Thursday, 30 June 2011

Back Where We Belong

It feels good to be moored up on the Common again now that the fair has gone. Yesterday I had finished all the work I needed to do that day by 12pm, and decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and quiet river to bring the boat back in from our out of town, countryside mooring near Bottisham. 

I got everything ready and attempted to pull pins. However, the bow was moored up to a long stake which we don't normally use, and proved entirely stuck. Hmph. I bashed and wiggled it, but it wasn't until the chap on the the boat next door came over to help that I got it out. Finally I was ready to set off: mid line coiled within hand's reach, bottle of elderflower, tonic water (and just a teensy bit of gin) to keep cool, EA key and mobile phone ready. The mooring pins I also left on the roof so I could hop off with them when I got to Cambridge.

I was also sporting James' Tilley hat (oh, the glamour!) to keep off the sun, as my hair parting got quite burnt at the weekend! I felt most intrepid.

At Baits Bite lock I was pleased to see that it was set in my favour, so steered straight in and hopped off with the mid line, then tied off the bows. A couple of gongoozlers were watching, which normally means something is going to go wrong, but everything was fine. They seemed surprised to learn that I was going to be operating the lock by myself! Once through the lock I had to immediately stop and wait for a foolish Cantabs eight who decided to spin right in front of me. Luckily the Duck can stop in its own length so no harm was done, but I wasn't impressed. The only other issue I had was with a somewhat dozy narrowboat. There is a cross-over on the Cam, and for a while, all boats are required to navigate on the left as opposed to right, as is standard elsewhere. It's quite clearly signposted. Halfway along this stretch, I saw a boat coming the other way, on the wrong side of the river. I held my course - the only thing I could do, and slowed down. They passed me, shouting 'Are you mooring up?'. 'No, I'm navigating on the left, like you should be! Did you not see the sign?'. I received nothing back, other than a grunt and a startled look. They did eventually switch sides...

I made slow progress back to our usual mooring spot as there was quite a bit of weed on the prop and nowhere to stop, but eventually moored up without any problems. Lyra was glad to be back, and settled down in the long grass.

Boats are beginning to return to the now empty Common. It's good to be back.

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  1. What's the reason for the "steer on the left" section?

  2. Oh, and I've just spotted you on p12 of the latest (Aug 2011) Canal Boat mag (is that James steering?)