Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Home again

Lyra enjoying being let out for a bit in Jubilee Gardens, by the Jesus Lock visitor moorings, just before we set off for home.

We stayed in town until Saturday afternoon in the end. I was particularly glad of this, as I had to meet at the boathouse at 7:15 for a race on Saturday morning. And then another one at 10:15... So by the time we were ready to set off I was quite knackered, and let James do most of the work! The race was still going on when we left (there were five divisions planned!) and we had hoped that they would let us through between divisions. We had arrived in plenty of time to follow the rowing boats up past the start to Baits Bite Lock, but the race organisers weren't having any of it (despite letting a boat through in the opposite direction). But we made the most of the wait to head to Tescos, so all was not lost. However, having to wait til all the racing was finished meant that we arrived home in the dark and the rain.

After lighting the fire, we went over to see the Pippins, and the boys cooked a nice dinner of chicken and rice, and we caught up with each other's news. It was a most enjoyable evening.

Unfortunately, despite being home, and there being a stiff wind still blowing, we can't yet use our wind generator. The engineer who RCR contracted to sort out our electrical problems disconnected the batteries from the regulator without stopping the turbine from spinning. Result: fried regulator, which has now been sent back to Marlec for repair. The foolish engineer will be getting a bill for the cost. Grr.

In happier news, we are going to Thrupp next weekend for a jolly boaters get together (organised by Bones) with several of the bloggers and contributers to CWDF. We are looking forwards to seeing old friends, and hopefully to making some new ones!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Blowing a Hoolie!

Having arrived in Cambridge on Sunday night to watch Dr Who, and moved to the other visitor moorings on Tuesday night, we were planning to move back home last night. But the winds were so strong that we felt trying to navigate would be somewhat foolhardy. James called up the Conservators to ask for advice and they said that they were happy to let us stay and wait for the winds to die down.

It looks pretty tranquil in this photo, but it is quite sheltered here, compared to elsewhere!

So, here we are, still, next to the Georgina, enjoying the pleasures of being moored up in town. We do miss home a bit though, and Lyra is itching for a proper run about. I have let her out, but the novelty of the location is a bit much for her, and she tends to just sit there next to the boat, ears and eyes everywhere, watching and listening, and generally looking a bit overwhelmed by it all!

James' lovely new wiring (not completely finished - the battery - positive busbar and battery - negative busbar leads need to be replaced with a thicker one like the short thick cable). He has been working on it in bits and pieces since March, but his PGCE interview got in the way a little bit so he only finished it very recently)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Dr Who Cruise

Last night there was a special episode of Dr Who on TV. Exciting stuff,a nd important not to miss. The Kestrels also wanted to watch it (like us they are big Dr Who fans) but they don't have an aerial for their TV. So they called and asked, could we detatch ours and bring it in? But of course, we said, although at the time we were not on the boat so couldn't check if it was easily detatchable. We got home, and realised that it was not going to be simple to take it off. So, the obvious thing to do was to bring the aerial in to Cambridge while still attached to the boat! With our lovely new cooling system and prop shaft, this was not an issue. So in we came, arriving just after dark. Lyra is getting better and better at coping with the engine's movement and noise, party because due to a fuse blowing in our charger, we've had to charge the batteries with the engine a bit recently. She even ate her dinner while we were on the move, which is unknown for her, and sat on my lap while I waited for the kettle to boil. The Kestrels brought their TV over (its larger than ours) we plugged it into the signal booster, and so we had everything we needed.

The episode was great fun, clever and a little bit scary. We're looking forward to the Christmas one already!

After Dr Who we retired to Kestrel to play a couple of games of Settlers, and drink Horlicks. Mmm.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Because we CAN!

Yesterday evening, we embarked upon what was probably our first care-free cruise, undertaken simply because we wanted to do it!

We cruised into Cambridge as dusk fell, and moored up outside the Fort St George, next to Pippin, who is also in town.

Waking to the splash-thump of rowing boats in the morning, oh! how we've missed it! (you can't see it in this photo, but there's another VIII between the City IV and Pippin!)

The purpose of our visit: to see the annual firework display on Midsummer Common. All narrowboats have to move from the part of the river edging theCommon, and so for one night only, breasting up is allowed tolerated. We and the Pippins are taking advantage of this, to moor next to Kestrel and Innocenti respectively. There will be a party on the boats/towpath and we will be watching the fireworks from the roofs of the boats!

In other news, James has an interview for the Cambridge Secondary History PGCE next week. Fingers crossed it goes well.

Monday, 2 November 2009

A Terrible Blow

Yesterday was quite a long day hence the lack of blog!

We awoke with the dawn again, and got up ready for the 7:30 tide out of Salters Lode. The tidal passage went smoothly, so we were through Denver by 8, and onto the last leg of our journey. Unfortunately the weather was abysmal! A strong headwind plus driving rain made standing at the tiller somewhat uncomfortable. We wrapped up warm, with several hats each, as well as raincoats and cap to keep the rain out of our eyes and took turns at the tiller. The readjusted rudder/tiller gear made the actual steering a lot easier though, which was fortunate since the wind made it very difficult to keep a good line away from the banks. Many times we found ourselves crabbing along (moving along at an angle) but I think we both enjoyed the challenge that the wind brought to the otherwise tedious stretch of river betwen Denver and Ely.

Once we reached Ely we decided to moor up and go in search of the CHIPS which had eluded us the day before in Upwell. We headed to Alan's Fish Bar, where we found the aforementioned CHIPS as well as a Saveloy for James and a battered slice of Rock Eel for me. It was very tasty and much welcome.

Back on the Duck, and full of CHIPS, we started up the engine and set off for the final leg, back to the mooring. The wind did not let up, but the skies cleared and we found ourselves needing sunglasses to steer! Once home, we tidied up a bit, said hello to the only resident who was about (Tom Kitten) before heading into Cambridge to pick up our much-missed Lyracat. She has been enjoying a holiday on dry land, and was as sad to leave her new friends as they were to see her go! Again she hated the taxi ride home but soon settled in. We had a nice evening catching up with the neighbours before an early night.

Not a happy Lyra