Saturday, 2 May 2009

Et tout le monde changez le place

mais le monde continue toujours.......

And everyone is changing places, but the world goes on the same......

Neil and Jackie left for Portsmouth and the ferry to Bilbao at lunchtime.

The Pippins, meanwhile, having said their goodbyes, chugged into Ely for the fortnightly pump-out.

We normally go to Cambridge as it isn't as far, but a combination of it being a lovely day, longer hours of daylight, the fact that navigation upstream of Bait's Bight lock was restricted due to James and Amy....... (actually their rowing club, who were running races in divisions from 10.30-2.30.....It wasn't ALL their fault!) meant that we decided to head for Ely. The EA pump-out there is not only free,( whereas you pay £3.00 a go in Cambridge), but it is also much more powerful, better maintained, and more likely to be working.

On the way, we passed several pens asleep on their nests, saw some Herons and numerous Great Crested Grebes. We also came across nb Hornblower, who said they'd seen a Marsh Harrier! We didn't, sadly....

On arrival in Ely, we were greeted by the sight of nb Troll on the pump-out/water point.

(You know how boaters tend to go by their first name followed by their boat's name? Especially in mobile phone address books? The slim and elegant Mel and handsome, chisel-jawed Ewan, who own nb Troll, could never be thus described............. A comma and the "nb" bit had to be inserted.....)

They were un-mooring as we arrived, so I took Pippin under the railway bridge and went downstream to where the river widens a bit to execute what to all intents and purposes is the closest a wide-beam ever gets to a handbrake turn, and having done so (with some flair I thought!) chugged nonchalently back to pump out.

A Bank Holiday event was in full swing in the park by the river, a little trip boat called Liberty Belle was whizzing up and down, and the river was thick with fibreglass cruisers.

Despite it being very busy, everyone was in a happy, smiley, sun-shiney mood, with lots of waving and chatting between boats.

Several passing boats commented on the size of Pippin's Promac 6000S Generator (5.9kva air cooled diesel in a huge sound insulated box on wheels, okay?).

Everyone takes the mickey out of The Mighty Pippin's monster generator, right up until the part when they need us to moor up alongside them and "lend " it to them for an hour or three......

Anyway, having done the necessary pump and rinse, we had a delightful, if uneventful, chug back to Bottisham lock. Here we met Paddy and Rosemary from nb Windflower who were locking downstream with some friends who were on another boat. They had such a great barbecue going on the foredeck that Pippin's crew nearly went to full Firefighting Action Stations. The presence of people dancing on the boat's roof, however, persuaded us to downgrade the alert from Red to Condition Beige, and we put the extinguishers away........

Having got home and moored up, we found our neighbours, nb Brass Monkey's crew, looking weary after putting in a full day of chipping paint and rust, Kurusting, and priming. Their boat makes Pippin look a little careworn. Methinks the brushes will have to come out very soon!

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