Sunday, 13 March 2011

To Ely......

I gave you fair warning there might be a post about boating in the offing, and true to my word, here it is.

Today we cast off at about 09:30 for a chug into Ely to pump out.

Those who read this rubbish regularly will remember that the last time we did this was around Christmas, when, with help from The Lucky Ducks, (James kindly did some ice-breaking so we could actually get out of the basin we moor in), we went into Cambridge.

Why, you may well ask, and indeed, how, have we been able to leave it so long before going again?

"Why" first:

The pump-out at Ely has been struck by thieves not once, but twice. The hose head was removed again less than twenty-four hours after it was replaced following the original theft. (Jackie checked all was present and correct yesterday when she running other errands in that direction.)

Also, quite apart from the fact that they are rubbish, the Cambridge facilities are, to all intents and purposes, out of bounds to boats not already moored close to it by the de facto closure of the river by scores of rowing eights practising like mad for the Lent Bumps. It simply is not safe to navigate a powered craft in such congested waters. Apparently, they get in each others way quite frequently too, which is some consolation I suppose.....

So there was no pump-out to be had!

Which brings me to the "How"....

Easy, really: Jackie had replaced the old macerator loo with the spiffy new Vacuflush 5000 before Christmas. It uses so much less water that the interval between visits has increased considerably. But not by two and a half months!!! No, in anticipation of severe winter weather that would lead us to being frozen in, we invested in a Thetford cassette loo as a back-up. That is what we have been using for the last few weeks, as there are facilities for disposal here at the Parish.

The trip itself was lovely. It has been such along time since we've been out we were both a bit worried we might have lost the knack, but it all came flooding back before we lost any paint or dented East Anglia too badly, so that was okay.

We made good time, arriving at about 12.30, wind and current having been with us all the way.

A narrowboat was on the pump-out mooring and very kindly let us come alongside. A fisherman was taking up the Pippin-length space on the mooring aft of them (all sixty-one feet of it) and refused to budge, despite the politest of imprecations.

I had almost forgotten what an obstreperous bunch of thick-witted losers most maggot-danglers are. I remarked on this to Jackie, who reminded me that they sit on cold river banks holding a stick, staring vacantly into space for hours on end simply because of the tragic want of any semblance of happiness in their loveless marriages and empty, miserable lives.

I have, as a result, resolved to pity them......

Pump-out complete, we chugged upstream to The Cutter Inn for some lunch. On the way, we said hello to Andrew from wb Cinnamon Girl as we motored by. It's the first time we've actually met, despite quite a bit of blog traffic between us. Andrew, if you are ever up this way, let us know and we'll meet up at the 48's at Clayhithe and have a drink at The Bridge. I'll ask The Ducks along too.....

Jackie helmed Pippin back to Waterbeach as I needed a snooze after some very good fish and chips and a couple of lunch-time pints.....

Truly, the woman is a saint......

I woke up before Bottisham lock and made tea. We then moored briefly on the lock approach (a bit naughty, I know, but had there been any traffic in either direction, we would have worked the lock for them. As it turned out, there was none).

We moored up to load a lot of newly felled timber from from some recent thinning/pollarding of the trees at the lock. Jackie had asked the chaps doing the work if it would be okay, and they had said certainly, their instuctions had been to leave it piled up, presumably for a bonfire at some point.

So we have nobbled yet more fuel for the woodburner!

That's Monday taken care of then: more radical bow-saw action.

I may renege on my promise not to post photos of the wood pile.

Once again, you have been warned......!


  1. Hi John
    Nice to see you on Sunday albeit in passing.
    Do you often get told you're younger than expected?
    I was also surprised to see Jackie was obviously a child bride!
    I wouls have loved to have repaired to The Cutter for a pint and banter with you but sunday is my main work day on Cinnamon Girl and I have to keep the nose to the proverbial grindstone.
    Plenty of other opportunities to sup and chatter together when CG is not so much of a marine building site.
    Keep up the good work.

    WB Cinnamon Girl

  2. Hello John

    We met a couple of years back when you came into Fox's for blacking I think it was. I have been past you last year on the way to and from Cambs. I like your mooring. Room there for a little'n? when it's finished of course.

    Andrew, where's your blog then? Hows it coming along?


  3. Hello Kevin

    My blog is like my plan to lose my poo bear belly and get fit!
    I've been saying it for years and never got round to it.
    We're getting on ok. Just finishing forward cabin then onto electrics then when I can run the pumps plumbing.
    Glad you like Johns blog too.
    Keep it up John

    WB Cinnamon Girl
    P.S John, room for a big un at the parish?