Monday, 18 October 2010

A post entirely about boating (well, almost....)

To post solely about boating on what is ostensibly a boating blog may seem barely worthy of comment, never mind a mention in the title.

However, Pippin ramblings do tend to encompass a rather catholic variety of topics, so I felt the urge to flag this up in the title.

You can't say you weren't warned........

Bottisham Lock was out of action for a while last week while Men in Green stood around staring at it and scratching their heads. Eventually, one arrived with the correct Whitworth adjustable spanner and tweaked it back to life. The uncorked Cam was then a flurry of boating for a day or so as cruisers, narrowboats and widebeams all resumed their interrupted journeys.

With the lock fixed, the Pippins were up with the sparrows yesterday, refitting newly topped-up and re-charged batteries, fetching diesel cans, wood for sawing up, getting the washing in, emptying gash, the recycling and the compost bin in readiness for the voyage to Ely.

It was a beautiful morning: golden in the way that put one in mind of John Keats' Ode. The mooring and river were mill-pond smooth and sideways lit, but sadly we were too busy with preparations to pick up the camera. Here's a photo from the archive to give you the gist:

We would be staying overnight in Ely so attempted to corral Thomas Cat and bring him along.

Tom used to be utterly unbothered by the engine noise or the boat in motion.

Until that is, I banged into Bottisham Lock quite hard in high wind last winter.

Now even the sound of the engine sends him kitten-crawling under the nearest chair with a look of feline terror on his face.

That he had rumbled our intentions and scarpered was beyond doubt. We left him to play on the mooring all day and resolved to fetch him via car later.

The trip itself was unremarkable in the best sort of way: nothing happened to mar our enjoyment of the lovely autumn morning.

We did see a Fen Harrier. I insisted Jackie try to take a picture.......

I don't think we'll be up for too many awards with that one......

We also had a little game of Grandmother's Footsteps with a rowing eight and their coach as we approached Ely, but it was conducted with good humour, so definitely no harm done.

At Ely, we moored up at Garf's boatyard (where Pippin is having her gearbox seals sorted out today) then jumped in the car, which Jackie had cleverly driven up on Friday evening, and headed for Cambridge for "A Day of Boating: Part, The Second."

It was Amy Duck's Birthday Bash: a trip up the Cam from Jesus Green along the college nb Lucky Duck!

Powered craft are prohibited from this stretch of the river during the busy summer months, but from October navigation is permitted if a written application is made to The Cam Conservancy.

James and Amy had sorted all this out , so we were good to go.

This shot suggests Brave Captain Tidy may have been having second thoughts......

We were joined by a lovely group of James and Amy's chums, so a jolly party was soon under way as James threaded The Duck through narrow bridge holes and numerous surprised punt crews with an expert hand.

I refuse to dwell on the one incident of a punt operator being truly unpleasant, as the time and his number were recorded, so his hash will, no doubt, be settled in due course......

At the head of the navigable river, we moored up and said goodbye to Bones, who had sneaked in a spot of boating before visiting her mum. Sadly, Boots was not in evidence as he would probably been unable to resist the temptation of snacking on Lyra, Lucky Duck's cat.....

The return trip was lovely and accomplished with flair. James is jolly good at this sort of thing!

We were soon all in The Fort St.George for a bite of supper, then home to the mooring to fetch Thomas and head off to Ely.

Doesn't take long to type, but took a while to do! Thanks to The Ducks for the loan of Lyra's travel box and to Rhoda for tea and help finding The Ginger Menace.

He mewed pitifully all the way to Ely, but perked up at once when in the more familiar environs of Pippin, and seems now to be exhibiting no further signs of trauma.

Thanks again, James and Amy, for a truly memorable afternoon!

1 comment:

  1. Tom looks like butter wouldn't melt!

    And after all the day's excitements, Amy, James and Philip worked their magic and I DID go to the ball, complete with lovely dress and gown (the equivalent of glass slippers, I suppose...)