Wednesday, 15 August 2012


On the last two days of our holiday, we set to putting Pippin to rights.

We drove back from North Norfolk the country way to skirt around Hell's Roundabout (Outside King's Lynn. File it under "Avoid". Really.....).

We had a lovely trip to Brandon Creek using Mk1 map and Eyeball V.1.0..... There were a couple of moments of uncertainty which is always going to happen when employing what I call 'inductive navigation' (Exactly where you are in the space/time continuum can veer towards the 'vague idea' level, but you must never, EVER stop and ask someone......) but we got there in the end. Jackie stayed aboard as she was tired but I went to the nearby pub to meet up with James and Amy and some fellow bloggers I had not met before: Lesley and Joe from Yarwood and Graham and Jill from Matilda Rose. A lovely evening ensued.......

The next morning, the Ducks motored down to our mooring spot, and having settled up with the yard for the blacking and bought some diesel for the genny, we set off in convoy in the general direction of Ely.

Make no mistake, James and Amy's Lucky Duck is a quick boat. (They have done a lot of very good work to it during their tenure as Duck custodians: the engine is as sweet as a nut and sports skin tank cooling which replaced the raw water effort which caused them a lot of trouble in the early days.... I understand the Duck is up for sale as they want a classic narrowboat along the lines of a Big Woolwich. Whoever buys The Duck will be getting a good-'un.....)

Quick indeed. On the way to Brandon Creek, Pippin was cruising at 'top o' the green' (2000 rpm) and still struggled to keep pace. (Well, she is a widebeam, and has to shove a lot of water out of the way, unlike these snake-hipped and skinny narrowboats....) We caught them up as they slowed down for moored boats, only to see them pull away again as we backed our throttle for the same reason.

The return journey, was however, very different. Liberated from the drag factor that three years-worth of weed had added to her 26 tonne burden, Pippin simply flew!

At 2000 rpm we were actually gaining! I backed the throttle to a gentle 1800 and let The Duck lead on..... :-)

(By the way, if any spoilsports reading this think we were racing or breaking the speed limit, I can assure you we were not. We are always mindful of our wash and of moored boats too. This was on The Queen Adelaide stretch: a wide long straight of unrelieved boredom. There are markers at one point where you can check your speed to make sure you aren't breaking the limit. We weren't: not by a Dutch mile.....)

Anyway, our purpose in travelling in convoy was to find a quiet spot on the Adelaide to moor up and do some paint prep/painting. James wanted to be near our generator for 'Power to the People's' grinder, so we selected a likely looking stretch of piling and pulled in.

This is Pippin's roof at the end of the day:

When rubbing down a 61' x 10' blue widebeam, there are some Health & Safety issues: even wearing all the PPE recommended for the job will not prevent you developing an unpleasant condition known as Incipient Smurf Syndrome:

We also decided our chimney was getting a bit past it.........:

The Ducks parted company in the late afternoon as they had places to go and people to see and trains to catch in Ely. We stayed on overnight and personfully munched our way through the mountain of sausages I had de-frosted thinking James and Amy were going to stay supper with us...... It was a challenge, but we did it..... Though I don't think we've had sausages since......... :-)

The next day, we were up with the larks and made the most of some fine weather by rubbing down Pippin's sides, foredeck well and cruiser deck. We finished at about half past three in the afternoon, then motored home, reaching The Parish at about six in the evening.

As we moored up, this boat came up to the lock to turn:

nb Pyxis used to be a by-word for trouble on the River Cam.

The previous owner was a deeply troubled individual who not only thought he owned the water point in Cambridge, but was singularly and deeply unpleasant in thought, word and deed to anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path.

The end came for him when he set about a rowing coach with a broom handle. He should have got six months for that, but, sadly, was let off with a fine.

We need that sort of behaviour on the river like a hole in the head.

All the work James and Amy had done to try and improve relations between rowers and boaters, this poltroon undid in seconds.....


Anyway, this thoroughly nasty piece of work is off the river and gone, we all fervently hope, for good and all time.

I think the new owners look jolly nice:...............!

It still might be an idea to paint their boat differently and change it's name though........... thus severing all links with the past...... :-)

Jackie relaxed after a hard day's grinding, painting and boating.....

Thomas arrived home, having been staying with his friend Oscar on nb Malus, and took up temporary residence in our Magic Painting before scoffing down a wet food treat and going for a long sleep....

And I went shopping and decided on eggy soldiers for breakfast the following morning:

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