Christine wants to buy this, tow it behind "Lottie"
and call it "Peace and Quiet" (I am totally up for it)
We soon met up with another narrowboat and it was the first time the owners, two ladies had taken the boat out on a trip. We helped them through some of the locks as there was quite a current and they were a bit anxious. It didn't help that their engine kept cutting out, despite a recent service.
Still going down (Deepest Lock yet at Great Barford)
We reached Great Barford at approx 1pm and stopped for lunch and left our companions as they were going to make their way back to Bedford.

Riverside Chalet with mooring (could be a good option when we have finished cruising the system)
We continued on our way and finally reached St Neots at 4.15pm having negotiated 6 locks. We easily found a mooring and had a cup of tea with 3 workmen who were repairing the landing stage. We had been warned that St Neots can be a bit troublesome with youngsters, but so far all is well and it is a lovely river frontage.

We locked up the boat and set off for a walk to familiarise ourselves with the town and then stopped at a riverside pub for a drink.

One of the many Link Bridges in St Neots
It was still warm and a very pleasant and a good way to round off the day.

View of "Lottie" as seen from the Bridge Hotel St Neots

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Thursday 14th August

Thank goodness it was dry and sunny today, although there was still a chill in the air. We were intending to move on but had to wait for Wayne, the mechanic to come to do a final test on the batteries.
Luckily we had plenty of jobs to catch up on as he didn't turn up until 3pm. In the meantime Jeanette and Pete turned up. We had met up with them at St Neots Lock the other day going in the opposite direction. They have sold their house and intend to live on their boat permanently summer and winter. They came here to have a look at this marina with a view to mooring here over the winter period. It was good to catch up with them again - that is one of the nice things about the river - you dip in and out of peoples's lives and generally people are very friendly.
Anyway the batteries seem to be okay but by this time it seemed a bit too late in the afternoon to set off, so we plan to leave early tomorrow morning and make our way to St Neots.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Wednesday 13th August

It was a very bad start to the morning as we had to set the alarm for 6am. As a result, neither of us slept well, thinking we might miss it. We left the boat at 7am to make our way to Essex. The roads were clear initially but the traffic started to build up as we neared our destination.
Our first stop was the dentist for Tom, then a visit to the crematorium and finally we caught up with Tom's Dad. Unfortunately we couldn't stay too long this time as we wanted to miss the traffic on the way home and return the hire car tonight.
We came home the country route and it was only in the last half hour that the heaven's opened. We returned the car and they dropped us back to our boat.
It has now been raining steadily all evening and is quite cold again. We are moving on tomorrow and have been told that the weather forecast is better - let's hope so!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Tuesday 12th August

We had to set the alarm this morning as the car hire company was coming to collect us at the Marina. We were finally on our way to Yarwell at 10.30am. We went to collect our post again and then to check on our mooring to make sure it is waiting for us on our return.

At lunchtime we went to Yarwell where Alan was having a party to celebrate a special birthday. The weather just about held out but it had poured beforehand and was raining on our way home, so we were very lucky.

Our Hosts, Alan (Birthday Boy) and Pam
We had an uneventful drive home and have kept the car as we have a trip down to Essex tomorrow.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Monday 11th August

Still charging the batteries in Priory Marina. We went off on the bikes today and followed the river again until the end of navigation. There is a designated cycle path running alongside the river and it is mainly flat.
On the way back we stopped in Bedford Town to have a look at the shops and stopped to have afternoon tea in town.
We went back to the boat for a quick change and then cycled to the cinema to see "Mama Mia" I had a wonderful time and Tom enjoyed it too, although he hadn't been keen to see it. It has so many famous names in it, including Julie Walters, and they all looked as if they had such fun filming it and none of them seem to be taking it too seriously.
We must have an early night tonight - we have a car being delivered tomorrow at 9.30am as we are back to Yarwll for the day.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Sunday 10th August

We didn't wake up until 9am and knew we weren't moving the boat today, so it wasn't a problem. It was very blustery but at least it was dry.

The Narrow lock at Bedford notice the limited headroom clearance of the bridge
(we didn't want to clear our roof so this is the end of the navigation for us)

We decided to take the bikes out to have a look at Bedford and followed the river into town. The river is very wide and it looks as if the main shops lead directly off it - I will investigate tomorrow as we need the bank etc.
We had a surprise phone call from Terry and Carol who wanted to pop up this afternoon for a few hours. It was great to see them again - they arrived about 4pm and after tea and cake, we went for a walk along the river bank and back for tea. The time flew by and at 8pm they had to make a move for the journey home.

A good day with old mates. Cheers!

We settled down for a quiet evening - we are here until Thursday morning so time to relax and take things easy.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Saturday 9th August

It started out bright and sunny and I walked into the village to get the paper in my summer outfit. We set off about 10 am to aim for Bedford. We were surprised how quiet this part of the river was, considering it is Saturday and school holidays.

Some of the pretty views en route

We weren't very far into our journey when the rain started, gently at first but then it pelteddown as Tom was in the bottom of a deep lock and there was no way of getting any protective clothes. The double V gates all took a time, as they were all against us, so by the time I managed to get to the boat, I was drenched.

Some woolly friends were seen despite the rain

We carried on, despite the weather and it just rained and rained and rained!! We finally reached the outskirts of Bedford about 3pm and moored up, having passed under some very low bridges.

The weir shows the drop in the river level about 15'+ to go up in the lock

Luckily we hadn't left the boat as some young lads started pestering us, and wanted to get on the boat and were knocking on it. As we were the only boat there we decided to turn back as the river was quite high and we didn't think we could get under the bridge that straddles Bedford Lock. We just went a few hundred yards back up the river and are now in Priory Marina, which is secure. It also means that yet again we can hook up so we are sitting here with the central heating on as it is so cold tonight, and all our electrics up and running.

Friday 8th August

We left about 10am today with a view to getting as far as possible on our way to Bedford. It was nice weather and although the river was quiet, there was plenty to see en route.

Notice the unusual roof covering(I wonder if they have been reported to the police for having grass on board)
The locks on this part of the river are mainly manual with V gates both ends, so can take a while to get through but as we were not in a rush, it didn't matter. One of the bonuses of this river is that you leave the lock and don't have to prepare it for the next boat.

More riverview flats
We passed through St Neots and managed to catch up with Linda and Ebony, who were moored there. We have planned another meet in a week or so as we both have committments next week. Ebony looked as if she would like to jump on our boat - obviously remembers our secret stash of dog biscuits!

Our friend Linda on her boat "Kanbedun Again" at St Neots
Five locks and approximately 6 hours later we arrived at Great Barford and decided to settle there for the night. It is a picture postcard setting by the river and is quite a large village with 2 pubs and a shop.

"Lottie" moored at Great Barford

A quaint old cottage up for sale
Opposite the Anchor Pub and by the river
(What more could you ask for)

Tom spent some time fishing but caught nothing apart from wecd