Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Finally Cracked

Our stove glass has long had a small crack in the corner, but just before we went away for the weekend, it fully cracked such that it was no longer airtight in any way.

I have ordered a replacement glass and the ceramic rope and heat resistant glue with which to seal it, but in the meantime, we are not able to use the stove safely. Thankfully its not too cold at the moment, but we are still wearing big jumpers and sleeping in our sleeping bag with the duvet on top to keep out the cold! Fingers crossed the delivery arrives soon.

In other news, we have had the fridge on all day today, and the regulator battery status monitor is showing green, even though it was on orange this morning. So that means we can run the fridge from the solar panel even on a dull rainy day! Brilliant!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Messing Around in Boats

James and I spent the weekend in London, as he was coxing Chesterton boats in both the Men's Head of the River Race on Saturday, and the Veterans Head of the River Race on Sunday. We stayed over in London on the Saturday night with an old friend of mine from university. It was a pretty full-on weekend, with the clock change and and early start on Sunday resulting in us both getting not very much sleep!

It was great fun, however, especially for me who, as a supporter, got all the excitement of being involved with none of the pain of rowing! Several of the WAGs of the rowers (and cox!) helped out both days with wellies, blades and cheering from the bridge, in between large tracts of time in the pub!

Mens Head Crew

(302/420 with a time of 19.57)

Cox: James T
Stroke: Ralph H
7: James H
6: Tom W
5: William C
4: Tom M
3: Mike P-J
2: Chris W
Bow: Paul H

Vets Head Crew

(92/204 with a time of 15.04, beating loads of men-only boats!)

Cox James T
Stroke: Joss T
7: Claire H
6: Ralph H
5: James H
4: Tom W
3: Paul H
2: Bev E
Bow: Janice D

More photos of the race itself on http://chestertonrowingclub.blogspot.com/

Friday, 26 March 2010

Easter Greetings

Today I received this lovely narrowboat themed Easter card from James' great aunt and uncle Maureen and Roger:

The boat itself is somewhat 'creative', and seems to be a ghost ship, but its still really cute!


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Soaking up the Sun

Last night we fitted our solar panel, and as we speak, the batteries are being happily, quietly, and renewably charged by the sun. It makes us very happy!

We began by checking that it would fit. And, in a way that makes it feel like the boat was designed for a 5486 x 394 panel, there were millimetres to spare in every direction. Then we rolled it back up, and I prepped the roof - cleaning and sanding it to key the surface. As I did this, James installed the Steca regulator, with its much simpler display than the one we had for the wind generator. It simply has four LEDs, from red through orange and yellow to green which show the status of the batteries. But it is capable of handling two of the large panels like ours, so no need for a new one if we decide to get another panel later. It optimises battery charging and is considered to be one of the best solar charge controllers about.

The next stage was to stick it on. We were glad to have the help of (big) James who has experience with this from installing his own similar panels last summer. We stuck 6 inches on while flat, then rolled it back up to carefully unroll it again, which took three of us, me unsticking the backing, and both Jameses controlling the panel as it unrolled, carefully avoiding the mushroom vents. Sticking it on in the cool of the early evening was the best time to do it according to big James, who struggled to install his in the hot sun, with the glue melting! Unfortunately the very end of the panel is under the cratch cover, but modification of the cover would allow light through, and in the meantime, the panel has by-pass diodes, which allow shaded panels to be ignored with no ill effect.

Connecting the panel to the batteries was probably the biggest job. The kit we bought from Midsummer Energy came complete with rolls of copper wire, and these had to be crimped on to the wires which connect to the panel. We decided to enter the cabin through the pigeon box right next to the panel, and then took down part of the inside of it to allow access to the roof void. This was interesting in itself, as the Duck has two roofs, the top one covering the old one underneath, and we were finally able to answer the question of what insulation existed between the roofs if any.

You can see the wires are going through between the two roofs here, andthe rockwool insulation between them.

We used a coathanger wire to bring the wires across the roof, to the side hatch, where they dropped down to below gunwhale level and from there to the back of the boat and regulator/battery bank.

We celebrated getting everything connected up with a trip to the Elm Tree with (big)James, Elisabeth and Steven (a rower) who was enjoying his last night in the pub before heading off to Greenland for a field trip today.

This morning wewoke to a bright day, and 13.8V from the panel, and the batteries (which were 12.2V last night) at 12.6V. Very pleasing.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Here Comes the Sun

Having sold our wind genny, we have put the money to good use and ordered a 136W peel and stick solar panel kit from Midsummer Energy. It includes all the wires, and fuses, and a regulator. We have chosen a MPPT Steca regulator, which has the capacity to connect another similar solar panel when we buy one in time for next winter.

These panels are great: low profile, robust, and flexible, they're perfect for narrowboat roofs.

nb Hornblower (from Midsummer Energy website)

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Return of the Duck

Has Spring finally arrived? After the longest, coldest winter I can remember, it seems that the days are lengthening, the spring flowers are blooming and the weather is warming up. We made the most of the glorious weather this weekend with a trip out to tie up a few loose ends at our old mooring.

Saturday, as always, began with rowing, and then the new owner of the wind turbine came over to pick it up. At 1:30, we were joined by a couple of friends who wanted to hitch a lift out of town in comfort and style on the Duck. As one of them was unwell, and the other feels the cold quite badly, we all stayed inside while James gallantly chauffered us downriver. After dropping off our friends we headed over to our old mooring, and arrived with a hoot of the klaxon in our old spot for the last time. We were greeted by John and Jackie who were cleaning out their badly limescaled toilet (oh, the glamour of boating!) on the grass. After a quick chat, an trip to Emmaus was suggested by John, to return a box which we had planned as a shelter for Lyra but is obsolete now we are in Cambridge.

When we arrived, the first thing that caught my eye was a PortaPotti 45, which was in fantatstic condition. It is always useful to have a backup loo, so I enquired about the price. £5! For that price I couldn't resist! I also rather liked the curvy style and wonder how old it is. This is in fact our 4th loo acquistion since we moved afloat. One brown and beige Porta Potti one came with the boat, and is still working but looks a bit nasty, one shiny white Porta Potti (with a smaller casette) came from my dad which we transported across the country on the train, and hoped would fit the larger casette of the brown one. Depite being the same brand it didn't fit. The small white casette then broke, leaving us with a useless(but shiny) top half. James' grandparents then gave us their old Thetford maroon one which is what we are still using. We have now got rid of all the non-working parts, but still have a superfluity of loos on board!

It has quite a neat design which is based to two large bottles clamped together.

New loo!

Anyway, enough of loos. After a trip to Tesco for diesel and food, we returned to the mooring, and had fun re-introducing Lyra to her old cat-friends. Despite haveing been away for a month though, she is still Top Cat, and after showing them who was boss with a swift biff on the nose by way of greeting to Tom Kitten, she did dain to join in with their games.

Sadly we werent able to stay out for dinner with the Pippins and Rowanberries, as we had a prior committment in town. We did however, enjoy a lovely meal with some friends we'd not seen for a long time. We enjoyed the peace and quiet overnight, and woke to a beautiful sunny morning. We dissembled our stealth wood pile, gave the pallet to John, and then tried to remove the huge long mooring stake we'd left in the bank. Bashing with a mallet failed to remove it, but an ingenious method involving using a plank to apply the force upwards eventually dislodged it.

And so we left, with a final turn of the klaxon, waving to everyone as we left for the last time as bona fide residents. Our mooring there runs out at the end of March and we have no time to return before then. However, we will be back, as we get more sunny days, to catch up with our friends out there.

On the way home in the sunshine.

As we cruised home, I put some scones in the oven, ready for our visitors who were arriving later. The smell of baking wafter through the boat, and it was warm enough to cruise along in T shirts! It was a very pleasant trip. We were lucky enough to arrive between divisions of a junior sculling race that was happening, and passed lots of kids, some who were more adept than others! (although James only used the klaxon twice, and we didn't cause any of them to fall in!).

I had to be at a work event in the afternoon, and when I returned I found James on a neighbour's boat, having lent her our anglegrinder for sanding her paintwork. Then, our friends came over for afternoon tea, and to eat the scones I made earlier. It was a lovely evening, and with the huge box removed from the well-deck, we had loads of space to all sit and watch the river, and drink tea. We took them for a dusk cruise to the waterpoint and back, before eating dinner and heading over to Kestrel for a game of Settlers. Poor Jess has hurt her paw and has to wear a cone to stop her biting it, poor little dog!

How are you feeling, Jess? Ruff!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Waterway Publication Appearance No.3

Waterways World? Check. Canals and Rivers? Check. Canal Boat? Not quite...

But now we have Towpath Talk to add to our collection. A few weeks ago I got an email from one of their writers, asking if they could use the blog in an article. Of course we were happy to do so, and sent them a few photos to use too. Several other bloggers are mentioned, particularly Mike of Zulu Warrior, but also Dove, Sarah and several others. The online version of the article is here, or check out page 52 of this month's Towpath Talk. Alternatively, you can read their 'lively' (according to Sarah) digital version.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

We're all going on a Summer Holiday!

James, since he works at a school, gets enviably long holidays. During his six weeks off over the Summer, we hoped that I would also be able to take some time off, allowing us to take Lucky Duck for a cruise around the canals. Yesterday I spoke to me employers, and was granted the three weeks off in August!

Hopefully, I would be able to continue working while we cruise up the 'boring bits' towards the Middle Level and Peterborough, leaving us with more time to enjoy the interesting canally bits. Now, with three weeks off, we need to decide where to go. We'd like to head to Cropredy for the Fairport Convention Folk festival on the 12th-14th, which several other boaters are attending, and make a stop at Engine Arm, where we bought the Duck to see John, the old owner. Basically, in the time we have, a ring around and through Birmingham seems most feasible. Any suggestions for routes round there most welcome.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

SOLD - Rutland 913

We have now sold our Rutland wind genny, to a nice local chap, who'd going to use it on his sailing boat which he keeps in the Firth of Clyde! An exciting new life for our 'friendly ghost'.

P.S Thanks to John on Pippin for his help with the advertising!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

For Sale- Rutland 913

We're selling our Rutland wind genny as our new mooring isn't windy enough.

For sale: Rutland 913 turbine, HRDi regulator, 8' lightweight but strong carbon fibre pole, guy wires with turnbuckles and fixings, fuse and holder, and wire to connect the setup. Only in use since August last year, so in completely as-bought condition. Manuals and instructions available too.

This is the complete system- all you need to do is mount the pole and connect the regulator to the batteries!

The turbine is in completely as-bought condition, and has only been used since late August last year.

The regulator- HRDi model- has full PWM charging for up to 120w of solar panels as well as the turbine; a detailed LCD display indicating battery voltage, charging current, and cumulative amp hours into both battery banks; temperature compensation; blocking diode and manual shutdown switch. I've had 48ah from the turbine on one windy day! The regulator has three-stage charging and can completely automatically handle the input from the turbine, as it will turn off when the batteries are fully charged.

The turbine is 12v, and the regulator can be used with either 12v or 24v systems.

Approx. £620 to buy the gear new, but we're asking £400 ONO. I might split up the lots if people really want one of the parts, but it might be best to keep it as one.

It's probably easier and cheaper to collect from Cambridge, but I could look into shipping for the turbine and regulator. The pole, being 8' long, could be more of a challenge!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Women's Eights Head of the River Race 13/01/2010

2700 athletes, 300 boats, 8 Chesterton rowers, 1 cox, and a day to remember! For several of us is was our first experience of rowing the Women's Eights Head, or 'Tideway', but even for those who had raced on the Thames before, it was still a fantastic experience. 6 km from Mortlake to Putney, it is the reverse of the boat race course, and the biggest women's rowing race in the world!

The forecast was for sunny spells, and although we could have done with a little more sun, we were still lucky to have a bright, not too cold day without a lot of wind. We were boating from Tideway Scullers School, which is positioned exactly on the start line, by Chiswick bridge. We all arrived, some by train and some by car, by 12:30pm, and the boat was waiting for us. Once we had put the boat together, we had plenty of time to eat, pose for crew photos, and try to calm each others' nerves! At 2pm, we went hands on the boat, and took our place in the queue to boat. It all happens very quickly, as there were so many boats waiting to push off behind us. We were very grateful to Janice, Emily and Jo, who helped us with our blades and wellies. And then we were off! Rowing on the Thames! It was pretty exciting, and for many the race nerves fell away.

We then had a short row to our marshalling spot. Our cox, Kate (from Magdelene College) who had kindly stepped in to help out and get practice for coxing Magdalene M2 at the Mens Head of the River Race, very ably kept us on station. It was a constant process of rowing and maneuvering to keep in the same spot against the flow of the tide (the Eights Head races are always rowed with the tidal stream). As we moved up to the start, race nerves started to appear again for some (including me)! Under marshall's orders, we de-kitted and span the boat ready to race. This was it!

We felt like we got off to a strong start. Rowing on the Thames is different to rowing on the rivulet that is the Cam, but we took it in our stride, and kept a good rhythm, rating 28, and rowing quite long. We had gained confidence when we overtook the boat in front (a Durham college second boat) with ease within about 3 mintues of the start. This gave us a great boost and we maintained well under Barnes bridge, and past Chiswick Eyot. Tiredness began to set in, but before long we were rowing under Hammersmith Bridge where we could hear cheering from our enthusiastic support team. This fired us up, and we were determined to look good for them and the cameras. We pushed off Hammersmith Bridge, rating a little higher at 29 and relaxed into the long stretch to the Black buoy. Unfortunately it was on this stretch that the cox box battery ran out, and Kate's voice, which has been spurring us on so well, faded out. She didn't realise how badly we couldn't hear her, so for the last part we were on our own to an extent. Despite this we did still manage to overtake another boat after this point. Although my memory is somewhat hazy, the results tell me that it was another Durham college first boat! Not knowing exactly where the finish was made the final minutes somewhat difficult to judge, and we were overtaken by a couple of boats just before the finish line. Although we clearly all wanted to prevent them coming by, we weren't able to make a united effort to do so. But despite the lack of cox box, we all kept going strongly, coxing ourselves through it to keep pushing. We did lose length towards the end but we kept a good rhythm, and when we passed the finish line at Putney, none of us had that much left!

Under Hammersmith Bridge - me at 3 (third from the bow) (birdman photography)
more here

But we still had to row home, back to Tideway Sculler School at Chiswick. It was tough and it took a good hour against the stream. My hands were quite sore, as well as everything else, but it was not entirely unpleasant in the evening light to be rowing down one of the most famous stretches of river in the world! Upon arrival at TSS, we were greeted by our loyal wellie bearers and my James helped pull us in. Soon we were back on land, enjoying Freya's delicious flapjack, and putting the boat back together.

We retired to The Ship on the opposite bank after we had put the boat back on the trailer for drinks and dinner before heading back to Cambridge, tired but elated at having done it.

Chiswick Bridge as the sun set after the race.

Our category (expand for a better view)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Moving On Up (Stream)

Last weekend we moved to a slightly different spot about 500m further upstream. Mainly it was to find a slightly nicer environment for Lyra (with more cat hidey-places), but it has the additional bonus of being slightly nearer the pub and the boathouses. In fact, we can see Peterhouse boat club (where the mens squad row from) from the window now. We didn't bother mentioning it at the time. But this meant that when Halfie came to find the Duck and drop off his gift of cake, it wasn't where he expected to find it. So he asked the nearest boater, emerging from an apparently un-named boat. Who happened to be me! Alas, I was just off out, so we only had a very brief chat, but it was kind of him to make the effort to find us. Hopefully we'll be able to actually stop for a pint at the Fort next time!

The Duck's new location.

Lyra does like this spot better. Neighbours have seen her terrorising poodles, and she does often just sit and watch the world go by from the roof, or the gang-plank (which is part of her 'safe-zone').

On the way to work this morning, I spotted this^. (big)James went last year, and said it was highly entertaining, as the various busybodies and concerned individuals complained about all sorts of things relating to the Common. As new inhabitants, we thought it might be fun to attend and see what's going on.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

New Club Blog

James recently set up a blog for our rowing club. The main club website is looking a bit old. Although it is functional, it is pretty dead and only gets used for people booking rowing machines and other tedia (is that the plural of tedium?).

So, we thought (in the pub last night) that if we had a club blog that people regularly contributed to, it might help make the website more useful, interactive and fun. As many of us have blogs already, it will be easy for us to get online and get contributing. Several people have accepted the invitation to be contributors already.

The boys took their new boat out for the first time on Saturday. One of the crew, William, has also been blogging about it on his (mainly) science blog, Stoat, and has also uploaded some lovely photos of the switch over from wood to plastic on his Flickr account:
The J8 awaits her rowers
This beautiful shiny boat is the OLD one!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Inn-teresting Boat for Sale

Narrowboat The Never Inn has been moored on the railings for as long as I've been boating in Cambridge. Last year, it got an interesting paint job in the form of white 'ripples' on a black background. I thought it was a well-executed, good looking and simple design if quite nontraditional. This photo is of the boat on the visitor moorings at Jesus Green last year:

But recently I noticed an ad on the bows, indicating that the boat was for sale:

"Would you like to live in comfort in the centre of Cambridge for a fraction of the price, with the ability to move if you don't like the scenery? Go to Gum Tree.com, type Narrowboat."

So I did. The Gumtree page describes the boat in more detail. It is on for £72,000! Its a 58' fairly new (2004) hull, with an Isuzu diesel engine, and a very different fit out. This image, which is linked to from the Gumtree page, shows that the plan is based on a series of circles, forming a 'wiggle' down the centre of the boat. I

It is an interesting idea, and I admire the builder's tenacity to stick to it so rigidly. Even the bed is curved! But I do feel that although it is fairly well executed, it is quite limiting, and could be highly impractical to find furniture and fittings which would work with its unique layout.

Interior shot looking towards the kitchen in the bows.

The boat itself is moored on the Railings, which is a legal grey area for moorings in Cambridge. Whilst it is not illegal to moor there, its not really legal either. They do not pay a penny to be moored there, and as a result the Railings have collected a flotilla of very shabby boats. No-one, not the Council, the Cam Conservators or the Highways Agency are prepared to take action, and say that they own the land, and control moorings there. They cannot be merged into the Council mooring scheme that we are part of because there is a big drop down to the water, and boat-owners have to climb the railing to get to their craft. This is not considered safe enough to be legal mooring. Every year the Council consult on whether or not to get rid of all the boats in this area, and they have constant complaints from local residents in the swanky flats nearby. So, although it hasn't happened yet, they could be evicted at any time. Also the situation on the railings area is such that if you were to leave your mooring at all, even to get water, and someone took your spot while you were away, you have no right whatsoever to have it back, and would be effectively homeless.

And yet the advert for the boat says it has an"Indefinate Free Mooring". Hmm.

The Never Inn on the Railings

Thursday, 4 March 2010

A new Eight for Chesterton

It has finally arrived! The men of our rowing club, Chesterton RC, have been rowing a slowly collapsing, wobbly wooden boat for years. It is a beautiful thing, top of the range for when it was built, but now sadly past its best. They have raced on Cam in what has come to be known as The Wardrobe, and still been competitive, so a new boat is likely to motivate and improve the mens' squad quite significantly.

On Wednesday evening, James and I helped rig it. It is very new and very shiny - the men can't wait to get out in it!

Chesterton Blue/Blue/Yellow coloured chevrons on the bows

James and Emma's wedding

Our good friends (big)James and Emma of nb Kestrel were married at the Grand Hotel, Eastbourne (Emma grew up in Eastbourne), on February 14th 2010. The date made it extra romantic but was chosen beacuse it was the best date for (big) James, Emma, and all the relevant family members' schedules, and didn't clash with a rowing race! We were very pleased to have been invited to the ceremony itself, and decided, like many of the other guests, to make a weekend of it. So, on Friday 12th, we took the train from Cambridge to Eastbourne. We were booked into the Big Sleep Hotel on Eastbourne's Grand Parade, just next to the Grand where the wedding was to take place. It had a special deal going for the winter, which meant that we got the room for £25 per night including breakfast! Our room had a lovely sea view, looking over to the Pier, and was very clean and well-kept although eccentrically (but stylishly) decorated in pink melamine and grey fur curtains! The Big Sleep is a 'boutique' hotel, and all the rooms were like this! The whole hotel was very interesting, and the breakfast room particularly stylish. We were impressed, and very pleased with what we got for our £75. Several others also arrived on the Friday night, and we had a lovely evening in the Lamb with (big)James and Emma.

Our hotel was the white one on the right. Our window was the very furthest to the right on the second floor.

Our round at the Lamb!

Saturday was ours to explore the town, and although cold, it was sunny. Neither of us had been to the sea for a while so it was a treat to be able to walk along the shore, enjoying the faded Edwardian splendour of the seafront, with its Victorian pier and Art Deco band stand. We squandered at least £2 on the penny pushers in the arcade and visited the Lifeboat museum, before heading into the town itself. James was still looking for a hat as (big)James had been encouraging everyone to wear hats to the wedding!, as well as a shirt and tie. We failed to find a hat unfortunately, but did enjoy loking through all the charity shops. We ate in a fantastic greasy spoon, where a full English breakfast cost £1.99! We retired back to the hotel mid afternoon, and had tea in our room, before getting a call from Sarah, one of the bridesmaids, saying could we come and help decorate the room where the reception was to be held. We were only too happy to go next door to the Grand and spent an hour putting ballons and fairy lights up. Dinner was fish and chips (and mushy peas!) in a place just off the seafront with some friends, after which we went for drinks at a recommended local pub, where we met up with more guests.

The beach, still with snowy patches.

Helpful notice on the Pier!

Sunday dawned bright but cold. After breakfast we headed over to the other end of the seafront for a game of crazy golf with (big)James and several others. (big)James wanted to distract himself from his wedding nerves and is a bit of a crazy golf pro! There was quite a lot of snow still lying on the course, so the game quickly degenerated into a snowball fight with a bit of golf here and there! The game had to be abandoned when some of the tubes down which the balls had to run to reach the holes became blocked with snow!

The wedding was at 2:30pm, and we only just made it after the pub where we went for lunch mixed up the orders. Luckily I'm not the kind of girl who takes 2 hours to get ready! I was wearing a lovely dress which I had hired from the vintage shop The Old Chemists Shop on Mill Road in Cambridge. It was strapless with a velvet bodice and full midnight blue skirt. I also hired a velvet shawl, a large blue flower for my hair and a clutch bag to match. A thin black choker completed the look.

My outfit (photo Mike PJ)

There were lots of wonderful outfits and some spectacular hats worn by the guests. (big)James and the ushers were very smart in grey top hats and tails. Emma looked just wonderful in a beautiful cream dress with red flower details. The ceremony was a humanist one with a couple of very moving readings. The happy couple then left the hotel for a short drive to get some time together, before returning to the hotel for the reception. James and I were very proud to be blade bearers, and stood at the hotel entrance holding Chesterton blades in an arch to welcome them back. It was very cold, but great fun to feel part of it, and we'll be in the official wedding photos!

The bride and groom arrive back after the ceremony (photos Mike PJ)

James finally finds a hat, borrowed from Dave! (photo Mike PJ)

The wedding breakfast was next, and it was delicious! The main course was a very tender lamb followed by a divine lemon tart. Emma's father, (big)James and James' brother and best man David all gave wonderful speeches.

The reception was great fun, with lots of music, drinking, dancing (and falling over) until midnight. As we left the hotel, we heard a whistle from an upper balcony, and after a few minutes of confusion, saw James and Emma, waving from their honeymoon suite above! We thought this was the last we would see of them until they returned from their honeymoon, but we were happy to get a chance to see them and congratulate them again on Monday morning. They had also had a chance to open our present by then, which was a drawing of Jess which I had done, as well as some 'tokens' for beer in their favourite pub, which they were very pleased with and thanked us for. They then jetted off to their honeymoon, snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park, followed by several days living it up in Las Vegas.

Dancing the night away at the reception (photo Mike PJ)

(big)James' cousin Tom and his wife Louisa drove us back to Cambridge on Monday which we were grateful for, even if we did have to stop occasionally to allow Tom to get out and throw up in bushes! He was somewhat worse for wear after the night before. Louisa wasn't much better, and hid bihind large shades! Both James and I were thankfully fine!

All in all it was a wonderful, fun-filled, romantic weekend. We very much enjoyed being part of their special day.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

An incredible story

Andy and Rhian, who used to moor at our old mooring, but who are now sailing in South America on their yacht Zephyrus, have a blog at http://smilingfootprints.com/blog/.

As the earthquake struck in Chile they were moored just offshore. Houses and people were swept into the sea, and they were in the thick of it. Read what happened here.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Come Hell or High Water

Yesterday evening, I received a text and an email from the Environment Agency saying 'Flood Warning issued for the River Cam from Cambridge to Upware'. The message was somewhat useless however: by this time, we had surprisingly enough already noticed that the water (and hence also the Duck and all the other boats on the Cam) had risen a significant distance, the stream was very fast, and very few rowers (not even James) were venturing out. In the current state we have not been able to go rowing at all. James was supposed to be going to Nottingham on Sunday with the Chesterton men to race the Head of the Trent. But the inclement weather meant that the event was in danger of being cancelled, so they decided not to risk wasting the time and money involved in getting there. We did, however, have a very enjoyable weekend. Emma and James of nb Kestrel arrived back from their honeymoon on Saturday night. (More on the wedding soon -we postponed discussing anything wedding related until they returned, for security reasons) We went for dinner with them and Elisabeth of nb Sirius at the Fort on Saturday night, and then on Sunday, a whole bunch of Chesterton folk headed over to the Clarendon Arms for an extended Sunday lunch!

The flood waters the morning.

We are extremely glad that we invested all of £16 in a couple of flood poles as soon as we arrived. We are also glad of our long ladder and plank boat-access system which is proving most satisfactory. Not everyone has the good fortune to have such a long gang-plank though. Our next-door neighbour Tanja on Bacchus now has to hop over the water to get to hers.

Today dawned sunny, and so we are hoping that once the tide is out downstream, the EA will be able to let the floodwaters out, and the river levels will begin to fall.

At lunchtime I returned to the boat to check on things. I found both Lyra and Fennel sitting on their respective vessels surveying the scene:

As I pottered about the boat, checking the mooring lines, and generally enjoying the sun, Lyra joined me. She sat on the warm sunny roof, briefly curled up in a circle inside the life ring, before following me down the plank. She watched the ducks swimming between the boat and the bank, and then went down to the water's edge to try and solve the flooding problems by drinking the river back to normal levels! :