Sunday, 30 June 2013

Culinary delights

Alistair did a spot of shopping the other day and couldn't resist a gadget to hold a chicken on the barbecue. Mmm???. Not sure. We've got a mini Weber and it does a pretty good job of roasting a chicken or joint of meat as it is. Still.....

Well you can follow the pics but safe to say it only took 5 minutes to reach the unanimous conclusion that it wasn't the best £3.50 that we've ever spent. Still, he reverted to the usual method and we didn't have to waste the chicken.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Island Mentality

Woke up, as I suspect did most people today, to rain. The light drizzle sort and the forecast 'called for' it to last most of the day. Question was, stay in Bedford centre on a Friday night or drag out the waterproofs? No contest. So, the winter boots I'd only put away yesterday made a return appearance and off we went.

LJ and I walked up to the lock. Delighted to see two boats heading down to the moorings. False hope. They'd closed the guillotine gate. It's not been the norm on the Great Ouse, the exit gate has, up to today, always been left open and so it was on all the other locks we passed through on  our trip  to tonight's mooring. No matter. Wet is wet.

The river is unbelievably quiet - sorry boaters. We haven't seen a boat on the move since the two at Bedford until this very moment when STEALAWAY crept by - but not past us.

We're now retracing our journey and I don't want to bore anyone with a repeat of  photos  used on the way up. As it happens, we saved some delights for the return trip.  This is probably the best mooring we've had this year and great, rain free, walking. On another island but this one we can get off!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Blame my Mother in Law ........

When we set off on our life afloat Alistair's parents bought a laptop. All the better to follow our exploits. I started the blog for them and our friends. Little did I think that the blog would bring new friends to QISMA but it has been a delight to chat to boaters, potential boaters and non boaters and to share bits and pieces as we go along and to meet or at least shout hello when our paths cross.

Today we moved from Great Badford to Bedford. I can't help feeling just a bit sad because, although we still have months left of the 2013 cruise, tomorrow we will be on the return journey.

We had company for an hour or so on the mooring but now back in isolation. It is a bit noisy here - rowers out next to us and plenty of foot traffic. I hope the rowers don't start at 0600 I feel that it's unlikely their coaches will abide by the 0800 rule and even that would be too early for us.

We had two low bridges to contend with. Not everyone thought we would make it!  QISMA put in 'low bridge 'rig' but very quickly changed back for our arrival in Bedford and tonight's mooring.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

LJ's liking this

Little Josh  is  adaptable but without a doubt, okay at Great Barford, we've got his favourite style of mooring. Huge grass field, access to the river and no other boat. He's been outside for hours and just a bit of mischief,

Two boats left the pub mooring just after lunch and late afternoon STEALAWAY moored on the opposite bank. I love the name of this boat, reminds me of a Davey Arthur and The Furies song - a favourite of the Royal Irish many, many years ago and a favourite of mine ever since.

I'm writing the blog as displacement activity - Roger Federer in danger of crashing out of Wimbledon. There could be a huge advantage,for Andy Murray but nevertheless it would be a sad day. LJ hates the tension! 

To anyone interested in the solar panel situation, on a day where we've had fantastic sunshine, we're making more than we are using. A success I'd say. As has been our new gangplank. We've had some stunning moorings that before we bought it we'd not have got on. Today being one. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Sun and boating - the perfik combination

Worth the wait?   Well it would have been nice earlier but we finally got the perfik day. Wall to wall sunshine and a quietish river. What more could a boater want.

We also got chance to have a shout across to Hanser, but by the time I got the camera out Brian was well on his way.

I hadn't read his blog last night so as far as I knew he was on the Lark! Must keep up Jan. HANSAR sweeps past!


We've certainly had beautiful scenery through the day and not much traffic.  We had hoped to moor at Eacon Socon but Alistair walked up from the lock and the mooring was taken. We didn't want to go on and some plastic boat was prattling about at the lock so we reluctantly went onto the pub mooring - a last resort. 

I took LJ for his walk and as if by magic the mooring above the lock was free. HOORAH!

And it's now official we are in the market for a mooring on the  Great Ouse - we are in LURV!!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Whose that on our chimney?

The worst of the wind had gone as we left the island this morning. Houghton lock was about 200 yards away and by the time I was off QISMA to work the lock a cruiser coming up behind was on the mooring!

The fire service were out training as we came into Huntingdon and we got a nice salute from them - even before they'd spotted the Blue Ensign.

We topped up with water and moved on to Godmanchester. After no walks over the weekend I was delighted with this afternoon's offering.

Miles and miles of wild flower meadow

And LJ in his usual position

Into Godmanchester to the fishing shop to replace the broken rod and these made us smile.

Alistair now in discussion with a couple of 12 year olds, who have been checking on his catch. They've caught something. He hasn't. I said to check what bait they were using. Maggots. That's a no then. 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

A big lot of About

I would say today had been very quiet but with gusts of wind up to 34 knots quiet wasn't quite it. We've stayed put. Been reading and listening to the radio. LJ has been walked round and round the small space available and had several games of sticks to make up for the lack of a walk.

Not everyone as sensible. These three girls, young teens, in some difficulty. The 'responsible adult' with them in a rowing boat powerless to help.  They managed to get to the channel on the other side of island and hopefully they will be ale to get ashore on the far bank of the river. Anything else would be madness. 

I've been reading Alan Bennett's Writing Home. I always love reading about Miss Shepherd - for those not familiar with her - Miss Shepherd, a feisty individual, lived in a van in Camden. To start with parked outside his house but, when parking restrictions came in, the van was moved to his drive and she lived there until her death some 15 years later.  He also talks about his Mum who, as she aged, lost some vocabulary. She couldn't say what a view and expressed this by saying 'a big lot of About' which in itself is rather grand. 

So here's a bit of About from here

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Shirley's Dream disturbs ours

Woken at 0730 by Shirley's Dream. Totally determined to get onto the mooring behind us, despite really strong winds and and half a mile of easy moorings ahead. They had about a dozen attempts, revving the engine like a boat possessed,  then turned before finally getting on. The photo is of them leaving about an hour later - and we hadn't even sent our secret weapon out (LJ).

With strong winds forecast for later we wanted to be off early - but not that early!

We had hoped to stop in St Ives but the moorings were full - and yes Shirley WAS on them. St Ives is one of only four towns in England to have a chapel on a bridge. I grew up in one (Rotherham) and QISMA has visited the other two (Bradford on Avon and Wakefield). A rare bit of history/culture from me!!!

The Captain was delighted to find the batteries at 95% power this morning. The solar panels are getting an hon mention and photo. 

We had hoped to stop at Hemingford Grey and the moorings were empty but QISMA was just at the wrong height and our paint was scraped in seconds. The GOBA moorings also had space put an entire heard of cows just where I would have had to leap off so we went on. We saw TACET coming out of Hemingford Lock - we know they were ahead of us so have been following and enjoying their blog. Just to chance to shout hello

Now on our own on island mooring. Not great for walking LJ but he doesn't seem to mind

Friday, 21 June 2013

What happens on a day off?

Well, of course, there is some dog walking

And an excellent walk it was.

Then there was some

What a shame the rod broke shortly afterwards and before anything caught. I had warned him if an 
eel got him he was on his own.

And we had a visit, on his maiden voyage. My knees would definitely NOT be up to this! 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Sorry about the rain ..... Result of solar panels?

Isn't it grand when a plan comes together? Not only was Tim, from NBSOLAR, with us on time, everything went really smoothly, to the point where Alistair had to make the bank transfer and then there was a glitch! Fortunately, as I use a telephone bank, I was able to step in. And no, he wasn't being devious, he's already transferred it back.  The roof is well and truly used now.

So we set off around lunchtime, intending not to go far. We went through Hermitage and what a lovely chap the lock keeper there is and some interesting stories. Particularly the one about Jonathon Wilson and a body. We ended up going through the next lock - all electric and then on, to what is for us, a dream GOBA moorings. Photo below. By the time,we got here the sun had vanished and we had rain. Sorry folks.

On our way down I saw THE most scarey thing. We think it must have been an eel but it was huge! It looked like an eight foot fat brown snake slithering at the edge of the water and then heading towards us!  I just couldn't get to the camera in time.  I was rooted to the spot in fear. I have never seen anything like it. Next time I hope to do better.

Our mooring tonight has a Bramble Cutting feel to it and tomorrow is a day off.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A plan coming together

What seems like months ago, and may well have been, Alistair came round to the idea of solar panels, he did his research and phoned the chosen one Tim) and booked a day to have them fitted. That day is tomorrow the plan was we'd position ourselves at a suitable slot, Tim would ring us the evening before and then he'd pitch up and do the work

Today, we set off from Ely, heading towards Earith and looking for mooring with road access. We passed several GOBA (Great Ouse Boating Association where we are members) moorings, lovely but isolated and marked down for stops on the way back.  So, 15 very slow miles later we arrived at Hermitage Lock and arranged to moor here overnight.  Contact was made and looks like we're on!

Quay d'Orsay Ely

Heading our way? 

Tim tells us he'll be here by 0900 tomorrow. Another early start, for us!